.Considering the Alternatives.

A conversation between a friend and I:

Friend: “I told him I was looking for a pen, but the truth is I was snooping around.”

Me: “Sometimes it seems necessary to snoop around but usually, nothing good comes of it.”

Friend: “I only understand such decency intellectually and I learned it the hard way today!”

Me: “So what happened?”

Friend: “I was hanging out in the bedroom while he was at work. We were technically (alarm sign!) happy, but he had broken up with me in a dramatic fashion about six months prior, and once we got back together. This, of course, is how looking for a pen in his desk animorphed me into a raccoon sniffing around a dumpster. AND HOLY F*** DID I SCORE SOME TRASH! HE WROTE A PRO/CON LIST ABOUT ME! I decided to ask him about the note when he got back later that day. It was just too absurd to keep it to myself and oddly enough, my concern was not for the totally batshit content of the list but I was just curious as to why the hell it existed in the first place. Was he thinking about ending the relationship again? This man and I sat down and I confessed that I ‘stumbled’ across the note while searching for a pen (great lie but blatant) and was perplexed by it. He assured me it didn’t mean anything and I assured him I was game to change my personality to just stay with him. I was mostly interested in making the whole confrontation an enjoyable experience for him. I am a girlfriend who doesn’t need drama. End of conversation and we kissed. Then, he came home drunk two weeks later.”

Me: …… (eyeroll)

Friend: “You are drunk. Where have you been? I made dinner and waited for you. Didn’t you get my messages?”

Him: “I HATE TOMATOES! I ate at the bar! Actually, we have nothing in common. But Theresa and I have. I love her so much. Oh, yeah, I am seeing someone else!”

So, I wrote him a breakup letter. The only suitable thing to do in this situation for my very good friend.

Hi there, (douchbag, asshole, weirdo, f***er, di**)

just circling back/closing the loop on the conversation we had the other night because you seemed drunk. I also have been giving it a lot of thought and have decided not to move forward with this relationship that leads nowhere. It is not only that the other night’s dinner was a deal-breaker in and of itself, but although your use of “that’s what she (Theresa) said” for comedic relief was unacceptable. I almost blame myself for holding on for so long and I should have known you are an asshole. Theresa (if she is smart) will hopefully discover this rather sooner than later.

My list of a quick analysis of our relationship in the last couple of months which reveals:

  • No love but cold feelings
  • You are glued to your phone at all times
  • Under-delivery on fundamental things such as respectful debate, witty observations, and general praising of my capabilities
  • No sex
  • A drop-off in non-sexual contact (spooning, hand-holding and tenderly brushing the hair off my face like you used to do)
  • We actually had nothing in common except one thing. We both like pizza with broccoli topping

All indicates a gross misalignment in expectations. They say you should always under-promise and over-deliver, but you have both promised the world and exhibited minimal follow-through over the course of our relationship. Actuals haven’t stacked up to projections, not even close. I only have so much emotional bandwidth and there is no viable option beyond folding this venture. I appreciated your interest in the role of my boyfriend. No further actions required on your end, apart from returning my Harvard University Hoodie and Dermalogica exfoliating mask (that shit is expensive).

All the best,

D.

[He got married to Theresa and they have one child. They divorced one year later. The reason: He cheated.]

I have broken up with men and have been broken up with once and the best part about all this is taking mental note of the red flags I missed and keeping them in mind for future relationships. Of all the warning signs I have breezed past, I wrote down in pro/con lists. I wish I had them all still framed in my living room because the contents of it were so telling. What truly tickles me about this pro/con list my friend’s ex wrote is that the best qualities in his eyes (hot) were nowhere close to the ones she valued in herself and would prefer to be loved for her mind, personality, humor, and literally anything else. That mismatch was exactly why they didn’t “work out”. Their values were off-the-charts different. If she just would have paid attention to the signs… So should we all.

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