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October 2

Now that he’s sober, should I try and get him back?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:51 am

This Is Your Relationship on DrugsThe Predicament of the Week from November 9, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

At the risk of sounding redundant, I really like what you’re doing here. Your advice is sound and thoughtful and you have a warmth and humor that really translates. I also appreciate that a lot of the letters are really really long and you print them, because in matters of the heart, these things are complicated. But enough about you.

I met my (currently) ex-boyfriend Nick four years ago. We had the HUGE love thing, that instantaneous, dramatic, mind-meld, soulmate thing. We ended up moving in together almost immediately. The problem was that he was The Ultimate Party Boy. He could not walk by a drug without taking it, stayed out all night, left me alone when I was sick in favor of a party, drank ungodly amounts of alcohol, that sort of thing. At the same time, he was this amazing guy. Big blue eyes, long dark lashes, brimming with sincerity, said all the right things, was committed to me and always said he wanted to settle down and be the kind of man his father was. His father was a rock, pretty much John Wayne. He’s been dead for 15 years and people still talk about him in hushed, awed terms.

Nick spun ever deeper into the hole of drugs and alcohol (I don’t drink at all, just don’t like the taste). In the meantime we got two amazing beagle puppies (because I thought we would be together forever) and bought a house in the suburbs. I am originally from NYC, so this was a novel, completely unexpected thing, a little ironic but also very pleasant. His family came up with the money for the down payment and we paid the mortgage together, though I wasn’t on the papers because his stepfather was already co-signing. But I digress.



September 28

A relationship gone to pot

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:34 am

This Is Your Relationship on DrugsLying about drugs on November 9, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I met Rebecca nearly seven years ago in high school and we were friends until she went away to college two years later. We lost touch until about eighteen months ago, when she returned back to the area to start her career.

After ten months of hanging out once or twice a week I came to the realization that I wanted to take the relationship to a ‘higher level’ and expressed this to her. She considered it and agreed, and we committed to one another romantically.

At the time I was a regular user of marijuana. I smoked maybe three or four times a week with my friends, and she had done it once or twice in college. Two months into our new relationship, she expressed concern that I was smoking too often. Looking for a good reason to quit, I promised at that point to give it up.

Two months later, after little in the way of struggle, I smoked pot again. I told her about it, and, while she was concerned, she was happy I told her and we left it at that. The problem is, my usage didn’t end there. I started doing it every couple of weeks, consistently.

Meanwhile, the relationship continued to get better. We started travelling with one another, and we spent the night at one another’s apartments three or four nights a week. We were in love and the future looked bright. We rarely had any kind of tense moments and even then we resolved them quickly. Except for the issue with pot. She seemed to be a touch suspicious and would bring up the topic every now and again. I would deny any kind of involvement with dope out of the fear of losing her or causing her undue grief.



September 27

When I need him, he’s getting high

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:36 am

This Is Your Relationship on DrugsFrom geek to freak on November 9, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’m a sixteen-year-old girl who had been in a relationship for 1 and half years with my “first love.” First I’ll tell you a little about our relationship. I meet him my first day of high school (he’s a year older). He was the sweetest person in the world. I was the total b*tch. He tried everything to win my heart. We became very close friends and he never gave up the chase to win me over. Finally after denying to myself for 7 months that I also cared about him, we hooked up. The relationship has always been bumpy. Mainly because were two teenagers trying to find ourselves. See, he was a total nerd when I first met him. He let everyone walk all over him. Now he has totally changed his attitude and look. We have the same exact friends. We have only gone out on two dates out entire one-and–half-year relationship. We mainly just hang out with each other in a big group of our friends.

