In Which What Happens After They Broke Up Haunts Them

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

My ex-boyfriend Rob and I broke up because it wasn’t financially viable for either of us to travel the distance to see each other all the time. Rob moved to a different area in early September. I know through facebook that he has dated other people the year after we broke up, which is not surprising. The women he was with were very beautiful and it kinda makes me feel a little insecure.

Because of his move, Rob has been trying to get in touch with me, saying he wants to see if we still have a connection now that circumstances have changed. I’m really conflicted about what I should do. I really like Rob, but at the time I felt like he could have done more to make things work, even though both of us agreed the obstacles to a real relationship were many.

On the other hand, I don’t want to be unreasonable. We had great physical chemistry and it’s not like anything really terrible happened. I just feel like we had our chance. Am I being stupid?

Jane W.

Jane,

Rob sounds like a total asshole. You mean he actually dated people and they were — gasp! — attractive human beings. Where did he get the idea this was okay?

It’s actually a good sign that Rob was dating superficially attractive women, because it means he was likely not bonding with them on the interpersonal level that you were. You really get Rob, and you have a lot in common, I mean probably.

Breaking things off with Rob instead of demanding more was the strongest move you could have made. Now you are openly in the catbird seat. If you really want toy with him more, ask him to meet up just as friends. At this point he will be ravenous with desire. Then, explain some of the difficulties you had in the relationship. He will insist they were nothing and offer ways to correct him. By the end of this encounter, you will have his balls in a vice. He will no longer be able to procreate with you, but perhaps that is for the best. Do you really want to be the soccer mom to a Rob Jr.?

Hi,

Over the past few weeks, I have really been connecting with a girl on Tinder. We have so much in common, and we talk on the phone frequently. Right now she is away for the first part of the semester, but in a little over a month, she will be on campus and we’ve made all kinds of plans about the time we want to spend together.

Recently, however, I learned that she is a fairly hardcore conservative and will be voting for Donald Trump in the election. We have yet to really talk about politics. She is from a conservative family and they are all supporting Trump. I don’t know if there is pressure on her to do so as well, but I find this pretty troubling.

Should I tell her why I feel uncomfortable moving things forward, ask her about her choice, or just forget about this potential relationship?

Davis R.

Dear Davis,

It sounds like you’re worried that voting for Trump could be communicable.

At some point in life you’re going to have to accept that other human beings do things for different reasons than you do. There are plenty of valid reasons that someone could vote for Donald Trump:

— they are related to that Secret Service agent that Hillary Clinton made eat out of a trough in her Chappaqua barn

— they owe money to Jared Kushner

— they are the inventors of the “Stop & Frisk” policy

— they love the creation of new adverbs

— they are Catholics

— they need a heat-check on potential boyfriends to see which ones aren’t completely superficial know-it-alls

Maybe this young woman is actually testing you, and will be voting for Gary Johnson. After you leave college, someday you will understand that a person’s political preferences don’t describe their entire story. If you haven’t sensed that this woman is an outright racist, you should probably get to know her before dismissing her. Plus, she might have useful connections in the Secret Service.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

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