DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend and I broke up last year. She found out, months after the breakup, that during our relationship I cheated on her twice by kissing another girl. She hasn't tried to talk to me about it since she found out; I know she found out only because we have mutual friends who told me.
Lately I've been missing her -- not in a romantic way, just having her as a friend and someone in my life. Is there any way I could get her friendship back? -- Lonely, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR LONELY: You can't get anything back until you apologize for your behavior. Since your mutual friends have let you know that your ex is aware of your indiscretion, reach out to her. Tell her that you are sorry you betrayed her and hurt her feelings. Ask how she's doing. Listen to learn her state of mind.
You should be prepared to talk about the demise of your relationship. Why did you break up? Are you clear on the reasons? Was your cheating a part of it? To the best of your ability, be ready to articulate why you think the two of you are not together.
If you honestly believe that you want to be friends, you can tell her you miss her friendship. Ask if she would like to try to be friends. Be clear that you aren't asking her to be your girlfriend but that you would like to be able to talk to her sometimes.
You already hurt her once. Don't do it again by luring her with the possibility of a friendship that could turn into something more. Be crystal clear about your intentions, and honor whatever choice she makes.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm currently in prison. I'm writing to you for some help. I have a dream of becoming a songwriter, and my ultimate goal is to be a professional musician. I'm 24 years old, and by the time I get out of prison I will be 37. Do you think I would be able to pursue a career in music? -- Chasing a Dream, Orangeburg, S.C.
DEAR CHASING A DREAM: It's important for you to believe that you can completely transform your life, especially after you get out of prison. Use your time there to write songs and learn as much about music and the music industry as you can. Stay on the pulse of what touches people's hearts, because that's usually the kind of message that lives in popular music.
You have a long time to wait before being released. Make a timeline of tasks you can complete that will bring you closer to your goal, and check them off one by one. Research record companies and publishing houses that may be of interest to you when you shop your music. Find out if there are any music programs in your facility that can support you as you work on your music. Don't give up.