Classic wisdom from March 2, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have a friend who wants to break up with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, he got laid off the day she wanted to “do the deed.” She (politely) opted not to tell him and has continued to go on with the relationship until she can find a more “suitable” time to let him go. My question is, what’s the holdover time on breaking up after a lay-off?
When Breakup Girl was 13, Breakup Mom had a routine checkup with a doctor who, it turned out, wasn’t quite convinced that she was getting enough rest or taking kind enough care of Numero Uno. Mom dismissed the concern, saying, “Well, I’m sure it’s just because my daughter’s bat mitzvah is coming up.” The doctor raised an eybrow. “Mrs. Breakup,” he said wisely, “there’s always a bat mitzvah.”
Meaning what? That there’s always some intervening concern, some source of angst that can conveniently explain away why we haven’t quite joined the gym or spent more quality time with our families or … gone through with a breakup. So. Your friend (“friend?”) was right to spare him the brush-off the very day of the lay-off, but really only a few days after that would be sufficient. Don’t let her let the lay-off become an excuse, a stalling chip.
Listen, I have a friend who, all in like one month, got fired, broke off an engagement, and lost all her belongings in a fire. For real. Shortly thereafter, she was positively jaunty, pointing out that the blow of each misery was softened by its company, and reasoning that she’d met her Bad Stuff quotient for a good long while. So tell your friend to go ahead and bring it on. What, she should wait until he’s happy to dump him?