Dear Miss Emily:

I dated a woman for nearly two years who was everything to me.  Not that I couldn't live my life perfectly fine on my own, but now that she's been in it, my life has new meaning. We went along very well, with the occasional argument, nothing big.  Then, one day the world broke apart.  For circumstances out of her control, she lost her job, her car, and was forced to move out of our home to move back to her childhood home.  This woman, I might add, went straight from high school, and into marriage with step kids -- which I think is important for the rest of the story.  Now that she's back at home, she has found herself spending time with her high school friends, partying and drinking nearly 24/7.  No job, no real ambition that I can see.  We finally ended up breaking up when she decided she wanted to see someone else.  That was 3 months ago, and she's been with 3 guys since.  She's bouncing around, out of control, playing like she has no cares in the world, no responsibility.  However, for me, I've forgiven her.  I recognize that she didn't get her chance to do this when she was a little younger (she's still pretty young anyway).  I've decided, based on our history together, that she will one day get through what I hope is a phase and she will miss what she and I had, stability.  Am I a fool for wanting to hold on to this?  I really can't move on, nor do I care to.  I'm actually happy that she's having fun, and I'm even more happy that I'm just waiting.  I feel like I'm giving her the time and space she needs to really explore everything.  But, every once in a while, I wonder if I'm just fooling myself.  Do people really grow out of that phase if they choose to go back into it?

--------------------------Miss Emily's advice----------------------

I don't think you should look at this as "forgiving her" because, for one thing, she hasn't asked for your forgiveness (at least you didn't mention it), nor has she done anything that needs forgiving.  If appears she broke up with you because the opportunity to roam free presented itself, and she did not play you for a fool by being deceptive. Stop looking at her like a child who deserves your patience until she wakes up from this, in your opinion, regressive phase. Her former high school friends didn't have her particular life experience, and they seem to have no problem partying like it's 1993. People have a tendency to move on because when a different path in life is taken (for good or bad) it changes them.  You might be the victor in this, but I don't think you should be delusional about it, either.  Keep an open communication with her, if possible, treat her with respect and resist the temptation to manipulate her thinking.  She might "grow out of this phase" but it may not lead her back into your waiting arms.