Dear Breakup Girl,
I’m a college freshman currently dating a wonderful guy that I met the first week of school. As of right now, everything’s great. The only problem is this: he’s head-over-heels in love with me (a terrible problem, I know), and I’m not very commited at all. I like him and I don’t necessarily want to see other people, but I don’t want to lock myself into a long-term relationship so soon. Ideally, I would keep seeing him for a while longer, and if I didn’t start feeling something more– something that would make it worth a serious commitment– then we would break up.
Here’s the rub: we got cast opposite each other in a production of “Romeo and Juliet.” The on-stage chemistry between us is amazing. If I were to break up with him, the show would suffer tremendously. Do I have any choice but to wait until after the play is over? I hate being in a relationship that is continuing by default when it would really be better that it ended. But I can’t end this without hurting both my boyfriend and the play. ????
— Squirmy Juliet
Are you sure you’re not channeling some episode of Blossom? God, this scenario would be totally cute if you … liked him.
Anyway, here’s the thing: you can’t end this without hurting the boyfriend. That’s a given, play or no play. But as far as the show is concerned, are we talking a few weeks, or several months? A few weeks, you can legitimately stall — after all , the rehearsal schedule has no doubt cut into your social life, so there’s your motivation (excuse?) for seeing each other a bit less. But as for longer than that, well, N OT doing anything, if it’s driving you nuts, may also interfere with your on-stage chemistry. If you really can’t stand the, um, playacting, you may have to go ahead and do the deed. I think the play will probably be fine. You two are older (wiser?) than those two kids you’re playing, anyway, and remember: the drama is all about wanting what you can’t have.
This advice was originally published November 16, 1998.