August 10, 2012
A Bonus Predicament from November 2, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Thank you so much for answering my letter last week. Actually, when you wrote the “Friends to Lovers” column the week after I sent it, I sort of figured that it applied to me, so that you’d already responded, and I realized I should consider taking the advice in that column. There hasn’t been any closure to the story yet, but I just wanted to answer the very insightful points you brought up:
>1. “We ended up pretty much revealing our feelings
> for each other.” Pretty much? Was this revelation,
> on her part, a sober, solid, lucid statement of
> fact/lust? Or, perhaps, did you make the first
> confession, and then go on to inflate her
> Chianti-enhanced, engagement-jittery being-nice
What I meant is, we kissed that night. Trust me, I always recheck audio tracks — as you noticed, I read texts very closely (I used to think this tendency was beneficial), and it was definitely her who made the first confession. I was more surprised than anybody that the subject ever came up. (OK, perhaps there was a small Chianti element, but I know I was completely avoiding the topic, for fear of jeopardizing our friendship.)
> The voice of caution, however, would like to note
> that BG does not hear from you anywhere near the
> level of love-or-die urgency she did from G. It’s not
> even at the level of publish or perish.
No, it’s love or die all right. It is also certainly at the level of publish or perish, as in *if she’s not there I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive school anymore.* I was just trying to tone down the emotion so that I could right a reasonably clear and concise message. You should have seen me dejected and pouting for about two months after she left for the summer. (My friends all thought I was like that character in Swingers, except I never broke out of it.) The Guy at the End of the Bar is right about this one. But I haven’t had a chance recently to take anyone’s advice. Here’s a brief update, showing that things are, if anything, even more unclear now than when I wrote you (at least to me):
June 8, 2012
The Predicament of the Week from October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl:
I’m a longtime reader of your page, and your advice has always helped me to figure out what’s going on in my own life. Many thanks. But now I am in a state of complete and total perplexity (which I gather is not that unusual for grad students). Here’s the situation (if it can be accurately depicted in text):
I’m in my mid-20s. I’ve been friends with K. for nearly two years, and we’ve become very close. She’s a few years older than me. A couple months after we first met she started dating this other guy, younger than I am, who for the last year has lived in another city. (Also a grad student, and yes, we are all in the same field. Note to ANSBGS["Professor Rebound"] it seems it’s always in the same field.) Six months ago, they got engaged. But K. never really seemed comfortable with the idea of being engaged; in fact, the more I learned about her, the less she seemed like the marrying-and-settling-down type. (And he seems way too eager to settle down. K. herself has said this to me).
I’m very much attracted to her, and it seems mutual, but of course we never explicitly admitted it. Until a certain point in April, when we went out one night and ended up pretty much revealing our feelings for each other.
July 13, 2011
Disengaging on June 29, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have been reading your column for about six months now and I think it is just great! Here is my problem: I am 29 and have been dating a guy for three years. I have known him for 15 years. We were best friends since high school before we started dating. We took it real slow in the beginning as we didn’t want to ruin a great friendship. Now after 3 years I want out. I am not sure if it is just that I have the three-year itch. (I have had two other relationships that have lasted three years and then I called it off.) We talked about marriage but I no longer see it as an option. I have tried to break up with him but he cried, said he loved me and wanted to marry me, and I gave in. I really don’t want to hurt him and don’t know how to ease his pain. How do I get out before we wind up engaged? There is noone else; I am just not in love with him anymore.
“Before we wind up engaged?” Again with the word choice that makes it sound like engagement is something that happens to you by chance, as in, “Let’s clean up the picnic before we wind up getting rained on!” Similarly, you “tried” to break up with him? That has about the same logic as, in the age of voice mail and beepers and communications satellites, saying “I TRIED to call you.” What, you “tried” to call, but your cell phone wound up getting rained on? In breakups, as in telephones, and telekinetically levitating X-Wing fighters out of swamps, there is no “try.” Now, I don’t mean to ignore the fact that getting out is going to SUCK, given especially how long you’ve been close (and we can talk about that in another letter). For more about HOW — and especially how NOT to, see the Predicament of the Week. But if you need resolve-strengthening, remember what I said to Wishy Washy: no mercy marriages. You wanna “ease his pain?” Then cut the cord before you tie the knot.
P.S. Thanks for the compliment.
July 12, 2011
Still waiting on June 29, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have been with my fiance for over eight years. We have been living together for about five years in a jointly purchased house. The problem seems to be that we have been engaged for over five years now, and we still don’t have a wedding date. We have discussed this on numerous occasions throughout the years, but we still remain engaged without a “date” to wed. He says that he has been ready to marry me since he asked. He says that I am the one dragging my feet. I have told him recently that I am ready now, but this topic always seems to stay the same…dateless. I know that he loves me, and there is no doubt in my mind about spending the rest of my life with him. I am beginning to wonder if I should give him an ultimatum at this point, or should I just move on???
– Constant Confusion
You don’t have to wait for BG’s answer, just click here.
July 10, 2009
He’s probably single, ladies … February 16, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have been dating a girl for two and a half years now. We are unofficially engaged, I guess. I bought her a small diamond ring last year as a gift and she like to tell people it is an engagement ring. We have been living together for about five months now. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want to marry, much less be with her anymore. But due to the lease, I am not sure on how to go about breaking up with her? Any suggestions?
You do realize that the lease is the least of your worries. Couples don’t consult each other about the best time for a breakup, much less their landlords. (Though Breakup Girl’s landlord does threaten to reclaim her apartment if he and his wife ever split up. But that’s another story for another day.)
Anyway, that ring’s the thing I’m worried about. Guys, even in this funky day and age, where women propose and men take their wives’ names, you just don’t just give your girlfriend a “small diamond ring” and think to yourself, “Well, she knows it’s not THAT kind of ring!” You just don’t. So if you want to break up with her, you need to break up with her the way anyone does. Gently, firmly, clearly. I don’t want you — either of you — writing back to me saying, “We are unofficially broken up, I guess.”
October 17, 2008
Breaking free on January 12, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
How do I tell the man that I’m engaged to that I don’t want to marry him anymore and that I want to move out?
I would mumble.
P.S. Other than that — Breakup Girl has said this before, and she will no doubt say it again — just tell the plain old icky truth. Sugar-coating or BSing will only make it worse. Also, if you truly do want out, mumble — I mean, speak up — soon. The closer you get to your wedding date, the harder it will get for you to do what you need to, and the more nuclear the fallout will be.