Making a case on October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My last letter you actually responded to on the column…it was about the “rhinoceros head “ on the coffee table in the middle of the room. That advice really helped things! Thanks so much. Unfortunately, I’ve got to hit you up again.
The latest and the greatest goes like this. Everything seemed great between me and my law school girlfriend of 2.5 years. After a 4 month long fight, we had an awesome summer traveling, relaxing and spending time with each other. I was ecstatic because for a long time we were teetering on the edge of breakup but always plugged along because we both know our relationship was more unique and stronger than others.
So, I thought that the momentum would follow into her 2nd year of law school. Nope! Nigh 1 month since she started classes again, she’s more stressed than I’ve ever seen her, and she is always picking fights with me. I tried to be understanding, but she’ll start a fight with me and then blame me for upsetting her. I don’t blame her, I think anyone would behave the same way if they were in law school. Law school is EVIL.
Sooo, I was out of the country for 2 weeks to work. I got back and hadn’t seen her much, which I didn’t think it was a big deal since she was so busy. Wrong again! Last week, we fought over me not calling to let her know how I was for 3 days. Incredibly, one thing led to another and we ended up breaking up over the phone. I didn’t take it seriously at first but I went to her place today and we had the final talk. Please explain this to me, because I couldn’t understand it as she said it to me…her words were “I need to do this on my own, but I love you, and I don’t want to let go, but I have to. You’re my best friend [we were good friends before we started dating] and its hard enough to give that up, but I really do want us to get back together eventually and this is the only way I think that will happen is if we’re apart. If it was meant to be, it will be.”
I don’t know how to handle this. There’s probably a 50/50 chance we’ll get back together eventually and become really serious, but I don’t know when that will be. What do I do until then? Do I ever call her? Take her out? Email? Ignore her? On one hand, she is really a great person and we have a very strong connection to each other, so I’d wait if there was a guarantee we’d reunite. But on the other hand, she or I might meet someone else even though she expects us to get together again. She is my best friend and everything else.
I wish there were some way I could keep the embers warm enough that I could start a fire again when I want to, but at the same time be able to leave them alone knowing they’ll cool and go out on their own peacefully.
Can these sort of things be left to “fate”? Should I try to stay as close as I can to her? Do I treat this as a normal breakup and try to get over her?
Life really is like a box of chocolates.
Hey, I remember you! You used the word “nigh” in both letters. Cute.
Also love your “embers” description. Good stuff.
Okay, that’s it for warm and fuzzy: here’s the cold and hard. What did she mean in her “final talk?” Well, Jason, sounds to me like breakup legalese. She means: “I love you, but I don’t LOVElove you; I like you, but I don’t LIKElike you. I HATEhate that I feel this way. And I HATEhate doing this to you.” I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure.
So treat this as a normal breakup. Either because it is, or because, frankly (paradoxically), that’s the best way to get back together. (See my Columbus metaphors from last week.) How should you act? Don’t Gump yourself into every scene in her life. Hover and float like that magic feather: sometimes around, sometimes not, never with a weighty presence — and don’t be afraid to alight on another Jenny, either. In the meantime, remind this one, gently, of your excellence. If her life’s a box of chocolates, maybe she’ll know what she didn’t get.
And as for you, dear Jason, I’m just glad to see that you’ve at least replaced the rhinoceros head with a Whitman’s Sampler.