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June 26, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Predicament of the Week
In which Breakup Girl addresses the situation that has, this week, brought her the most (a) amusement, (b) relief that it is happening to someone else, and/or (c) proof that she could not possibly be making this stuff up.

Dear Breakup Girl,

I am crazy, funny, gainfully employed, and a rock-goddess-in-bloom. I am also in love with my friend's boyfriend. I wouldn't call her my best friend, and since I play in a band with her boyfriend, I see him a lot more than I see her, but I honestly love this girl. Probably as much as I adore her amazingly endearing, sweet, dorky, and beautiful boyfriend.

The problem is twofold. One, she's mean to him -- a bit on the mental side, and while I love that about her as a friend, I can see why she would be hard to date. I know He and She love each other, but they fight constantly (not too long ago he quite uncharacteristically missed rehearsal because of an hours-long car fight ... ouch). And, despite my best attempts to stay out of the fray, it's pretty much impossible, seeing as I love them both. When I see either of them hurting, it's almost impossible for me to not to at least try to reach out to them -- thus hearing details of things I should probably not hear about, and replying with observations (not secrets, just observations) I should probably not be sharing.

Two, well, I love him, and I know he has love-ish feelings for me, and if she were not in the picture I would have conked him on the head and dragged him back to my cave months ago, with little protest on his part, I think. But that doesn't help when he leaves my apartment at 2 AM after an amazing practice, after basically soul-melding with me for five or six hours, and I know he's heading down to her house while I'm heading straight to bed alone again. I know I should just write a song called "Don't Take Me There" and sing it to him when he starts to vent about his situation with her, and lots of times I do ... but my reserves of strength in this area seem to dry up whenever I need them. I know I just need to stay out of it ... in fact I arranged myself a far-off summer hiatus to get a venue change and some distance from the whole debacle. I would be lying if I didn't admit, though, that part of the reason I'm going away is so that he will be starved for my sweet, judgment-free girlish company, and realize that he is meant for me, not the one who makes him cry on a semi-daily basis.

I guess I'm just asking for some ideas on how to deal with the pain I feel when I realize their love is not actually anything that involves me, and that I honestly have very little chance of bagging this boy, given the current setup. I love him so much it hurts, yet I can't bear the thought of hurting my girlfriend and am making myself very very sad and moody at the same time. Is there any possible way to be a good friend to both of them and, most importantly, to myself?

--Looking for Sanity in All the Wrong Places

Dear Looking for Sanity,

Yikes. You are truly caught between a rock band and a hard place. Surely you do realize that even the secret-plan part* of your not-unwise summer hiatus may well work both ways; your heart may come back tanned, rested, and ... fonder.

By the way, I presume -- based on likely repercussions on band, friendships, etc. -- that you've ruled out up and telling him? (Here's what The Guy at the End of the Bar might have to say about that.)

So let's see. If the crush "hurts," I can't tell you to enjoy it; if you're, er, wedded to the band, I can't sing you that Cold Turkey song. Best I can do is suggest that, when you come back from your hiatus, you try to come a little more slowly to their emotional rescue. I know you care and want to help. And I know you already do have an inkling that you need to stop going there. But really. All this soul-melding and detail-hearing and observation-replying is also giving you a heady zipless-threesome fix. A feeling that "their love," somehow, in a take-what-you-can-get way, is something that "involves" you. You say you "reach out?" Try your darndest to leave that to them. You may well still find yourself carrying that...lighter for this guy. At least give it less butane to feed on.

And console yourself, maybe, by surmising that the kind of relationship they have is the kind of relationship he digs. You say she is mean to him, but it really does take two to tangle. Fighting in car, spilling to friend, spinning of wheels. I'm not saying it's bad (we must remember what Bridget Jones' friend Magda said, "People's relationships are quite mysterious. No one from the outside ever really understands what makes them work."), but maybe that's not what you'd want. Or to finesse, maybe the guy he is in relationships is not the guy you want to be in a relationship with. I really don't know, but hey, I'm looking for something.

Meanwhile, try to enjoy and make the most of your vaca. You probably don't feel like it, but while you're gone, try to hook up your "available!" vibes to your amp and see who reaches out to you. Hey, maybe then I'll get a letter from him.

Breakup Girl

*See, Optimist? It can work either way.



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