Ep. 75: Breaking up with a Bad Boyfriend

Bad boyfriends are the people, things, and habits we have in our lives that just aren’t working. They prevent us from getting what we want, but we don’t let go of them because we think they’re the best we can get. Listen to this episode to find out how I’m breaking up with the bad boyfriend of overeating, and how to ditch the bad boyfriend who’s ruining your life.


Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps you earn more and weigh less. I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and I am your host on the journey to your Rich and Thin™ dream destination, and I’m thrilled you’re here because today we are talking about bad boyfriends and how they mess with your life and how to get rid of them.

And here I am talking about bad boyfriends not just in the literal sense of someone you’re dating who you really should kick to the curb, but also in the metaphorical sense of something you’re doing or something that’s present in your life that just isn’t working that you must kick to the curb. If you want to get to your Rich & Thin™ life so you can leave your broke and bulky past in the dust, you’ve got to do this. You have to get rid of the bad boyfriends so today I want to talk about how to recognize when you have a bad boyfriend, and what you need to do to break up with him.

But first, let’s define our terms. What is a bad boyfriend? It’s someone or something that you have in your life that you think you cannot possibly let go of but who or that is wrecking everything. You keep trying to figure out how you can keep the bad boyfriend in your life and still have the life you want, and you can’t, and the reason you’re doing this is because you keep hoping against hope and against all evidence that you can stay in it and change nothing about yourself and what you’re doing and still get the result you want. With a bad boyfriend, the misguided hope is that things are magically going to change, even though you haven’t changed a bit. Things are going to change because he’s going to change. He’s going to get himself together. He’s going to stop being him.

I’m thinking about this a lot lately because I was telling my weight-loss coach Adriane Nichols that I’m going to have to break up, and I mean completely break up, with my bad boyfriend called overeating. No more once-in-a-while booty calls in the middle of the night. I’m going to get to get to my dream weight of 105 pounds. If I’m going to do that, I have to eradicate this bad boyfriend once and for all.

So I’ve been thinking about the breakups that I’ve successfully achieved in the past, and how I achieved those, so I can do it in this context. So I want to share these with you because I think they’ll be helpful to you in breaking up with whatever bad boyfriend happens to be vexing you right now.

So the first thing to do with a bad boyfriend is to realize where they come from. Bad boyfriends come from scarcity. It’s not working out, but you stay in it because you think it’s the only game in town.

And here I’m reminded of a bad boyfriend I had when I was living in the Virgin Islands. Shortly after September 11th I left New York. I was living in mid-town Manhattan when the towers fell, and I moved to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands because I wanted a change, and a big tax break to boot, that never hurts,  and I met this man whom for about five seconds I thought was seriously the love of my life. He was about 6’4” and handsome and so smart and so funny and so crazy and he walked up to me at a Restaurant in Red Hook called Duffy’s Love Shack and he asked me… He said, “Two questions. What’s your name? And can I take you to dinner?”

So of course I went. I mean, who could refuse an invitation like that??? And I was smitten because the way I felt about myself when I was with him was so different and so much better than the relationship I’d just gotten out of. My investment-banker husband and I had just gotten divorced, and this guy in Duffy’s Love Shack caught my eye because he, unlike my first husband, thought I was hot and amazing and gorgeous, and when I was with him I felt hot and amazing and gorgeous, whereas when I was with my husband whom I’d just divorced, I’d hear things like, “Do you think you could lose some weight?” or, I love this one. He used to tell me, when I’d pulled out all the stops to get ready for a big event, he would look around the room and say, “You look as good as anyone in this party.” That was his idea of a big compliment.

And I was so tired of hearing that garbage and I just wanted to feel better and have some fun and feel light and happy for a change, and that was the other thing that appealed to me about this new guy. He did the most insane things that I thought were funny at the time. For example, there was this restaurant on the beach and he and his buddies stole a giant statue of a parrot from the restaurant and strapped it onto the hood of a Jeep and drove around the island with it like it was a hood ornament. And then they sent a ransom note to the owner of the restaurant and demanded money before they’d return the parrot. I don’t know if they ever got paid or whatever happened to the parrot, I think it was a pretty expensive statue and it also had sentimental value to the restaurant owner because her mother had commissioned it from a pretty famous artist for her daughter’s restaurant. So why am I telling you this story? Because with the benefit and clarity of hindsight, of course this seems like a pretty stupid thing to do. But back then, on some level initially I found the whole thing hilarious. It was so unlike anything I’d ever do and like anything anyone I knew would ever do.

