December 11, 2012
Needing structure on November 30, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have a boyfriend who is 7 years younger than me, and quite a bit more inexperienced in the ways of long-term commitment/love stuff (I was married ten years, have been divorced for 3, he has never had a relationship that lasted as long as a year <he always got dumped>). We’ve been friends for a year and a half, dating for 6 months. He’s just as sweet as he can be when we’re together, but when we’re not, it’s like I don’t exist. No calls, no notes, nothing. I don’t get it. OK, I’ve called him ‘cuz I couldn’t wait. Hell, I’d like to talk to him every day (a little 5-minute hi how are you love you call) but he seemed so odd and distant on the phone (usually at work alone in his office) that I quit doing that. We spend almost the whole weekend every weekend together, but I always sweat it during the week. Will he call? Should I call? Am I bugging him? What’s the deal?
Also, we’ve told each other “I love you,” but he rarely says it unless I say it first, and always with this weird look on his face. I hate it. I wish he wouldn’t even say it at all if he’s going to do that. I guess I’m touchy about it because I told him I was IN love with him after three months, but he said he wasn’t IN love with me. “You know I really care about you right?” he said.
Well, yeah, we used to say “I love you” as friends, but THIS IS DIFFERENT! “IN” LOVE IS DIFFERENT! Friends say, give it time, he’ll come around (or he won’t, I guess). Meantime I just get crazier and crazier for him and want to hear “I’m in love with you” but am afraid to ask. After all, three more months have passed, and he acts like he’s nuts about me when we’re together. Although, you know, he often speaks in generalities when we’re together, and that bugs the hell out of me. When we were both single he whined and whined about not having a girlfriend, no one to have sex with, etc. etc. Now he says things like, “Mmmmm, it feels so good to be held” not “It feels good to be with YOU” or he likes it when other men pay attention to me “my sexy woman” because I’m going home with him at the end of the night. It all makes me feel like he’s just happy to be dating SOMEONE, not especially like he’s happy it’s me. I’m over here all love-struck and hoping there’s some future (I am NOT thinking marriage anytime in the next few years, but I would like to feel like I have someone to share my life with) and he’s just happy he’s got someone cute to hang out with, show off, and have sex with. A friend calls and asks, “Are you free Saturday night?” and I say, “Let me call John and see if he had anything planned and I’ll call you back.” Someone asks him the same question, and he’ll go ahead and make plans and not tell me until Saturday during the day and then I get all disappointed and upset, and he gets upset because, “I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to check in.”
October 1, 2010
Watching your mouth on April 20, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I am almost 17 years old and my heart is breaking. I started seeing a guy about two months ago. We were friends for quite a while and we talked every night on the phone. One night, to my surprise, he asked me out. Of course I said yes. We decided to go out the upcoming weekend.
We ended up in the backseat making out pretty heavily. That was the first time that I had made out that heavily. I was in love. I remember saying”I love you,” and he said ” Katie, we just started going out.” I didn’t think much of it then. All of a sudden he said we had to go. On the way home he said he just wanted to be friends. It hurt so bad. He stopped calling me altogether and he talked about me to his friends. I am so hurt, it’s like he died or something. It’s been a while, but I still miss him so much. I just can’t understand. We shared everything together. These kind of things seem to happen to me a lot. I am not fat or ugly at all, but I just can’t understand what the hell I keep doing wrong. I need someone who I can talk to about these problems. Thank You!
June 18, 2010
A nice surprise on March 30, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
How and when do you know when’s “THE” time to confess your feelings for someone? I mean, it seems weird just to bring it up in a typical conversation (i.e. How’s your day? Oh BTW, I think I love you”). I also don’t want to put her under any pressure, which may be unavoidable … but one can hope, right? Thanks for listening.
Correct.The reason why it seems weird to shoehorn a declaration of love into a typical conversation is that a declaration of love is not typical conversation (unless you’re a character in the movie Showgirls, where you would not believe what passes for typical conversation). So yes, time — along with place and context — is key. But Breakup Girl doesn’t have quite enough facts. From the way you describe it, it sounds like this “I love you” might come as a bit of a surprise to your intended. I mean, are you “confessing” your feelings in an existing relationship — or are you asking someone out? In the latter case, I recommend starting off with “How’s your day? I love … the Coen brothers. Want to see the Big Lebowski with me?” If you two have already got it going on, then pop the confession at a pleasant — but not overly orchestrated — moment. Not an all-out ambush; just a nice surprise.
By the way, I think you just intended it as shorthand, but one detail in your letter compels me to issue this warning: anyone who says things like “BTW” (and “LOL,” etc.) in actual verbal conversation is going straight to Breakup Jail. Especially if you’re a character in Showgirls II: Virtual Vixens.
February 23, 2009
Ask Lynn, Breakup Girl’s alter ego’s advice column at MSN.com (powered by Match.com), is now being updated monthly rather than weekly. Now, you’ll get two new letters at the start of each month. This month’s theme seems to be communication and the weirdness thereof:
1. He Loves Me Not? writes in because when she told her boyfriend of three months “I love you” he answered her … with the sound of crickets. But does what we say — or don’t say — always reflect how we feel? Discuss…
2. Rubbed The Wrong Way has cause to be for all the mixed signals she’s getting from an ex-boyfriend who’s regretting the breakup–but only sometimes.
January 8, 2009
If a gal realizes she’s in love with her man, should she keep her mouth shut? Over at Salon’s Broadsheet, Sarah Hepola chimes in on the recent CNN/The Frisky post, “Why Women Shouldn’t Say ‘I Love You’ first,” which posits, basically, that dudes can’t handle it. Sarah has a reaction many of us might:
It’s the kind of story that can’t help being irritating: First of all, because it’s a glib service piece in which advice about profound life experiences is shoehorned into a few measly grafs; second of all, because it’s dumb. It’s asinine, right?
Then she emails her guy friends who, with equal doses of articulateness and immaturity, convince her the writer may have a point. One guy friend even looks at the odds:
It’s just statistically less common to hear of girls getting weirded out and bailing on a relationship after the L word, so as a rule of thumb I think it’s fine.
Obviously there will always be special cases — and special guys — but is this basically correct?
March 11, 2008
Here, your weekly installment of Ask Lynn, BG’s alter ego’s column at MSN.com (powered by Match.com). Today, we meet “Helpless in Love,” who has met the person she has been looking for her “whole life,” she says. “I can talk to him about anything and in return he tells me everything… I’ve had boyfriends and thought that I was in love, but it was nothing like this. I think of this man as my best friend, my confidant. He makes me feel sexy and pretty. How,” she asks, “do I express how I feel?”
Catch? What catch? Well, there’s this: how might HIS WIFE express how she feels?
Lynn has pretty strong feelings herself. Read on…