They Say It’s Your Birthday


Dear Dharma,

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for over a year now but in my gut I know it’s over. She has a couple of personality traits that don’t mesh with my values. I’m sure there is someone out there who will find her to be a wonderful woman but she just isn’t right for me.

My dilemma here is that her birthday is next week. Do I tell her when the moment is right in the next couple of days or hold my tongue (or pretend to be content) until a few days after her birthday? Both options seem mean to me.

The kicker is that we live together so we will have a certain amount of forced contact to endure.

Birthday Blues

Dear Blues,

There’s never a perfect time to break up with someone (unless you just caught them in the arms of another, and then that would be pretty good timing) and for sure the birthday thing does complicate things a smidge.

If you’ve been in a relationship with her for over a year, I’m thinking it might not kill you to stick it out for another week, especially since you live together.  If her birthday was months off, I’d say no, but a week?  Your names already going to be mud, especially if she doesn’t see this coming, so I’m wondering if it’s necessary to add to that…

You can hear it, right?  Her talking to her friends, “What a jerk! He goes and breaks up with me right before my birthday?” And they’ll be all like, “Jerk!  Did he even buy you a present?”

Girls (most of them) care about stuff like that, and they’ll use it against you.  Forever.  It’s like you’ve tainted the day and for years to come it will be “I remember this one guy?  He dumped me – right before my birthday – can you believe that?!  What a jerk.”

I just don’t think you need to be that guy when you have other options.

Also, this buys you a bit more time to get your exit strategy in place so you can cut down on the amount of forced contact to endure.  Living together once the words have been spoken can be painful, so minimizing that is your best bet.

Good for you, though, for recognizing that she’s not the one, and not wasting more of your time, and hers, hoping things will change.



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  • Jenny says:

    I think not telling her asap would be disrespectful. As a woman, I’d want to know right away. One of my first questions to him would be how long he’s felt this way about the relationship and finding out that he strung it out longer than necessary would be cruel. Plus, why would I want to ruin all my fun birthday photos with his face? That just means i’d have to spend extra time afterwards cutting his head out of them all while eating a tub of Haagen Dazs and watching sappy chick flicks. Honestly is ALWAYS the best policy.

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