DEAR NATALIE: My boyfriend of four years and I just broke up last week. It was a rough breakup but I was so unhappy that I needed to get out of the relationship. Since then, he has been going around to all of my friends and family and telling them lies about me and what caused our breakup. He’s saying I cheated on him, but really, I caught him DMing women on Instagram. That was the last straw. I am so angry with him for stooping so low, but I don’t know what to do to stop him. Should I confront him? — ANGRY EX DEAR ANGRY EX: Emotions run high after a breakup and my guess is that your boyfriend is embarrassed by his own behavior so he is projecting it onto you. He doesn’t want anyone to judge him by his actions and he’s decided to go on the attack. I’m assuming your friends and family know why you split up, so I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over this nonsense. If it is really bothering you, though, there is nothing wrong with telling him exactly how you feel. I would nip this in the bud before any of these lies take root. You could approach it a couple of ways. 1. You could scream at him, which probably won’t help in the long run--even if it temporarily makes you feel better. 2. You could honor the four years you were together and ask him to do the same by having a respectful dialogue about his recent behaviors. He is clearly holding on and needs to let go. The relationship is over. His choices made that decision for him. Make that clear. Tell him that the lying has to stop. He needs to take a seat and regroup. If he can’t do that, then you will be sure to tell everyone exactly what happened and let them know what a liar he really is. The ball is in his court. There are consequences to actions, and as much as some people would like to believe, you don’t just get to spew lies and not expect to be held accountable for them.
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DEAR NATALIE: My boyfriend recently proposed to me during my birthday Zoom with all of my family and friends. I think he thought it would be sweet, but I actually don't want to marry him and don't feel ready. I said "yes" in the moment because I was caught off guard and embarrassed. I don't like being the center of attention and he should know that after being with me for two years. In any case, I haven't been wearing the ring and he keeps asking why. I told him because it's "too small" which isn't true. I don't want to ever marry. How do I tell him without causing him to break up with me? I still love him, I just don't want to be his husband. —NO MARRIAGE FOR ME
DEAR NO MARRIAGE FOR ME: “If it ain’t broke, don’t marry it,” was a joke I used to say when people would ask me when I was going to marry my now-husband. For a long time, I didn’t want to marry, he wasn’t ready, and so we just lived as bohemian lovers. And it was great. Being married is also great. For us. But, marriage is not for everyone. If you don’t want to marry him, you need to tell him. As awkward or uncomfortable as it might be, you have to be honest with him about how you feel. Explain to him that you were caught up in the moment--and caught off guard. But now, with time to have thought things through, you realize that marriage is just not for you. Share with him that you love him, that this isn’t about that. This is about your beliefs. Maybe down the road you will change your mind. Maybe you won’t. State your truth and see what happens. Hopefully, love wins for both of you.