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December 22, 1997 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Special Holiday Edition   (Monday, December 22, 1997)

Dear Breakup Girl,

I have been planning to break up with my boyfriend (of two months) but would rather wait until after the first of the year. My decision (based on my desire to see other guys, coupled with his irresponsibility and general disorganization) has been delayed because of the holidays and, more importantly, the fact that we both have two weeks of difficult final exams. If I know that he bought me an expensive Christmas present, am I under any obligation to stay with him or to return the gift to him after we break up? Is the fact that the gift is something I lobbied for extensively in a previous relationship -- but never got -- material to this question at all?

-- Merry Christmas

Dear Merry Christmas,

Your letter serves as a good reminder that the mischievous ghost of Christmas Presents tends to make us all a little naughty. As in: "She's really annoying and we're totally incompatible, yet that big Sharper Image bag in her closet has taught me that I should learn to be more patient and accepting." "I'd rather not break up with him at Thanksgiving...but then again, think of the savings!"

To answer your questions directly: No, you are not obliged to stay with him just because he bought you, say, the Seattle Mariners. No, you are not obliged to return the gift (though if/when it comes to that, it would be proper to give him the option to take it back).

But Merry, you are obliged to consider, right now, how you will feel at the moment when you accept this pricey trinket knowing full well that you're going to bail on this boy come 1998. I ask you this especially because Breakup Girl is suspicious. How do you happen to know that Son of Santa got you an expensive gift? An expensive gift...after only two months? Could it be that you made his list and checked it twice...that you lobbied for this long-awaited mystery gift in this relationship, too?

In any case, there's something going on here that doesn't sound to Breakup Girl like the true meaning of Christmas. Make your own list of priorities, check it twice -- and do the nice thing.

Breakup Girl

P.S. What's the gift?! Come on, what?! What?!? Tell! Breakup Girl is dying to know.



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