The party’s over on September 7, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for the last five years, and we’ve lived together for three. Before we moved in together, my mother and other family members kept objecting because “it wasn’t right” to live with someone before you were married. Of course I answered that their morals didn’t apply to me. Now I wish someone had told me the real reason, which is when you want to get out of the situation, you’re a lot more stuck than if you weren’t sharing the same house.
When we started going out, it was a fling — we both agreed that it was just one night, but kept seeing each other anyway and it sort of grew from there into the best relationship I’ve ever had. He’s one of only two guys I’ve really loved (and I’ve sown enough wild oats to know what I’m talking about); we always seemed to have a truly fantastic relationship — I really thought he was The One.
After he graduated from college (I’m a year older) we broke up for awhile while he moved to the west coast, but he came back after a few months because he decided that our relationship was more important than whatever he was going to do out there and that he was probably just going through a commitment freaking-out phase. Silly me, I thought this was OK and let him move into my new house.
But…since he’s been back (nearly a year now) things have been going from bad to worse. Everything he does gets on my nerves — if I buy something nice for myself, he manages to use it up or ruin it. Last week I caught him using my deodorant! I buy him anything he asks for; he’s just one of those “Oh no, I don’t want dessert, I’ll just have A BITE OF YOURS” people. I find myself wanting to strangle him for breathing in an irritating way. When he went camping with another friend for a week, I noticed that I was suffused with continual joy that he wasn’t there. All the things that I used to love about him drive me crazy now. The spark is gone, the party’s over, it’s time to pack it up and go.
Having been hit repeatedly over the head with these observations, I’ve come to the realization that it’s time to enjoy my own desserts. The problem is that we live in the DC area, where it really takes two incomes to survive. I’d be fine on my own (actually, I’d have more money than I do now, because I wouldn’t have his bills), but he works in a bookstore for not much more than minimum wage, and he’s going to technical school to try to start his career. I don’t want to kick him onto the street, but I don’t want him in my house anymore either. I had the easy solution of taking an out of state job for a lot more money where I’d be able to support separate households, but the deal fell through at the last minute and now I’m stuck with just hard choices. He can’t move back with his parents (they live in Texas) because of school. He can’t afford his own place, and he doesn’t know anyone in this area who could be a roommate. I’ve been over all this so many times in my head that I’ve started having recurring dreams where I pay women to have sex with him in the hopes that he’ll leave me for one of them.
Of course, we really haven’t talked about any of this, because it’s hard to start a conversation with “You drive me nuts, how soon can you leave?’ and it’s hard for me to be honest tactfully, especially since whatever love I still feel for him is buried under tons of resenting his existence. Given the situation, I don’t think there is any good way to bring it up.
So what it boils down to is, is there an option I’m overlooking? All I can think of is kick him to the curb completely heartlessly, or just try to spend as much time away from home as I can until next summer, when my lease is up and he’s finished school. (Or possibly pay people to have sex with him until he finds someone else to sponge off of).
P.S. A book that I heartily recommend for any woman considering/going through a breakup is The Improvised Woman : Single Women Reinventing Single Life by Marcelle Clements. It’s a collectionof interviews with and essays about single women — a great resource.
Frankly, the deodorant thing doesn’t freak me out that much — strikes me as just one of those icky/endearing intimacies, like peeing with the door open — but hey, if the best thing about living together is when he goes camping, well, there you go. If you say it’s time, I believe you. I also believe that you truly care about his feelings and his well-being. And yes, this breakup will suck. Show me one that doesn’t and I’ll show you pictures of BG’s permanent new home in Tuscany.
But yes, there is an option you’ve overlooked. Kicking him to the curb … nicely. Explain the deal firmly, respectfully, grownuply. Skip the list of stuff he messed up (and I’d leave out the dreams, too); focus on the lack of spark. It won’t be pretty, but that’s ’cause it’s … a breakup.
See, Regretful, what you’ve given me is a very convincing list of Things that Will Make This Breakup Particularly Crappy. This is NOT the same as Good Reasons Not to Bail. What it really is is Excellent Justifications for Being a Big Martyr/Savior and Avoiding Having to Deal.
Bottom line, it’s most heartless of all to keep this poor guy around when you’re writing letters to Breakup Girl about how you can’t wait to get rid of him. I know that this principle of mine will not help with the practical matter of finding him a pad, but still. People manage. They make do. I don’t know, he can put up a sign in the bookstore that he’s looking for a roommate, or reduced rent in return for odd jobs. What about people from school? He’ll deal.
I know you’ll be fine without him. You know that, too. But the fact that really needs to sublet some space from your ego is this: that he will be fine without you, too.