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November 21, 2008

Whereas, This Sucks …

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 12:22 pm

Classic LetterA rough outline from January 12, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I want to break up with my boyfriend of 5 years, because we are not compatible long-term (read: marriage). I should have done this many years ago, but I loved him and couldn’t. Now although I still love him, I think I finally have the courage to tell him I want out, but I don’t know how to broach the subject. I have thought of an approach where I discuss:

1) The current situation (i.e. everything that’s going wrong)
2) His future plans and mine (i.e. that they’re incompatible)
3) Therefore, we need to split.

Questions I have for you, Breakup Girl:
– What do you think of my approach?
– How do I fight regret when it comes back to haunt me?

Please help!
— Hermetica

Dear Hermetica,

My main concern is this: with all your whereases and therefores, it sounds more like you’re breaking up with Parliament. He’s going to get your point by the time you reach Section 1, Item b, so you may as well skip straight to Section 3 in the first place. Other than that, whatever you do — and Breakup Girl has said this before, yada yada yada — DON’T try to make him agree with you, or tell you that he thinks you’re a Good Person who’s doing the Right Thing. Just read your bill gently, then take questions; your answers may draw upon the information in Sections 1 and 2.

Oh, and about fighting regret: declaring war requires an Act of Congress — and you don’t have the votes. Which is to say, expect regret. Just don’t take it as a sign that you did the wrong thing. What are you, not going to be bummed about hurting/losing a lovely boyfriend? Be it resolved that you’ll just have to soldier through it.

Breakup Girl

P.S. Just so you all know, this young woman — bless her heart — gave BG a deadline for her response, then wrote again to remind her to meet it. See, she was actually waiting for BG’s advice before doing the deed. Breakup Girl feels flattered and validated, and also a little queasy.


  1. When you said “I don’t know how to broach the subject ” it brought back strong memories of the intense confusion I felt. Immense!

    Not knowing where to turn or where to get help and advice left me totally stranded for a while.

    (Mind you this site is a good start – Superb work Breakup Girl)

    Anyway. That’s the worst isn’t it? Not knowing where to get advice that works, independent advice where the adviser is not influenced by emotion and or family/friends biases.

    Much as I love my family and friends, I needed clear workable advice, not a variety of opinions.

    Happily, I did find what I needed, and in a very short time the whole situation turned around and I couldn’t be happier. Just by putting a few proven principles and simple steps into action.

    Everything’s easy when you know how to do it isn’t it?

    It was the relief and happiness I felt that prompted me to make my own blog so others could find out exactly what I had done, and to put together a lot of other wonderful information I’ve found out about from others since then.

    Just a small way to give back. And to say thanks.

    Comment by June — November 21, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

  2. Wow your response to that guys over-texting problem was a godsent if there is such a thing. I have recently been in that situation where I got overly excited and texted, emailed, called a guy that was coming and out of my life. He eventually got sick of it and just told me that he is not interested, after we had spent a great time together, so you can imagine how confused and lost I felt. Its really great to hear that its all relevant and it all depends on the person because I thought we were close enough for us to by-pass all the cooling stages that are required in the beginning of a relationship since he has been coming and going. I thought we could just pick up where we left of and be closer and let him see more of who I really am, but I was shut down every time I tried to get closer to him until he eventually felt he cannot handle me. Very sad story and very hard thing to deal with because I was blaming myself and I re-read all the emails I had sent and drove myself crazy trying to figure out what went wrong.

    So thank-you for that response, I needed to hear that and I feel so much better.

    Comment by Linda — November 22, 2008 @ 9:43 am

  3. From past experience, in a *good* breakup, nobody tries to cover “everything that’s going wrong.”

    You only need to mention ONE major problem or issue. For example:
    “I want lots of kids, and you don’t want any.”
    – or –
    “I was hoping that we’d find a comfortable mid-ground with the amount of physical intimacy, but there’s just a big gap where we both feel uncomfortable.”

    Either one of those comments is sufficient (by itself) to justify a breakup. Neither one assigns blame to the other person.

    Comment by Karl R — November 24, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

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