Dear Amy:

My ex-boyfriend from a few years ago just got married.

I am still in love with him and have tried to get his attention in every way I know. I call him at work so that we can talk privately, and I send him gifts for his birthday and at Christmas.

I think I would be happy to just be friends with him, if I could just find out if he still cares about me.

Our relationship ended because I cheated on him for the guy I dated before that.

I desperately need him to know that I would be willing to get back with him if he's willing to leave his wife.

How can I get his attention?

Wondering

Because you seem to have no respect for the fact that your ex is married to someone else, let me put it this way: You should lay off before the cops show up with a restraining order.

Stop contacting him. If he wanted to be with you, he wouldn't have gotten married to someone else.

If you find that you are obsessed or can't move on from this relationship, then you should get some help for yourself. Counseling could help you to understand your pattern of falling in love, leaving and then returning to your exes. What's up with that?

Dear Amy:

My son is having a difficult time and I would like your advice on how to best help him.

He has been dating his girlfriend since the first week of his freshman year in college. Now they are seniors.

This summer, his girlfriend decided that she wanted to "take a break" and remain friends but see other people. My son really didn't want to break up, but he had no choice. After college, he is going on to post-graduate studies, so there is no question of marriage in the immediate future, but I think that he really loves her.

The first week of school this year, she showed up at a party at my son's fraternity with another guy, barely saying hello to my son. He was crushed. He wouldn't even see this as hurtful behavior until I said, "If you had broken up with her, would you show up at her sorority with another girl and just ignore her?"

He is trying to steer clear of her for a while until he feels stronger, but she keeps saying that she wants to be friends with him.

I'm encouraging him to keep busy, see other girls (which is the last thing he wants to do), exercise and get plenty of sleep. He is very bright and handsome; I keep telling him that he will have lots of girlfriends, but right now he is in a lot of pain.

How can I help him?

Concerned Mom

You've done all of the right things for your son. Now you need to step back a bit and let his fraternity brothers take over.

Your son has been with his girlfriend for such a long time that he might be unmoored without her. Your advice to exercise and get plenty of sleep is good. Writing down some of his thoughts will help too. So might yelling the lyrics to a Green Day song at the top of his lungs, or repeated viewings of the classic young man's breakup movie, "High Fidelity." (Almost any movie starring John Cusack will serve this purpose.)

Your son needs to navigate his way beyond the hurt and figure out how to get angry with his feckless girlfriend. He could start by informing her that her "let's be friends" scheme is on permanent hold.

I hope that he has some male friends with whom he can express some guy solidarity. Your son isn't ready for another girlfriend, so instead of dating, you should encourage him to plunge into clubs, teams and experiences with other young men.

Guys who are your son's age could add some real-life support to the wise perspective that you already offer. If you sense that he is depressed, his college health service could recommend a campus counselor for him.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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