18 MARCH 2006, Page 79

Q. I am at a co-ed day school and have

been going out with a boy in my year for six months. Last week he dumped me. What has made it worse is that everyone in school has reacted by saying that they could not understand why I was going out with him in the first place as I am — according to them — ‘fit and cool’ and he is not. If this is really true it makes me feel there must be something terribly wrong with me, which only someone going out with me would know. How can I find out what it is? My former boyfriend will not admit there was anything wrong. He keeps saying, ‘It just wasn’t working.’ Please help, Mary.

Name and address withheld A. You reveal that you are perceived as ‘fit and cool’ and your former boyfriend is not. You need look no further for an explanation. There is a perverse phenomenon whereby Grade Two people, rather than being delighted to go out with someone of Grade One status, instead become dissatisfied. They see that, far from elevation by association, the liaison only serves to highlight their own Grade Two status. It is a quite understandable survival mechanism that they should pre-empt their own inevitable dumping by doing the dumping first. Far from there being something wrong with you, it is likely that there was too much right.