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December 7, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

Oy! Where to start? Where to start?

I know! I was living with my boyfriend for three and a half years and then he dumped me! HE dumped ME! The nerve.

Things hadn't been perfect with us for a while. There had been a lot of arguments. He was majorly clinically depressed and wouldn't deal with it. Everytime I went out with my friends, I knew when I came home he'd pick a fight.

But he LOVED me. And I loved him. When we got together, we had both had crushes on each other for months and hadn't known it. So when we finally figured it out, there was so much pent up emotion that we moved in with each other within three months.

Granted. Not the healthiest action. We were probably just majorly infatuated. But then we made it work for three years, and I always thought that was validation of our earlier adolescent actions (we're both mid-twenties.)

But my problem isn't with the ex. Well, it is, but it isn't. My problem is with cutie-boy.

Cutie-boy is the older (early 30's) boy who works in the office suite next door from me. We kept running into each other in the halls. He kept asking me to coffee and I kept forgetting to tell him I had a boyfriend. When I finally told him, cutieboy claimed that coffee wasn't exactly a betrothal.

So I went and we had a good time, and to cut out a lot of extraneous info, we ended up sneaking into emergency exit stairways at work and making out. Harmless fun. I knew it was wrong, but told myself I was just getting a little attention that my (soon-to-dump-me) boyfriend wasn't giving.

Well, then the boyfriend dumped me, I lay on the couch for a month, and when I got off of it, I started dating cutie-boy. Cutie-boy is everything I could ask for -- charming, beautiful, intelligent, quotes Rumi and Keats, and has one of those gorgeous bodies with rock-hard muscles, but still lean. Plus the sex is great! (sigh) And he seems to really like me.

The problem? He JUST likes me. We've been dating for around three months now and he still doesn't call me his girlfriend (adolescent, but still important). Once or twice a week we go out on a date and then I stay over at his house. We have great conversations. He seems to really like me when we're together, but when we're not making plans to get together I don't really hear from him. He says that he's was in a serious relationship himself until a year ago, and isn't ready for anything terribly serious yet.

So herein lies the question (I knew I had one!):

I know I should just be hanging and being single, but here this cutie-boy is, in all his glory, and I really really like him. I liked him enough to cheat on the boyfriend I loved! So is there a chance that a boy who seems to have commitment issues and likes -- but isn't blown away by -- a girl could fall in love with her later? Or should I just say too bad this one isn't going to give me the love I want and call it a day?

Or am I just being a neurotic freak because I figure that if the ex dumped me, and he seemed to love me more than I ever thought it was possible for anyone to love anyone (me!), then how can a guy who starts out so luke-warm ever love me?

Am I making any sense at all? Am I just going to end up on your break-up list? Help me, Breakup Girl, help me!

-- Neurotic Freak Girl

Dear NFG,

I'm sure you like Cutie Boy. Especially if he goes around saying things like "unclasps her warmed jewels one by one..." and "When you are with me, we stay up all night talking. / When you are gone, I cannot get to sleep." Oh! Oh!

But you have to realize the only thing hotter than a Bartlett's Bon Mot boy is a furtive prebound in a stairwell. There had to be some sort of slowdown when this relationship became "legit" -- one that will no doubt make it look poky when compared to the fast-action infatuation you had with the first guy. And for the same reason, don't base your cutieboy Like-level measurements now on the fact that you cheated with him then.

So here's where to look: right now, is your relationship more about what you are getting, or what you aren't? Are you -- really -- ready for anything "terribly serious?" In other words, your next step should be based not on second-guessing what he might feel and do eventually, but on how content you are now. If you really want to know, though, my gut kind of agrees with yours: he can get to sleep without you. So maybe you shouldn't lose any more sleep over him.

Breakup Girl



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