Dear Ann Cannon • My boyfriend and I met four years ago when we were both freshmen in college. I recently asked him if we could take a break from each other, and while he wasn’t happy about it, he agreed to. As it turns out, I’ve discovered during our time apart that I actually don’t want us to be a couple any more, although I would still like to be friends. He’s a good guy, and at this point we have so much history together. The problem is that I’m just not in love with him anymore. How do I tell him this?
— Wanna Be an Ex
Dear Wanna Be an Ex • These three thoughts immediately occurred to me:
1. This won’t be easy for either one of you — especially him.
2. Like the old Neil Sedaka song says, breakin’ up is hard to do.
3. Regardless, it’s kinder in the long run for you to tell him about your feelings sooner rather than later.
So, how should you go about breaking up? In general, I believe it’s better to have hard conversations face-to-face instead of by a text, an email or a letter, although those are certainly easier options. I checked in with a few friends who are your age and they agree. No one wants to be dumped via a smartphone. As long as he’s not dangerous — and you’ve given no indication that he is — you owe your boyfriend of four years the courtesy of your physical presence when you tell him what you’ve told us here, i.e., that you’re no longer in love with him and that you believe it’s time for the two of you to go your separate ways. My guess is that he already suspects this conversation is coming.
If you’re truly committed to breaking up, be kind but firm. Don’t give him false hope. As for remaining friends? That will be up to him. I could be wrong, but my guess is that for now at least, he won’t see the appeal of that idea.
One last thing. I think I would dial down my presence on social media for a while if I were you. You’ll be doing both of yourselves a favor if you temporarily say adios to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for now. Doing so will decrease the chances for more hurt feelings and unnecessary drama.
I hope this has been helpful. Best of luck to you as you move forward.
Dear Ann Cannon • I have a problem with you. I’m a guy, an old guy, but still a guy. And I love reading your advice column. Is that OK? Is there a cure for my enjoyment in reading your column, or should I stop? I’m worried something is wrong with a guy who enjoys your column. Is it natural? I really want to go on reading your column, but if you tell me it’s not OK, I’ll stop. Whatever you say is what I’ll do.
Dear Confused • Because I grew up with brothers and no sisters, and because I also gave birth to five sons and no daughters, I must confess that I have a soft spot for guys of all ages. Continue as you were.