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August 17, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I have an unusual situation. I don't really have a girlfriend per se, but there is a woman in my life who I see when I'm around. I travel a lot, as in 85% of the time. I may only get 3-4 days notice that I, for example, have to go to Jerusalem for three months. Or, I may wakeup one morning to a phone call asking me to go to San Francisco for the day. Needless to say, it's hard to have a real relationship. There is this woman in my life, who I do care a lot about, but we drive each other nuts. The net result is that we bump into each other when I'm in town, and have a really wild and crazy, completely irresponsible, sexually torrid, two-day affair. Then we each decide that the other is nuts, start avoiding each other, and then I leave town. When I get back, the cycle repeats. Our love/hate thing seems to be based on the fact that we're really very similar people, but we've gone two separate ways. We see eye-to-eye and understand each other, but our lives are utterly different. I'm a highly paid technical consultant and she's a stripper/full-time alcoholic. I collect exotic sports cars and condos in interesting places, she couch-surfs and does a lot of methamphetamine. I take meticulous care of my personal finances, and she periodically tries to kill herself. As you can see, we're very different. But, underneath these different surfaces, live nearly identical minds. Weird, isn't it? I keep getting drawn back into her chaotic life, no matter how much I tell myself that I just need to walk away. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is that no one other than a wildly unstable lunatic would ever want to be involved with me. I'm successful, but wildly eccentric. I'm sort of a suit and tie guy, but deep down at heart (and on weekends) I'm a shaved-head and leather clothes kinda guy. We're a perfect match in some deeply twisted way (I won't go into the details, but we share many common interests). Should I just give up for good?

-- Jason

Dear Jason,

I hate to tell you, but I don't think you're as wildly eccentric as you think you are. Half those shaved-head and leather-clothes kinda guys you hang out with on weekends ARE suit and tie guys the rest of the time, just like you. Half the relationships I hear about are love/hate opposites-attract infinite loops. Half the jobs I hear about are unpredictable and heavy on the travel. Mine being one of them.

So if you wanted me to say, "Wow, you are really weird, it's hopeless, you should never even try to settle down and commit to something stable, Breakup Girl gives you permission to mess around and complain about it for the rest of your life" -- well, sorry. You've assembled a lot of evidence that would point in that direction, but it's not, like, True with a capital T. So what DO you want, Jason? What is this thing you call a "real" relationship? Do you want in or out of the one you're in? Velveteen Rabbity, but True: it's Real if you make it real. Like, I don't know, maybe you are a perfect match (frankly, you're also not as different as you think you are -- you just have more cars/houses). Are you willing to take it on for real, help her quit drinking and doing other bad things to herself? Clearly you have the means -- do you have the will? If not, then yes, walk away and leave yourself open to something more stable (maybe narrow it down to one condo?). If you really want this so-called Real relationship, then I'm sure you're smart, meticulous, and successful enough to set up the circumstances that will allow you to have one.

Breakup Girl



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