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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
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
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
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
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.
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