February 25, 2013
Making things right on December 7, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I am in a very complicated situation involving my ex-girlfriend. We are both college students; I’m 20 and a junior, she’s 19 and a sophomore. We were dating for about a year and a half and monogamous for about a year or so. I broke up with her six weeks ago for many reasons, but mainly because I felt unwanted and unappreciated… I had almost always treated her with love, respect and dignity and felt that she was not reciprocating. In the cases in which I made a mistake, I always attempted to understand her concerns and apologize when appropriate. Although I initiated the break-up, it was not something I wanted to do; I felt compelled by the situation to save my self-esteem.
About a week after we broke up, I found out that she was pregnant. I went to be with her for the ensuing abortion which was obviously exceptionally difficult for both of us.
A few days after the abortion, I heard about some things that had happened in that week. My ex had tried to hook up with a friend of mine two days after we broke up and had hooked up with three other guys in a short period of time. This hurt me intensely… she was my first love, and I hers; I thought it unbelievable that she would treat my feelings for her in such a disrespectful manner. We have tried to talk about things the past few weeks, but about 10 days ago I finally blew up. She was trying to have it both ways… the alternative experiences that she thought she needed with other guys combined with my support and romance. I basically told her to get out of my life because she was being so unfair and cruel to me. She has never apologized for trying to hook up with my friend, and she continues to maintain that she loves me even though she needs these other experiences. I cannot understand that, and it was that insistence of her love for me that drove me over the edge. It felt like she was completely playing with me.
January 16, 2013
Getting messy on November 30, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I dated a guy for a year. It began as an almost exaggeratedly casual “dating” situation, both of us trying to be too cool for words, but dammit, we got along REALLY well. So, stuff happened-couple stuff like going on vacation together, and talking twice a day (we are on opposite coasts), and showing up together at functions and what have you. This guy is cute and sexy and smart and a wee bit spoiled, and my read on him was always that he was very attached to me and maybe even a bit in love, but that he wasn’t gonna fess that up to ME anytime soon. And frankly, I’m pretty much the same way, a self-protective goon. So after about eight months of this deepening but unaddressed relationship (led on by him , thankyouverymuch), I find out he’s had a one-nighter with some Norwegian au pair. I inform him that I know very well that we don’t have a formalized commitment, so he was well within his rights to do that, but I don’t like it, and so sayonara. Well, natch, he freaks, informs me he’s crazy about me, says it’s the only time it happened (substantiated by my independent counsel investigation of various mutual friends), says he wants a commitment, and we are off to the races. It gets a tad more serious (i.e. I meet the family) and then two months later he drops the bomb. His ex (six year relationship, he failed to pull the trigger, she bailed and married someone else and now there are photos of her in all drawers of his house) is coming unglued from her marriage and has been calling a lot and he’s “confused” and doesn’t want to break up but wants to be “truthful” about his “mixed emotions” and intends to go hang out with the ex. So being a strong 90s girl I dump him and tell him to call me when he gets his sh*t together. It hurts like hell.
Six days later I meet the sweetest guy on the planet. This guy cooks dinner for me, gives foot massages and washes my car when I go out of town. I cannot imagine this guy playing head games or being deceitful. He’s brilliant and the sex is amazing and I start to learn all kinds of nifty stuff I can expect in a relationship, like respect, communication, expression of tender feelings.
October 15, 2012
Confused on November 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
OK, let me put this in chronological order. I’ve had a few pretty rotten relationships in my past that lasted about 4-5 years. They were basically filling in for my absent father and were pretty lousy all the way around. Then I grew up and got more particular and thought I was bonding to a better type of man. I met my S2BX when I first started grad school six years ago. I should have gone with my first impression, which was that he was an emotional leech that would just put me through an emotional ringer. But after I met him and looked into his eyes I was hooked. I did the whole “get hot and flushed” thing whenever he walked into the room. Anyway, I can accept now that we were really more or less using each other and that it would never last, and that was OK, but at the time I was sure he was my soul mate.
