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Dear Breakup Girl,
I really need the advice of a neutral third party. I'm in third year med
school -- I met my boyfriend in second year and we've been together for about a
year. Everyone knows us as the cute couple at school because we're both really
outgoing and are quite well-known in the school.
Well, "Jerry" was my first love. I'm a loner by nature and enjoy
my own company very much. I also work very hard at school and am super-involved
in lots of activities so I never had much time to date in my teens and now in
my early twenties I met J. We seemed to have everything in common yet we are so
different at the same time. He has dated many women, and is very right wing,
while I swing to the left. But we've both been through our parents' messy
divorces and share a distrustful nature as the result. J has been supportive of
me and has helped me resolve a lot of issues but now I think I'm ready to move
But for the past month I've been trying to think of ways to tell him and I
just can't. I love him and I always will but now it's more a sisterly/brotherly
sort of love, not a passionate desire to be with him. He was my best friend
before we got together and I wish he always would be. But I know that if I
break up with him I will lose him forever. He thinks we will eventually settle
down together as two very sucessful professionals. I think its only fair that I
let him free to meet that someone right who he can settle down with. At the
same time I am also ready to move on, date, and discover for myself what it is
that really creates a spark in a relationship for me.
What should I do? How do I tell him? I figure the Christmas holidays would
be a good time to make this change since we're both away from school and it
will give us both some time to recover before school resumes. Please give me
some advice, I love him and don't want to hurt him.
Oh, ouch, I'm so sorry. This one -- well, duh, like
any breakup -- is going to be tough. Mainly because you still adore him, but
also because you are going to have to do some painful PR back at school.
But you know, R,.aside from being sweet and firm and
kind and honest and forthright, there's no one, like, "way to tell
him." It's not like there's something you can say that will -- as opposed
to something else -- make him say, "Right you are! I'm not hurt! You're
free to go." Come on.
So you can't completely his feelings, but to some
degree, you can spare them. Don't sugar-coat: they may have declared
Nutra-sweet non-carcinogenic, but it still has that saccharine aftertaste.
Don't patronize; it will make him (a) mad, and (b) say,"Well if I'm that
great, then why are you dumping me?" Don't tell him you think it's best
for him. Don't talk about being friends. Don't bring his politics into this
(especially because they may be the only thing bringing him joy at this time).
Do talk about how you feel, what you need, where you feel your life should go.
But don't expect him to, like, agree. Just do the best you can. Which may still
lead him to the conclusion that you're the worst person on earth. It doesn't
mean you messed up.
And about your timing. Holiday breakups, eeeuw. But I
believe that your logic, in this case, is sound. It will give you both some
recovery time before having to go back to school as the couple formerly known
as the cutest.
One more thing: I know and am touched by how much you
still care about him. I say the following to just about everyone in your
position, but I think a doctor-to-be needs to hear it loudest and clearest of
all: you cannot be the one to heal him. It's not like you should abandon him,
bleeding, in the ER, but you cannot be his longterm physical therapist or
primary practitioner; trust me, it just doesn't work. It may also drive you
more nuts than most that you can't make it better. Be prepared. And don't be
surprised if you need to prescribe yourself some bed rest.
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