October 29, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
This is kind of a biggie. I’m 23 years old. I still live at home with my ‘rents for financial reasons while I’m in graduate school, completing a degree in elementary education.
To get down to it, I haven’t had a date since I was 17. It’s not for want of trying. The times when I thought there was some mutual attraction, I would ask to see the person more socially, not necessarily on a date, but out. The few times that anyone has said yes over the past 6 years, it’s always turned out they were just being friendly, but were already involved with someone else. Plus, I suppose I’m not that good at reading “signals.” That takes experience, something I am greatly lacking.
Most of my friends are women, but I’ve never been able to move a friendship to a romance, nor have I really tried. I would consider it almost a betrayal of that friendship. I’m not into the bar scene, or clubs (I can’t dance). I’m not into religion, so meeting someone at church is out. I’ve tried personals, both online and off, with 0 success. For all that my best friends are women, none of them has ever set me up with someone.
Now it seems that all my friends are engaged, or involved in serious relationships (and as a consequence have little if any time to spend with me). My little sister, and my best friend’s little sister (same age, 3 years younger) are engaged. And every attractive, intelligent woman I meet seems to be married/engaged/or otherwise seriously involved. (I’m only meeting people at school and work. I hate going out by myself, and never meet anyone when I do.)
October 26, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
I’m a college freshman currently dating a wonderful guy that I met the first week of school. As of right now, everything’s great. The only problem is this: he’s head-over-heels in love with me (a terrible problem, I know), and I’m not very commited at all. I like him and I don’t necessarily want to see other people, but I don’t want to lock myself into a long-term relationship so soon. Ideally, I would keep seeing him for a while longer, and if I didn’t start feeling something more– something that would make it worth a serious commitment– then we would break up.
Here’s the rub: we got cast opposite each other in a production of “Romeo and Juliet.” The on-stage chemistry between us is amazing. If I were to break up with him, the show would suffer tremendously. Do I have any choice but to wait until after the play is over? I hate being in a relationship that is continuing by default when it would really be better that it ended. But I can’t end this without hurting both my boyfriend and the play. ????
— Squirmy Juliet
BG’s answer after the jump!
October 25, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
I was told again today, in as blunt a manner as possible, that “no way will a relationship work between us.” According to her though, I should not change. All those times I made breakfast in bed for her, brought her flowers just because, opened the car door for her (which she totally loves), and respecting her wishes about not sleeping together before she was ready. All those things shouldn’t change. The reason being that the next woman would love to be treated that way. Am I missing something here? I did all those things, but I still get “no way will a relationship work between us.”
I know that I’ll have to get over it and move on. But my dilemma is this: If I do all those wonderful things, then why doesn’t it work? I’d like to think that it’s not me, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m one of those so-called “nice guys” who never can seem to catch a break. I try to do the right things, but again I get “no way will a relationship work between us.” I’m just about ready to give up. I’m sure you hear it all the time, about how women like nice guys, really they do…. Well, I’ve never seen those women. And I’m starting to doubt their existence. I’ve also tried being a friend.. I just would like your thoughts on all of this.
You and all those things you do are, I’m sure, genuinely nice. But it’s wrong to base a relationship entirely on doing the right things. See, Alex, it sounds to me like you’re Doing Boyfriend on people. Muffins, flowers, courtesies — lovely. But when you brought her her breakfast, did you ask her what she dreamed about? Was it the prefab “Flowers for My Sweetheart” bouquet, or a fistful of sweet pea blossoms that reminded you of her laugh? When you close the car door, can you hear her voice through the glass? Your flourishes are important, Alex, but as demonstrations of a two-way bond; as the bond itself, scrambled eggs and baby’s breath will not hold. Do you see what I mean? So don’t stop with the gestures; just rejigger their job description for the next object of your affection. Pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Next time, offer her: yourself.
This advice was originally published November 16, 1998.
October 24, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
I know you’re going to think this is totally crazy. But it’s true! I live in Chicago with my boyfriend. He is a filmmaker and I am a waitress. I’ve been in school for a few years, but I’m not sure what I want to do. He, on the other hand is quite confident and recently had an opportunity to go to Austin, TX and work on an independent film. He was to be gone for six weeks. I thought that was ok and that our relationship could handle it. Anyway, here’s where it gets crazy. The star of the movie was Parker Posey. We both really admire her work, although now, he admires it much more…if you get my drift. Anyway, he justified it as she is someone we both admire and if I had the day to hang out and do “girl stuff” with her I would (which is true). So he just hung out and did “guy stuff.” I really don’t feel like it’s an equal comparison, but he’s so persuasive. He said it doesn’t mean anything, but if I look at it his way, if I went shopping with her all afternoon, even that would mean something to me. Should I break up with him?
Finally, a celebrity romance story that is my business!
