Hey Fats,
I've been casually seeing this woman for a while now, and she is fun, but I don't see any potential in it long-term (which she definitely wants).  The problem is she has a kid who LOVES me and already looks up to me as a father.  How can I tell this woman that there is no future without doing wrong with the kid?

-Monroe Stenson


Now we're talking.  And by "talking", I mean holding a very laborious discourse over a series of emails and publicly-posted resposes.  But Monroe (and may I add here that your name would be perfect for highbrow porn), your problem is nothing to make light of.  You have a few volatile components, and you all know what happens when you mix cesium and water, right?  KA and BOOM get together for one giant destroyed bathtub, if you understand where I'm going with that one.

Anyway, that's not to say your situation is hopeless.  I think there's one very obvious and simple solution where you will not be doing wrong in anyone's eyes to leave this woman you've been seeing: domestic abuse.  I mean, really let the kid have it.  A few stiff blows every time you see the youngster (preferably out of view of anyone else), and it's a recipe for a successful clean break-up.  I mean, when the child goes your insignificant other and says "Mr. Stenson hits me," the mother will be confused and have to confront you about it.  You'll have to shake your head sadly and say, "It's evident that your child, whose gender I apparently do not know, no longer trusts and respects me.  I think we should end things now, for the good of everyone involved."  Hit the kid at least once on your way out the door, just in case. 

I'm not foolish: I know that, for some reason, child abuse is not for everyone.  Well, far be it from me to cast judgment, but I have other suggestions as well, as I normally do.  I get paid by the suggestion, which explains why, when someone asked me how to get to the Javitts Center, I gave them forty-five different routes and a few maps of Ireland.  I digress.  How else can you end a decent (if somewhat unspectacular) relationship without hurting anyone?  Fake your own death.  I know this sounds a little soap-operatic, but hear me out.  Don't do it by disappearing and spreading rumors.  Do it by going up to the woman and the child and shooting yourself NEAR (but certainly not IN) a vital organ.  Make sure to bleed a little on them.  Part of the success of this is to be so gruesome that they do not immediately call 911 because they are so appalled, giving you time to really "sell" your injury.  By the time you've fully recovered in the safety of a hospital (or preferably a remote African village), they will have assumed you for dead.  And then the only problem is your galpal explaining to her toddler what happens to people when they shoot themselves in the stomach.

Wow, this is coming across as a bit macabre.  Well, don't ever say Fats limits you.  I have one final suggestion which should do the trick nicely without involving anything illegal or immoral or just kinda gross.  Court her - seriously, do everything in your power to win her over.  The key to doing this is to go OVER-THE-TOP so she eventually questions her own decision making.  Start slow: write her a song every single day and perform it for her outside her window using whatever instrument you play (if you play something like the trumpet, that helps.)  Start to ramp it up a notch.  Redecorate her living room.  Start subtly at first by adding things like "I love you" balloons (use no less than 1000 the first time for maximum effect)  By the third redecoration, remove at least half the furniture and replace it with cakes that you've baked for her with love poems written out in candy hearts.  By the second week, you really need to impress your point: buy her flowers.  No, better yet - install a greenhouse in the kitchen, filled with roses, lilacs, and other things that cause women to swoon.  Offer to do her job so she isn't so stressed out, even if she is a micro-biologist.  I'm sure she'll appreciate the effort, even if you accidentally splice together a tadpole and a can of beer.  Give her massages.  At least 22 and hour.  Each should involve massage oils (Crisco if you don't have any), and props such as candle wax, rolling pins, and gardening trowels.  If by the third week, she is not suggesting that you two stop seeing each other, than you're simply not being romantic enough.  Create sculptures and shrines of her.  Ask her to marry you every time you greet her, and twice before you leave.  Compile a list of your favorite body parts of hers (make it at least 500 long - you will need to start naming individual bones).  Seriously, the list is endless!  Be creative!  This is what women LONG for! 

Well, I feel good.  I sweat the sweat of accomplishment, and it tastes like taffy.  Until next time, this is Fats saying, "If you don't want to date someone, send them my way.  I'm not picky!"  Oh, and ask me more questions!