June 7, 2012
Fudging the results on October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Had a girlfriend of two years end it by saying she needed more of a “roller coaster” type of relationship. A woman dumped me for telling her she looked nice in blue. Another for bringing her bottled water while she worked outside on a hot day. Another woman who telephoned me all the time dumped me after I called her for the first time. Another gal looked me up after three years, flew 500 miles to visit me days later and told me I was the only man for her. After tearful kisses at the airport and a vow to return soon, she refused to talk to me ever again. Another lady constantly told me how much she disliked me and how unsuited we were as a couple, but resisted all my suggestions of ending the relationship. I finally had to insist. Tip of the iceberg stuff here.
For whatever reasons, many women are apparently self-hating nuts. If one man disrespects another man, animosity results. But if a man treats a woman poorly, she makes excuses for his behavior. Women seem to flee affection, honesty, stability and attempts at mutual respect.
No, I am not one of those too-nice guys, but neither am I willing to be a cold, selfish, drama-inducing jerk in order to have a relationship. Given my experiences over the past ten years and those of every man I know, I conclude this: Many women want to want someone, but they do not want (and will not tolerate) someone wanting them.
Please tell me I am wrong.
– Mike X.
Dear Mister X.,
Are you sure you want me to tell you you’re wrong?
Let me back up and explain what I mean.
June 6, 2012
Coded messages from October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I don’t know what to do. My girlfriend of a year and a half has just abruptly left me. I had not been able to contact her in about 4 days due to conflicts with my work and school. Finally I get a hold of her, and she just drops a bomb on me. “I want to see other people” and “I need to find myself;” furthermore, she is already dating someone else without even contacting me to initiate a breakup. This just came from nowhere! I broke down at work, my life was shattered. I begged her for explanations, and none were offered. I don’t know why she has done this.
We met when she was a junior and I was a senior in high school. I helped pull her out of a deep depression created two years prior by a previous boyfriend who date raped her. She had dated no one since, and she reclaimed her virginity for those two years. Yet she was always downcast, antisocial, and she wrote the darkest poetry, which she shared with me. One day in our Physics class, I sensed her pain and all I did was extend my hand. I’ve never understood why, but she responded by placing hers in mind. We later spent many nights talking and crying. I felt her every emotion, I could truly empathize. We entered a relationship, and soon we fell in love. I have always feared that as I’ve watched her heal, grow, recover, and mature, that she would one day be strong enough to move on. I feared that I was just some kind of tool to get her out of depression and to a point in her life that she no longer needed my help and companionship. This past Sunday has seemed to confirm my most haunting thought.
But everything seemed so perfect with her. We shared so much and bonded in so many ways. The only thing that ever strained our love was distance. I went away to a college about 2 hours away (which isn’t so far that things should just end). We survived a whole year of commuting and staying committed, and staying in love. She graduated and enrolled in a college near her home so she could keep her job and live at home. With me still going to school 2 hours away, it seemed understood that we would continue the long distance relationship.
But something has happened, and I haven’t a clue what that something might be. (more…)
June 5, 2012
A long one from October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I’ve been reading your site for months now, and I love it. I’ve been feeling the urge to write in, but I haven’t actually had any questions to ask. You just remind me of a good friend of mine who moved to Seattle a few years ago. I figured I could send in a “Look! It can get better” letter for your collection.
I’m in my ninth term at college now, and the story goes way back to the beginning of college. I never had any relationships in high school. All the boys were so… young. So was I, but gee, you’d never have gotten me to admit it. So I get to college and poof! Suddenly there are all these smart, interesting people around. Amazingly, some of them are attractive, and some of them are scary, and some of them are both. But the only way to stop being scared of something is to just deal with it, right? Besides, all the scary people are the fun ones. These guys aren’t into drugs or guns or anything. They just know what they think and like and refuse to waffle about it. Plus, they’re fun. So they decide I’m an interesting person and we start hanging out. One of these guys is *incredible*, tall, funny, extroverted, incredibly handsome, dances, gives great hugs… oh yes, and he just came back from another coast to discover that his fiancee has been cheating on him, just to see what it’s like to be with other men. So this incredible guy decides that A: Relationships suck, and B: Sex is good. And starts seducing anything interesting (successfully; he even gets the girls to go after him). Ever see a man with a neon sign that says “BAD PLAN” in bright glowing red letters? There’s one. So the friend you remind me of spent a year telling me, “Bad plan! He’s notinterested! Run away!” and telling him, “She’s too young! She’s not interested! Run away!” And then the rumor mill decided we were going together, manufactured our dates, our proclivities, and our fights, much to our amusement. Can you say, OBSESSION? I knew you could.
June 4, 2012
Sometimes it seems that all we want from a relationship is for our partners to be — or learn to be — as cute and nice as we are. To react in a consistent manner to our stimuli. To learn to speak our language. To help us out by getting snippy if we’re not paying enough attention, yet to say “me love you” from time to time, no matter what.
Okay, that’s not a relationship, that’s a Furby.
For those of you who don’t have children whose lives you saved by buying them one (i.e. they held their breath until you did), Furby — who looks like the three-way love child of an Ewok, a Gremlin, and Gleek — is the latest world domination strategy from Tiger Electronics. Last year, Tiger brought us the Giga Pet (like the Tamagotchi), the world’s most stressful toy. Now think Giga with fur … and a brain. As you interact with Furby, Furby will respond, learn tricks, wiggle its ears, open its eyes and raise its ears when excited, react to other Furbies (collect ‘em all!), speak back and on its own, learn English as a Second Language (first: Furbish). For real. Unlike Giga, Furby does not die if ignored; instead, it whines for attention. So I’m not saying you won’t want to kill it.
But matter how you may feel about Furby, we are talking serious wizardry. (And to think Breakup Girl held her breath until she got Simon.) And yes, consumer-wise, Furby is the next Tickle Me Elmo — which, by contrast, now has all the appeal of the rotary phone (unless, of course, Furby turns out to be the next Felicity).
As for those of you who grew up rolling hoops and playing catch with hog bladders, don’t forget that there is also: Adult Furby. Last week, BG got an suspicious mass email hawking the artificial intelligence programs “Virtual Girlfriend” and “Virtual Boyfriend.” Not only will these cyberBetties and Baldwins remember your name, your birthday, and your likes and dislikes, they also “take off different clothes.” (Think Giga … without fur.) Even more realistic: (1) “each time you start the program…they have a different personality,” and (2) “you can say things that will upset them.” Keen!
So what does Furby have to do with love, Breakup Girl style? First of all, okay, okay, I want one. AS A TEACHING TOOL. The point: for worse and for better, we all Furbicize in our relationships. Meaning what? That to some degree, we grow and change and wiggle our ears in reponse to our partners’ stimuli. We develop learned behaviors, we acquire new languages (with words like “pooky.”).
But here’s the key difference: we don’t necessarily have a “different personality” each time. Often, the things and theories and habits that our little chips pick up from our first partner (such as “I suck at relationships”) carry over to the next, and the next — thus getting reinforced, if not all but hard-wired. We develop patterns that become so ingrained we don’t even see them as patterns, and even if we do, the idea of dismantling them seems tantamount to dismantling our very selves.
A version of this column was originally posted October 19, 1998.