Downshifting on August 17, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Recently, my boyfriend and I broke up because I am going away to school in the fall and it would be too hard to wait until the end of the summer to break up because we will only get more attached. It is one of those situations where love isn’t enough to stay together … we both knew that we are just at very different places in our lives, and it isn’t our time. When we broke up, we knew we had to stay friends, but we don’t really seem to be communicating at all, and everything is weird between us. How can we make going from a long-term relationship to a friendship any easier?
Ah, the preemptive breakup. If it works for you, it works for me. But listen, it’s not weird that things are weird between you. Things are weird after a breakup no matter what; add to that the fact that you’re going away — you’ve left yourselves, unavoidably, in a “if she’s going away from here, where do we go from here?” limbo. Besides, no relationship transishes naturally from more-than- to just-friends. I’d say this: don’t sit around waiting for him to call, wondering if you should, making it all “mean” something in your overactive post-breakup imaginations. Limit your interactions, for now, to occasional planned activities that you both enjoy (perhaps even some, like movies, that don’t require communicating at all). That way you may be able to go through the motions of the friendship without putting undue pressure on the e-motions. It will not feel “the same;” don’t expect it to — it isn’t. And it will all feel less acute when you go away, it really will. Good luck in school!