Dear Breakup Girl,
I was introduced to this boy two weeks ago, and yes, he’s cute, and he’s very nice, but he already acts like he’s my one and only. He doesn’t know that I’m a notorious player (…but I don’t actually enjoy breaking guys’ hearts). I don’t know how to tell him that we don’t have a serious thing going on … I am afraid of how he’ll react. How do I tell him?
– Puzzled Player
On the one hand: if he’s the kind of person who gets all “one and only” after only two weeks, then his attachment to you is — in part — a matter of his personality, not of your playerhood.
On the other: the act of breaking it to him — which you should just do, gently — is not your main problem. You, Puzzled, do have a serious thing going on. It’s that you’re finding out that playing people isn’t all fun and games. I mean, let’s say you don’t like brussels sprouts. You don’t like them, you stop eating them. But if you don’t breaking hearts, then why don’t you just stop? Here’s why: there’s gotta be something in it for you. Are you afraid that you’re not likeable in a girlfriend kind of way? Are you looking for quick fixes to soothe loneliness? Do you have something to prove … like that you’re a “bad person?” I don’t have enough data to tell you exactly why myself, so you’re the one who’s got to play this one out in your head. Before the next boy, or the next, or the next, decides he’s the one and only.
This advice was originally published on August 3, 1998…