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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Break Up

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm not LDS, but I've read your blog and you seem to have amazing relationship advice.

Here's my problem.

I'm a sophomore in high school and in a pretty serious relationship. I've been dating my boyfriend since the seventh grade, and lately, I feel restless and irritable because of it.

I feel like we'll be together in the future - we've always been able to talk about the future, like getting married and having kids and everything, but I just want time to see what's out there. I'm on a different maturity level than he is right now, and as of right now, it just isn't working.

The thing is, I know it will hurt him, even if i explain all of this and I don't want to lose him as a friend - we act like friends half the time anyway. And all of our friends are just that - OUR friends.

I don't want to make it so they have to choose. I still want to be his friend, even during our 'break'. It's just a really tricky situation. Do you have any advice for me?

Yours truly,

- Stuck

Dear Stuck,

Seventh grade is pretty young to pick the one and only person you're going to spend the rest of your life with . . . sure, it can happen, but as you've noticed we change so much during those years that a "serious relationship" can become a stifling trap.

I'm not gonna lie, this is very likely to get messy, but I agree that it’s time to take a break. (Passed time, really.)

You may indeed lose him as a "friend" (but, if you've read the blog much, you know that unless you end up happily married, that was bound to happen anyway), and many of your mutual friends will take sides.

You may have to deal with one of your best girlfriends becoming his new kissing buddy, and you may find that a few of the guys in your circle have been waiting for this moment to ask you out . . .

Like I said: it could get messy.

The mess and heartache are part of the reasons why I recommend NOT getting in serious relationships until after high school. A young person's life is already filled with enough drama, right?

Look, I know relationships happen (heck, all of the Jo Kids have had teen relationships, as did Sister Jo and yours truly), but that doesn't mean I recommend them.

The best thing to do is to talk to him. In person.


And preferably during the day in a relatively public place (that will keep the temptations and begging down a bit).

Be Gentle.

Tell him you still care about him (you're trying not to burn a bridge here), and tell him that you're both still very young and you feel that you need some space.

Tell him that during this time you'd like him to date other people so that, when you're both older, if you do end up together, you'll never have to worry about either of you being uncertain about the relationship.

It’s going to be a painful situation, but the longer you wait the harder it will be.

He may beg.

He may cry.

He may be angry.

But your job is to be as calm as possible. When you've said what you have to say, don't say too much.

Don't apologize and don't say things you don't mean to try and make it all better.

When you've said what you have to say just be quiet.

Give him a chance to react.

And when it’s all over, no goodbye kisses. The physical stuff will just make all of this more confusing.

Trust me.

Who knows; it may all go better than you think.

Until you get older and have marriage and kid stuff to deal with, this may be the most difficult thing you have to do. I feel for you, and wish you luck. And I can promise you that both of you will be better for the experience, though it won't necessarily feel that way at first.

The only other thing I can tell you is to tell a couple very close girlfriends what you're about to do (if you haven't already). They need to be girls you can trust to say nothing to no one. Not to gossip, but it will help to have friends in the know to go to when its all over.

(Don't put much time between telling them and talking to him.)

Thanks for reading and writing in!

And, if you feel so inclined, let me know how it goes.

And, again, good luck.

- Bro Jo

PS: I'd love to hear sometime how you heard about "Dear Bro Jo".

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much. That's really the best advice I could have hoped for, and it makes me feel a lot better about doing what I have to do.

If there's one major thing I agree with LDS on, it's super serious teen relationships. They have their upsides, but they definitely have their downsides, as I've unfortunately learned.

I'll definitely take your advice - the sooner I do this, the better.

And I stumbled upon your blog because of a mix of web searches. I was actually looking online for some advice on this situation and your blog popped up.

One of my best friends is Mormon and he and his family definitely have a lot of good policies so I decided to give your site a shot.

I'm really glad I did - you give everyone who writes in really good advice.

Once again, thanks a lot for your advice! I think it'll be really helpful.

- Stuck 

Dear Stuck,


Thank you.

And you're welcome.


- Bro Jo

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