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June 5, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

My twin brother has been dating a girl for about three years now, and I want them to break up. When they are together, they seem happy, but I am concerned for the following reasons:

1. She is unintelligent. She does not seem to have any real goals in life. She mainly watches TV and plays video games with him; that's about it. When asked about her future, she says that when he gets out of college, she will go to school for "Human Resources," but she doesn't understand what kind of job she would have.

2. My brother denies that they are dating and is angry when told otherwise. He talks about her unintelligence when she is not around and has said that he went back to college so the relationship would "bleed out." He has said that he does not want to get married for a long time, if ever, and can't see himself as a father. I have offered to set him up with other girls, and he has seemed interested. Also, he is always talking out a girl who broke his heart years ago and tells me that his "standards" for girls (looks-wise) are higher than mine.

When I was in college, I was in the same type of relationship. My mother disapproved of the girl I was dating, and over three years, I gradually "fell out of love" with her, but I stayed in the relationship because we had discussed our lives together, and I felt that leaving would ruin her life. I thought that I would be the main breadwinner for our family if we got married and told her that we would always be together and that I would even help her pay her college loans. I finally got enough guts to end the relationship after a girl (currently my wife) told me: "If you stay with her, you are making the choice for her to be with someone who does not love her." Even then, the breakup was long and arduous, with me trying to play Mr. Nice "I'll-be-right-here-till-you-get-over-me" Guy. It was a terrible breakup, and I broke her heart.

How do I let my brother know that he should move on without making him go in the opposite direction? I believe in tough love, but I think that telling him, "Break up with her!" would hurt our relationship and maybe make him go the other way.


Dear Kurt,

The "same type of relationship!?" Wait, where's the part where he tries to "play Mr. Nice?"

Now, I can't even begin to fathom what sort of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hurt twin thing is going on here. On a more practical level, I guess you could say something like what your wife (cute!) said to you -- that, at least, expresses your opinion but leaves the choice his. Or you could simply go the "Dude! What are you thinking?" route. One could also make a case for finding out (from her friends?) if she knows that monogamy is not one of his human resources in the first place, and conferring with them on how to take it from there. But beyond that, I'm really not sure how much you can do to actually cause a breakup. Mainly because it just doesn't seem to me that anything you say to him would, like, get through at all -- even to the point of having the opposite effect. At least not to any degree he would ever admit.

Kurt, I can imagine how frustrating and sad it must be to see your flesh and blood -- and twin! -- go down this frankly bizarre road. I do wonder, though, if someone here is still somehow trying to play Mr. Nice. Still feeling a wee bit guilty about his own breakup and not wanting to see another heartbreak (or slow corrode) so very close to home. Not wanting to think that someone like him in so many ways could behave that badly. Or heck, maybe someone's just plain annoyed and worried. I don't know.

All I can suggest is, if indeed you feel that your relationship with him is paramount, as I suspect you do, work on that in and of itself. Can't let yet another relationship "bleed out" (eeuw!) over this one.

Breakup Girl



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