By Way of Introduction to The Breakup List, a Special Shout-Out That I Meant to Print A Long Time Ago
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This letter just happens to have a male antagonist. It could totally be the other way around, yo! In fact, BG didn't have to put in all the "s/he"s; the writer , bless her heart, already had. Boy-bashing: never done it, never will; don't want to hear it from y'all. Same goes for "Staten Island."
Dear Breakup Girl,
Okay, this isn't so much a question as it is an observation. I have a very close friend, let's call her Ally. She has been dating a guy, let's call him Jerk. It fits. They've been dating for almost five years. He still doesn't call her his girlfriend. He still says he has "commitment problems." He has come right out and told her he never wants to get married or have kids, which she desperately wants. The list goes on and on. Ally continues to see this guy despite the times he's treated her like garbage and won't commit to even having her as his girlfriend after five years. They barely spend time together. I've seen the guy a total of four times in five years and she's one of my best friends, so I see her often. Ally is a very attractive, smart woman; every man who meets her wants to date her. She just passed the bar exam and got the job of her dreams. She doesn't need his crap, but she thinks she's in love. According to her, this guy walks on water. When he pulls something really nuts, she'll call me and complain, cry, etc. and claim she doesn't want to speak to him, this time it's for real, blah blah. She can't see what an animal he really is.
My point is this. I can't tell her what to do. She's a grown woman (we're both 32) and I refuse to. I have no problem listening every time something goes wrong, which is often, and just being there for her; that's what friends are for. I am writing to you because I know how many people are out there in the same situation that she's in. I've been there, too, and so have a lot of my other friends. The deifference is that we've all come right out and said s/he's a @#$% , but I'm gonna hang around anyway for a little bit. Then when that little bit was over, we faced the music. She is TOTALLY BLIND to what this guy does to her. She takes more garbage than a Staten Island dump site. I try to tell her that you can find someone worthy of your love and attention who won't walk all over you. I've seen it happen, and lucky for me, I let go of all the idiots that gave me garbage and moved on.
So, for all you people out there (and you KNOW who you are) who think Ally is you, here's what you do. You deserve the best. Don't settle. Life is too short. If you find yourself saying, "Things have been okay between us for the last few days, weeks, months (whatever, pick one), so I can stay with him/her 'til s/he screws up again," GET OUT. Now. I did and I sleep now. I used to not be able to sleep. Ally complains she can't sleep through the night. HELLO!!! Maybe the problems with schmucko are filtering into your sleep cycle and making you miserable even in REM sleep! Here's what I'm saying, people: It's better to be alone and okay than with someone and miserable. I know you've heard it all before, but hear it again. BG, you get too many letters from people settling for less because they don't want to be alone or whatever. Stop it!!! I finally followed my own advice and did just that last October. It was one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Blew off every moron. Good luck to you all.
Breakup Girl responds: Right on. A side point: let's let this letter remind all of us, advice-givers included, that having the "dream job," excellent friends who write to BG on our behalf, and other non-boy/girlfriend components of a Great Life doesn't mean we're magicallly fulfillled. I mean, it definitely helps, but it's not automatic. Remember, sometimes the people who wind up wildly waving Super Soakers and howling gibberish on the roof of the Circle K are the ones who make headlines like, "Locals Scratch Heads: Soaker Citizen Always Considered Stable, Achiever." Conversely, some people who have few friends, day jobs they consider lame, etc., are indescribably happy, alone or "with someone." Who's to say why? Who's to say who is going to wind up with that nameless inner emptiness that lands us in the arms of Jerko/a? Just a thought. Thanks for your letter, Aruba.