But you know what, I actually don’t get your drift. What do you mean, “guy stuff?” What actually happened? Did they bond over WD-40 and play rotisserie baseball, or did they … hook up? Either way, I hesitate to say this, but I think you need to take your concern down a notch.
October 23, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
My live-in boyfriend of nearly two years dumped two days ago. To add to the joy and pleasure, I am studying for a semester a 20-hour drive away from my home and from anyone I can set up a coffee date with to b*tch and moan. Yesterday, I told my mom that we were “reassessing our relationship.” You know what her response was? “Whose idea was it?” I told her, “I don’t think I need to share that information.”
Let me also point out that the woman has a history of giving me love advice with the basic theme of “If only you (were more assertive, plucked your eyebrows, took a step aerobics class), you wouldn’t be having these problems, you would be having the time of your life on your honeymoon and then you’d provide me with some grandchildren already!” I once went out with a guy who drank *while he was driving*, and you know what her response was? Not, “I’m so glad that you were so smart and take such good care of yourself that you realize you don’t need an addict in your life,” but “Why aren’t you still going out with Al?”
I can see what’s going to happen — I’m going to cut off communications on the subject, and she’s going to get all hurt and ask me why I don’t confide in her anymore. (Or — and this shows you what a marvelously healthy family *I* come from — she’ll ask my sister why I’m not willing to confide in her.) What to do?
P.S. I’m 33 and this is the first long-term relationship I’ve had, which means there was mucho pressure from her to formalize and get started on the next generation. Her sister, with whom she is intensely competitive, has 4 lovely granddaughters already. And a son-in-law who’s an investment banker.
BG’s response after the jump!
October 18, 2012
Getting desperate on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I am a 21 year old college student. I went out with this girl for about 3- 4 months, and before she went back to school she had broken up with me. We had planned on staying together for the summer, but much to my disappointment that didn’t happen. Things were good between us, up until about the last month, and I know that it was mostly my fault. I didn’t cheat on her or anything, but I disappointed her, and didn’t act the way I should have acted around her right before she was to go back home for the summer. She gave me her phone number back home before she went back. I talked to her a couple times, very briefly. I never brought up anything about our relationship when I talked to her, because I didn’t want to make her to get upset with me or anything. Well, time went on, and I called her a couple times and she started not to call back when she said she would. So I let it go, tried to forget about her. I have dated other people throughout the summer, and found myself not to be satisfied, and unhappy with what I was doing. I tried to forget about her as much as I could, but it just wasn’t working. So I decided to call her the other night, and she said she was on the phone long distance with her mom. True or false I dont know. She asked me if I was going to be home, and then said I’ll give you a call back. And now it has been 3 days and she hasn’t called back. So I think I get the picture — she really isn’t interested anymore. I just wish I had the chance to talk with her and let her know how I really feel about her. It has been a while since we have broke up, and I try and try to forget about her, and to date other girls, and that just doesn’t work. I cannot get her out of my heart, I really love her. And the thing was I never told her that, and i don’t know why. I just don’t know what to do anymore, now that she doesn’t call back or anything. I wish I could just let her know how I feel. My options are running on low, I really have no options but to try and forget about her. I just wish there could be some way I could get to have a conversation with her. And make it up to her if at all possible. I guess I should take the hint, but I love her and don’t know what to do. My last and final idea that I was pondering was just to send her a nice card, and just explain to her how I feel and all that kind of thing. And after that, if I get no response, then I guess I have to give up. If you can help me as to what to do I would appreciate it. All I ask for is another chance. I know that you will probably suggest that I give up, and take a hint as to what is going on. But any other advice would be very helpful. Thanks.
— Sean O.
Send the card, kiddo. But first read my letters to you guys about what not to expect.
October 16, 2012
A long way from home on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
OK, my girlfriend and I have been together for close to 3 years. This fall, I had to go to Europe (work- related) for a few months, which I figured would be no big deal. I’ve been in long distance relationships before, and was convinced that this one wouldn’t be a problem, no second-guessing, no fear of cheating, etc., because I felt like this realationship was a lot more mature and a lot more stable than any of my previous ones. We had spent even more time together than usual before I left and I felt really confident about getting through this time apart with no problems.
The problem is this: even with the possibility of email, my girlfriend has pretty much stopped writing me. I’ve been very considerate and sent long sappy letters, postcards, packages, you name it, to let her know that I really miss her. But in two months, I’ve gotten two letters that she could just as well have written to her grandma, and then one of those “I’ve been thinking a lot while you’ve been gone” type of letters. I mean, I’m getting ZERO emotional support, and the only real letter she’s sent me was as close to a “Dear John” letter as I’ve ever gotten.
Now, I know our relationship wasn’t perfect, but we had agreed that we were going to use the opportunity to think about things and then work on the few problem areas in our relationship when I got back. Before I left, everything felt fine. It seems now like she’s taken the opportunity to prep for dumping me instead, but I never even felt it coming.
