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April 1

Dating feels like it’s life and death

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:50 am

Afraid to date on June 15, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I am having a serious problem that so far no one has been able to help me with. I was going out with this guy I met at college for a while…we got serious and he started hanging out with a gang. I don’t condone gangs, and I kinda think they are stupid, so we got in a big fight about it and he moved out. I never saw him again. What happened is the gang leader decided that he was a “narc” and he killed him. The gang leader was at one time my friend, he and I got in a big argument cause I told the girl he was dating, my best friend, that he had some odd beliefs. Like he thought he was a witch, and he drank human blood (vampire). She was very concerned and broke up with him instantly. He threatened to kill me and told me he would get me back and hurt me more than I ever hurt him…well he killed my boyfriend…I think he succeeded. But here’s my problem…every time I start to see a new guy, I can’t get over the fact that I am afraid that he’ll get hurt because of me. I know that the gang leader is in jail, but still I always get scared that the guy will get hurt because of something I do or say. It’s so hard for me to explain to the guy that I am scared for his life, because I would sound like a nutcase! I probably do sound like a nutcase…but I can’t help the way I feel about my poor BF…I miss him, and I don’t know who else I can turn to….can you give me any advice on how to deal with my concerns? Thanks.

— AJ

Dear AJ,

First of all, I am so, so, so sorry about your boyfriend. No one should have to deal with that kind of tragedy and insanity. But here’s where — and I know this is just a teeny little gesture that totally doesn’t fix things — what you have written and shared might make at least make a difference for others. So: Yo, everyone, if you think this situation is too out there to apply to you, get back in here. Especially those of you who have written to say things like, “Dear Breakup Girl, I know it wasn’t really my fault, but I’m avoiding getting into a new relationship because I’m afraid of hurting someone again.” And by the way, a lot of you write that even when the breakup wasn’t your idea. AND, by the way, your “idea” and your “fault” are entirely different. But still, a lot of us are walking around as if we’re wearing yellow “CAUTION: DO NOT CROSS” tape or “TOXIC” labels. In the real world, these signs are useful — to police, and to chefs — but in relationships, they are stifling. Look, even if you really did mess up — which, AJ, I can’t see how you did!– well, then, your next relationship is an opportunity not to. (No pressure.) AJ’s circumstances are way more “The Warriors” than most questions that come up on this kind of thing, but many of the emotions are, at their core, the same.

And as for your circumstances, AJ, I checked with Actual Psychotherapist Belleruth. Aside from sharing her sadness about your boyfriend, she said, “You should not be laying this stuff on your brand new beau, because — especially if the evil vampire guy is in jail — it’s not about him anymore. You are clearly feeling very guilty, and it’s taking the form of some obsessional thinking. I’d suggest that you talk to a counselor who can help you sort out what is your responsibility and what isn’t. And maybe even help you learn some new stuff about yourself in the process. In which case, your boyfriend will not have died entirely in vain. And perhaps you could give some thought to whom you choose to hang out with henceforth, too” — and Breakup Girl is pretty sure Belleruth gets tired of saying this over and over — “Blood-drinkers should, after all, be eschewed whenever possible.”

Breakup Girl


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