Despite your confusion, you need to let him go

11/13/2013 11:16 AM

11/13/2013 11:17 AM

Q: My ex-boyfriend is accusing me of “stalking” him because I continue to text and ask him to reconsider our breakup. We were together three years, and he dumped me suddenly. I’m still struggling to understand. I think I am entitled to an explanation and want to hash things out. The less he responds, the more I feel I need to get through to him that this is all I want.

A: Just because you might be entitled to an explanation does not mean that he is capable of giving you one. And even if he were, it might not ever make sense, as his reasons would probably never be deemed good enough, thus running the risk of making you feel even more confused and hurt.

You can’t picture it now – that’s the nature of the breakup beast – but closure will come on your own time, with perspective, the comfort and distraction of friends, interests, passions or just an occasional good bowl of pho. If you’re willing to write for my advice, hopefully you'll be willing to heed it: No long-term good is likely to come from continuing to contact him, despite how strong the urges are in the short term.

Q: My wife is flirtatious with my brother and no one else. She is not overly flirtatious, but because this isn’t her usual personality, it makes me think twice. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to complain about it since it’s not over-the-top. But I also don’t like seeing it and want to know why she would act this way with my brother in particular.

A: There could be many things going on here. Maybe you notice it more with your brother, or she feels a comfort with him that she doesn’t with other people, or – less pleasant – she feels something for him that brings out the flirtation in her.

The important thing is that you’re honest with yourself about how much it bothers you, and if it’s significant, talk to her about it. You’re not complaining or accusing; you’re sharing something that’s been on your mind.

And in terms of her behavior, I’d urge you not to overanalyze because, depending on how she is with other male family members, it could be that what you interpret as flirtation is actually familial comfort and affection.

Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.”

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