And of course, I wasn’t there when this joy ride with the parrot was going on. I only heard about the parrot-napping incident after-the-fact, because where was I when all this was going on? I was being stood up by this bad boyfriend. When he was supposed to be picking me up for a date, he was instead out on the joyride committing what initially seemed fun but in hindsight was quite possibly… a felony.

Nice, huh? Why was I putting up with this? Because I was in scarcity mode. Serious scarcity mode. I was newly single, living on an island where everyone was a honeymooner, and even at the office there was no one to date. I was the only female partner in my firm. The only unmarried partner. The only partner under the age of 35. Everyone else was older and married and they all had private planes and their lives were so orderly and so serious and so just in a completely different place than mine, and I was also so… bored. After Manhattan, I was bored out of my mind on St. Thomas. We used to fly to Puerto Rico on the weekends just to be able to go to a Starbucks. That’s how isolated I felt. And I was so bored and so down on myself at the time that I thought this parrot-stealing maniac was the love of my life.

And who among us doesn’t have one of these bad boyfriends lurking in our backgrounds? They seem like such a good idea at the time, but then, to borrow the words of my favorite comedian Kathleen Madigan, shit starts to get weird. Money disappears from your dresser drawer. Strange people show up at your front door looking for him. He doesn’t call, or he stands you up, and you feel strung out like a junkie, wondering when he’s going to resurface.

Your work suffers. Your friends get concerned. Maybe they even tell you, “You need some help. This isn’t normal.” They ask, “What are you doing?” So you stop admitting to your friends what’s even happening. And in the morning you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder how you can get off the ride, and shit gets weirder and weirder and you get more and more strung out, until finally, something happens to snap you out of it, and at that point you realize, I have to take serious steps to end this thing. This is going nowhere good and I want out.

And that’s exactly like overeating, isn’t it? It seems fun at the time, but in hindsight, it feels like a felony. Strange things start to happen, too. Your body starts to look like your great-grandmother’s. Your work suffers. Friends get concerned. They ask, “What are you doing?” and you start hiding what you’re doing. And you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering how you can get off the ride, and shit gets weirder and you get more and more strung out, until finally, something happens to snap you out of it, and you realize, just like with my bad boyfriend on St. Thomas. I have to take serious steps to end this thing. This is going nowhere good and I want out.

It’s exactly the same with your literal bad boyfriends as it is with your metaphorical bad boyfriends. So now the question is, how do you break up with a bad boyfriend?

The first thing you do is realize why he’s there, because you’re in scarcity mode, and scarcity is a lens. It’s not the truth. It’s just all you can see at the time, and you have to rip those glasses off your face so you can see clearly.

In business, this is something I’m really good at. When I first start working with a business client, they’ll often say, “No one has any money.”

And to this all I can say is, WHAT??? We are at the lowest level of unemployment since the birth of dirt. Seriously. Everyone has a job. Everyone has a business. Everyone’s making money. The stock market is flying high. If you’ve been in it, your net worth has skyrocketed over the last decade or so. Money is flying around right now like in one of those game-show booths where you get in there and you’re supposed to grab all the hundred-dollar bills you can. Are they hundreds? Maybe They’re singles I don’t know. But you get the point. If you have a scarcity lens on, though, you can’t see it. And that’s what I developed when my physical therapist crushed my rib cage and rendered me immobile a couple of years ago. I think it was at the beginning of 2018. I was thinking, I can’t go anywhere. I can’t do anything. All I have is this ice cream.

And that’s exactly what I was thinking about that bad boyfriend on St. Thomas. There’s a saying when you live on an island. The odds are good, but the goods are odd, and I was in serious scarcity mode on St. Thomas because, like I said, everyone there was a honeymooner. Seriously. They’d show up on Sunday morning and stay for a week or two, and everyone was happy and everyone was in love except me. I was alone and feeling sorry for myself while my bad boyfriend was out stealing parrots and raising a ruckus.