However, the way he chose to end it was very painful. I think it was pretty unnecessary for him to use expressions like “If I’d known who you really were I never would have married you,” and “Maybe it’s just your fate to be second best.” You see, when he went back home for a visit which I hoped would save our marriage he ended up having some bodacious fling with an old flame. Which he finally told me about 3 months later, just when I thought things were finally going to go well, and he admitted to it right in the middle of sex. Go figure. Now I realize that he said those hurtful things primarily for his own sense of closure, so that it would have to end, but he really devastated me and my self image that way.
Anyway, the real problem is this. After a few months of suicidal thoughts every single day I decided to give myself something to look forward to, to try out life again before I totally gave up. I went and visited friends again, I started writing stories again, and I decided to try dating. My S2BX and I had been completely separated for six months, and basically separating for at least 9 months. Soooo, just for fun I started looking at internet personal adds. I live in a small town and finding acceptable dates has been…um…interesting. For a few weeks it was fun, just looking around and seeing what guys said about themselves. Then I found one that didn’t make me laugh. So I wrote to him.
June 13, 2012
Getting competitive on October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I wrote before and got lovely helpful advice about healing my fairly broken heart. Thank you. Now I just kind of want your thoughts on a phenomenon. At work I sit next to an attractive guy named oh, say, Sam. I could go for him, but that’s actually not the point. He just broke up with his girlfriend. He has FOUR DATES this week. Ignore what this says about his reboundness. What does this say about his networking abilities vs. mine? (I’ve had one date, from a party. No click — we went out twice.) In fact, Sam says three of his dates are fixups from friends’ parents. Is there such a shortage of “nice Jewish boys” and an overabundance of me’s? Or is he better at networking?
Well, of course you can’t answer the specifics, because you don’t know either of us, or our families. But what do you think about getting the word out, BG? How does one get into this fixup network?
— Nice Girl
Dear Nice Girl,
Yeah, he’s just better at networking. Either that or some high-speed YentAlert went out, via bulk e-mail or phone tree, when Sam the JM became S.
As for you, start asking around. NOT VIA BULK E-MAIL OR PHONE TREE. Tell select friends (and parents of friends, I guess) that you are looking, and willing to blind-date. People who know you well. People who know lots of other cool people. People, actually, who might know Sam.
February 2, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
I know that second guessing is futile, so I do hope that your advice might end my own obsessive practice.
Last fall one of the professors in my department began making overtures: inviting me to lunch, inviting me to dinner, writing me constant e-mails, giving me small gifts. Perhaps I am a more naive graduate student than most, but I remained uncertain of his professor’s intentions, questioning why someone so accomplished (and sixteen years older) would be interested in me, so not accomplished (and sixteen years younger). Well, of course, he was ‘Rebound Man,’ going through a divorce with his equally accomplished wife of fifteen years, who is, rather unfortunately, in the same field as I (at another university, thankfully).
Our ‘relationship’ continued until the end of the semester, when it was apparent that I was not going to end my relationship with my long-distance boyfriend of five years (it’s true, I behaved horribly, I know), nor was I going to have children. Two things that were obviously important to this professor.
January 31, 2012
Dear Breakup Girl,
Your column is great!! I’ve read and learned so much from your advice given to others, and now I need your help. Here’s the scoop: I’m 26, and 4 years ago I met a special guy who was my first. We dated for 3 years, moved in, and after 10 months I broke up with him. I realized that after living together, he was not the man to spend the rest of my life with…a lot of it was the little things, but there were some other issues as well. We moved out (apart) last Sept. I dated a few people after that, but nothing serious. Come march, my ex sent me an email (it was approaching our anniversary).
