March 5, 2013
Something missing on December 7, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I hate to need your help — but I can’t admit this to my friends, and I’m beginning to struggle. Okay.
My boyfriend is perfect.
And I don’t care.
Well, it’s not that I don’t care — I do! I think he’s the best! It’s been almost three months (and you’d be so proud, we’ve been going oh-so-slow. I’m 32, he’s 39 and we’ve both been burned before, so there is a certain degree of caution on both sides), and we really *like* each other. And I don’t mean in the like as opposed to love sense, but in the genuine affection sense. It’s kind of scary. This could actually happen, for real, BG. This could *work.*
We’re both really busy at work, so we only see each other on the weekend, but then our dates last for like, ten hours! We talk, we hang out, we go hiking and biking — it’s great. And he *talks* to me! And actually listens, too! And he thinks the same and he’s funny and he works really hard and he loves his dog. And he thinks the absolute world of me.
But I don’t feel like ripping his clothes off. He’s cute, too! And when I close my eyes and he kisses me (and one evening when we’d both had a teensy too much to drink and were silly . . . that was pretty good) … Oh, BG, I’m just a mess. He’s handed me his ego on a silver platter, and I am terrified of hurting him. And I just feel like he deserves *more*. Like a woman that wants to rip his clothes off, maybe.
October 3, 2012
Under the influence on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I haven’t had a boyfriend for 2 years ( I’m 16). Lately I have just been frustrated because every guy in high school seems to be so immature. And, I had pretty much given up on guys. Then this year at school I start talking to this one guy, he doesn’t come to my school but plays on the soccer team– and I’m on the volleyball team. We started talking, on the way to games, tournaments, etc. Anyway, a couple weeks ago I hear he likes me. And I realized a few days ago that I like him more than a friend also. He is such an awesome guy and he’s not stupid and immature like the other guys, he is 18. What I’m wondering is — am I just liking him because he likes me and I haven’t had a boyfriend for a while, or do I really like him? I’m so confused. Plus, I just don’t know about relationships, it seems like a waste of time because we are just gona go out, and either I will break up and hurt him, or he will break up w/me and I will be hurt. This is my problem I analyze every little thing and convince myself that there is no way I might actually just have fun in the relationship, I never see the good side. Please write back and help me, I am in serious need of some advice!!!
There’s an expression called “beer goggles” that I will explain to you in the perhaps vain hope that sixteen-year-olds are unfamiliar with it. It’s about the non-wholesome notion that, well, anyone looks attractive after the checker-outer has had a few brewskis. But there’s also a much more wholesome corollary: Attention Goggles. Someone starts mackin’ on you, that boyski buzz kicks in, and all of a sudden you’re like, “I NEVER REALIZED WHAT AN INTERESTING PERSON HE IS.” Which is not to say that your feelings, or at least interest-sparkage, are invalid. Heck, he’s proving he has good taste. So quit wondering and worrying — and go with it. At least long enough for the goggles to come off. But everything else should stay on, young lady.
August 8, 2012
Talking is overrated on November 2, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
A year ago I walked into the first day of class and saw the most beautiful girl I had seen in a VERY long time. I had a huge crush instantly. Everyone has certain criteria, whether they know them or not, and She meets all of mine. Intelligent, funny, caring, active, silly, an incredible smile, beautiful eyes… ouch!
Anyways, a few months later I noticed her talking to me more frequently and had the feeling something was happening but thought nothing of it. While we were in Toronto for a conference, we went out with mutual friends one night. Her friend, whom she was staying with suggested I crash at her place since it was closer. I’m thinking, “great idea, She’s staying there!” Anyways, the friend, the crush, and I went back to the friend’s place, and we stayed up talking for a while, then went to our respective rooms. 45 minutes later I’m woken up by my door opening and She’s crawling into my bed saying she was cold. I’m thinking “I will keep my hands to myself,” but that quickly changed when she started kissing the back of my neck. Anyways, skipping ahead two hours,we both agreed that we were not looking for a relationship since our course/work-load simply didn’t leave enough time for one. After getting back to school, we found that the course-load did not decrease our sex drives.
We both found that while we had trouble keeping our hands off each other, the most important part of a relationship, communication, was going nowhere. Auuugh!!! It would seem like we’d just run out of things to say. I don’t think there was anything worse than feeling like I didn’t have anything to talk to her about. I even started to plan ahead what I could talk to her about at one point! Anyways, we broke up after about one and a half months because we agreed that we were missing something pretty and important; communication.
November 7, 2011
A lot of us singletons make the mistake of thinking that finding someone is the hard part. And that once you do, you’re set. We tend to forget that there is — ideally — a whole life-time of Relationship Maintenance that follows. And if you believe that that’s easy, I’ve got a ticket to “Your Friends and Neighbors” to sell you. Basically, it’s the story of two couples in/from hell. How brutal is it? Makes “Private Ryan” look like “Air Bud.” For further evidence that the relationship is the hard part, see … all of my columns.
