Dear Carolyn:

My girlfriend decided it would be best to "take a break" after I took ecstasy and cheated on her. I can't believe I did something so stupid! I really love her, and it kills me to know that I have hurt her so badly. Do you think that our relationship has a chance? We are 11 hours away from each other and we still talk and write a bit. She said that she just needs time to rebuild herself.

--Syracuse, N.Y. Dear Syracuse, I'm alone in exile on a desert island because I embezzled $3 million from my husband's family business. But I love them all so much! What do you think, should I send them a Christmas card?

(Dear Carolyn, Never write tired.)

Your relationship doesn't have a chance because you're 11 hours apart. If you weren't 11 hours apart, it wouldn't have a chance because you're using drugs. If you weren't 11 hours apart and using drugs, it wouldn't have a chance because you're going out with someone who uses the phrase "rebuild myself."

The time both of you need is for some heavy growing up. You're still in the abuse-my-body stage, which means you're way too immature to be trusted with anyone else's. She is still in the take-everything-personally stage, which means she hasn't yet realized this isn't about her "self," it's about having an immature boyfriend really far away.

Fate figured all this out for you, and gave you this time alone. Now go rebuild yourselves.

Hi!

When placing a personal ad, do you think it's mean and uncivil not to respond to those who don't "qualify"? What if they took the trouble to write a fairly nice note and attach a photo?

--Philadelphia I think when people are marketing their most personal goods in a newspaper, kind and civil is the least you can do. Maybe write a fairly nice note back that says you're sorry, s/he's very attractive but you don't have similar interests?

Dear Carolyn:

I am falling in love with a man a bit older than I am; I'm 29 and have known him for almost two years now. The problem is, he is my best friend's ex. They dated for four months, and that ended 1 1/2 years ago. Today she has a boyfriend and is very happy with him, but when I told her about me and this man, she was furious! She plainly stated that we were not to see each other again, and said, "I don't share my toys."

I have no idea what to do. He and I decided to write her a letter stating that we want to continue our relationship and stay friends with her at the same time. We haven't sent it yet, and don't know if we should. My friend warned me that if I continued to see him, she would end our friendship. We have been seeing each other without her knowing it, and we both know we need to tell her about us. Shall I value her friendship more than my happiness?

--Sad meThat would only be fitting, since she values herself more than your happiness.

No, wait--she values her toys more than your happiness.

Are all your best friends this appealing?

I can think of two, count 'em, two non-nauseating reasons for her to ask you not to see him. (Note that I said "ask." Note that I did not say, "demand as a condition for your friendship.")

The first reason would be if she and the ex in question had a long and intense relationship, and if it had ended painfully for her.

"They dated for four months"? Nope.

The second would be if the ex in question mistreated her somehow, and if she's now trying to protect you from same.

"I don't share my toys"? That's a no.

Send your letter, don't send your letter, it's up to you. I'm more fond of the face-to-face question: "Is there some reason you begrudge me my happiness?" Frankly, I'd like to hear her answer.

I'd also suggest you look up the word "friend"; your usage here seems a bit sloppy. My dictionary says, "ally, supporter or sympathizer." Which of these is she?

Hi Carolyn:

Why do so many women hate men?

--N.S. Factoid of the day: I once used "misandry," which I had to look up, and got a bunch of people asking me where I find such words; I used "misogyny" (three times) and silence.

Anyway.

Hax's hypothesis on hate. When bad things happen, as bad things are wont to do, we have three choices: Blame ourselves, blame fate, blame Other. So, blame ourselves? Very funny. Fate? Okay, except that we also have to swallow the chaser--a sense of total helplessness. Pass. Which leaves, bingo! Other. A k a bigotry, prejudice, hate.

(Dammit, I said cue the violins!)

You probably had something more practical in mind. Try calling when you say you will, and see what happens.

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