Hey Ron! - Apartment Apoplexy
This week's dilemma is a story of love turned sour. A young man recently split up with his long-term girlfriend after moving to New York, and now the unfortunate odds and ends inherent in any break up are surfacing: how to split the rent on your shared apartment, when to move your stuff out, and the lingering question, "should we get back together?" Unsurprisingly, our man Ron has all the right answers.
I'm in a pickle. I was in a serious relationship with a girl for close to five years. We talked about getting married, having kids, the whole nine. We moved to Boston after I got a job there, and everything was OK for a while, but eventually shit went sour. It became evident that she wasn't having a good time in Beantown, so we moved to New York and signed a lease on an apartment together. After the move we were still fighting a lot, so she took off for a while to get her life in order. When she got back, we decided to end it for good and I started staying a few blocks away on a friend's couch while continuing to pay my share of the rent on our place.
It's been pretty stressful since we broke up. I've dated some other girls, but the ex wants to get back together. I still care about her, but I don't know if it's a good idea to start dating again after everything that's gone down. On the other hand, we had a lot of good times together, all my stuff is still at the apartment we both pay rent on, and she seems dedicated to patching things up. What should I do?
Confused in Couchville.
You mentioned that you moved to Boston for a better job, and when you went out there she didn’t like it. Her not liking Boston is understandable, but I don’t know what really happened between you and her that separated you. I can’t believe that living in Boston did it. She may not have liked being in Boston, but I’m sure there was other stuff going on. Maybe she couldn’t find a job? Maybe you spent too much time going out? I don’t know what was underneath it all, but it doesn't matter, because like you said, you moved to New York and the problems didn’t go away. So it wasn’t the time in Boston, it was some other undercurrent that had you at each others throats. Maybe whatever it was seemed pretty minor, but a bunch of minor things add up to one big thing.
So now you’ve moved out of the apartment and you’re still paying rent. That tells her that you might come back. You are leaving the door open. You live right around the corner, so obviously you don’t want to be too far from her. You’re being unclear and you’re not being real with yourself. Since the lease is in your name, you just have to take it with the Vaseline, because you’re pretty much screwed.
If you really want to break it off, you’re halfway there just by not being in the apartment with her. Get all your stuff out and lay it on the line. Say, "Listen we had great times, but now it seems like we’re both going in two different directions. At least we can try to salvage what’s left of our friendship." You either have to get your stuff out, or she’s going to sell it, burn it, or throw it away. Women can get bitter, quick. Trust me, I’ve lived it, I know. After 12 years I have nothing but my clothes, so I know how you could end up. Women make problems four times more difficult than they actually are. They feed the furnace. If your woman’s got scorn from another relationship and she’s taking it to you, you’re going to end up just like her—nasty and bitter. She’s going to treat you like she was treated by her ex.
It seems like you want to be done with the whole mess because you’re out and about. You’ve got women in four corners of the neighborhood. You’ve got the whole zip code pretty much covered. You’re telling me that you don’t want to be bothered.
But, if you do want to get back with her, you’ve got to start with a clean slate. Say "I’ve done this, you did this. Let’s put all this on the table and start fresh." Then again, sometimes some things—as small as they seem—can never be rectified. It just won’t happen.
If I were in this situation and I wanted to split with the girl, I’d say "it was nice, it was great. I’m not going to give you 'let’s just be friends,' because it may not ever happen. I may not want to see you for a while. I still have some feelings for you, so I’m not ready to be upfront yet. I’d just like to get my stuff and leave. I’ll try to pay as much of the rent as I can until you find a roommate, but I can’t continue to shell out so much." And you will have to pay some of the rent as long as you are on the lease. And since it's a one bedroom and she can't get a roommate to help with the rent, you're pretty much screwed.