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January 13, 2011

Friends don’t let friends make breakups worse

Filed under: Celebrities — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:14 am

You know how when you break up with someone and then you tell your friends and they make the shocked Macaulay Culkin Home Alone face? Apparently, that’s pretty much what’s happening to Mila Kunis right now. As a “close chum” of hers told E!, “We all found out [she and Mac broke up] and were like, what?” Over at Jezebel, Anna North reacts to that reaction. “It’s nice that Mila’s doing well, and that her pal acknowledges that fact, but when a breakup leaves all your friends So Surprised, it’s even worse than the usual variety,” she argues. Why? To summarize:

1. It was, in fact, probably sudden. And if that gives your friends “emotional whiplash,” what about the actual exes?

2. “When you just broke up with someone, you don’t want to hear how great you were together.”

3. “You feel a sense of unease with the universe.” “…[W]hen your friends are “like, what?!,” as it were, you’re brought face to face with the terrifying unpredictability of life.”

So yes, as North suggests, if a friend’s breakup blows your mind, process with a different friend, mmmkay? To the breakup friend, show compassion, not surprise. Let her or him tell you how they feel, not the other way around. Let’s remember the immortal words of Bridget Jones’s friend Magda, who said, “People’s relationships are quite mysterious. No one from the outside ever really understands what makes them work.” Or not work. But we do know what makes friendships work.

For more on our reactions to friends’ breakups, click here.

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November 19, 2010

Should I tell my friend she’s being cheated on?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:20 am

Handling the truth on April 27, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

If you know your friend’s boyfriend or husband is cheating on her, is it your bound duty to inform her of this fact? In this particular case, I don’t know him very well, or maybe I’d try to talk to him about it. I’ve been in this situation (knowing about the affair) before, and both times the cheated-on wife/girlfriend was very angry that people knew her man was cheating before she did. Felt like a fool. But honestly, who am I to decide she ought to know? Another guy I know was cheating on his wife, but ultimately broke off the affair and went back to her. In that situation, I’m not sure she’d have been better off knowing. She has the man, and he’s making an effort to work things out even if he is living a lie. What do you think: is full disclosure always best?

– Lilygirl

(more…)

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November 15, 2010

My friend is a beard!

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:05 am

Trapped next to the closet on April 27, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I try to be supportive, but a friend of mine is really beginning to tax my patience. She has fallen hard for a long-time friend of several years. Spending all their free time together, they are virtually inseparable. All their co-workers and family and friends fully expect them to get married. My friend thought that they would, too. So of course, something happens: he reveals to her that he is, in fact, gay. He has not come out but lives a double life. So now that he has entrusted her with his secret, he torments her constantly with every detail about his latest love exploits, even though he knows how she feels about him. What is worse is that he uses her as a cover–he has gone so far as to tell people that she is his girlfriend in order to keep his sexuality a secret. My friend goes along with it and rationalizes by telling herself, and me, that she doesn’t care what people think. If she doesn’t mind participating in this deception, it is not my place to say. But it does bother her, and she is calling me all the time to complain about it. It is always the same story. Of course she refuses to confront him, but continues to call me about it. She might as well just periodically play a recording of herself to me at this point. I have told her that she needs to decide what she wants and just stick by it, but it has become evident that she would prefer to do nothing and complain. I cannot tell her what to do with respect to him, but I appeal to Breakup Girl to help me figure out what I can do–I can’t stand to hear the same story over and over anymore–and it’t not like I have time to kill, but I also don’t want to abandon her–she has not discussed this with anyone else with the exception of one individual, and those discussions just ended in shouting matches.

