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Dear Breakup Girl,
My boyfriend has some issues. I'd like to get someone else's opinion
on two of them in particular.
1. He thinks that people in relationships don't need friends,
because they have each other. Please tell me I'm not deluded in thinking that
this is not true? Maybe some people don't want friends -- well, I do. And spending
time with them doesn't mean I like them more than I like him. How do I explain
this to him?
2. He thinks that if a relationship is right, then it doesn't
need any help, ever; it just works, perfectly, all of the time. No books, no
friends' advice, no Breakup Girl. Apparently, if you need those, your relationship
is doomed. Um, hello? My guy is obviously quite misguided on this one. How do
I break it to him?
Apart from these things, we're great, and the relationship would
last. They just make it difficult when little conflicts arise. Help?
My dear friend Amy and I have this joke.
You say, "'Big Brother' is totally riveting!" and then <pause>,
"Oh, wait. The opposite."
Ahem. As for your letter:
1. People in relationships don't need friends.
Oh, wait. The opposite.
"People in relationships" should
be in relationships, plural. Like, assorted platonic ones. Pals. Buddies. Friends
from past places, like camp. (Don't make me say "activity partners.")
You don't have to be the Popularity King/Queen
of Butterfly High, but if you don't have at least a few others to kick back
with, your partner will want to kick your ass. It's suffocating. It's horizon-limiting.
It's boring. So: arguably -- and this is how you could try to sell it
to him -- your romantic relationship will be enhanced, not threatened,
by this outer circle. (Special warning: if he's saying he can have friends,
but you can't, BG does not like the sound of that. Because it sounds
a bit like this. Take heed.)
2. If a relationship is right, it doesn't
need any help, ever. Oh, wait. The opposite.
How many people write to BG to say: "My
sweetie rules, I'm totally happy, and we're never leaving each other. Here's
my question..." -- ? Totally normal, if not healthy, to always be inquiring
and tweaking. The "right" couple evolves together. Which means sometimes
you have questions, growing pains. I'd go so far as to say something's wrong
if you don't. Or at least something's...suffocating. Horizon-limited. Boring.
Magic is not the opposite of work. As Harry Potter could no doubt tell you,
magic takes work. More ways to put/break
it to him? The right haircut needs a trim. The right hinge needs WD-40. Pros
have coaches. Okay?
All of that said, I have to respectfully
submit that that's not the news I'd recommend breaking to him. Not
that people never change, but it seems like he wants you to have a stagnant,
stifling, unexamined relationship, on his terms. So do I. Oh, wait.
"I'm a huge gossip, and it makes me sick!"