As a Manner of Fact
Break Up with Him Already
April, 2006 - Issue #18
You, me, the woman next door - we all have a friend that, regardless of otherwise demonstrated tendencies towards common sense, refuses to kick her worthless you-know-what spouse/boyfriend/live-in-lump to the curb.

Currently, my friend in need of a serious "What the heck are you doing?" blow to the head is my sister (Sorry, Honey - I wouldn't normally rat you out, but you deserve it). Now, I'm not one to get caught up in the relationships of others (Ok, that's a lie, but I do try), but my dear sis, like other past pals in need, keeps calling me with tragic stories of love gone astray.

Here's the dilemma: After months or even years of hearing about horrible infractions, drying tears, offering suggestions, supporting their decision to leave and everything else that comes with being a good friend, what's the cut-off date for no longer caring when your gal pal arrives with yet another valid complaint that will end in nothing but a big make-up fest days later?

It's not often that I ask questions that I can't answer (oh, the joys of being a know it all), but I'm really torn this time around. Everything in me wants to literally shake some sense into sis, but the past has dictated that no matter what, she'll go back to her verbally-assaulting, two-timing bump-on-a-log beau.

The columnist in me wants to say, "Look, ladies. If you have no intention of ditching your lame other-half, don't trouble us with the emotional turmoil of your relationship. There are over-priced counselors for that." I mean, really - how often have you said, "I'm so tired of listening to this crud that I'm about ready to break up with him for you. Pack your curling iron, grab the babies and leave!" Of course, the female in question always responds with the obvious: "You're right, he's bad, I should leave him... Oh, wait - he's on the phone and says he's sorry. Gotta go!"

What is it about some women that make them so capable of wasting their lives with men who don't appreciate them? Is being alone so awful that the alternative sloppy-dressed, poor-mannered, uneducated, angry, cheating boyfriend seems to be a catch?

Here's my observation: We supportive pals don't make the situation any better. Yes, I'm blaming our overly-sensitive, want-to-come-over-and-cry attitudes. You see, we make it better. We comfort them, hold them, tell them everything's going to be better - and then send our friends renewed and comfortable back into the arms of the beast who tormented her in the first place. Of course she's more eager to forgive - she's just consumed 1,200 calories worth of coffee cake and is operating on a sugar high!

Now, I'm not suggesting that we stop providing support; that's cruel. What I am alluding to, however, is to have limits. Why not say, "Hey, Sis. I love you, but I'm tired of hearing your pain without seeing you take steps to make it go away. I'll always be here for you, but let's not talk about so-and-so until you've made your decision to leave. Then I'll help you pack all those goodies you've stolen from me over the years."

That's what I'm going to do, anyway (You may want to do the same, just not in a widely-distributed magazine).

And for you gals, and you know who you are, who should have gone after the single life long ago - please, drop the drama, gather up what remains of your self esteem, and hit the road! You have a few girlfriends who look forward to dishing about what the neighbor-lady was wearing instead of your love-life gone wrong.


Judith once broke up with a boyfriend on Valentine's Day, so you probably shouldn't take her advice on love. That may also explain why she doesn't get many e-mails these days. Make her year by dropping a line to
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