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November 7, 2008

Coming Apart at the Themes

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:52 am

Classic LetterHeavy baggage from January 12, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I went out with a girl (and I mean the term girl as opposed to woman) for nineteen months. She was immature, financially and personally irresponsible, and intellectually challenged. I am the kind of person who has a very close inner circle of five or six friends and rarely lets other people in. I let her in to my inner circle, and treated her as more than an equal in that circle.

I recently found out that she cheated on me. I gave her a second chance, and she did it again. She had lied to me on more than one occasion in the relationship, but I kept forgiving. I threw her out.

My problem is that I rarely, if ever, trust people completely (I have “issues” with my dad leaving us when we were young, etc). I trusted her and she betrayed me.

My question is how do I deal with the baggage of the past and learn to trust new people in my life again?

Thanks! Great website!
–El Gato

Dear El Gato,


I understand that you, being human, have “issues” related to this thing with your family. But remind yourself that if you think about it on a purely logical basis (which is very easy for Breakup Girl to do when it’s not her problem), Cheating Girl is completely unrelated to Splitting Dad. Two different people, two different situations; they both just happened to happen to you. The next person will be a new person who will do whatever she does regardless of what C.G. and S.D. did. You — because this is what humans do — are the one drawing and perpetuating the connection. I know you know this intellectually, but sometimes people need reminding so that they can remind themselves.

Still, there is one other possibility in which C.G., S.D. — and you — have quite a bit to do with one another. Warning: Breakup Girl is about to go Oprah on you. It might be that when Dad split, you decided, “Yikes! I can’t trust people! People betray me!” This notion then becomes the theme song that you whistle throughout life…and as you choose girlfriends. Maybe, just maybe, you chose someone whom you knew, deep down, wasn’t exactly a Girl Scout when it came to trustworthiness. Of course you would, because anyone else would clash with your theme song! See?

So, just like Friends, what you need is a new theme song. How about “Things have happened in my past that seem to follow a pattern … but they don’t have to have any bearing on the next thing that happens! It’s all up to me! La la la!”

I know it doesn’t rhyme, but at least Breakup Girl didn’t make you write it on the blackboard.

Breakup Girl


  1. It’s always the people I trust who betray me. Nobody else gets the opportunity.

    Years ago I decided that I would trust people and deal with the occasional betrayal and disappointment. It was far less damaging to me than if I was unwilling to trust people.

    I can decide to trust people after betrayals (excluding the ones who did the betraying) because I know that I’m trustworthy, and I assume that I’m not the only one. I realize that this isn’t too helpful if you have a track record of cheating on your partners (or other untrustworthiness), but it works well enough for me.

    Comment by Karl R — November 10, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  2. My take? This guy sounds like kind of a jerk. Who refers to a former paramour, cheater or not, as “intellectually challenged”? If he felt that she was, ahem, not so smart, why on earth was he dating her in the first place?

    Comment by KS — November 14, 2008 @ 2:46 am

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  4. Well sure. is you don’t trust someone and they betray you then you don’t care do you? :S

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