To put it another way (and to quote myself): having a boy/girlfriend is like having a car with air conditioning. It may be more comfortable at times, but there’s a whole lot more stuff that can go wrong.
That is just one of several things I would like to point out to the many fine folks who write me to ask,
Dear Breakup Girl,
Why Don’t I Have a Boy/Girlfriend?
(Hi, Breakup Mom, I know you just sat up a little straighter in your seat.)
And here’s the problem: the folks who ask me that are fine folks. I mean, if they were saying: “Dear Breakup Girl, I have a second head in the shape of Boba Fett, my gums bleed when I’m nervous, and Kenneth Starr is my hero…why am I alone?” well, then we’d have a clear place to start (eg “online dating”). So I can’t necessarily tell each of you precisely why. But I can give you some perspective. Which is something everyone should have beforethey have a boy/girlfriend, anyway.
1. Why no ragazzo/a?* No rhyme or reason. Why, just think of all the excellent, admirable civilians (as opposed to superheroes) who are single. Like Winona Ry– no … Antonio Band– no, Barbra Strei– no, Will Smi– no. Okay, different tack. There’s no nice way to say this, but BG has made the acquaintance of plenty of people who were not conventionally “good-looking” or “socially adept” or, well, “interesting” — and they had B/GFs. Go figure. So quit wondering if you’re “normal.” A lot of people have girl/boyfriends … who are mean to them, or for reasons like “I’m afraid to drive on the highway.” How normal is that?
2. Dawson’s Creek is not reality. Your first tipoff should be the guy in a rowboat wearing a sport jacket. Your second tipoff should be that the guy in a rowboat wearing a sport jacket has no idea that Joey is in love with him. Look, you all know this, but I’ll say it anyway. Movies and songs and TV — even CNN, these days — fetishize love. Like, did you ever see the doctors on General Hospital actually doct? All you see and hear are people who yearn for it, who have it, who had it, who wear funny ties for it. All love, all the time. Which is kinda sorta how we feel deep down — and is what keeps BG in business — but maybe we’d be able to override it better and maybe get something freaking done around here if everything in our culture weren’t this big huge blinding yellow stickie in front of our face that says: LOVE! GOT ANY YET? HUH HUH HUH?
3. I know it’s fall, but B/GFs are not school supplies. (Hey, grownups, just because I’m making Dawson’s Creek references doesn’t mean I’m not talking to you. First of all, shut up, you totally watch it. Second, even if you haven’t been to school in years, I know you’ve been to Staples to look at the cute new notebooks and highlighters. Third, high school, is a metaphor for life, in a Lord of the Flies sort of way. So my analogies and advice should communicate loud and clear to everyone.) The point here being: there’s a lot of pressure — in culture and in “real life,” which, in a Truman Show sort of way, are not unrelated — to “get” (your verb, not mine) a boy/girlfriend. Having one “means” you are cool, attractive, popular, legit. But listen: if you get/have one just for those reasons, then you are NOT in the In Crowd at BG High, okay? I know this is really really easy — if not totally obvious — for me to say, but if you look on a boy/girlfriend as your own personal Self-Worth-o-Matic, well, let’s just say that’s one of those gadgets with planned obsolescence.
4. Approchable is better than “Stunning.” If you don’t believe me, see the clever article on this very topic in this month’s Marie Claire (I think). “Stunning” makes certain people’s knees weak, yes — that is, too weak to dare walk over and start a conversation. You get my drift; I’m not going to get into the whole looks thing again. (Note: “Approchable” — unlike “terrific” and “such a pretty face” — is totally a sincere, legit compliment; it really means pleasant, inviting, attractive.)
5. “Shy” is better than Loud. Just trust me.
6. Cheesy bottom line: it’s about chemistry. Barring certain non-negotiable matters of personal hygiene, manners, and taste in superheroes, your “appeal” does not occur in a vacuum. Granted, yes, there certain things (Society, Culture, Boobs, etc.) that mean that certain people get noticed first. But as far as anything longer than one awkward empty conversation is concerned, it’s the Reese’s effect: you could have perfectly good chocolate, but go figure, only certain people are going to trip over you with the peanut butter (see grownups, I’m talking to you too: teens will not remember those commercials). I am talking about that elusive “click.” (NOT, may I remind you, that exclusive clique that requires a boy/girlfriend for entry.) So what to do? Don’t shrink back, stung and defeated, into a spiny shell; step out and go places and do things where the odds are higher that the chemistry/peanut butter/click person will be there, too. And while you’re playing the odds, have a little trust in fate. If you don’t believe me, see “Next Stop, Wonderland.” Which, bless its heart — and yours, in the meantime — also makes a powerful, lovely case for being alone, all to a balmy bossa-nova beat. Rhyme/reason? No. Rhythm? Yes.
* Italian for boy/girl and boy/girlfriend. Empirically, appears to be synonymous with “hottie.”
This column was originally published August 31, 1998.
