Dear Carolyn:

I'm in a nice relationship with my current boyfriend, but I keep allowing my ex to contact me by phone, e-mail, text, etc. I can't seem to let go of this past relationship. I must admit I still have feelings for the ex, but it's been over a year since we broke up. Why is it so hard for me to accept that he does not want a relationship with me? I think about this person too often, and I know keeping in contact is just prolonging my agony, but I can't seem to let it go.

Glutton for Punishment?

By glutton for punishment, I assume you mean your current boyfriend, who is entrusting himself to someone who loves someone else.

You have thought about his feelings as much as your own, right?

And told him you're in touch with your ex?

And haven't told him any blatant lies, such as that your feelings are now just Platonic? Or omission lies, such as that you promise you won't be getting back with your ex . . . (but only because he keeps shutting you down)?

The only way to get over your feelings is to turn off your phone and face them. The only way to be fair in the meantime is to be single until you do.

Dear Carolyn:

I've been with my boyfriend about a year now. His mom still doesn't want to meet me because she thinks I was the reason for her son's divorce. She's best friends with his ex and takes every opportunity to schedule events so they can still be one big happy family. Now she is doing things with her ex-daughter-in-law and the ex's new boyfriend and still won't even let me in her driveway. There's a little girl who's 5 and loves being with me, but wonders why I can't meet grandma or mommy.

My boyfriend has already expressed to his mother how much it hurts him when she does things with his ex and not her own son, but it doesn't seem to faze her.

He won't let himself love me 100 percent because without his mom's acceptance he's having a really hard time. What do I do at this point?

The Mother or Not?

The good news is, you have choices.

The bad news is, one of them is to resign yourself to the status quo and hope some key people grow up.

And the other is to make life easy for your boyfriend's mom.

First, explain to your boyfriend every lesson this last year has taught you: that there's no happiness in being a scapegoat, or getting treated like a disease, or standing between mother and son, or confusing a little kid, or being loved less than 100 percent, or knowing that the reason for all of these is (if I take your implied word for it) based on a misunderstanding.

Then, make it easy for all of them, yourself most of all, and say your goodbyes. Say them because your boyfriend could end this right now, either by taking a stand with his mom, or by enlisting the help of his ex, or both; all he has to do is want to, and be strong enough to. Meaning he doesn't, or isn't, or both.

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