Dear Evan,

I’ll start from the beginning. I met this girl 11 months ago when she had a boyfriend. She cheated on him with me the first night we went out together on my birthday and we were together every day for 10 1/2 months. She felt guilty for what she did to him throughout the whole relationship but gave me a chance. 6 months ago, we started fighting what seemed like everyday. She broke up with a month ago because she didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore and because of her ex. 2 weeks ago, she called me while I was at work to tell me that she had agreed to go back out with him. Last weekend I was desperate to see her while she was on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I had a cute idea of going down there from King of Prussia, PA with flowers and no idea of what to say to her when I saw her except to reconsider her relationship with her boyfriend. I asked her mom for directions and her mom refused to be a part of my idea. When she came back, her parents sat her down and forbade her to talk or see me. She told me this and I panicked. I sent her 2 dozen flowers and a teddy bear, which her mom refused the package. I picked up the package and decided to deliver it myself.

But when I showed up, her mom called the police on me. I’m not allowed to call her house or come to see her unless she agrees to meet me elsewhere. I know this sounds ridiculous but I still love her. I want what I can’t have and I have done just about everything wrong in a relationship you could without cheating on her. The day I sent her flowers, she called me crying to tell me she wasn’t the one who refused the gifts and that she didn’t want to do this, but that we wouldn’t work out, considering she has a boyfriend now and doesn’t want to hurt him and doesn’t want to disobey her parents. She agreed to meet up with me the other night to tell me the same thing, but I was so happy to see her, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I have since then written her a poem called “Angel in my Bed” and today is her birthday. I’m not allowed to see her and I have a diamond ring waiting for her. I know it was wrong for me to get a promise ring for someone who doesn’t want to be with me but I get so irrational when it comes to her. I guess that’s why I have lost her. But please help me any way that you can.

Matt

Dear Matt,

There is only one way to tackle this letter, and that’s line by line. Please reserve judgment until the very end – where Matt explodes from embarrassment at his lovelorn behavior.

I met this girl 11 months ago when she had a boyfriend. She cheated on him with me the first night we went out together on my birthday.

Okay, STOP!

Not that everyone who has ever cheated deserves to wear a scarlet letter, but let’s just say that infidelity is not the most promising start to a relationship.

She felt guilty for what she did to him throughout the whole relationship but gave me a chance.

That’s sweet of her. When does the Vatican finally approve her for sainthood?

6 months ago, we started fighting what seemed like every day. She broke up with a month ago because she didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore and because of her ex. 2 weeks ago, she called me while I was at work to tell me that she had agreed to go back out with him.

You’re fighting.

She broke up with you.

She didn’t want to be in a relationship.

She went back to her ex-boyfriend, whom she prefers over you.

This is sounding suspiciously like Dan’s painful email to me last month, in which I let him know that his girlfriend WASN’T HIS GIRLFRIEND ANYMORE. It’s amazing how guys are the last to realize this….

Last weekend I was desperate to see her while she was on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Key word: desperate

I had a cute idea of going down there from King of Prussia, PA with flowers and no idea of what to say to her when I saw her except to reconsider her relationship with her boyfriend.

That cute encounter might have been awkward, especially if her boyfriend was on top of her while you were making your impromptu relationship-saving speech.

I asked her mom for directions and her mom refused to be a part of my idea. When she came back, her parents sat her down and forbade her to talk or see me.

I’m not a big fan of parental intervention when it comes to adult relationships. Then again, I’m not sure this qualifies as “adult”:

She told me this and I panicked. I sent her 2 dozen flowers and a teddy bear, which her mom refused the package. I picked up the package and decided to deliver it myself.

I think I read something about an astronaut in Depends who had a similar concept of romance.

But when I showed up, her mom called the police on me. I’m not allowed to call her house or come to see her unless she agrees to meet me elsewhere.

Um, Matt? Shouldn’t she WANT to agree to meet you? How about standing outside her house with a boombox that plays Peter Gabriel music? The bad news is that she probably won’t come out. The good news is that you can climb up to her window with all the candy, flowers and stuffed animals you’ve brought.

I know this sounds ridiculous but I still love her. I want what I can’t have and I have done just about everything wrong in a relationship you could without cheating on her.

Really? You think?

The day I sent her flowers, she called me crying to tell me she wasn’t the one who refused the gifts and that she didn’t want to do this, but that we wouldn’t work out, considering she has a boyfriend now and doesn’t want to hurt him and doesn’t want to disobey her parents.

Fair enough.

She agreed to meet up with me the other night to tell me the same thing, but I was so happy to see her, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I have since then written her a poem called “Angel in my Bed” and today is her birthday.

Oh no. Oh, dear God, no…

I’m not allowed to see her and I have a diamond ring waiting for her.

Yes.

I know it was wrong for me to get a promise ring for someone who doesn’t want to be with me but I get so irrational when it comes to her. I guess that’s why I have lost her.

You can’t say he’s not self-aware…

But please help me any way that you can.

I hope this painful dissection is a start.

Lest you think I’m callous or rude or mean in my response to Matt’s futile courtship of his ex (and I have been – for the sake of entertainment), you should know that I called him personally on the phone the day after I got his email….

He’s a nice, heartsick twenty-year-old kid who is hopelessly in love. And he rightfully wanted to believe that there was a snowball’s chance in hell of this working out.

I let him know in kind, but firm, terms that there was not.

I was too late. He had already given her the ring. Which she briefly accepted and then returned. A predictably heart-wrenching conclusion to this sordid, Shakespearesque tale.

Before hanging up, I let Matt know that I was going to run a fuller response to his question in this blog.

Matt, I hope you’re reading this.

It’s not that your feelings weren’t real; it’s that it takes two to tango. And if you’re the only one on the dance floor, you run a high risk of looking silly.

I’m sorry about your relationship, buddy. I hope you’re on your way to healing.