The Punxsutawney Spirit

Reader doesn't want to talk about breakup



Not long ago, I ended things with a person I had been in a relationsh­ip with for five years. Without a doubt the hardest part of the breakup has been having to re-explain it to all those who knew us as a couple. I am wishing that everybody would mind their business and just assume that I don't want to discuss the details any longer.

It is hard reliving something that was so painful for me. My relationsh­ip was very public and I understand the curiosity, but I don't want to keep talking about it. How do I handle the questions about my breakup?

— Tired of Explaining


Guess what? You can stop explaining now. While people may be curious about what happened, it is none of their business. You can kindly yet firmly say that it is true that you two broke up. You are single now. You wish your ex well, but the last thing you want to do is talk about it. The end.

This even goes for people who were close to the two of you. You can tell them that you are not in the head space right now to talk about the demise of your relationsh­ip. Have empathy. Assure them that you know they are puzzled and potentiall­y hurting, too. But you are not ready to talk about it. You can set boundaries, even when it is uncomforta­ble for other people. Just do not go into the details if you don't want to. Period.


I have one child, and he is about to go to college in the fall. My husband and I are not in a good place, and I worry what will happen when my son goes away. I am so tired of fighting all the time about nothing. But whatever the reason, we are endlessly bickering, and I just can't take it. I have told myself that I just need to wait until my son is gone to deal with my husband, but I don't know if I can keep squashing it all anymore. I'm at my wits' end. Every time I try to talk to my husband about it, the argument gets even more intense. What can I do? — On the Edge


Get yourself a therapist — NOW. Do not wait. Do not feel that you have to go it alone for the next few months. It sounds like you need support right this minute. A therapist can help you engage coping skills to manage during this volatile time.

Not addressing it is not making your son's transition out of your home any easier, by the way. He can see and feel tension. You don't necessaril­y need to start divorce proceeding­s tomorrow morning per se, but you can get yourself help and invite your husband to join you. Sometimes getting perspectiv­e from a profession­al can help you to address your issues and potentiall­y resolve them. Go for it. Get the help you need.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriet­te@harriettec­ or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndicatio­n, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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