Bianca Knows Best 

Dear Bianca,

I have been dating this guy for a little over a year now and I am totally in love with him. I thought things were going okay, but the other day, he called me to say he wants to call it quits.

He works out of town and is only in Memphis for a few weeks out of the year. That had something to do with his decision. I understand that, and we decided to end the relationship.

But then he called me back and said he wanted to talk. He acted like everything is okay. This is not the first time he's pulled this routine. And every time, I just open the door for him to come back in.

My friends tell me that I should just leave him alone but I can't. I don't have low self-esteem so I don't think that is the issue. Is it possible to be addicted to someone? I really need to move on, but I don’t know what to do.

-- Lost In Love

Dear Lost,

Bad relationships are like crack addictions. You know the rock is destroying your brain cells, your health, and your good looks, but damn, it feels so good when you hit that pipe (not that I would know about smoking crack).

But seriously, when you're stuck in a bad relationship, you know you're not doing yourself any favors. But for some reason, you can't seem to shake the dude off. Maybe you're afraid of hurting him (it does sound like the guy is a little needy). Or maybe you just don't want your friends saying, "I told you so," so you stick with him to prove a point. Hell, maybe you're holding on because the sex is good.

Whatever the case, you need a little BRA (Bad Relationships Anonymous) treatment. Unlike its sister organization AA, the BRA doesn't have meetings. But we do offer "Six Steps." (We thought 12 was a little excessive ... who can remember all that crap?)

Step 1: Admit that, despite your love for him, you have a boyfriend who's not elevating your level of happiness. Know that he has made your love life unmanageable.

Step 2: Realize that you are one smokin' hot bitch and you can have any man out there, including one who doesn't play with your emotions.

Step 3: Make a list of his flaws. And don't even try to lie. You know he has a ton. Look over the list and think about your own faults. If your self-esteem is as great as you say it is, you'll likely see that he has way more issues than you have.

Step 4: Prepare yourself for singledom. Go out with the girls. Hit on random strangers. Spend a little time daydreaming about all the wonderful opportunities that will open up to you when you're not tied down (i.e. alone time, blind dates, flings).

Step 5: Realize that he will be fine without you. You may hurt his feelings initially, but just as you'll get over him, he'll get over you. (Besides, it sounds like he might need you to do the dirty work, since he can't stay broken up with you for five minutes without begging you to come back).

Step 6: This is the hard part, but you've got to leave this dude. The above steps should have you mentally prepared. Sit him down (or in your case, give him a call) and tell him how you feel. Tell him you love him, but it's not working out. Don’t promise to stay friends. That will come later if it's meant to be.

I know breaking up is much easier said than done. But sometimes, you've got to suck it up and make tough decisions. When you're through the crying-all-time, gorging-on-ice-cream phase, you'll thank me.

Got a problem? Bianca can solve it ... or least give you crappy advice that you can choose to ignore. Send advice queries to bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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