DEAR AMY: I started dating a woman in July of last year. After a month of seeing each other, she was still having trouble detaching from her former romantic partners.
I told her to wait until she was ready to date me. After almost a month, she asked me to start a relationship. It was great until we found out that she was pregnant. Ultimately she terminated the pregnancy, and we continued to date.
At Christmas she informed me that she had cheated on me numerous times with both of her ex-boyfriends. I was heartbroken but in love.
I forgave her under the condition that she stop communicating with them. About a month later, she told me she couldn't handle not talking to them but promised they were just friends.
For three months I thought we were in an exclusive relationship, but two days ago she said we were just "friends with benefits" and that she is starting to have feelings for someone else.
Should I listen to my heart and wait for her to realize that what we had was important? Should I wait and hope that she comes back? Or should I walk away and come to terms with the fact that she just doesn't want me in her life. Please help. I'm in love and can't help it, and I'd love your neutral opinion.
DEAR CONCERNED: The relationship I'm most concerned about — and the one you should pay the most attention to — is the one you have with yourself.
Your erstwhile girlfriend is a one-woman relationship wrecking ball. She is chronically unable to commit to anyone, and your efforts to control her do not work.
If listening to your heart means that you will continue to commit to someone who is cruel and depleting, then you must work hard to change this script.
Love is not cruel. Love is kind. Someone who loves you will never ask you to compromise your own personal integrity to be in a relationship. My neutral opinion is that you should disassociate completely from this cold-hearted relationship killer. Find a thoughtful friend or therapist to discuss this with. Your personal goal should be to reclaim your own life, love yourself more and love her not at all.
DEAR AMY: I support gay equality, but most of the people in my circle are strict fundamentalists.
They're close family or family friends, so cutting them out of my life is out of the question.
Is there a way to ease my way out of this circle or change their opinions?
DEAR LIBERAL: It is fairly easy to ease your way out of a circle — you simply evolve and change enough that your social circumference grows. You don't cut your family off, necessarily, but you grow. They can grow along with you or — more likely — stay right where they are.
If your family members bring up this particular topic, then you should definitely be ardent and honest in stating your case.
I may be unusual in this regard, but I really don't like to fight with people I suspect will never change their views. If you share this basic temperament, you need only tell yourself that history will overtake the narrow-minded, as history always does. And their views will either grow or they will be left behind.
DEAR AMY: "The Lesser Sister" described how her "alpha" sister manipulated and controlled her through extravagant gifts. I wonder if people realize how oppressive this can be. My mother-in-law used to do this; the pressure it created was extreme. I grew to dread any package.
DEAR OVERGIFTED: When gifts come with strings attached, they're not really gifts, but gift-grenades.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.