DEAR ABBY: I am in an uncomfortable spot. I met a great woman last month and have developed feelings for her. I'll call her Carmen.
Every time I try to focus my energy into starting this relationship, my ex, "Rita," pops back into the picture. Most recently, she was calling about a cell phone we had when we were together.
Carmen is aware that I got out of a 5 1/2-year relationship six months ago, but every time Rita does something to upset me, Carmen tells me she thinks I am not over Rita. Abby, I feel the relationship with my ex is over. I sincerely want to explore things with Carmen.
I have talked to Rita a few times to get everything squared away so there will be no more reasons for further contact, but something else always keeps coming up. I don't want Carmen to be scared off. What should I do? -- READY TO MOVE ON IN DULUTH
DEAR READY: If you allow it, Rita will always find an excuse to maintain contact. It is time to put your past firmly behind you and move on. This means making a clean break with Rita. Tell her that communicating with her is causing problems for you, so you won't be doing it anymore. Then keep your word -- no phone calls, no e-mails, no visits.