This past summer he totally changed. Started smoking pot every weekend, started pulling away from me. I’ve been a “bad girl” in the past. I’ve done my share drugs to see what it does to people. I’ve even had friends die because of their habits. But I learned my lesson and have stayed away from drugs, except for the occasional beer, shot, etc. Another thing is I’m in a really tough part of my life. I live with my mother, stepfather and my two half-brothers. My family has never lived in the same place for more than 3 years. Because of this, I don’t have many friends and I’m a really quiet shy person. I’ve spent the past five months going to doctors, having test done to figure out my ongoing health problems. My family lives in PA; the rest of our family lives in MN. My family is losing my grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And I still can’t get over my grandfather’s death, even though it was four years ago. I really need my boyfriend (ex-boyfriend) right now, but all he cares about is going out and partying. I know it’s his senior year but I really need him. See, I don’t really have any friends and he’s the pretty much the only person I can trust. But I don’t trust him when he gets high and goes out with his friends. WE had always hung out together and now he just wants to hang out with the boys. And that means going to parties where’s there’s drugs, and other girls. I guess I’m hurt that he doesn’t want to spend any more time with me. I know I’ve been a b*tch, but I have improved a lot. I don’t know what to do. He has always been my security and now he’s not there. Granted we’ve only been broken up for a week, but we’ve been broken up before. He always seems to come back, but now I don’t know if he is going to. It’s really hard to love someone so much and then all of a sudden they tell you that there’s nothing left anymore. He also has had a tough life. He works 11 hours a day during the summer and has to give his paycheck to his family. His mother is extremely strict and set in her ways. His family is pretty much poor because of a heavy debt. I know he is in the process of finding himself. I’ve also been his first kiss, first real girlfriend, etc. I just don’t know what to do. I’m so lost and all I need is him right now. I’m sorry for rambling on and on. Thank you for listening.

— J.W.

BG’s answer after the jump!


September 25

My ex love is a junkie

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:41 am

This Is Your Relationship on DrugsA heroine fix from November 9, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

This is hard. I dated a guy briefly, and it didn’t work out. He understands this, but beyond us, his life is crumbling. He accepted a corporate job in computers at age 20, and hasn’t been able to let go of his old lifestyle. His friends are all musicians, some of them the best, and he’s the odd man out/in. He’s their rational, their accomplisher, their answer man. HE feels bad leaving the party early, he feels dedicated to his job. Now let me explain where I come in:

I love this man, dearly. He’s beautiful, with eyes that’ll melt your heart. He’s super-smart, but in an off-beat, real-world way. He’s been ill (ulcers) to the point of almost dying. He’s a heroin junkie. You see, when we broke up, he decided that getting back together would be too much for me, and felt he would drag me down. He’s proceeded to isolate himself from his friends most of the time, and has been using copious amounts of drugs. He has the $$$ to keep it up; he has the stubborness to ignore the warnings. He’s the best thing that ever happened to most of the people I know, his company, and maybe even people who don’t know him yet. I can’t help feeling guilty watching him die off like this. It won’t be long. And he’s pushing everyone further and further away emotionally. Recently his ex killed herself, blaming him in the “final” note. He’s provided me with e-mail (owns the server), a place when I’m lonely, money when I’m short, and compassion when I need it, and I feel so helpless. I know his time is drawing near, if he doesn’t stop. But I can’t make him. The more I try the deeper he goes. Do I walk, or do I force him to help himself? If he dies, there will be a void in many people’s lives, mine included. I’m sorry this sounds so cluttered, but, those are my thoughts.

— Melissa

BG’s advice after the jump!


September 24

This is your relationship on drugs

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:51 am

This Is Your Relationship on DrugsAsk anyone single, and they will tell you that the number of, well, couples is on the rise. Ask anyone at the Department of Health and Human Services, and they will tell you that while overall drug use is down, use of cocaine and heroin is creeping up, especially among people under 26. Merge these trends and you’ve got the strung-out boyfriends and girlfriends of tomorrow. And right now, boyfriends and girlfriends of today’s drug users are writing to Breakup Girl to ask (among other things): When drugs are a crowd … do I just say Go?

Remember, Breakup Girl is only a superhero, not a trained substance abuse counselor. But it doesn’t take a trained counselor to notice how many letters arrive in my e-mailbox in which the bad guy’s name is Jack Daniels — or, the bad girl’s, St. Pauli; in which chemicals kill chemistry; in which certain substances are not so controlled; in which the writer doesn’t know whether to be furious or terrified. Or to know how it feels to get dumped at the 1980-something eighth grade Beach Dance because you didn’t have much — that is, much interest in smoking pot — in common.

There are plenty of resources out there for family members and parents of substance abusers but, according to BG’s supercomputer, not as much help is obviously available for Others who, once drugs enter the picture, feel a whole lot less Significant. And who, as such, have their own set of concerns about guilt, partnership, trust, “enabling,” gauging the toughness of love.

So where do you start?

