Savvy Minds: Ask Dr. V ~ Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Dear Dr V ~

My problem is that I’m bored with my boyfriend and I don’t know what to do about it. We’ve been together for a few months and although he’s perfectly nice, I feel like we’ve run out of things to talk about. We’re not into the same movies or music, and he doesn’t really like to read or pay attention to the news, so I basically feel like all my conversation avenues are closed off. I like the guy and I don’t want to hurt him, but I feel like I may be missing out on something that’s a better fit for me. What should I do?

Dear Marni,
It sounds like you’re asking, “Is it OK for me to break up with this guy?” Unfortunately, though I do bear a mythological name, I am not an Oracle (at least not in the sense of one who can gulp down some ergot-laden wine and receive visions from Mount Olympus). What I can do is provide a glimpse down two possible avenues for you to take, and you’ll have to see which one of those paths rings truest in your heart.

The real question is how much more effort, if any, you are willing to put into this relationship before calling it quits. I suppose you must be on the fence somewhat about it, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing in asking my opinion. So let’s assume, just for the moment, that you’re willing to give it the old college try and give this guy one more shot.

You say that you have exhausted all possibilities for conversation, but I wonder if you’ve just exhausted the subjects and things you’re familiar with. One of the great things about a healthy, functional relationship is that they can open us to opportunities and experiences we never would have availed ourselves of otherwise. So rather than trotting out the same old subjects, perhaps you could try to find something new to go and experience together: take a day trip somewhere you’ve never been, go to some sort of a concert or other live performance, even just taking an evening stroll could be a spark-provider. The thing is we never really know where any one decision or action will lead us (which in the realm of romance is often a big part of the fun and adventure). Perhaps leaving your comfort zone a bit might break you out of the doldrums.

Another possibility might be if you made an attempt to learn about what he’s interested in as well, and using that as a way in to get to know each other better. He may appreciate the effort and reciprocate, and voilà; before you know it you’re both finding parallels between those particular things that turn you on artistically, which hopefully in turn leads to being turned on romantically, which leads to… well, we all know what that leads to.

OK, having done my duty by spinning the positive first, there’s also the converse to consider. Perhaps the relationship just isn’t working out because you two aren’t compatible, and the best thing to do is end your romantic involvement with each other in a way that is both empathetic and respectful to each of you. You needn’t feel any shame or guilt over being the one to take the initiative in ending things. In fact, your current boyfriend may feel the same way and also be experiencing the same confusion and inertia as you. Too often in our culture we feel a need to place fault and blame on individuals in emotional situations, when really it’s just a situation that developed without any action of malice from anybody. “No victim, no crime” as the saying goes. However, when relationships end it can tap into and activate some of our deepest, most primal fears and feelings: Fears of being left alone, not pretty enough, not smart enough, etc. And when those kinds of emotions boil up some can find comfort in having a “villain” to pin everything on. It externalizes the pain, and in a way absolves us of being responsible for managing those feelings. You may find that even your friends, in seeking to support you, try to trash talk the guy or otherwise make you feel like “You’re better off without him”. Again, I’d urge you to try and dissuade them from doing so, just in the interest of your own spiritual emotional health and good karma. It may sound melodramatic, but the world is in dire need of conflicts to be resolved with respect and empathy, and if the world in this case is nothing more the sum total of all its people, of whom you are one, then by your action you are affecting positive change for the whole, and leading by example at the same time. Put another way, there’s already too many assholes in the world, don’t join them.

In essence what I’m saying is, if it is time to part ways with this guy, do it with grace and honor. There doesn’t need to be a major incident, it doesn’t have to end in a fight. There may not really be a “nice” way to break up with someone, but that doesn’t mean we have to be cruel when we do it either.

With Love and Light,
Dr. V

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Note: All information in the Ask Dr. V column is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, please feel free to email Dr. V, or consult your doctor.Please feel free to email Dr. V a confidential question (from you or your guy) for posting on this site at; questions may be edited for grammar and length; emails are only read by Dr. V.


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