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Clinging too long to a sour relationship

The first time Talia met Ike, he was putting down his ex-girlfriend Dakota. It was last summer at a party. From what Talia could make out, Dakota had dumped Ike one time too many and this time he had really had it.

Now Talia, who’s 22 and a part-time student, was attracted to Ike, 24, and a truck driver. “He was rough around the edges, but I don’t like real refined guys.”

They bumped into each other occasionally and in January they started to go out. Of course, she was curious about Dakota, who’s 22 and has “long blond hair and very blue eyes.”

Is she pretty, Talia?

“I think she looks trampy,” says Talia, who has short brown hair and thinks of herself as “the down-to-earth type.”

But in spite of her curiosity, she never brought her up. Once she said to Ike, “I want to ask you something . . .” And he said, “No, I’m not going to go back with Dakota.” “That’s not what I was going to ask,” Talia told him.

“I don’t think he was completely over her,” says Talia wisely.

One night Ike came over after he had been drinking and he started talking about Dakota, telling her all these terrible things about her. She’s a snob, she’s spoiled, she drives a bright red sports car. “I’m like, ‘How could you have gone out with her?’ “

Ike passed it off as some aberration of his youth. He was through with her. That was for sure.

Valentine’s Day, a Saturday, was “fantastic.” They spent the whole weekend together.

Monday was fine. Tuesday was fine. Wednesday they had a date but he never showed up. Talia cruised by his house and there was the bright red sports car.

She was in pretty bad shape the next day at work and her boss sent her home early. Except she didn’t go home. She went to Ike’s.

“It was two in the afternoon and he was sound asleep. He said he’d gotten drunk with ‘some girl.’ I said, ‘Am I getting blown over for Dakota or what?’ ”

Ike said Dakota had simply stopped over. They got drunk. So drunk that they made another date to discuss soberly whatever ground they had covered sloshed. In fact, while Ike was spinning this tale, Dakota called to check just what time Ike was picking her up for the discussion.

Ike walked Talia to her car, telling her his date with Dakota “was no big deal and not to worry about it.” Then he kissed her and promised to call her the minute he got home.

“That’s the last time I heard from him,” says Talia.

She did the usual humiliating things: called him, left messages, patrolled his neighborhood, left a letter under his windshield while his car was parked in Dakota’s driveway.

Now, let’s run this scenario past Talia: What if off-again/on-again Dakota and Ike are on the outs? And Ike calls?

What would you do, Talia?

“Well, I talked to my girlfriends and they said . . .”

No, Talia. Not what would your girlfriends do, what would you do?

“I think I’m better off staying away from . . .”

Not what do you think, Talia. What would you do?

“Oh, God, I’d go out with him again . . .”

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