We ended up meeting, and well, I’m sure you know the rest. Also at that time I was feeling very lonely and was ecstatic to be with him again (although still unsure about the future thing). We started going out again. As exes, he had changed, for the better. After a while though, it just got too comfortable. He was settling in nicely into my 1 bedroom apartment. It was all too familiar. A couple weeks ago though, I met someone, we hit it off. After one night, we fooled around and I ended up spending the night. So, I was unfaithful to my ex, who had become not-so-much my ex anymore. I told him, of course, and now I feel like crap. He was extremely angry with me, called me every name under the sun, and also sent his friend an email with horrible things written about me, and copied me on it. (This is not like him at all!) Yes, I am sorry, he was a great guy…he loved me so much. Now I’ve thrown it away. The question is, I don’t know why! Was I afraid of commitment, or did I just need to have fun? I don’t know, but I wish I hadn’t now. I’ve wrecked my ex’s life twice, why? This new guy doesn’t even mean anything to me!!! What do you think is wrong with me??
Nothing is wrong with you. You’re allowed (vs. recommended) one rebound; you’re allowed (vs. recommended) one relapse. It’s just in your case, these two incidents happened to, um, overlap. Tell your ex you’re truly sorry (let’s hope he apologizes for the little e-mail incident), and give yourself some serious space. Also, a break.
This advice was originally published September 14, 1998.
October 11, 2011
In for repairs on August 24, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have a great and mysterious power. I can sniff out women who are still on the rebound, even if the breakup was years ago, and even greater and mysteriouser, I have the ability to wave my magic wand of fixing, and make everything better. Then it comes back and bites me on the ass.
Am I being obtuse? Let me clarify.
I have been in two serious relationships, and a two close-to-serious ones (I’ll explain what that means later). For reference purposes, let’s call them SR1, SR2, CTSR1, and CTSR2 (aren’t I original?). In all cases, the lady love in question’s last boyfriend was a total jerk (to hear them tell it). SR1’s was physically abusive, SR2’s was completely insensitive and mind-gamey, CTSR1 and CTSR2 both had exes that cheated on them. (I hate referring to them in numbers, because each was amazing in her own right, so from here on in, when I say “she,” I mean “they.” But anyway.)
September 26, 2011
The fix is in on August 17, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl:
My two best friends (who are married) fixed me up with a friend of theirs, Dave, and we all went out a couple of times. Since then, Dave and I spent every spare moment together and our relationship turned very serious very soon. The problem is he’s in the middle of getting a divorce. I was very hesitant when we first started seeing each other. I kept telling him that he needed time to get through everything he’s going through and the last thing he needs is to be in a relationship. He just kept reassuring me and reassuring me. He told me that things have been over in his marriage for a long time. He told me he loved me and I was the best thing that ever happened to him. I kept saying that the timing was wrong and that he needed time to himself. He said that if the best thing in your life came along at the wrong time, does that mean you should pass it by? So I eventually caved in and got caught up in the euphoria that was our relationship. Three months later…
August 18, 2011
A quickie from July 13, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My new boyfriend says he is on the rebound from a woman he dated for three months (the majority of their relationship took place over the phone). Go figure. She is also 18 years older than he is. Anyway, rebound to me means get over it. I told him to call me when he figured things out. Is there hope or do I really care?
— Nagged in NY
In this case, “rebound” to me means “Let’s sleep together when I feel like it.” Enough said.
August 17, 2011
Next Page »
No escape on July 13, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Ready for some….humor? I divorced after five years last December. I went on my first date in 7 years 2 weeks ago – what a total, unmitigated disaster! Now I remember WHY it’s been 7 years, and will be 7 more. (I’d started thinking about this in the context of summer flings more than anything else.)
I got a call from a man I’ve known almost 10 years. We started out dating for a few months all those years ago, and he plain ole out-and-out dumped me. We played on the same softball team, and everyone knew before me. How fun was that? I got over it fairly quickly (hey, what choice do you have when you’re the pitcher & he’s the catcher…), about the same time he decided the cute but empty-headed bimbo (she was, truly) he’d fallen for was just that and wanted to come back. I said no, and we’ve been great friends ever since. We used to talk several time a month, then less and less, but it’s always been amazing that we can pick up exactly where we left off, no matter how long ago. I’m sure you can see where this is going.