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Parallax - Advice

June 10, 2002

Hate the banker?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I am in my early twenties. He is a 24-year-old banker who I love and hate at the same time. Although he does nice things for me, I don't see us having a future because of too many differences. Socially, I love people and like to go out in groups, while he would rather spend time with just me. The question I have been asking since eight months ago when the relationship started is, 'Well, is it time to break up?' Please help. I am so confused. What do I say to break up with such a sensitive, shy man?Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Checking,

It sounds like it was over before it started. You're both very young. Believe me, you will both recover.

I sense no real spark or common ground in your description, and the relationship is most likely doomed. I think you will be doing him a disservice if you do not end things quickly. Otherwise, he will keep hanging onto you and may just show up with a ring one day. Now, that would be an awful scene.

Tell him the truth—you're young, have different interests... He'll be quite unhappy for a short time, but then he'll move onto somebody more suitable.

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His view:

Dear Checking,

First of all, you should definitely break up with him. If you were my girlfriend, and I found out you hated me half the time, I wouldn't want to be around you. Also, do it sooner rather than later. He will begrudge you the delay, especially since it appears to be born out of pity. No one likes to be pitied.

However, consider this: Are you really procrastinating the breakup because of concern for his shyness...or are you worried about yourself, as well? In the latter case, I still recommend breaking up, simply because it will help you find out if you really care that much about this social incompatibility.

The only difference is that in breaking up with him, you may want to position it as a temporary separation. If the breakup is a good idea, it will stick and you can search for a more socially compatible mate. (Keep in mind, however, that once you do, you will immediately find that the new man has flaws, and that you may be bound to love and hate him, too.)

As to the right approach, bankers deal with a lot of ego-bruising on a day-to-day basis, so I wouldn't worry too much about sugar-coating the breakup. So what if he does nice things for you? That's just part of the basic boyfriend job description.

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