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December 20, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

My "boyfriend" and I have been dating for about 14 months over a year and a half period. This past August, I moved to go to college. He has been at a college near my home town for two years. We decided it was fine to date other people. I am in a sorority, and, obviously, I have dated other guys. My boyfriend has not dated; I'm sure of it. Recently, we decided to consummate our relationship. Not much has changed really. I just feel a little closer. I was invited on a ski trip weekend by another guy. I told my boyfriend, and he didn't care. He thinks it's healthy. He says that these things will continue to happen over the next few years. He wanted me to tell him all about it. He thinks we should be able to tell each other everything and share everything. He "cares so much about me." I think it is weird that he is not slightly jealous. I can't have a serious relationship like we have with casual aspects. What can I do? Am I being rational? Also, he wanted to put a $20 limit on Christmas presents because "we're poor college students." Tacky?


Dear Haley,

Tacky? Oh, I don't know. Maybe just practical. But not, as these things go, so imaginative. I mean, other starving students manage to put on thinking -- rather than spending -- caps and come up with things like: "Let's celebrate our love with a midnight walk on Christmas Eve and splurge on mini-marshmallows for our cocoa" and other stuff too cute to print.

But that is neither here nor there, because, well, so is your relationship. Yup, it is peculiar that he doesn't seem jealous; most boy/girlfriends who support "open relationships" do so only until they actually happen; frankly, I'm surprised that "open" includes ski trails. Thing is, I don't want you missing out on some guy nearby who would be riled if someone else swept you off to the slopes and with whom you've got something more romantic to do than "consummate." I understand that you are "dating" at close range, but how far is that gonna go when the new man on campus finds out that you're dishing about him not only to your sistahs, but also to your "boyfriend?" I don't know, Haley, you might want to put a 14-month limit on relationships where "boyfriend" is limited to quotation marks.

Breakup Girl



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