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She’s not a backup…

… but how long should I wait before I ask her out? I don’t want to hurt my ex.

Well you weren’t married to her, says our elder. It’s lovely that you are a gentleman but you can’t sit around forever.

Dear EWC

I’m having a bit of trouble with timing as far as starting a new relationship is concerned. I had recently broken off my previous relationship three days ago. I had been dating the previous girl for four months and things were just not working out as far as stress being worth the relationship and things just generally not feeling OK. I am happy to say that she is a very understanding person and that after the pretty nasty confrontation of breaking up, we are now working to become friends, and so far things have been going quite well, all things considered.

However, there has been a new girl that I like that I had met earlier this year that I get along with really well and I really like her. I have a very strong feeling she likes me too. I of course did not consider her a “backup” after the breakup, I wouldn’t do that. But I do have feelings that I want to act on. I value both girls and I do not want to get with the other too soon and make the first girl think I broke up with her just to get with another person. So I’m looking for advice on how to approach the situation. I’m willing to wait, but not an excessive amount of time.

Good-Listener replies

I must say, I’m impressed. You sound like a dying breed: a gentleman!! Your having empathy for your ex, and wanting not to hurt anyone, says a lot about your character. The new girls you come across will be lucky.

Here’s the thing as far as “waiting”. You were not married to your ex. Nor were you living with her, etc. I don’t really know how old you are, but none of these things I mentioned apply, which are the kinds of things people question when a guy (or girl) goes immediately from one relationship to another. You dated your last girlfriend; it wasn’t, as I said, a long term deeply committed situation. There is no reason why you can’t ask the new girl for something casual as in “getting to know you”. Your ex may likely feel bad, whether or not you date someone within weeks or possibly months or more. You can’t control what others do, only be kind and considerate — and not flaunt anything in anyone’s face. I can’t imagine you doing that — and that would never be your intent. But for you to sit home as though you just got divorced and couldn’t wait to be out there, just doesn’t apply. If you like this new girl, try to talk to her, maybe suggest a casual get together of some kind in a week or so. Again, you’re not purposely trying to hurt anyone, but you don’t want to give up an opportunity to get to know an interesting and attractive new girl. My feeling is, when you conduct yourself with dignity and respect, which it sounds like you are doing, then you’ve done the right thing — and you can’t be responsible for everyone around you. Your ex may feel bad, but she will survive and find someone else eventually too. But, again, I applaud your desire not to hurt her.
Good luck.

Letter #: 454950
Category: Dating/Relationship

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