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David Eddie

She dumped me. I sent her a porn e-mail. Is it too late for redemption? Add to ...

The question

After my girlfriend dumped me I was angry and sent her a pornographic e-mail, which was very graphic. When she replied with disgust, I told her to “lighten up” which was probably not the best response. She then refused to see me after I requested a visit. This happened three months ago. Is it too late for redemption? We are both mature adults. Well, one of us is anyway.

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The answer

Which one? Your last statement is a little ambiguous and I can only hope you are not trying to suggest you are the “mature adult” in this scenario.

But listen, if there is anything we believe here at Team Damage Control it is that it is never too late for redemption – even if you’ve dug your own grave, tossed a coffin into it, jumped in, and just before closing the lid instructed a man standing by with a backhoe to dump dirt on you.

Which is exactly what you’ve done, metaphorically speaking, with your ex.

Honestly, I’m not sure which is the more heinous infraction, sending her an angry pornographic e-mail, or telling her to “lighten up” after she (quite rightly, I think) reacted with disgust.

Now, I know most people might say “Obviously, the angry-porn e-mail, Dave, duh.”

But I wonder … telling someone to “lighten up,” i.e. effectively suggesting they don’t have a sense of humour and/or get way too worked up about minor things, is one of the most annoying things you can do, IMHO. Especially for someone in your shoes.

Suffice to say you pulled about the two worst stunts you could have in that all-important postrelationship period when your ex might actually be experiencing a tinge of “dumper’s remorse.”

No doubt leading your ex to think along the lines of, “Whew, did I ever do that right thing,” and, “Boy, it is now clearer than ever to me what abullet I truly dodged.”

I would like to offer a faint hope/hail Mary-type scenario for you to try to win her back. But first, a little reminder: the Damage Control All-Purpose Guide to How to Handle Getting Fired, Dumped, or Otherwise Rejected.

There are a lot of aspects and nuances, but we don’t have the space here, so I’ll nutshell it: Basically, be like Robert De Niro in The Godfather: Part II. Even though he’s poor and has a young baby, when his boss Signor Abbandando tells him he has to let him go, so he can give his job to local gangster Fanucci’s nephew, De Niro looks Abbandando in the eyes, and says (in Sicilian): “You have been kind to me … taken care of me, and been as a father. I will always be grateful to you. Thank you.” Then takes off his apron and exits.

With dignity, see? Pride. I’ve seen this pay off effectively in all kinds of situations. When my wife was caught up in a round of layoffs once, I advised her to take it like De Niro, i.e. menschily: “I know it’s nothing personal and this is probably hard for you, too. I’ve really enjoyed working here and I’m grateful for the opportunity I had.”

She did, and was promptly rehired. Others freaked out, swore vengeance, etc. And … were not.

Works for romance, too. Get dumped? “I appreciate you giving me a shot and will always treasure the good times we had.” Well, maybe more poetic than that, but you get the gist.

Anyway, just a tip for next time. In this case, obviously with your angry porn-bombs and insufferably superior insult-strafing you conducted yourself with less than De Niro-like dignity.

My best advice for you now is to mount a slow-burning campaign on your ex of apology, good conduct and tenacity.

Starting with the apology, obviously. Maybe slip in a little romance-seed there, and a hint you’ve changed, e.g. “I’m sorry I just wasn’t being myself back then, I was just so distraught, I wasn’t thinking clearly. It was a dark time for me, I guess – I was so upset at losing you.”

Then the good conduct. Whenever you see your ex, comport yourself with aplomb, courtesy and good grace. Do not make any sort of allusion to sex. Show her you’ve changed.

Finally: Stick with it. Applying gentle, gentlemanly pressure, you may be able to bring her around over time. I’ve seen it work. You can change a person’s mind, especially if they think the same tenacity you bring to winning them back will be applied to sticking by them and being good to them in the long run.

Of course, it still might not work – odds are it won’t, to be honest – but at least you’ll have enhanced your chances, which is all you can really do at this point.

What am I supposed to do now?

Are you in a sticky situation? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com. Please keep your submissions to 150 words and include a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

 

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