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April 13, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for the past six months. He is a sweet, intelligent, smart, funny guy, but he treats me like I'm God. He never disagrees and falls at my feet. Every other word out of his mouth is "I love you! You are beautiful!" and that's it!!! I think without these words he would have nothing to say at all. I know most women would die to have a man like this but, personally, I feel like I'm encased in a tomb! How can I tell him that too much of a good thing IS bad, and that we need to stop things before they get any worse...?

-- Suffocating

Dear Suffocating,

Can I borrow him?

Notice I said, "borrow," not "have." Yeesh. If most women would die to have a man like that, we'd all be swooning over Stuart Smalley. Not gonna happen. Why not? Well, your letter reminds me of that song by The Samples that goes, "Everything you've ever said is brilliant! Everything you wanna do is fine with me!" Sounds divine, right? Well, here's the chorus: "This is much better than love / this is ... a crush story."

To, uh, beat your granite metaphors into the ground: in the realm of relationships, pedestals are not built on foundations -- at least not one that you've laid together. The reason why you're antsy is that what it sounds like you've got here is pure blind worship, which, while flattering, is not satisfying -- except to some velcroish unmet need on the part of the worshipper. You're the object of someone's affections, but the subject of not much else. You miss out on that little frisson of wanting-to-make-someone-happy-even-though-you-know-they-already-are. There's no give-and-take, none fight-and-make-up, none of the learn-and-grow messiness of l'amour.

So. What you've got is fine at the six-week point, but not at six months. What to do? Well, when you say you need to "stop things," what "things" do you mean? The sweet nothings that are, at this point, everything? Or the whole thing? If you want to give it one more shot, tell him point-blank that you love and appreciate his love and appreciation, but you also have a hunch that you would also love and appreciate all the other things he has to talk about that are not you. Make him write "I love you!" and "You're beautiful!" on index cards. He may flash them if he is so inclined, but just for an experiment, he is not allowed to say them. If, over time, the conversation/relationship flourishes, then he may have just needed his butt kicked out of the Crush Phase. If it flatlines, bust on out of that tomb ... doggone it.

But if you happen to tape-record any of his devotional speeches, Breakup Girl will buy a bootleg.

Breakup Girl



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