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April 24, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

Could you elaborate a little on the Breakup Mom and Dad relationship thing, i.e. how it works? You've mentioned that Breakup Dad is not so much into the verbal communication thing as Breakup Mom might like, but that they are totally into each other, and it obviously works. So, how does Breakup Mom know that Breakup Dad thinks she is the bomb? How does he show it instead? I ask because I wonder if I am kidding myself that I'm in a similar kind of relationship: i.e. am I not reading the right signals (that whole "guys are into actions" thing), are the signals just very weak either because he's unsure, out of practice, or too nice to be direct in putting me off, or are they just not there? How does a non-fluffy-slushy, slightly reserved/wary kind of guy show that he's into you as much as you might hope he is?


Dear Newbie,

Only children hear a lot. Especially after they read Harriet the Spy.

"Do you love me?"

"What a ridiculous question. Of course."

"Well, why don't you tell me?"

"Why do I have to tell you when you know it? Besides, I said I did when you asked me yesterday."

I don't know how long you two have been dating, but this conversation has been going on at Casa Breakup for 33 years, about half of which I was around for. So what makes Breakup Mom and Dad my in-house relationship role models? What makes their relationship work?

Well, since Breakup Mom is strong in verbal communication, we'll ask her.

"Whooooo. A toughie. It does work, very well. But the reason it's so tough to explain why is that so much of what's involved -- and critical -- is basically indefinable. Yes, I'm a totally-out-there, mushy-gushy, instinct-bound female paired happily for 33 years with a very reserved, detail-oriented, prove-it-to-me kind of guy.

I guess it's a combination of instinct, action, and respect.

  1. My instinct just tells me it's OK -- he really does care.
  2. And his actions tell me the same. There is little he won't do for me, in a nongushy, matter-of-fact but nonetheless caring kind of way.
  3. Finally, we clearly respect each other -- and most, though not all, of our differences. Of course those differences do get in the way sometimes, and I would like to say in my own defense that although my office is not neat, the spice rack is alphabetized. And of course I sometimes do wish he were more expressive and out there. But there are 'sometimes' in every relationship.

Instinct, action, and respect. I just don't know how to be clearer, I'm afraid. Maybe Breakup Girl could do a better job?"

What a ridiculous question. Of course not.

So Newbie, does your instinct assure you that the actions and respect are there? There will always be "sometimes," but you can and must have all three -- bottom line, if not every day. Don't make Breakup Mom have to tell you again.

Breakup Girl



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