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September 30

How do I explain this breakup … at a job interview?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:48 am

Back to work on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Here’s my dilemma: I moved to a horrible place in the midwest last year for the sake of Mr. Mediocre. Things ended a few months ago, and I’m getting ready to go back east where I belong. While I’ve been out here in the midwest, I’ve been a self-employed writer. So, now as I’m applying to jobs back east, the first question every interviewer asks me is “What brought you to the midwest?” From my resume, it’s obvious that I never had a regular job here, and that I had a good gig going back east before I left. So, how do I explain this move to a prospective employer? I can make a joke out of it pretty easily, but I find it hard to explain it in a way that helps a job interview (probably because it still hurts, and I’m sure that shows). So what do you, the Miss Manners of breakups, suggest I do?

— Tongue-Tied

BG’s answer after the jump!


September 29

Long-distance guy acting distant

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:18 am

Burying the lede on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Ok…so I guess I have two questions. I was just reading your bit on long distance relationships so here goes. About two years ago I broke up with my boyfriend of almost three years. A year ago, I asked a complete stranger out. Completely random — I thought he was cute, he said yes — voila, lunch date, movie we hit it off quite well. I end up getting sick — as in having surgery sick. I move in with my parents — 3000 km away — to Washington state. He visits here twice, I visit there once. Each time he has been here, he has been very affectionate, very sweet — we’ve made travelling plans together etc. We both agreed before I moved, that a commitment, a formal relationship, would be ridiculous. Mainly due to the enormous distance and the fact that neither of us is ready. (I want to be single for a bit due to my tendency to merge with the other person and lose my personality — other story.)

Fine. Groovy. So, a few months ago, I went to visit him. At his house — he lives at home as he is getting into real-estate and has it easy. He behaved very, very differently. He was distant, not as affectionate. Didn’t talk about plans — wasn’t as nice even. Now, I had just come off of my period, so hey, I thought maybe it’s hormones right? All in my head? But, now that I’m home, and we talk on the phone every Sunday, I’m getting the same vibe. (He had email for awhile and in type, was his usual self before my visit self — and he was like that at the airport when I was leaving too! Grrr.) I know he hates the telephone, but prior to my visit, he didn’t let that stop him from being sweet. What is going on? A couple of my friends are convinced he is seeing someone else — and yet, we agreed on complete honesty. Is he seeing someone and is too uncomfortable to tell me? I would be fine and taking it one day at a time if there hadn’t been this strange shift in his behaviour towards me. Was it my being in his house? Here is this commitment-phobic person (he says he does not want to get hurt, bad things have happened in the past and he is just very nervous of getting close) and I’m in his bathroom brushing my teeth, talking to his mom and dad, chatting with his sister while he’s at work…did it scare him? freak him out? Any advice to stop this noise in my head would be wonderful!



September 28

Looking for mister good-bar

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:54 am

Down and out on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’m attractive but overweight, therefore, no one even gives me a second look. Every time I meet someone in a bar, he’s “bar quality.” I don’t like church socials and I don’t have friends (they left with my last relationship). How do I start over?

— Where Can I Find Someone?

Dear Where,

With an attitude makeover. In the meantime, I’ll try to get a cliche makeover. But it’s true. Look, BG will always readily acknowledge that often, in our boniness-is-next-to-goddessliness culture, the larger one is, the harder it is — paradoxically — for one to be/feel “seen.” BUT. Sounds to me like people do give you a second look. You do meet guys in bars; you just don’t like them. You had at least one relationship, which is actually more than a lot of “thin” people who write to me can say. I’m not saying you’re being ungrateful or not “looking on the bright side;” I’m just saying you might be projecting more than necessary of the dating angst we all have onto your own weight. And then what you’ve got is a big fat self-fulfilling prophecy.



September 27

Exes don’t help exes through breakups

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:18 am

Making a mess on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

You must be the hardest-working superhero on the ‘Net. I’ve been reading your column for about three months now, and find what you have to say provocative and sensible. Here’s my big question: how does one deal with guilt? I need a little help.

Obscenely short fact roundup: G and I were engaged, but not particularly happily (you know: he asks you to marry him, then gets freaked out when you start thinking kids, house, future…) He started getting itchy feet, and wanted to break up (sow his wild oats, find someone with a body type ‘more his ideal’, the usual nonsense). So, I agreed, and we moved apart back in October.

