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August 4

He’s the death of the party

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:13 am

The Predicament of the Week from July 27, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I am a 20-year-old college student slated to live next year in the same campus housing as my current (21-year-old) boyfriend. “Mark” and I have been going out for 11 months, in what is my first serious relationship and his first relationship, period. I love him and know that he loves me dearly, but lately he’s been breaking my heart. Mark told me when I met him that he was a loner with a dark disposition and antisocial tendencies. Among his first words to me were, “I don’t have fun.” I started dating him anyway, and was pleasantly surprised when he turned out to be a funny, gentle, loving individual who shares several of my most important values. Neither one of us wants to have children, because we feel that passing on our genes would be a form of child abuse (sure, they’re great in adults, but kids like us get hell in school). We also take a strong stand against premarital sex, a position that most of our friends and acquaintances do not share, and something that we both worry about in regards to possible future partners. We both love nature, eating cheesecake, and good drama of any sort, and are addicted to computer games. We have younger siblings who we alternately despise and tolerate, and parents who we have tried not to emulate (completely, anyway) while growing up.

Other personality points proved problematic. He is easily depressed, looks for things to go wrong before they actually do, and has a tendency to put me in damned- if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t situations, where he won’t let me change my mind to avoid p*ssing him off with a decision I was going to make. But what is really giving me fits now is his absolute refusal to participate in anything social. We recently went to a banquet-type social function that I thought he wanted to attend. Mark spent the hours before the banquet agonizing about whether to go at all, which was partly the fault of a mutual friend who had invited a guest who we all knew would cause problems. Mark didn’t want to be around either of them, but since he’d already paid, and since he did want to be around me, he decided to go. Within the first five minutes, he was sulking in the corner because someone had cut in front of him in line to sign a guestbook that he really didn’t want to sign anyway. It took me ten minutes to persuade him to go inside and say hello to the friends that hadn’t p*ssed him off yet. He had chosen to stake out a seat at an empty table, which had since been filled by guests of the head honchos running the banquet, and when I said I’d be sitting at the table with the rest of our friends, he ran out the door. He came back when we started getting food and asked if he could sit at that table, and I moved some chairs for him to sit by me. Problem solved? Nope. Partway through dinner, something I said made him run out the door again. By then I was fed up and let him go. He came back after a long slide-show presentation and told me he was going home. I was almost too mad, both at him for ruining what was supposed to be an enjoyable evening with friends–for all of us–and at myself for thinking he’d be able to have fun there, to tell him good-night.



June 11

Reason #2347 why BG is co-ed

Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:33 am

A study at Wake Forest University of more than 1000 unmarried young adults ages 18-23 has found that the emotional roller coaster of romance has an even greater effect on the mental health of men than of women. “Surprisingly, we found young men are more reactive to the quality of ongoing relationships,” said sociology prof Robin Simon, who found that men experience both greater stress when things are rocky and greater “emotional benefits” when things are rocking.

“Surprising?” Maybe, but only against strong, silent stereotype. For one thing (as Simon notes), men are more likely to rely on their galpals as their primary source of intimacy; gals, meanwhile, have their own galpals.

Simon also notes that (paraphrase) “strain in a current romantic relationship may also be associated with poor emotional well-being because it threatens young men’s identity and feelings of self-worth.” While men are more affected by the quality of an existing relationship, women are more affected by whether they’re in a relationship or not. From a summary: “So, young women are more likely to experience depression when the relationship ends or benefit more by simply being in a relationship.”

What this says to BG:
1. These results jibe with the letters we get/got.

2. Chicken vs. egg/nature vs. nurture? These results might do away with some stereotypes, but to what degree are the findings caused by stereotypes — or at least cultural assumptions, proclivities, etc. — to begin with? That is:

(a) women are “supposed” to be the emotional CEOs of relationships; are young men not raised with the same tools to manage them?

(b) Women, arguably more than men, get the message that they’re “supposed” to be in a relationship, no matter what; this, at least as much as internal factors, could explain why the study found breakups leaving women more bereft. (This also explains a lot of this.)

All of the above speaks to BG’s emphatically co-ed mission. Even though men represent 5o% of the partners in straight relationships, romance is  — still — usually considered WomensStuff ™. That’s dumb. Men — obviously — have questions, not to mention feelings. Let’s work all this stuff out together, according to what we need, not what we’re “supposed” to want or have. K?


April 15

Cheap date

Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:04 am

Really, you can both pinch pennies and feed your squeeze! Visualize whirled peas with Clara Cannucciari, 91, host of Great Depression Cooking with Clara, who offers thrifty recipes — those her mother made in the extra-lean 30s — along with salty way-back-when anecdotes. Dig this one about her friendly neighborhood whisky bootleggers. (Sorry, no recipe for that.)

Via BoingBoing.


May 7

Love hurts (but it hurts men more)

Filed under: News — posted by Maria @ 2:11 pm

Check out what our neighbors to the north have discovered: men are about twice as likely to report depression stemming from divorce than women.

According to the AFP news agency, men aged 20 to 64 who had divorced or separated were six times more likely to report an episode of depression than those who remained married, according to Statistics Canada. Women, however, were only 3.5 times more likely to have had a bout of depression after a marital breakup than those still in a relationship.

Neither the study nor the news report on it gave any real indication of why this was. What would have been interesting is if they paired these statistics with ones on who initiates divorce and reasons cited for the split. I wonder, for example, if women are initiating the divorces more because of cheating spouses and the like. In which case they are probably six times more likely to be pissed off after divorce than men. Or hey, vice versa.

But do check out that little happy nugget of news at the bottom. Turns out it takes only four years to get over the complete and utter devastation of losing the person you love. Well sheesh, if they can solve that one, now can they tell us how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?


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