Note: In this story, I will call my ex-girlfriend as Clara and her friend as Susan.

2 years ago Clara and I broke up because we knew that our situation couldn't maintain it. It was a dysfunctional relationship coupled with philosophical misconceptions on her side and immature knowledge on my side; not to mention stresses about money and from relatives. I decided to terminate it so I would have time to fix it. This required hard work, and she couldn't believe that I could do that, but now I confidently say that my job is finished.

For various reasons the way I terminated it hurt her, and now basically she dismisses and degrades me. One year ago I messaged her friend Susan, but she said that there was no hope, that I was not Clara, and that I should have focused on my happiness first. For the rest of the conversation she just kept silent (e.g. my Facebook messages were marked as "seen").

From How to Get Someone to Try New Things, I learned that as long as I have a perfect combination of words to message her, then I could open the doors that both Clara and Susan locked on me. But it also means that if my first contact ends up badly, then they will close themselves tighter than before. I want to act carefully. I intend to send Susan this:

I now have the answer for the question: "you are not her, how do you know what she wants?". Do you want to hear it?

I have consulted a friend of mine, and she is convinced that I know what Clara wants, and urges me to contact her. But for various reasons I want to talk to Susan first so that she will tell Clara to contact me, and this is where my friend worries that Susan won't answer me. She thinks that if she were Susan, she wouldn't want a person who had made her friend sad approaches her again. Whether I can prove to Susan that I'm qualified to get back into a relationship with Clara is irrelevant; she needs to see that Clara won't be hurt again. But the only way to show Susan that Clara won't be hurt again is for her to listen to me before judging me. She needs to help me understand what she doesn't understand, and this requires effort.

Honestly I think there is no reason for Susan to keep silent with me this time, but to be extremely cautious I want to hear what you think. How can I approach Susan and make her understand I need her to listen to me before trying to talk to Clara? The country is Vietnam and the philosophy is Taoism.

  • 1
    Astralbee's answer covers most of the ground I would, so I don't have another answer to post. But the line She needs to help me understand what she doesn't understand suggests to me that you aren't as focused on Clara's happiness so much as yourself, which is not a good stance from which to approach Susan. What you want Susan to do for you doesn't mean that Susan needs to do anything. Could you expand that section a bit more, to explain your thinking?
    – Upper_Case
    Dec 17, 2018 at 18:17
  • Thanks for italicizing the phrase for you, because that can help me see where we misunderstand each other. The emboldened line is just basic requirement for any conversation: both sides have to put effort to make sense what the others really mean. If you don't help me understand what you don't understand, then I can't answer you. Therefore, it's not about what Susan can do for me, but about assuming that I am not the one she knew before. Of course she doesn't need to assume that, but if she does, then she can help Clara.
    – Ooker
    Dec 17, 2018 at 19:35
  • I have been facing infinite skepticism from everyone, but if anything this picture can help illustrate my point.
    – Ooker
    Dec 17, 2018 at 19:37
  • 5
    This is not a discussion board, it's a question and answer board, asking what others think is off-topic
    – BKlassen
    Dec 19, 2018 at 18:31
  • @BKlassen since the bit about asking what others think is off-topic is removed, so is the question on-topic again?
    – Ooker
    Dec 20, 2018 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


As I understand it, the Taoist view of relationships is, broadly, that love must constantly change to grow with those involved. I'm not a Taoist, but I'd agree with that statement, and a similar idea is probably believed by most people no matter what their culture or philosophy. People do change through their lives. But there lies the flaw in the rest of your logic - you broke up with Clara 2 years ago, during which time she will have changed considerably, yet you believe that you know what she wants better than her friend Susan does. Your understanding of what Clara wants is 2 years out of date.

The text you quoted - How to Get Someone to Try New Things - from which you appear to have derived the idea that there is a specific combination of words which could win Clara back seems to be at odds with the Taoist teaching of actions and their retributions. Again, I'm not a Taoist, but most people accept that all actions have consequences. You should consider the possibility that your action of ending the relationship 2 years ago has the far-reaching consequence that you will never get back together.

That said, if you want Clara back, then no matter what your philosophy, you should at least try; but you do need to be prepared for her not to respond, and to respect her wishes if that is the case.

I believe that a relationship lasts when two people have genuine love based on truth, and when both have the same goals. If you lie about who you are or what you are truly like, then love is based on a lie, and it cannot last. That is why you should not look for any special combination of words that will win her back - I don't believe any such "magic" words exist. Well-thought-out words that express how you really feel are your best chance.

You don't really explain what it is that you wish to communicate to Clara, but it appears that you have to go through Susan in order to speak to her. Again, I would advocate an honest, open message to Susan. Perhaps say:

I understand that as Clara's friend you wish to protect her from being hurt again. I have made changes in my life and I want another chance to make Clara happy, not to hurt her. I will respect what Clara wants.

Ultimately, the relationship was/is between Clara and you. Susan may be an important figure in Clara's life but if she truly respects what Clara wants, and Clara changes her mind, then Susan will go along with that. If possible, take your conversation directly to Clara.

  • Outdated understanding, or logical flaw, or people change, or not being Clara so cannot know what she wants, or action requires consequences, is the skepticism I had on myself before my friends had. Being able to solve that skepticism is how I could convince my friend (and about to convince Susan). The perfect combination of words that I mention is basically the honest and open message; but because it has to couple with the philosophy so that Clara can take it, it will require a decent more amount of time to get to her. I think Susan can help me cut it.
    – Ooker
    Dec 17, 2018 at 14:07
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    @ooker Only Susan can tell you what Susan thinks and only be Susan's reactions will you find out how Susan will react. Even the people who know Susan best could not be 100% certain of Susan's reactions, random people on the Internet can only make guesses based on people in their own life. Astralbee has given you an excellent answer and I really don't think you will get the certainty you seek from anyone here.
    – user9837
    Dec 17, 2018 at 14:14

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