Ask E. Jean: The Five Steps for Ending a Relationship

Life & Love

Dear E. Jean: My boyfriend is a freeloader, a moocher, and a lazy bum who’s depleting my groceries, my toiletries (my $30 shampoo!), and my patience. He clings to me 24-7. If I say, “Let’s take some time away from each other,” he refuses. The longest he’s gone without seeing me—I send him to his parents’ house—is one day. Then he’s back in my apartment. He’s a physical trainer but has no work, never pays for anything, smokes weed all day, and is on unemployment, and, on top of everything, I pick up the checks when we go out, and he borrows money from me. I’m so sick of it. He’s 30! I know he loves me unconditionally, but I can’t support a grown man forever. Please help me break up with him kindly, without creating resentment and anger. —Feeling Guilty but About to Explode!

Girl, Please: A 30-year-old blood-sucker is wound around your torso, ramming its proboscis into any place it can find a credit card, and you feel guilty? Get rid of him! There’s no way to detach a leech without causing pain, and, as you know, you must never remove a leech with salt, matches, or pulling.

How to Remove a Leech:

1. Put on a pretty frock and say: “Let’s go out to dinner!”

2. Call a taxi. Choose a restaurant famous for its Napa Valley cuisine. Order the $65 tasting menu.

3. After dessert, when the check arrives, tell the leech, er, your boyfriend that you wish him a long and happy life, but if he can’t pay for dinner—just this once—it’s over. He will work his anterior (oral) sucker at top speed, jabbering excuses.

4. On the way home in the taxi, he will declare he loves you “unconditionally.” Never mind. Just flick him off at his parents’ house. (He’ll be surprised to see boxes of his bongs and belongings stacked in the yard. There’s no need to explain that you arranged for friends to pack his things while you were at the restaurant. Just say, “Leech, the only thing you love unconditionally is my bank account.”)

5. Ask the taxi driver to honk the horn as you drive away. It’s your first moment of delicious, glorious freedom! (The wound will itch as it heals, so do not let the leech reattach itself.)

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at

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