October 15, 2012
Confused on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
OK, let me put this in chronological order. I’ve had a few pretty rotten relationships in my past that lasted about 4-5 years. They were basically filling in for my absent father and were pretty lousy all the way around. Then I grew up and got more particular and thought I was bonding to a better type of man. I met my S2BX when I first started grad school six years ago. I should have gone with my first impression, which was that he was an emotional leech that would just put me through an emotional ringer. But after I met him and looked into his eyes I was hooked. I did the whole “get hot and flushed” thing whenever he walked into the room. Anyway, I can accept now that we were really more or less using each other and that it would never last, and that was OK, but at the time I was sure he was my soul mate.
However, the way he chose to end it was very painful. I think it was pretty unnecessary for him to use expressions like “If I’d known who you really were I never would have married you,” and “Maybe it’s just your fate to be second best.” You see, when he went back home for a visit which I hoped would save our marriage he ended up having some bodacious fling with an old flame. Which he finally told me about 3 months later, just when I thought things were finally going to go well, and he admitted to it right in the middle of sex. Go figure. Now I realize that he said those hurtful things primarily for his own sense of closure, so that it would have to end, but he really devastated me and my self image that way.
Anyway, the real problem is this. After a few months of suicidal thoughts every single day I decided to give myself something to look forward to, to try out life again before I totally gave up. I went and visited friends again, I started writing stories again, and I decided to try dating. My S2BX and I had been completely separated for six months, and basically separating for at least 9 months. Soooo, just for fun I started looking at internet personal adds. I live in a small town and finding acceptable dates has been…um…interesting. For a few weeks it was fun, just looking around and seeing what guys said about themselves. Then I found one that didn’t make me laugh. So I wrote to him.
October 12, 2012
Popularity contested on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My problem isn’t as devastating as it could be, but its a huge deal for me.. Maybe you could give me some tips. This really isn’t to brag, but I’m considered one of the “popular girls” in my high school. What I don’t understand is why it’s so hard to find a boyfriend. No one asks me out, though I talk to a lot of guys. I’m in so many clubs, sports teams, etc. to meet people, but it just seems like all the guys would rather be friends, though they’ve never stated it, but WHY?! Before HS, I’d always thought the popular people always had boyfriends and girlfriends…and most of my friends do…even the dorks are paired up. So why not me? What can I do to show guys that I am interested?
— Dateless & Lonely Lizzy
The “popularity” thing reminds me of one of my favorite letters of all BG time: “Dear Breakup Girl, I’m not the most popular girl in my grade,” she began.”I’m the 5th most popular girl in my grade. And 8th in my school.” (What percentile?)
But did everyone get the big message in Miss Lizz’s letter? POPULARITY IS NOT THE ANSWER. In fact, in this case, it may be part of the problem. I wonder — and I am NOT sure about this — if maybe the boys think that you are out of their league. That you’re never just chillin, where someone can just chat with you. That Julie McCoy herself doesn’t even have time for a little shuffleboard. I am not saying that you should quit being active and doing the stuff you love. And I would never want to perpetuate a world where boys are subdued around busy, badass babes. But I wonder if you’re working the But I Am Popular! angle a bit too hard (your slightly center-stagey email handle, which I will of course not reveal, tipped me off, too). That’s the way to get a trophy arm candy boyfriend, or none at all. So between practices and rehearsals and meetings, try just kickin’ it a little more. Or asking someone out. Betcha he’ll be surprised you have the time. And the interest.
October 11, 2012
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Looking for help on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
First of all, I LOVE your column and read it all the time. Your advice is really sensible and that’s why I’m writing — I’m hoping you might be able to help me with this. You see, I see the problem, but the solution is far from sight.
I’m 22, a virgin, had a total of 2 boyfriends (one Internet one I never met) and have a real problem getting boyfriends. OK — or anyone (I believe myself to be Bi — but since I’ve never been with anyone — I’m not sure if you can count that). I finished college, have my BA in English, am not completely unattractive, have terrible self-esteem and about 20 years of mental and emotional abuse from my father, whose house I am still living in until I save enough to get my own place. No — I have not gotten therapy for this yet — I can’t afford it and I OBVIOUSLY can’t get my father to pay for it. My mom won’t pay for it either — and she’s perfectly aware of why I need it too. (I do have a job that pays well, but I still can’t afford an apartment, much less anything big like therapy.)
I know I need to get out of my house and meet friends and people off the net, but the opportunities never seem to come up. It’s only recently that my brother taught me to recognize when other men are really flirting at me, and only recently that I realized that I am possibly attractive to other people. I used to believe that I just needed a boyfriend so bad just to have some love in my life. I still kind of half believe it. My sense tells me that I have to give that kind of love to myself before I can expect anyone else to give it. It’s harder than it sounds and I am trying to work on it. It’s hard when I’ve spent so many years hating myself for being lazy, slow, fat, unmotivated and all the other things my father spent years telling me that I am.