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February 9, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Ask Not What You Can Do For Your Boyfriend...

Dear Breakup Girl,

Thanks for telling it like it is! You have a lot of heart too.

My question is simple but not easy. My boyfriend and I have been dating for the past few months and we are already talking about moving so we can live in the same city. Unfortunately, he is in Chicago for the next two years because he just started his own business and I am living in L.A. right now.

We met in a museum in San Diego while he was on a business trip and I was out having a good time by myself after getting hurt by a dumbass ex-boyfriend. I have no money and he is offering to help me move sooner by helping me financially. I have always been a "pay my own way" kind of girl and want to work the money up myself over the next year.

However, it is excruciating (!) to consider being apart for another year. We are very in love already, he is 26 and I am 27 and we are thinking of marriage in the next few years. I intend to have my own place when I move to Chicago since I also believe in not living together until you are at least engaged (!). I love him to pieces and vice versa! We just want to be together, but I feel there is a principle here that I don't want to break. He doesn't see any problem with helping me move sooner. What do you think, Breakup Girl?

-- Languishing in LA

Dear Languishing,

If you're that serious about him -- and about paying your own way -- then make a deal. Figure out about how much he's going to shell out, and then make a "plan" for "paying" him back. Not that love and generosity are or should be quid pro quo; I'm only suggesting this because it's bothering you. I put "paying" in quotes because it doesn't have to be an exact thing: maybe just that you bake his favorite pie or tune up his transmission every week. (You can guess that were Breakup Girl in your shoes, she would go with the pie, because she doesn't even know if a transmission is something you "tune up," and, even if you did, she doesn't think you'd have to every week. But you see the point.)

And actually, the even bigger point is this: in relationships, money is indeed Pandora's Cash Box. You two need not only to hammer out not only the nuts and bolts -- How much? When? What kind of pie? -- but also at least to acknowledge some of the feelings and complications that could come up -- What if you break up? Will you feel beholden to him? Would he want a refund? etc. If you two can discuss these matters intelligently and reasonably in the first place, that bodes well.


Breakup Girl



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