I then (not having read BG’s website) broke a number of BG’s rules for breakups: it was long, slow, and messy. I was lonely, and depressed, and we spent far far too much time together. We also kept sleeping together sporadically, which was always followed by a few days of being utterly depressed to the point of it affecting my work and quality of life (thank you to my roommate for making sure that I ate!). All I wanted was to stay friends and to get on with my life (which I couldn’t do when we kept sleeping together). I had made it clear that we weren’t getting back together, but he kept saying that we weren’t and why couldn’t friends sleep together, etc. I wasn’t in a good space. (I should add that he was trying to date some woman in December, but it didn’t work out.)



September 26

Fixed up with a fixer-upper

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:52 am

The fix is in on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl:

My two best friends (who are married) fixed me up with a friend of theirs, Dave, and we all went out a couple of times. Since then, Dave and I spent every spare moment together and our relationship turned very serious very soon. The problem is he’s in the middle of getting a divorce. I was very hesitant when we first started seeing each other. I kept telling him that he needed time to get through everything he’s going through and the last thing he needs is to be in a relationship. He just kept reassuring me and reassuring me. He told me that things have been over in his marriage for a long time. He told me he loved me and I was the best thing that ever happened to him. I kept saying that the timing was wrong and that he needed time to himself. He said that if the best thing in your life came along at the wrong time, does that mean you should pass it by? So I eventually caved in and got caught up in the euphoria that was our relationship. Three months later…



September 23

The death of my relationship?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:29 am

Dying for an answer on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Help — my relationship of fifteen years is on the rocks because his ex-wife is dying of cancer. He is spending all his time with her at the hospital and won’t talk to me about the situation. I feel totally useless and unloved. Question: should I just hang in there or think about pushing for a resolution from him? We are in our 50’s and have not married due to trying to keep things separate for our kids and the tax benefit these days of being single vs. married.

— Lynn

Dear Lynn,

Yuck. What an uncomfortable and unpleasant situation. Unfortunately, no, I don’t think now’s at all a good time to push for anything, except ways to entertain yourself in his physical/emotional absence. I’m not evaluating or defending the way he’s handling things; I’m just saying that when someone’s going through the [impending] death of a loved one, all behavioral bets are off. I don’t know his personality; it’s possible that he might detach himself just as much were the loved one a relative rather than a LOVED loved one — it’s just that the latter is obviously more unsettling for you. So it’s a bummer, but right now all you can do, grim as it sounds, is wait to see how things shake down after her death. That is, if you really want to stay. I mean, you tell me about this “useless and unloved” feeling: is it bothering you mainly because it’s so wildly uncharacteristic of your relationship, or because it’s a long-standing malignancy that seems to have metastasized? So ultimately, it’s not about waiting vs. pushing. It’s about deciding for yourself what kind of cure you really want to find.

Breakup Girl


September 22

A new chapter

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:17 am

falllogoPlaying it smart on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

This is going to be kind of long, since I have several questions for you. First, it would be easiest if I set up some background. I am 14 years old, I will be 15 in September. I am heading to college this fall in Florida. I currently live in Maryland. Back in November, I was on Yahoo chat and I met this guy. I’ll call him John. He is 16. (Yeah, I know, here it comes! :-) He and I seemed to get along, and– you probably won’t believe this– we spent 9 hours on a chat room reciting movie lines from “Pure Country.” OK. That was fun, and all that kind of thing. I put him on my email list, to get all the junk and stuff I sent out. Back in February, we both got ICQ and started chatting. On February 12, he asked me to be his netgirl. I accepted. (Just wait, it gets better.) Well, for a while there we were talking almost every night for about 3 hours, until his and my work interfered. Also, during that time period (Feb.-April) he was emailing me 2-5 times a day. (BTW, he lives in Iowa) Now, we chat about once every 2 weeks (if that often) and I have gotten two, count ’em, emails from him since June 17. I know I am starting to sound a bit obsessive….forgive me, it’s late. :-) He and I have the same interests, but we are different enough to not be clones. I feel totally comfortable talking with him, and I consider him my best friend as well as my boyfriend (which is what our relationship has been upped to). We share the same morals and views on most things, he respects my parents’ views, and wants to consider us engaged. (All of this I am relaying as of 2 weeks ago, our last chat.) He also listens to me, takes my opinions seriously, and has a great sense of humor. (Did I mention that he is cute too???) So, from every standpoint, he is “Mr. Right.”

