The Predicament of the Week from July 13, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl (I do believe that is the traditional way of starting these letters),
I’m in a bit of a fix. While it may not be anything new to you, it’s still causing me emotional distress on levels I didn’t know existed. Here’s the setup:
I’m 16 years old, give or take a month or two. 5 months ago, I entered into my first relationship–an odd thing in this state of society (waiting until my age, that is), but i’ve always been waiting for the right person. Anyhow, five months ago, I asked this person (let’s just call her “Sherry,” since that sounds clever if you know her real name) if she would care to be with me. Remarkably enough, she accepted. And even more remarkably, things were almost perfect…we grew very close, very fast, and were practically inseparable. I recall meeting a new friend about a month and a half into this relationship, and her shock at how long we had been together…she figured we were at least at the 18 month mark. We even lived together for a brief period, and that worked out magically. About two months into the relationship (in fact, exactly two months) I came to the informed decision that this was truly something special, and that I was now willing to take our relationship one level higher…thus, I let her take my virginity away. Realize that this was a conscious decision that I made before the relationship began, and that she would have been more than willing to do this earlier on…I just wanted it to be something special. And it was.
Moving right along, life was almost perfect between the two of us…arguments were few and far between, and our affection for each other grew at an almost exponential rate. I recall the exact day when we realized that we were really in love, and started saying “I love you” to each other. Things progressed in this same manner, until about a week after our 3 month anniversary.
To give you a background on this situation, I must confess that I am considered rather odd in my social circle for a few reasons…the primary one being that I am not a drug user. I have tried a couple different things, and have decided that I like my state of mind quite well just the way it is, thank you. The only products I use that could be considered drugs are aspirin, cigarettes, and caffeine. I even refuse to take prescription or cold medicines, because of their effects on my thoughts.
The problem arose from the fact that my girfriend was a drug user, and thoroughly enjoyed that part of her life. Now I had learned to cope with her smoking marijuana and drinking occasionally…after all, almost everyone else I know does it. Since I didn’t exactly like her doing it, she and I agreed that she would cut back on her intake of these chemicals, and to her merit she did.
However, there is one particular drug that I have a VERY strong disliking for, and I asked her if she would promise me to never use it. She agreed. For reference, the drug is Crystal Meth, and my strongest dislike for it is the fact that it really prevents you from showing almost any form of emotion, and that it is strongly addictive. It really tore me apart to see her on it, because it was as if she wasn’t really there, and I finally got her to understand that fact after much explanation. I won’t even go into the permanent damage it can cause.
Then, the worst thing I could think of at the time happened. She started using it (the slang for using it would be “tweeking”) behind my back. That really hurt. Then something worse happened. I asked her to stop doing it, or lose me, and she decided that her addiction was more important than our love. I count myself fortunate that I did not have access to a gun that day, because I wouldn’t be here writing this letter.
After much talking (I’m talking an 8 hour conversation here) I finally got her to see how self-destructive she was being, and she agreed to quit. And she actually did, she hasn’t tweeked since then.
To add a further complication, during the brief period when we were separated (2 days or so), she messed around with some other guy, who happened to be one of my more hated enemies. This didn’t help things. (Note: when I say “messed around,” I mean they didn’t get past second base, but still…it hurt.)
After that, things just weren’t the same. She didn’t call me as much, didn’t want to be around me all the time like she used to…we fought a lot more…it just wasn’t quite what it once was. On our four month anniversary, we were planning to spend the day together, and she actually ditched me to go out with another friend of hers. Things like that had been happening a lot.
Then, about a week ago, on the day before our 5-month anniversary, she Dumped Me. I saw it coming, but I was, and still am, completely crushed. This was the most important person in my life for a good 5 months. I don’t know how to cope with it all…it doesn’t help that she is my first girlfriend, my first love, and my first sexual partner all at once.
I don’t doubt at all that she was in love with me…don’t even try to tell me otherwise. What I would like to understand is why this has happened…what caused her to fall out of love with me? And how can I cope with this? I’ve found that I’ve been actually turning to alcohol to “numb the pain,” and that kind of scares me. I think I have that particular aspect of it under control, but I’m still in some serious pain here. What can I do?
And please, don’t tell me anything about getting help for drug use, because I know already. Please, don’t tell me that I shouldn’t have been with her to begin with, because she’s a drug user, because I know that’s wrong, whether you do or not. Please, don’t tell me that I don’t love her, or that she didn’t love me…I’ve been told many times that I’m too young to fall in love, and that is far from the truth. Please, don’t preach to me, or tell me to get new friends, or try to explain to me about drugs…because I don’t need to hear it, it won’t happen, and I already know (in that order).
What I am asking you for is to help me understand…and to help me feel better. Please help…this is the single most painful thing I’ve ever experienced in my short life. Please.
God, that’s a long letter. I hope you can print it.
Oh, dear. I’m totally sorry about Sherry, and I totally get why/how the pain is so compounded. Ow, ow, ow, ow.
Okay. I’ll be happy to not tell you any of the stuff you don’t want me to. You’re right; you don’t need to hear — or do– any of that. Breakup Belleruth, who knows something about these issues, concurs: your understanding of the ins and outs of substance abuse is actually more mature, sophisticated, and solid than most.You, actually, are way more fine than you think you are. Believe me.
Less happily, I’m afraid I may not be able to help you understand precisely what “caused her to fall out of love.” As Belleruth points out, “With Sherry using, you can’t really figure out why she broke up with you — but it has to be substance-related. Her motives and drives are all polluted by the stuff she’s ingesting, and that becomes the primary cause for most things she’s gonna do, ’til she cleans up her act. That kind of using requires a whole social system that is into it too, or isolation. Hanging with a non-user just doesn’t work.”
And finally: terribly sad and painful though it may be for a while, you made the right choice. And, as Belleruth notes, “Your ability for intelligent introspection is awesome. [That's why you have the this-time non-dubious honor of being Predicament of the Week. -- BG] You will make some non-user a great partner.” I know this may not help you feel better at this very moment, so just read it, take my word for it, print it out and refer back to it later. The pain will fade. Slowly, and not necessarily steadily, but it will. In the meantime, I know you can be strong, ’cause, well, you already are.
Breakup Girl & BB