Dear Miss Emily:

My boyfriend of over a year (and he was my best friend for over five years) just broke up with me on Thursday.  I'm terribly devastated.  I'm in college and you can just imagine what this is doing to my studies... anyhow in his AIM profile, yesterday it said "All the world's simply a stage". It's a famous shakespeare quote, I know. But what does he mean by that? He told me when he broke up with me that he still loves me a lot, but he just needs to date someone else to find out if I really do make him happy. Now, today, he changed it a little.  It says, "Whether it be a parody or a drama,  "The world is just a play. What is the 'right thing' but a simple definition that exists solely between our imaginations?"  What could that mean??!! I'm dying trying to read into it. And I know I'm not supposed to talk to him, to give him a chance to miss me. But I'm just DYING to ask him. He is an awful writer -- so he can't have come up with that stuff on his own. What does it mean?

----------------------------Miss Emily's advice------------------------

The world is a stage and, at this time in his life, he's adding to its dramatic content!  "It is to laugh." (Daffy Duck)  I think he's going through a self-centered period, and a soul-searching identity crisis. Sort of like what I remember going through at 16.  Boys are delayed in this particular area of maturity, obviously. The "right thing" quote could mean many things:  It might be his way of relieving any residual guilt he harbors for breaking up with you -- he's making a statement about his need to be a free spirit -- he wants to try guys?  It may also mean he's confused.  I don't fault him his quest to find himself,  however, I don't like it when he said, "I need to date someone else to find out if you really do make me happy."  It's demeaning to you, egotistical, and lacks "imagination" or line-delivery, if you will.  Don't let your studies suffer over this, although it may be meaningless for me to tell you that.  He's human.  Life can be extremely painful at times, and there's rarely a simple answer to this type of problem.  But, like him, you could use a little selfishness to get you through the rough patch.  Work hard, concentrate, and focus on your life.  If he does come around, it might be at a time when you have another actor in your play.  Then you can tell him that there's an opening for an understudy.  After all, "The play's the thing."