Holiday Breakup Blues


Blane Bachelor helps you figure out how to deal with the biggest turkeys over the holidays, and what she really means when she says she wants space.

Q: It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I’m ALREADY dreading Christmas. That’s because my longtime boyfriend and I broke things off about three months ago. Our time was up, I guess, and I miss him horribly. But what I’m immediately freaking over is my family, specifically, their upcoming pity party. My family (especially my dad) had a great relationship with my ex, and already they’ve started whining about being disappointed that we’re no longer together and how much they’ll miss him being around for Christmas. Ugh. This is making a bad situation even worse. Is there any relief possible? My mom hosts a large family gathering on Christmas Day, and I can’t stand the thought of the nonstop inquisition about being single forever, etc., etc. PLEASE HELP. – Bah Humbugger

A: Ahh, the holidays. What would they be without obnoxious relatives in reindeer sweaters, tormenting you nonstop about your single status? Which is painful enough on its own, but downright excruciating when you add heartbreak to the mix. By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will be over, but it sounds like you have yet to face the biggest turkeys on the holiday scene. Here’s how to do it in one piece.

First, ward off the inquisition avalanche with a few zingers laced with shock, sarcasm and deflection. For example, when decrepit Granny Eunice tsk-tsks: “Too bad about you and that boy. Will you ever get married?” you reply: “Maybe, but not before I use up the economy-size box of condoms I just bought.” Or: “Of course not. Then what would you have to talk about?” Second, never underestimate the silencing power of implying just a touch of insanity. When slimy Uncle Larry oozes, “Well, missy, looks like another one bites the dust, eh?” you calmly reply, “Guess so. I think my Lorena Bobbitt impersonation hit a little too close to home for him, if you know what I mean,” while smiling wickedly, wielding a massive carving knife and hacking off a large chunk of salami.

Finally, try to remember your relatives’ badgering doesn’t mean they’re Grinchs (Grinches?) trying to steal your sanity. If you can frame it as off-the-mark but well-intentioned expressions of their love and concern, you’ll have a much easier time not wanting to shove a holly wreath up their ass every time they start in. Plus, keep in mind that if they’re married, lack of sex is probably clouding their judgment on meddling into someone’s personal life. And if all else fails, start drinking. It’s hard to answer questions when you’re passed out, isn’t it?

Q: So I got back together with an ex girlfriend from earlier this year, after a while apart. When we got back together, we both acknowledged our mistakes from the past and agreed to work on the things we both had problems with. So we date for a few months and suddenly I’m feeling deja’ vu in our relationship. Specifically, she has lost all sex drive (though she admits this is a problem she has had in every relationship stemming from some previous personal experiences we don’t need to discuss here) and now comes the biggest blow, she says she wants space.

Granted, the last time we dated we did spend too much time together, and though seeing each other almost every night might seem like too much for some people, I figure if we were both willing then why keep a time clock on it. So basically, I’m now dating a girl who wants her “space,” and doesn’t have sex with me. Am I insane to continue trying to make this relationship work? Please help! – Confused Guy

A: The short answer is pretty much yes, though insane might be too strong a word. How about overly hopeful? Willing to take a risk? Or could it be that too much space, too much history (both your shared and her personal) and too little sex have just addled your brain?

Good on you both for figuring out the problems you need to work on; reconciliations don’t happen without that step. Unfortunately, that’s where it ends — she’s making it very clear that she’s not interested in putting in any more effort. Sounds like the time apart just helped her clarify what she really wants – permanent space.

Déjà vu is a perfect plotline for chick flicks and Hallmark movies in which star-crossed lovers miraculously connect through the space-time continuum. But this isn’t déjà vu you’re experiencing. It’s your gut, reminding you why you broke up in the first place: This girl doesn’t dig you. Listen to it and get out now.

Finally, here’s where I think I can provide the most help: by offering a gentle reminder to take your foot off the gas in the early incubation stage of a relationship. Flood the engine with too much fuel, and it won’t start; same goes with romance. So best to leave the smothering to the cooks at Waffle House.