Here’s the would-that-it-were-that-simple bottom line (with a little help from BG.com’s Actual Credentialed Expert, Belleruth):

If it’s to the point where the bad mojo is really interfering with your honey’s — and/or your — ability to work and play and love and feel; or if a large portion of your energy is going into responding to the substance abuse, thinking about it, planning around it… the deal is: get help or get out.

This if…then either/or might sound like a big Breakup Girl DUH, but it’s not. Because:

1. Substance abuse problems are often more subtle: no needles in the den, no dates with dealers … but how about “social” drinking that gets anti- every time? Pot before class? Pain dulled with dope instead of dealt with?

2. At the other end of the caveat spectrum, most partners — user and Other — kid themselves about how bad things are getting. Especially because the abuse — like domestic violence — often escalates incrementally. So things can get out of control before you’re even clued in.

And even if you already know that either getting (a) help or (b) out are your only real options: how do you decide?

The answer is: ask. Someone with particular expertise in the peculiar dynamics of drugs-plus-love.

Still, it’s totally fine to start the asking with Breakup Girl. To use a cliched-but-true recoveryism: the first step is admitting there’s a problem. This is true for the People Who Do Drugs, and — for the reasons in points 1 and 2 above — it’s an equally tricky and trippy step (though in different ways) for the People Who Love Them. So Bravisimi to those of you who’ve already written.

For the third step, you may wish to check out: The hotline at the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (1-800-662-HELP), general information about substance abuse, organizations that deal with it, various support groups, plus alternative ways of dealing and healing.

A version of this column originally appeared on November 9, 1998.


October 4

Have fun, will travel

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:48 am

Getting crazy on August 17, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I have an unusual situation. I don’t really have a girlfriend per se, but there is a woman in my life who I see when I’m around. I travel a lot, as in 85% of the time. I may only get 3-4 days notice that I, for example, have to go to Jerusalem for three months. Or, I may wakeup one morning to a phone call asking me to go to San Francisco for the day. Needless to say, it’s hard to have a real relationship. There is this woman in my life, who I do care a lot about, but we drive each other nuts. The net result is that we bump into each other when I’m in town, and have a really wild and crazy, completely irresponsible, sexually torrid, two-day affair. Then we each decide that the other is nuts, start avoiding each other, and then I leave town. When I get back, the cycle repeats. Our love/hate thing seems to be based on the fact that we’re really very similar people, but we’ve gone two separate ways. We see eye-to-eye and understand each other, but our lives are utterly different. I’m a highly paid technical consultant and she’s a stripper/full-time alcoholic. I collect exotic sports cars and condos in interesting places, she couch-surfs and does a lot of methamphetamine. I take meticulous care of my personal finances, and she periodically tries to kill herself. As you can see, we’re very different. But, underneath these different surfaces, live nearly identical minds. Weird, isn’t it? I keep getting drawn back into her chaotic life, no matter how much I tell myself that I just need to walk away. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is that no one other than a wildly unstable lunatic would ever want to be involved with me. I’m successful, but wildly eccentric. I’m sort of a suit and tie guy, but deep down at heart (and on weekends) I’m a shaved-head and leather clothes kinda guy. We’re a perfect match in some deeply twisted way (I won’t go into the details, but we share many common interests). Should I just give up for good?

— Jason

This is truly a job for Breakup Girl … after the jump!


May 26

Dumped for drugs

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

The Predicament of the Week from July 13, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl (I do believe that is the traditional way of starting these letters),

I’m in a bit of a fix. While it may not be anything new to you, it’s still causing me emotional distress on levels I didn’t know existed. Here’s the setup:

I’m 16 years old, give or take a month or two. 5 months ago, I entered into my first relationship–an odd thing in this state of society (waiting until my age, that is), but i’ve always been waiting for the right person. Anyhow, five months ago, I asked this person (let’s just call her “Sherry,” since that sounds clever if you know her real name) if she would care to be with me. Remarkably enough, she accepted. And even more remarkably, things were almost perfect…we grew very close, very fast, and were practically inseparable. I recall meeting a new friend about a month and a half into this relationship, and her shock at how long we had been together…she figured we were at least at the 18 month mark. We even lived together for a brief period, and that worked out magically. About two months into the relationship (in fact, exactly two months) I came to the informed decision that this was truly something special, and that I was now willing to take our relationship one level higher…thus, I let her take my virginity away. Realize that this was a conscious decision that I made before the relationship began, and that she would have been more than willing to do this earlier on…I just wanted it to be something special. And it was.



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