Thank you in advance.
– Losing Patience

(more…)

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November 12, 2010

My friend’s online romance is a FAIL

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:21 am

Missed connections on April 27, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

For around a year a girl who I’ve become really good friends with has been in love with this guy from overseas. We both are mad internet fans (she met this guy on chat). I know it probably seems really interfering but I am so worried about her because she gets so upset whenever she doesn’t hear from him for a while… this may sound crazy to non-net addicts (are there actually any?!?!) but there it is. I’ve been trying to be supportive of her but I’m getting really angry with him because I’m the one (along with another close friend) who’s left to comfort her when he doesn’t e-mail/come into chat/phone for extended periods of time. THEN when he DOES talk to her it’s always about bloody computers! (He works with them.) It is really bewildering for her because one moment he says he loves her and wants to be with her blah blah blah and that he wants to come over here soon and the next he pulls on this “I’m too old for you… you need to experience more in your life!!!” I wish he’d just be consistent and let her know whether it’s yay or nay. I really don’t know what to tell her anymore and I’m looking for advice.

– Unsure and Worried

(more…)

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September 28, 2010

When Harry really did stay just friends with Sally

Filed under: Psychology, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:39 am

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: straight men and women can be just friends. We know this, because they can even be Just Friends, the boy-girl production company behind this super-enterprise. (And because we are of the camp who liked Scully and Mulder best without the LIKElike.) But perhaps no one has said it so eloquently, or newsworthily, than Juliet Lapidos over at Slate (h/t @DahliaLithwick, @DJDistracted), BFF of Jeff, who believes that today, straight male-female platonicness is at once normal and revolutionary.  She writes:

We were sure that we would never become romantic partners, that our relationship would always be placidly sexless. This has so far borne out: Excluding the summer when we first met and shared an awkward, pubescent kiss on Independence Day—and another, even more awkward moment on a trampoline shortly thereafter—there’s been no romance. Jeff and I have been friends for more than 14 years, without interruption. In our mid-twenties, we lived together for more than three years, during which period we’d watch movies late into the night and then go our separate ways, much like when we were kids. I find all this, at the personal level, unremarkable and unsurprising; the skepticism of outsiders strikes me as funny and narrow-minded. Yet from a historical perspective, my blasé attitude is all wrong: We are remarkable, in a way, and our relationship is not only surprising but radical.

Yes, radical. Consider the social history here, the dorm-room demographics: (more…)

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August 6, 2010

The trouble with Wayne

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:03 am

Good friends from April 6, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’ve got a friend, Wayne. Wayne right now is kinda coasting through life — never left home, still working on that Bachelors for 12 years now. Unemployed. Anyway, we set him up for dates and it never works out. Wayne hangs out with one older woman, but he doesn’t want to date her because he thinks she’s too messed up! We’re Wayne’s best friends and we are concerned. How can we get Wayne socially ready for dating?

– Exasperated

Dear Exasperated,

BG thinks it’s kind of cute when she sees those personal ads (research!) that are like PLEASE DATE OUR EXCELLENT FRIEND WHO’S TOO SHY TO PLACE THIS AD. Fine. In your case, though, I gotta ask: Wayne may still be working on his Bachelors … but have you done all your research? As in, does Wayne want to date? If not, no amount of charm- or clue school will land him a Betty.

Also, are you trying to fix Wayne up, or fix Wayne? Look, I get that you’re genuinely concerned about a friend; I totally know what you’re talking about. But the way you speak about him — well, you’re not, as they say, coming from a very positive place. Write and tell me about how great he is; then we’ll talk.

Love,
Breakup Girl

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May 21, 2010

My friend’s boyfriend is a jerk!

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:06 am

Getting involved on March 30, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Here’s my situation. One of my friends is seeing this guy who I think is a really big jerk. In fact, I think he is extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. Here’s a little sampling of his behavior: He constantly accuses her of having affairs with other people, even when he must know it isn’t true. He is always grilling her about her activities, trying to insinuate that she is doing something wrong — meanwhile, he can do anything he wants, including seeing his ex-girlfriend for a few drinks if he wants to. He insults her about her appearance, calls her in the middle of the night to check on her, tells her all of her friends are stupid and unworthy of hanging out with him, etc., etc. He has also had temper tantrums where he has thrown things at her, ripped up her photographs … you get the idea. I know that this is classic abusive behavior, and that the next step could be physical violence. I don’t know if it is going to go that far.

