How to break up like a grown queer instead of a jerk

Bailing on difficult conversations? Adulting is hard. If you're ghosting instead of confronting, sabotaging yourself to avoid discussion, or missing out over having a chat, it's time to buck up.


It’s time to break up with my significant other, but she’s so stuck on me that I’ve just been sort of “phasing her out” instead of making a clean break. I feel bad about dumping her because she’s super sweet. What should I do?

Dear Sadsack:

Hard conversations are hard. Welcome to adulthood. Stop feeling bad for the breakup and start feeling bad for stringing the woman along. More to the point, stop being an immature jerk. If you're old enough to get together, you have to be big enough to end it. 

Fix your mistake and end your "dilemma" by ripping off that Band-Aid. There, doesn’t that feel better?



I am newly diagnosed with HIV, and I’m learning to navigate my life with daily drugs, doctors, farts, and oh yeah that pesky crippling stigma.

Obviously, I’ve never been good about having “the conversation” before sex. Even now that I basically have to, I don’t want to kill the mood like, “Hey listen I might kill you or whatever. Let’s fuck.”

How do I say it without ruining my chance of getting laid or increasing the chance of him hating me?

Dear Self Sabotage:

It’s great to hear that your diagnosis hasn’t stopped you from pursuing your life. Part of the process does include harsh realizations, but the a-ha moments aren’t the ones you think.

Stigma still does exists. Someone’s negative judgment can be directly in the path of getting a job or apartment, or it can just be general disapproval. In the former case, you may have recourse. In both cases, it’s your choice to internalize their shame or reject it.

But let’s get real about misconceptions to set yourself free from immediately. Lots of people talk about about HIV before sex, not because they “basically have to,” but because they should.

Secondly, you didn’t “obviously” have a problem with the conversation, because some folks discuss it and still contract the virus due to various other circumstances.

Finally, we could go on all day about legal and moral issues, arguments and implications, but you’re not going to kill him.

All of these poor perceptions on your part are actually part of the stigma you dislike so much, so stop buying into it.

Couch HIV status conversations in all the fun safe or safer sex activities you want to try on each other. It’s just like any difficult talk: Do it with authenticity and sensitivity, and let the other guy decide for himself.

You say he might hate you, but if he does, the lay wasn’t going to be worth it. If he still wants to get down, you can do so with clear heads. Either way, the truth shall set you free.



My boyfriend’s breath smells like he does nothing but eat out of every member of a gay sports team. That he actually does do that is fine by me, but how do I broach the topic of his stank breath afterwards?

I want to kiss him, but I figured pulling on a hazmat mask first would kill the mood. Help!

Dear Booty Breath:

Your situation may be phrased creatively, but halitosis is common: No one wants to tell the offensive party, but everyone wants someone to tell them soon.

You owe your partner the truth. Communication is almost always better than letting a situation fester, in this case literally. Try the good old compliment sandwich: Deliver the meaty news between pieces of praise.

“The whole team loves what you’re serving, but you do yourself a disservice by not gargling when you’re done. The rest of you is so hot that if you fix the breath issue, we’ll all be back line for the amazing service.”

Even if it takes a day or two, he’ll appreciate it.

The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected]

Illustration by Brad Gibson

This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Pick up your copy around town, and read the digital version below: