A 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?
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.
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.