June 24, 2011
Keeping up appearances on June 22, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
If a guy is interested in you, the only thing that you can find wrong with him is his looks and on that basis you reject him, does that make you the most shallow person on Earth? Please reassure me that you have to be attracted to someone, or else it wouldn’t work…please?
Yes, you have to be “attracted” to someone. Or at least feel the potential stirrings thereof. So answer me — and yourself — this: When you decided to take a pass, what, in essence, were your thoughts? Can you honestly say, in good conscience, that you rummaged through all of your hormones and neurons and other chemical apparati and came up with no gut-level attraction whatsoever? Or did you think, “Well, he’s not the biggest hottie in the world, I’m afraid of what people will think…” ? Breakup Girl honestly doesn’t know which it is. But you do.
April 29, 2011
Wandering eyes on June 22, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I’m 20 years old and have been dating a girl for about a year and a half. I know in my heart that we’re in love. My problem is that I’m not as attracted to her body. She’s overweight and my looking at other girls is distracting my focus on our relationship. She knows how I feel and I feel guilty because of this. I have a strong urge to experience the girls I’m attracted to, and not just physically. I don’t like flings. I don’t want to break up for such a superficial reason, but it is increasingly frustrating. How should I deal with this? Sometimes I feel too selfish, and other times I feel too selfless. I care about both our needs strongly.
Breakup Girl’s response after the jump…
March 31, 2011
Working it out on June 15, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I was reading the Predicament of the Week and I just have to say, “Wow!” I was wondering if guys like him exist. Maybe Brad is looking for love in all the wrong places…
Anyhoo…I am totally attracted to this guy. He is funny, smart, and attractive. So what’s the problem, right??? Well, I WORK with him. Been there, done that… don’t want to go back. While we’re dating, we can’t focus on work. When we break up, we still can’t focus on work. So, how do I deal with this attraction? I certainly don’t want to make any mistakes. I think that it would be different if I thought things would work out great. I am a Christian, he is not. His ten year reunion is this year, I graduated [three years ago]. He is loud and obnoxious, I am calm and cool. It is driving me insane every time I work with him. We already spend way too much time talking. What is a girl to do??? Help me out here, would ya? Thanks.
February 21, 2011
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.
This week Lynn helps a gal who’s Stuck after six months of dating. She likes this guy, but wonders if the amount of feelings she has are enough…
He is an amazing man, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He’s got so many of the qualities I’ve been hoping for, but I’m still having issues with “that feeling.”
Is Stuck in love with the kind of guy he is, or the guy himself? How much of a relationship is getting everything we want and how much is settling? Lynn tackles the 80/20 rule and more in this weeks letter at Happen Magazine.
April 16, 2010
Ah, springtime in the city. Birds are chirping, trees are blooming, squirrels are frolicking, and MATH is in the air? The Huffington Post’s “Why Dating in New York Sucks (With Mathematical Proof!) reminds me of another article in which a British economist employed Drake’s equation to figure out why he had no girlfriend. In the HuffPo iteration, Satoshi Kanazawa is presented with the question: “Is there mathematical proof that dating in New York is difficult?”
Kanazawa references a theorem proven by two dorks without dates (ahem…mathematicians in 1966). According to Kanazawa:
This applies to anything, dating, looking for a job candidate. If you have a pool of candidates that you haven’t seen and if your job is to pick the best candidate then it’s been mathematically proven that the best strategy to do is to reject the first 37% of the candidates regardless, so you just reject the first 37% of the candidates and then choose the next candidate that is better than all the candidates that you’ve seen before. So if you apply that to a dating situation that means that you have to reject the first 30% of all the people you date regardless and then you marry the one who is better than all the ones you’ve dated before.
Already, I am finding some holes in Kanazawa’s rationale. First off, if the mathematicians said your best strategy is to reject the first 37% of candidates when hiring someone for a job, then why would you reject only 30% of all the people you date? Isn’t a life partner supposed to be a little more important and hopefully permanent than your employee?
June 12, 2009
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Growing indifferent on February 16, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have been dating this really stellar guy for three months. We have everything in common that you could possibly hope for, have a great time together, etc. etc. The problem is, I have no sparks for the man whatsoever, to the point where when I was on a recent one-week vacation, I didn’t think about him once. He’s really bitten hard by the love bug, and I think I am crazy for not feeling the same way. You think I should hold out and see if some luv develops, or should I break things off before I lead him on too much? I may be a romantic, but I would like to be with someone who makes my knees weak.
— Carrie in Chicago
Funny how we want to be with someone who both supports us and makes our knees weak. Just an observation. Anyway, if, after three months, absence made the heart grow indifferent, well, there you go.
But remember, women are something like eight times more likely than men to sustain knee injuries. So take this as an ill-formed but nonetheless well-intentioned physiology metaphor: that weak-kneed feeling should be the bonus, chemistry, je ne sais quoi part of the relationship. By itself, it’s not enough to stand on.