(more…)

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May 18, 2010

Does Facebook know when it’s over?

Filed under: blogs, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:27 am

We all know that Facebook offers up-to-the-minute tracking of your (and everyone’s) relationship status. But could Facebook actually predict your breakup (and etc.) before it happens? It’s not psychic; nor, as science goes, is it rocket: remember, Facebook knows how and with whom you spend (or don’t spend) your virtual time. As the blog AllFacebook reports:

It’s an inside half-truth that many friends of Mark Zuckerberg have told me over the years: Facebook knows when a relationship is about to end. My response was to always ask more questions as it actually sounded like a legitimate possibility. In David Kirkpatrick’s soon to be released book, “The Facebook Effect“, Kirkpatrick confirms that relationship patterns were something that Mark Zuckerberg often toyed with.

In the book, Kirkpatrick writes:

As the service’s engineers built more and more tools that could uncover such insights, Zuckerberg sometimes amused himself by conducting experiments. For instance, he concluded that by examining friend relationships and communications patterns he could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators.

Are you busy chatting with another girl instead of your girlfriend? Are you being tagged in a lot of photos with the same person? Facebook has a lot of information about who you are viewing regularly (or lusting over) as well as what your communication patterns are. While the company is not actively charting most users’ communication patterns for determining the future of your relationship, they are actively monitoring your behavior on the site to determine what should be displayed in the feed.

Of course, 33 percent, while impressive, is not scary accurate. And there’s a wide margin of error. Depending on how you use Facebook, for example, your lovah’s profile might be the one you look at least, given that you, you know, see them. (In fact, at least one expert says partners shouldn’t be “friends” in the first place. (“It’s a terrible idea for spouses to be Facebook friends with each other,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., co-author, with Heidi Raykeil, of [best self-help title EVER!] Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting It On Again. “Relationships are already filled with enough banality. I want to preserve what little mystery there is, which means I don’t need to see my wife’s latest check-in with her third-grade pals on her Superwall.”)

That said — though BG eschews unexamined anti-FB or “technology is eeevil” pile-on — we do know that, given its endless started-out-innocent opps for flirting and reconnecting with the one(s) who got away, Facebook can also = Homewreck. So it’s not like Facebook would need to uncrumple the receipts on your dresser to know what’s up.

And so, AllFacebook wonders, could there be an app for this?

Could you imagine using the site and then receiving a notification that the system has automatically determined that your relationship could be on thin ice? While it may provide useful to know, it would be extremely creepy to find out. For now, I wouldn’t expect to see any “relationship strength tool” integrated into the site, but it’s definitely interesting to know that it’s potentially something Facebook could project. Would you want to know how strong your relationship is based on your own Facebook behavior?

But here’s the real question:

Don’t you probably already know how strong it is without Facebook telling you?

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April 5, 2010

This week at Happen: She stole my crush!

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:18 am

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 responds to To Tell Or Not To Tell who has a crush on a guy at the gym…

Being painfully shy, I asked a friend what to do next. She volunteered to visit the gym with me and give me her opinion about Scott, acting as a “lookout” to see if he seemed interested in me, too. Unfortunately, she thought he was pretty great because she gave him her number the same day and they ended up dating for two weeks.

She had written him off, but running into him at the gym again, she feels the crush rekindling. What, if anything, should she do? (And, yo, what about the “friend?”) Read the full saga with extended rock climbing metaphors at Happen, then comment below!

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February 8, 2010

This week at Happen: Bonding over a death

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:42 am

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 advises a gal who has become close with the boyfriend of her friend who died of cancer. Now that its turning romantic, she worries what others will think:

we also have another friend who was best friends with the deceased and she seems upset by the fact that we like each other and are becoming romantic.

Obviously she should be sensitive to the friend’s feelings, but, as her signature puts it, “Do I Have To Lose Him, Too?” Read Lynn’s advice at Happen, then tell us in the comments how you would handle this less than ideal situation.

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