Well, except for a few things.



September 21

The preemptive breakup

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:59 am

falllogoDownshifting on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Recently, my boyfriend and I broke up because I am going away to school in the fall and it would be too hard to wait until the end of the summer to break up because we will only get more attached. It is one of those situations where love isn’t enough to stay together … we both knew that we are just at very different places in our lives, and it isn’t our time. When we broke up, we knew we had to stay friends, but we don’t really seem to be communicating at all, and everything is weird between us. How can we make going from a long-term relationship to a friendship any easier?


Dear Lindsey,

Ah, the preemptive breakup. If it works for you, it works for me. But listen, it’s not weird that things are weird between you. Things are weird after a breakup no matter what; add to that the fact that you’re going away — you’ve left yourselves, unavoidably, in a “if she’s going away from here, where do we go from here?” limbo. Besides, no relationship transishes naturally from more-than- to just-friends. I’d say this: don’t sit around waiting for him to call, wondering if you should, making it all “mean” something in your overactive post-breakup imaginations. Limit your interactions, for now, to occasional planned activities that you both enjoy (perhaps even some, like movies, that don’t require communicating at all). That way you may be able to go through the motions of the friendship without putting undue pressure on the e-motions. It will not feel “the same;” don’t expect it to — it isn’t. And it will all feel less acute when you go away, it really will. Good luck in school!

Breakup Girl


September 20

Drifting away to college

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:11 am

falllogoCollege bound on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I am sixteen going on seventeen, and my only experience, really, with relationships, was an LDR that sorta faded away (he stopped emailing) until I realized (after 4 months!), with help from my best friend (an Angel!) that I needed closure, so I ended it. Then this summer I was going out with a guy (all of this is secret, of course, since my parents forbid even THINKING of guys That Way) who was perfect to me. Problem is, we’re heading off to different colleges. He broke up with me, kinda for that reason, and that’s cool. I felt REALLY bad for a few days, then sorta bad for two weeks, and now I’m kinda okay again. We became really close friends over the summer, and he — and I — would like to keep in contact after we head to college. You know, email, etc. He is special to me, as a friend, now (I realize the magic is gone now, Relationship-wise). He was my first a lot of stuff, from first REAL kiss (tongue) to … well, there’s a French word, demivierge. Most of it was a first for both of us. And I have no regrets. Is it impossible to really keep that kind of friendship going? I’m afraid it’ll be like the last time I tried to keep in contact with someone (LDR boy) — the gradual drifting away. Is that inevitable, or just my experience…? I’d appreciate a response.

— Better

A Better answer after the jump!


September 19

FALL in/out of Love

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:18 am

falllogoWhether or not it’s September 21 yet or not, Fall is definitely upon us. Labor Day, Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Movie Preview issue, and the premiere of Ringer are all signs that it’s time to discuss the dramas that many of you are facing. They will generally come in two varieties:

(1) Hot summer flingamagigs: can/should they weather the autmnal chill? Bottom line: let’s say you were temporarily unable to have “sexual relations” (as defined in Breakup Girl Superior Court as “you know exactly what I mean” ); would you have anything to talk about? If not, well, you do need to talk.

(2) Love U.: should high school sweethearts give it the new college try? Breakup Girl is not saying that all couples who are about to have campuses come between them should automatically give/break up. But here’s a little higher education for you. Do not underestimate how much being in college consumes you. It is not just having your same life in a different place, only with fewer parents and more people in the bathroom. It is having a different life in a different place, with fewer parents and more people in the bathroom. No matter how pure and devoted your intentions, it will be really hard to toggle between your lives new and old — especially if you are having an excellent time. And even if you’re having trouble adjusting — which, actually, most people do in some way — pleeeeeease promise me you’ll focus on how to improve your lot at school, not on how to cling harder to the person at the heart of your homesickness. Oh, and about the “we’ll ‘see other people’ at school but still be ‘together’ when we’re home” thing. Here’s Breakup Girl at her most blunt: Nope. Doesn’t work. Which, I know, is not going to stop most of you from trying it, “just to see.” I understand; I won’t be mad. And I will try to refrain from making an I-told-you-so link back to this column when you write to me at Thanksgiving.

Okay, that should serve as an introduction, if not a deterrent. I’ll finesse and elaborate in my responses this week to the letters you’re writing me about why your situation is “different.”

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