And now I can see that my problem wasn’t my situation. It was my thinking. When you’re in scarcity mode, and your bad boyfriend seems like the best thing you’re going to get, what’s going on? You’re being tight-fisted. Your situation feels awful because you won’t invest in a better situation. I want you to think about this. I didn’t have to stay on St. Thomas all the time with that bad boyfriend. I could have gone to New York or Chicago or some other city and gotten a weekend place and I could have worked on St. Thomas, enjoyed my tax benefits, and flown up to my weekend place two or three times a month to enjoy a social life. Or I could have left St. Thomas altogether, if it wasn’t conducive to the life I wanted. I was really only there for the tax benefits, so what was I doing? I was trading my quality of life for money because for three years that I lived there I was unwilling to go back to the states and pay in taxes what everyone else pays.

It’s exactly the same with my recent affair with Cherry Garcia that’s becoming more and more lackluster and more and more distant all the time. That relationship is all but over. It’s walking around on its last legs. It’s in the “well, maybe I’ll have one drink with you, just to see…” stage.

But when that relationship was in its heyday, why was that the case? Because I was in scarcity mode, because I wasn’t willing to make an investment.  Here’s a teeny example from last year. I had five surgeries during all of this. Three on my right hand and two on my hip. And I remember one time, my mom coming to my house and saying, “You know dear. You can afford to go into town and have someone wash and blow out your hair.” I wasn’t even keeping up with keeping my hair up. I was miserable because I wasn’t willing to invest in my own well-being. Even the cost of a blow-out. It’s so obvious now, and the biggest investment I failed to make during that year was in coaching. My health problems got to the point that I couldn’t coach myself any longer with that final crushing blow with the physical therapist who crushed my rib cage, and now in hindsight I can see that self-coaching is kind of nonsense. I was thinking, I’m a coach, I should be able to do this on my own, but when things get really bad you cannot self-coach yourself. That’s just nonsense. This is why lawyers don’t defend themselves in court. They hire another lawyer. Surgeons don’t operate on themselves or their family members. That simply isn’t done. And coaches really shouldn’t try to coach themselves through the hard stuff. Just last night I was talking to a coaching colleague who was feeling terribly stuck in her business, and she told me that someone recently remarked to her, “You are the most enlightened yet most stuck person I’ve ever met.”

I really want you to take this to heart. If you’re struggling and life seems dim and all you can see is your bad boyfriend and you’re clutching at it and terrified to let it go, all this is happening because you’re not investing in yourself and your own well-being. The only way to make it out is to make an investment. When I invested in doing this podcast, what happened? The lovely and talented Adriane Nichols reached out to me, out of the blue, and said, “I don’t even know why I’m contacting you. But I’ve been listening to your podcast and I like how you talk about money and I know you know some things that I need to know.”

And, it turns out that she’s a weight-loss coach who has exactly the relationship with food and weight that I want to have. Through her reaching out to me, I found the weight loss coach that I didn’t see before, and I found her because I was willing to make an investment  do the work in doing this podcast. She has no drama around food. She never overeats, she never diets, and she weighs exactly what she wants to weigh. In the vernacular of this show, I’m rich and she’s thin and we have this mind-meld thing going on, where everything she knows about food and weight dovetails with everything I know about money and investing. The thoughts that get you rich also get you thin, and that’s what we’re doing every week in Rich & Thin™ Workshop. We’re discovering these parallels and we’re getting richer and thinner every day.

I’ll keep reporting back on our findings, because very great business principle has a great body corollary, every single time.

So now you may be asking, “What’s the business corollary for this episode on breaking up with your bad boyfriend?” The business corollary is breaking up with the client who doesn’t appreciate you and who doesn’t pay you. Keeping a bad boyfriend like this around comes from scarcity—you think you can’t get a better client, and I’m here to tell you that if you have that going on, that’s a problem of your thinking and the lens you’re wearing and an unwillingness to invest in your own well-being and your own wealth-creation. If you’ve got this going on, if you have a bad boyfriend client who doesn’t appreciate you and who doesn’t pay you, but you’re keeping him around because you think you can’t get anything better, get in touch immediately because I can help. And if you want to change your relationship with food and weight, Adriane is accepting one-on-one clients this summer and you should hire her immediately. Email me about either of those things. kelly@richandthin.com. We can set up a time to talk if you want some business coaching with me, or I can put you in touch with Adriane if it’s time to kick your bad boyfriend overeating to the curb. Seriously. Don’t spend another year with your stringy hair dangling in your Cherry Garcia. It just isn’t worth it.

Thanks and I’ll talk to you next time.

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