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"Star 69"-Crossed Lovers

For three months, I dated a girl who was perfect for me. I got scared, and acted like a total jerk, pushing her away without really explaining myself. I think I hurt her. It's been a year, but I’ve been thinking about her nonstop. I actually called her cell phone last week. When she answered, I asked who it was and hung up like I’d called by mistake. Later, I realized she probably saw it was me on her Caller ID. Should I call her again, or just drop it?

--Hung Up

Romeo and Juliet. Tristan and Isolde. Ann Coulter and Michael Moore. Clearly, some loves just aren’t meant to be.

Oh, fate, black fate. Tragically, the time may have come for you to take your place in the long line of star-crossed lovers who struggled against all odds to be together. Of course, in your case, maybe “struggle” is too strong a word. After all, Romeo died for love. You won’t even dial.

Okay, did make that one hangup call. And surely, you have a plausible explanation for that -- like, maybe you tripped, fell into a time warp, and woke up back in seventh grade. Should you call her again? Hmm, that’s a toughie. She would be a fantastic addition to the imaginary relationship you’ve been having with her. Still, calling her is going to cost you: one calorie -- maybe two -- if you’re vigorous in your approach to telephone push buttons. Like bodybuilders who carbo-load before a big contest, you might have to bulk up on a carrot stick, and maybe a cucumber wedge, before you give it another go.

Although she’s probably had your number for quite some time (thanks, in part, to Heartless Twit ID, a standard feature in every woman’s closest girlfriends), all is not lost. See, while women may claim “I love you” is the most beautiful thing a man could say to them; for many, its beauty pales in comparison with the words “I was wrong.”

That’s your bottom line. Precede it with a rush of flattering statements about her (always a good disconnect preventative). Then, confess to what she already knows: You were a cowardly jerk, with an itchy dialing finger, and you don’t deserve her. Only if you come completely clean do you have a chance of coming away with her. Explain, in detail, why you cut out, why you think you’re ready for a relationship now, and how you plan to keep history from repeating itself, should she extend you a much-undeserved second chance. An apparent willingness to pull out all the stops to get her back might even lead her to believe you’re sincere. For best results, try to convey a level of “madly, passionately, deeply” beyond the agony you’d experience if you had a paper cut on your dialing finger.

Copyright ©2003, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.