"Ex" Files (8/10/05)

Dear Zelda

My fiancé is a warm, loving, fun person BUT I am suspicious of his relationship with his former girlfriend. A friend of mine told me she saw the two of them having coffee together and they appeared very "friendly." He later told me about it (after I asked). He said it was nothing but my gut tells me something else. I'm tempted to hire a private detective to get some real answers.  After all, we are about to share a lifetime together.  Zelda, I need your HELP!


Dear Gut-Wrenched,

Spare your gut, and save the "wrenching" for fixing those downed lines of communication. It can only mean disaster when gale-force winds from a category-five ex-girlfriend show up.

Your fiancé needs to realize that by telling you he met her after the fact, and only when you asked him directly about it, his actions have risked blowing the shingles off the rooftop of your solid relationship. He should be your shelter and your safe place. Instead, he chose to be sneaky, and opted to take a spin in the tempting winds of a seductive cyclone while sampling the fruits of slow-roasted Arabica coffee beans at YOUR favorite Starbucks.

Don't waste your money on a private investigator. This is NOT the proper protocol for people in love before they get married. If you don't trust him enough to tell you the truth to your face, you should ask yourself some hard questions about your impending nuptials. Without this mutual respect and trust, lies begin to fall like golf-ball-sized hailstones, denting and pummeling everything you believed to be true. The last thing you want to do is add to this atmosphere of deceit by hiring someone to spy on him.

But is it okay for him to lap up lattés with his ex-girlfriend, playing in the muddy puddles of "remember whens," while you are frantically locking doors and closing shutters to a broken heart?


Be strong and be tough. But have enough respect for him to talk about your concerns honestly. To reduce your risk of a full-blown relationship "power outage," grab your galoshes, slap on your slicker, and sit him down on some higher ground. Be open, listen to his side of the story objectively, and watch carefully. If it's truly love and respect you both share, those misty, water-colored memories will roll out, jealousies of orbiting exes will subside, and honest feelings will shine bright, free from "hurricane hussies" of any size.

Now, I may not be able to predict the weather, but I'm forecasting clearer skies with a gentle breeze of better understanding...

Come rain or come shine.


Dear Zelda

I need your help!  I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for about two years.  However, I recently ran into my ex-girlfriend. She is now constantly emailing and calling me, trying desperately to get back together.  I really love my current girlfriend, but find myself drawn to my ex. What should I do?

Two Confused

Dear Two Confused,

Two years...two girls...to these two ears it sounds like it could be a little too much. To get to the square root of this byzantine relationship we're going to have to break it down to the sum of its parts:

Is X + U > Y + U, or vice versa?

X = last girlfriend. She is X for a reason. Define X not by how fabulous she looks (or how great it is that she NOW laughs at all your jokes that she thought were "stupid" when you first dated), but by the variables which caused her to become X in the first place.
Y = current girlfriend. Y are you still with her? Because you love her and all the things that make her who she is? Or is it comfort (you can burp around her and she no longer yells "GROSS!")? Or maybe because she pays her half of the rent?
U = Happy? Unhappy? or just settling?

Study hard for this one, because it IS a test. No slide rules, no calculators, and definitely no looking at your neighbor's paper. You have to figure this one out on your own by dividing, multiplying, subtracting, and adding memories and moments, both good and bad, to ensure that you have the right formula for an outstanding relationship WITH a common denominator. But before you go gallivanting off with an old flame, just remember that the food always smells better in another dog's bowl, that fantasy relationships with forbidden fruit are often just that, a fantasy, and that the reality may end up reminding you why you broke up in the first place.

OH, and the number one test rule still applies...

Anyone caught cheating gets an automatic FAIL.


Dear Zelda

I am a 4 year old English Bulldog and my mom & dad are getting divorced.  I am living with my dad and miss my mommy. She is very upset and said it breaks her heart.  I also have a brother (Oliver) and he misses her too. What can we do so that my mom can see us and not cry.


Dear Lucille-

I'm so sorry to hear of your mom and dad's pending "un-nuptials." (It doesn't sound quite as bad when you phrase it this way.) Isn't it amazing that for weeks on end we can be trained to be "house broken," yet there is no training at all to prepare us for the possibility of a "broken house?"

Your mom should know that this is a common occurrence today, with almost 40-50% of all marriages ending up here, and she is not alone in going through this process. The concern you and your brother share for your mom's happiness is a true testament to how much you both care for her. The fact that you're writing for advice is a direct reflection of the strong bonds you share (as well as the amazing progress we dogs have made in learning how to use email).

Remember that your mom has to start fresh, so be prepared. It can take many months of comfort and understanding for the tears of un-nuptials to run dry. She will cry, especially when she sees you, but be patient, and let her know that this crying is a normal and healthy part of the process of grieving about change and loss. Also, it's not always because she's sad. In fact, in many cases it will be because she's happy to see the two of you. Try to make the best of your moments together, doing what the three of you enjoy most: a carefree walk on a cool, crisp night; a sprint through the sprinklers on a hot sweltering day; or a cuddle by the fire with warm footies and flannel. You are about to em"bark" on a new journey with mom. Enjoy your time together as a means to release the feelings of sadness and sorrow, and create happy new memories that she can cherish and coddle for years to come.

Big smiles and heart-felt wags,