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Smackin’ and Schmoozin’

Shema Arielle, 

How do you break up with someone lovely who you just don’t love like that?


Smackin’ and Schmoozin’ 

Hey Bubbela, 

Short and snappy — I like it! Actually, I don’t. I hate it. How the heck am I supposed to read between the lines and analyze your romantic life with just a lone sentence? I reckon that was your plan all along, bubbela… the chutzpah! Unfortunately for you, where there’s a will there’s a way, and nothing will stop me from making mountains out of molehills. 

When I first read this vague question, I suspected your relationship was a budding one, still in the courting phase. But as I crunched down on the last bite of my afternoon pickle, I couldn’t help but wonder, why the fuck did Smackin’ and Schmoozin’ opt in favor of a four-letter word to describe their lack of romantic affection for Someone Lovely (((nickname alert))) over the tried and true grade-school favorite, “like-like?” Semantics matter, kinderlach, and “love” is a strong word. Is the romance more long-term than assumed? Had I made an ass out of myself, or was my bubbela’s intent as simple as submitting a half-baked alliteration? 

The third option, of course, is that you love Someone Lovely completely platonically. Do my invented scenarios matter? Absolutely, but I will resist tailoring my response to the fantasy of my choosing and instead offer you the words of wisdom you came for. Ghosting a lover you don’t love like that is tantalizing and easy, so I commend you for resisting and pocketing your mitzvah points for a rainy day (I recently ghosted someone and it cost me 18 mitzvah points). Depending on the length of the relationship in question, you have my permission to break it off via text message. Unless an exchange of toothbrushes and pajamas are in order, there’s really no need to have the conversation in person, but it must be done ASAP. Prolonging a breakup out of guilt is cruel, because Someone Lovely deserves to spoon with someone who is actually lovely for them. 

Like improv, breakups don’t have a script but, like improv, there are best practices for a successful show. There’s never a good time to be broken up with, but you can prime them for the conversation with a heads up that you “want to talk about something.” Above all, be honest and earnest. Start with truthful flattery by sharing how lovely you think they are and that you’ve so enjoyed your X amount of time together. But — now here comes the tough part — as the  connection has grown, you’ve come to value a platonic relationship with Someone Lovely over a romantic one (minus mitzvah points if you use this awkward AI-sounding phrasing). Be clear and intentional with your words, don’t leave room for any wishful reconciliation, and sleep well knowing that you were a mensch and did the difficult thing with style and grace. Good luck, bubbela!



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