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Why I’m Single

December 24, 2012

I broke up with my ex two weeks ago. If you want to know what kind of a jackass breaks up with her boyfriend just before the Mega Winter Holiday Blowout, you now have an answer.

This was not a decision I undertook lightly. I know that most (read: all) of my readers at this point are people who know both me and the ex in question, and most are probably wondering what the hell happened, since we seemed “like an old married couple,” in one friend’s description.

I’m not going into too many details on that one. One reason is because my ex and I parted ways on amicable terms, and as cliche as it is, I really would like to be friends with him. I somehow doubt that will come to pass if I start heaping blame on him for all teh Interwebz to read, and given my naturally biased viewpoint, it’s a fair bet that I’d make myself come off as a long-suffering martyr, true circumstances be damned.

Another far more selfish reason has to do with a quirk of Colorado law that states that any two people (of differing genders, of course. Come on, Centennial State, I saw the 2008 and 2012 election results. I know we can dredge up enough liberals to make marriage equality a reality!) who are living together for an indefinite period of time may consider themselves married under common-law provisions. Although I sincerely doubt it would ever happen this way, I would hate for a nasty remark I made in a public setting to somehow result in me reporting to divorce court to figure out who really deserves the 56″ HD TV in the living room.

(Funny side note on that law: I lived with my high school best friend for a summer in college. By the law’s nebulous standards, that arrangement would technically make me the proud claimant of two failed marriages, something my “first ex-husband” and I joke about on a regular basis.)

Instead, allow me to drag y’all on an extended metaphor (a conceit, I believe, is the proper literary term. My AP English Language teacher should be proud). Relationship counselors, armchair and honestly qualified, give a lot of talks about “building the foundations of a relationship.” In other words, a romantic entanglement is like a building, and if the concrete hasn’t been laid down well enough or it was built on a swamp, it’s probably not going to last very long.

A friend of mine who’s been one of my sounding boards for all the drama made the remark that each year you’ve been in a relationship is like an additional floor on the building, and the higher the building is, the harsher the fall will be. So by that logic, my ex and I were just months from completing the seventh floor. Surely, some might wonder, I could’ve pulled it together, gotten some sealant for the cracks, and kept going if we’d already invested so much.

The problem is, in this particular analogy, a building is a 50-50 investment between two partners (in this case. I’m not sure if it gets simpler or more complex when you start talking about polyamorous relationships). This means that both partners need to invest an equal amount of time and energy into maintenance. About six months ago, some of the cracks started to show. They were easy to cover up for a while. About two months ago, however, large gaps poked through. Our building started to cave in on itself. I gently brought up that if certain conditions weren’t met, we’d have to condemn it.

Needless to say, those conditions were not–possibly could not have been–repaired. At that point, I decided it was time to walk away. Call the demolition team, set the implosives; we’ll deal with the cleanup later.

In some ways, I feel guilty about the results. To keep going with my conceited conceit (last paragraph of it, I promise), I get the feeling he would have been eager to gut the entire structure in order to start again if I’d suggested it. I think if I’d given him a sliver of a solution to grasp onto, he would have gone with it wholeheartedly.

Problem was, I could not simply keep going with it. I felt like I’d given it enough time, maybe too much time. To bring up yet another relationship cliche, I have to shake my head at all those Facebook and Twitter memes that vary on the theme of, “If you truly love someone, they’re worth fighting for.” To me, there’s a flip side. If they make you fight that hard, maybe they aren’t worth it anymore.

So that is why, at the ripe ol’ age of 26, while my friends are happily settling into first homes with their spouses and contemplating how many children to have and when to start, I’m contemplating whether I should order pizza or Chinese. Actually, there’s no contemplation behind that one at all. I despise pizza. No, I’m not entirely sure I’m human, either.

But at least I can be sure, paradoxically, that I’m not a failure as a girlfriend. It’s pretty hard to lose at a game you walked away from, and I don’t have an addict’s need to belly up to the table again.

If you do, however, have a certain someone in your life this season, enjoy their company to the fullest. If not, enjoy the company of your friends and family to the fullest. If your friends and family are scattered to the four winds because this was a great time to go on vacation while you’re working up at, say, a ski area as a purely hypothetical example, enjoy your own company to the fullest. And to everyone who celebrates Christmas/National Jewish Ski Day/National Atheists Who Can’t Go to the Library Today Day, have a good one. I’ll be back in a week or so when the post-holiday skiing frenzy is over.


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  1. It sounds like you made the right decision – and more importantly, you’re at peace with it.

    – K.

  2. Thank you! I’ll have to see how it goes once I’m no longer in the phase of singing Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” at the top of my lungs, but it’s definitely nice to hear affirmation.

    • Theresa permalink

      I googled ’99 Problems but a dick ain’t one’ just to see if there was a cover of the song with those lyrics (bored) and found your blog. I am about to turn 26 and last December I also got out of a long-term relationship (4 years). I can completely relate to a lot of your posts and it is nice to hear that someone else has the same attitude and mentality towards relationships/marriage. I had never planned on getting married or having kids, and now after having gone through all the BS of a long-term relationship I don’t think I ever will. I resent being called bitter by family members, or being told that I have to just wait and see – that eventually I will “find the one” (ick). I am perfectly content to live my life single (with the company of my family and friends) and I do not think that there should be any stigma attached to that. Anyways, I enjoy reading your blog very much! Thanks for posting what I am sure tons of other women think.

      • And now I’m thinking there should be a cover of the song with those lyrics on YouTube…thank you for my next big project that will drag me away from my computer for weeks!

        I’m pretty tired of the “oh, you must still be bitter” line, too, and since you’ve poked around on my blog, it goes without saying how much I hate hearing that I will “find the one” myself. I’m glad my words resonated. Thank you for reading!

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