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Dear Uncle Mat 

How the fuck do you get over your ex? Argh ... I hate her ... how do you get rid of the bitterness?

— Bitter, obviously

Dear Bitter,

Why do you hate her? Is she manipulative? Did she drown your pet hedgehog? Maybe she slept with your friends? Or is she just run-of-the-mill evil? This is where you start. I am about to sound a bit soft, but you need to forgive whatever it is she did or does. I am not saying that you should accept her actions, but you have to let it go. Stop reacting to her. She is your ex, so her behavior is no longer your responsibility. She does it for or because of herself, not you. (Unless you are evil and she only seeks the well-deserved vengeance that her family demands and her mission of justice keeps interrupting your nefarious life of destroying young women.)

I suggest drawing a few boundaries. End all contact if possible. Don’t take her phone calls. If you work with her, I suggest building a professional barrier as best as possible. Take the high ground and keep moving forward. Take care of yourself and seek some professional help if you find you still can’t let go. It might be good to not date anyone new while you are still actively hating the last girlfriend. Ladies tend to find this distracting if not unattractive in a suitor. Mend, grieve, move on, rinse and repeat. OK, no repeat, but you get the idea.

Much love and peace,

Your uncle Mat

I broke up with my boyfriend two months ago. I moved out to my own apartment and we have an amicable relationship. I am very proud of this considering it was a six-year relationship, and it ended because we both cheated on each other. The hatchet is buried and we talk every once and a while and see each other with our mutual friends. I want to start dating for the holidays, but I am finding it difficult. It is hard to meet new guys and though I know a few guys I am interested in, they know my ex and it seems awkward. I slept with one guy after a night out and now he won’t return my calls and he never hangs out with our group of friends when I am there. I thought he was a nice guy, but another friend says he thinks it was wrong. My ex thinks it’s OK and only expressed jealousy because he would like to have gone out with the guy. I thought this was a big city, how do I find my way out of this rut?

— Small World After All

Dear Mr. Small,

Circles of friends are usually guided by an understanding or informal set of tenets. In most social groups the moral climate is set by the shared values of a majority of its members. Sounds kind of icky, but it’s true and it appears that your group doesn’t believe in dating or sex with the ex of a member of the circle. Either way, attempting to change or disrupt this standard will definitely have repercussions throughout the group. This rule might seem a little prudish, but keeps the drama low. You could send your one-night fling a nice note or email, apologizing for the compromising situation and offer to make friendly (no sex) amends. If he still hides from you, it is best to let it be and wait for time and/or chance to intervene.

If all of your friends are aware that both you and your ex cheated, maybe your image is slightly tarnished. Would you line up to date someone who ended his last relationship with an affair? Possibly you and your ex sorting out the friends for dates is distasteful. They are not the DVD collection.

This is a big city; hit the streets, paint the town red. Have fun, expand your horizons and guys will be found. Don’t give it up on the first date, and don’t expect to find a replacement beau for the holidays. A watched prick never gets laid, or something like that. You didn’t seem to have trouble meeting gents while you were in a relationship, what’s the problem now? Seriously, I want you to answer that.

Much luck and love,

Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art.
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