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by Abigail Van Buren

Dealing With Ex-Girlfriends Causes Man Consternation

DEAR ABBY: What is acceptable after a breakup occurs? Several years ago, I reached out to an ex-girlfriend. We had dated for six months, but she broke up with me to take a job in another state. A year later, I heard through mutual friends that she had recently moved back. I didn't call or text, but I did send an email asking how she was doing and if she'd like to talk.

She completely freaked out! She threatened to get a restraining order and told many of our mutual friends that I had been stalking her for a year. From that experience I learned never to contact an ex-girlfriend if they initiate the breakup.

Fast-forward: I recently ran into another ex-girlfriend who initiated the breakup. She told me that for an entire year after that breakup she hoped I would call her and, when I didn't, it proved I had never loved her. Abby, I feel like I can't win. It's similar to how some women say they won't let a guy kiss them unless they ask first, and others say if a guy asks, he's a wimp and they would refuse. As a man, I feel like I'm in an impossible position. No matter what I do, half the women on the planet will either view it as too aggressive or too passive. Help! -- CONFOUNDED IN OREGON

DEAR CONFOUNDED: Welcome to reality. Accept that no matter what you do, you can't please everyone. If the only contact you had with that first ex-girlfriend was one email after her return to your city, then she was either grandstanding to get attention or it was a symptom of emotional instability. As to your second ex, men with self-esteem rarely call back after being rejected because once is enough.

Please don't let those two "dolls" sour you on all women. As you know, the #MeToo movement has highlighted the importance of consent. Asking a woman before you make a move is always prudent.

Read more in: Love & Dating