Got a tough one for ya. So, I’m at the point where I want to end things with my current GF. There’s a lot that’s good about our relationship, but there are some serious issues. She has big issues with anxiety, depression and self-image that I can’t handle. Problem is, she’s aware of all these things and is also super insecure about them. How do you end something with someone when what they’re insecure about is, in fact, the cause of the end of the relationship?
I don’t want to make her feel worse, and I want to be as compassionate as possible because I do care for her. It’s just even harder because she’s aware of the difficulties she puts on the relationship but doesn’t work to remedy them. I feel like if I’m honest with her about why I want to break up with her, it’ll just reinforce her low self-image and insecurities… but its true! Should I be honest about my reasons?
Tough Love Sounds Just Tough
Yes. It will be difficult, but your honesty may actually get her on the right track. What she really needs is to work on these insecurities. She should probably get professional help, but regardless of how she does it, she needs to get happy (or at least comfortable) with herself before she finds happiness or comfort in somebody else. You’re supposed to be her partner, not her shrink. It’s not fair of her to expect you to be both. And, you said it yourself: she is not working on the problems she knows she’s bringing to the relationship. And frankly, you’re not helping her by enabling her, either. Do what you need to do. Do it honestly, do it quickly, and wish her well.
I enjoy your column and advice; however, the recent inquiry by No Woman, Oh God prompts me to write.
I am an attorney who primarily represents workers in employment matters. Many people do not realize that there is no legal protection against sexual orientation discrimination under Georgia law or federal law. Thus, even if an employee works somewhere that is open-minded and has policies forbidding sexual orientation discrimination, if the employee is fired for being gay or lesbian, there is no legal remedy. Federal law gives some protection to men who act “too feminine” and women who act “too masculine,” so NWOG may have some protection if he begins cross-dressing at work and has problems with his boss. Even so, if he gets terminated, it may be difficult for him to challenge the decision in court.
The law needs to change, and there is currently federal legislation referred to as “ENDA”(Employment Nondiscrimination Act); however, it is being blocked in Congress by conservative Republicans. Until the law changes, people need to realize their lack of rights in the workplace. In addition, perhaps we all need to make sure our Congresspersons know we support ENDA. Thanks for letting me get the word out.
Janet E. Hill
Thanks, Janet! I always appreciate the insight of a professional. I still feel that based on what NWOG said, that he would be secure in his job, but your letter makes a strong argument for the baby steps I mentioned – a little eyeliner here, a splashy scarf there, for starters. Also, I will happily write to my Congressfolk, and if you will send me a link to some information (or any possible petition) about ENDA, I will be happy to print it here and plaster it all over Facebook in hope of gaining support from my legions of new friends and followers.
How do you break up with a friend? I have known this particular woman for 10 years. During this time, our friendship has waxed and waned, and we have gone from talking weekly and seeing each other (when we lived in the same town) to catching up a couple times a year by phone. We have always written to one another during these times, and it was only after I returned from living in another city that I realized how crazy she actually is.
Many of the things that she said in her letters turned out to be either wild exaggerations or flat-out lies. “Boyfriends” turned out to be other people’s boyfriends who she was screwing on the side; “good friends” turned out to be people who barely returned her calls or people who she obviously did not treat well herself. So, basically, I have come back to find that she has been deluding herself for years and acting like a slut, and when I actually spend time with her I more often than not feel like screaming and running away.
This started out totally depressing and uncomfortable, and has now moved on to a stage where I am embarrassed and afraid to be seen with her for fear of what she might do or whom she might offend. It turns out she has screwed over several of our old friends who I had lost touch with but would MUCH rather be hanging out with than her. I don’t really have any interest in making a big statement or a dramatic exit, but I have got to get off this bus or my life in this town will be ruined. What should I do?
It sounds like this woman is pretty messed up. You say you want to avoid drama, and from your description I gather that this will be nearly impossible. If you are absolutely certain that you can’t (or don’t want to) convince her to get help, then I would just back away slowly. Make sure you’re busy when she calls. Don’t call back every time, and then eventually not at all. In other words, make it appear that you are growing apart, rather than letting her know you already have. Good luck.
A Note on the Old-Fasioned Daters: In case anyone was following, I am happy to report that the Old-Fashioned Daters have gone on a date! No details or anything, just the whisper of possibility that makes you feel alive. Ahhhhh…
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