Q: My girlfriend wants to break up because of our different personalities. Me: objective. Her: warm-hearted and always connecting emotionally. My objectivity has disappointed her, leading to many arguments. She keeps saying, “Your personality is good but it doesn’t suit me.” Should I accept her suggestion even though we know we love each other?
A: It sounds like she’s not giving you much choice other than to accept her “suggestion.” I’m sorry. I know this seems like a total injustice – especially to an objective person, being that you still have the “in love” box checked. But she’s basically telling you she doesn’t think you’re capable of giving her what she needs – and that she no longer wants you to try.
You can grow from this by truly thinking about what you loved about your relationship, and her, and how to best seek that out (eventually) in a new partnership, with someone who meshes better with who you are. And you can continue to learn how to be a more emotionally available person – without becoming a different person altogether.
Q: I’m 32 and was dating a 19-year-old. I dumped him for stealing money from me. So his reaction was to immediately go around and tell people that I’m broke, prostituting myself and using drugs. I know rumors are rumors, but so many people believe it.
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A: Who are these people? And if they believe it, what does it say about them and the value of the relationship you had with them? Maybe they don’t know you and are making snap judgments due to his closing in on them (they should watch their wallets!) and ranting. Maybe they do know you and are betraying you by not getting your side of the story. Either way, they don’t sound worthy of your time.
It stings to have an ex engaging in full-scale reputation warfare. But the only way out of this is away from them and him. Surround yourself with people who really know you, and if you need more supportive friends, go make them. Invest in the real you that you want to be – developing new interests, doing good for others – to help take your mind off the false you he’s telling stories about.