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Advice 4

January and September

Dear Gus, 

I am 19 and my ex-boyfriend is 37. We have been dating on and off for two years now. We split up last time in August because of differences in what we wanted in each other.

Our age has played a big problem in the relationship. He feels old around me, and others think it won't work because we want different things.

Itís also complicated because I am the manager of one of his stores, so we speak and see each other every day. I think I'm grown up enough, and he is too, to be able to carry on in a professional manner, even if our insides are screaming out hate for each other.

We've both sort of said we want each other back, but not at the same time. But we've also continually said what we don't like about each other, in terms of not wanting to restart the relationship.

My problem is that we keep kissing, and he's always trying to hug me, and weíve wanked each other off once since we split up. I care about him so much, and I know he cares about me, but heís been fucked up by his father and some dodgy exes, and sometimes he didn't want sex for weeks and weeks. Itís very hard for me to believe itís not because of me.

Iíd like us to get back together at the end of the day, but I can't keep having him hug me and kiss me. If I'm not with him, I need to start looking to move on, and not half thinking/hoping I'm back with him.

What I should do? 

Darryl 

Dear Darryl,

Youíre too good for him.

I DONíT mean by that that youíre the nice one and heís the nasty one. And Iím not recommending you get all puffed-up and bitchy like a few egotistical young queens we could mention.

I mean Ė look, try to think about yourself for a bit. Not in a selfish way, but in a long-term, objective way.

Youíre 19. Your adult life has just begun. I donít know what ambitions you have, but do you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who gets jealous of your youth, yet doesnít give you the sex you need? Huh?

You say you care for him. A bit too much, possibly. Iím wondering if the only way you feel valuable is to be caring and empathic about other peopleís fuck-ups.

Well, thereís nothing wrong in that, as long as itís targeted properly. Compulsive carers can be valued hand-holders to their friends. Heck, they can even be agony uncles.

But this is your primary relationship Ė and, honey, if all youíre getting out of it is some unwanted physical attention and a vague sense youíre a nice guy, then YOU AINíT GETTING ENOUGH. He doesnít even make you feel cute, dammit.

And whatís he getting? By the sound of it, the ego-boost of being able to molest one of his young managers. Oh, sure, I think he probably wants Ė craves Ė a lot more from you, but he needs to do some serious work on himself before heís capable of being the kind of mature man Ė and there ainít many around Ė who is strong enough to really hold it together in a January/September relationship.

If this carries on it will turn into one of those wincingly awful car-crash relationships where the partners are alternately swearing eternal love and knocking ten buckets of shit out of each other (physically or emotionally). The therapy word for this is co-dependence, but the reality is, as you have said yourself, that you canít give each other what you need.

ďIf I'm not with him, I need to start looking to move on, and not half thinking/hoping I'm back with him.Ē Bingo, got it in one. Tell him to stop groping you and if that causes the mother of all rows, well, you may need to look in the job ads.

Good luckÖ

Gus

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