How do I disconnect?

Carolyn Magner
[email protected]

Dear Carolyn,

I finally took your advice and broke up with my no-good loser boyfriend. He needed to go and now he’s gone. But the problem is, I can’t seem to give up our daily e-mail and text contact. He sends me a text message every morning just to say hello. I have to reply or it would be rude and unfriendly. Then he sends me an e-mail when he rolls into the truckstop for the night. Just to let me know he made it safely. It’s all very casual, and there’s nothing steamy about our communication. Still, I feel uneasy about it. Are we really broken up? Do people ever really break up these days?

Connie in Connecticut

Dear Connie,

My dear, that’s a very good question and one I’m glad you asked. What you describe as casual, polite contact is in fact a continuation of the relationship. Maybe not the one you tried to break off, but nonetheless, a relationship. There’s only one way to really break up and that’s to sever all contact. Cold turkey. And then, slowly, you can begin to move on. Otherwise, you remain in the murky, mushy no-man’s land of quasi-relationship status.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

I’ve gone through all kinds of troubles in my 33 years – addiction, abandonment, divorce, remarriage, job loss and a bad car accident. Usually, I pick myself up and move on along. But the latest calamity has slam-dunked me. This time, my best friend, who has been through it all with me, just up and dumped me. She refuses to give me a reason, just says that she’s tired of my issues.

How can this be? Could I have been so wrong about someone that has been my best friend since grade school? I’m beyond devastated. Please help me get her back.

Janice in Georgia

Dear Janice,

Every woman has gone through the “suddenly disappearing best friend,” and some of us have even been the ones to do the dumping. There’s not very much you can do. You can ask her to meet with you to discuss how you can be a better friend to her. A better strategy is to get involved with a group of people who have common interests and then, hopefully, new friendships will blossom.

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Oh, and darlin’? Work on your issues.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

How do you get over the loss of love? For very long and complicated reasons the love of my life, the light of my existence, the reason for getting out of bed in the morning, is gone. There’s no possibility that our relationship will ever work out and while I understand it, I can’t seem to accept it. Because our love affair was secret, there’s nobody that even knows I’m suffering, and it grieves me to know that she’s in the same position.

Is there anything I can do to get through this dark, black hole in my life? I don’t know if I can make it.

Desperate in Dallas

Dear Dallas,

First, if you really think you are not going to “make it,” you need to call your area suicide hotline where you’ll be directed to real help. OK? If you mean that it just sucks to be you, then:

  1. Set some time aside to mourn. Read old letters, listen to sad songs.
  2. Set limits. Allow time each day to grieve, but gradually decrease the allotment.
  3. Substitute the addiction. Force yourself to take up a new hobby.
  4. Distract yourself. Go to funny movies, throw yourself into your job.
  5. Do something for someone else. Sign up for Trucker Buddy or serve a meal at a soup kitchen.
  6. Five weeks from now, check in with me and let me know how you are doing. Five months from now, check in again.

Carry on, my friend. Oh, and a word to all you people out there in secret relationships. When it blows up, and it will, you will be all alone. Better to bloom in sunshine than wither in darkness.

I’m just say’n.

Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. Nothing shocks her. If you are really in trouble, please call someone who has gone to school for a long time. E-mail Carolyn at [email protected].