All dressed up and no place to go on December 14, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My girlfriend and I have been dating ever since she asked me to our school’s Winter Formal last year. It went pretty well, although I had to work around her schedule because she was a seriously competitive swimmer. But, we were happy and had plenty of time for each other. I grew real attached to her during this time (in a mental sense, not physically). At any rate, about eight months ago she switched to another swim team, where they really work her out. For the past couple of months, she hasn’t had time for anything other than swimming and school. She’d always been tired, and would hardly talk on the phone or in person. I always had to sacrifice and work around her schedule to be able to do anything, since swimming is such a high priority to her. I’m a pretty busy guy too, but still, the lack of attention was kind of bothering me. Still, I thought it wasn’t so bad, until the Winter Formal came around this year. We went together again, and it was pretty bad. She barely talked at all during dinner, and her eyes were all bloodshot from not getting enough sleep. She swam about 8 miles that morning, so I can see why she was tired, but still, the dance was bad. She didn’t dance much at all, and every once in a while she would wander off and talk to people in some of her classes or to the people on her swim team that go to our school. All this tiredness and wandering — should I just accept this as the result of dating a nationally-ranked swimmer, or should I mention something to her about it, or what? I’m really confused, ’cause I’m no expert in relationships and stuff. Please help me!
It is supadupa fly that she can supadupa swim, but girlfriend’s got to work some stuff out — with or without you. I refer you, first of all, to the Breakup Girl Maxim that: no one, not a nationally ranked swimmer, not even the President, is “too busy” for a relationship that they truly want. So it’s possible, DC, that your Esther Williams is ready to throw in the towel on this one … but is “too busy” to deal with an actual breakup.
Still, it’s also possible that, while she’s got speed and skill, she does need help with balance — and that is where you as the supportive/bereft boyfriend might come in. Find out: are her non-aqua-friends wondering where she’s been, too — in which case, yeah, it’s an overall prioritizing/time management issue? Or is it … just you? Gulp.
Either way, tell her you missed her that night, and you’re missing her now. Ask her nicely: does she want help balancing all her commitments … or does she actually want one less? If she’s not willing to give you the time of day, give her the space to say so. But if she is, tell her how much and what kind of time you’d like to be spending together and try to work together to sort things out. Compromise and negotiation, yes; one-sided sacrifice, no. Either synchronize with this swimmer, or jump back into the dating pool.