I forget whether we’ve discussed this or not, but there is a right way and a wrong way to break up with someone—agreed? Even in the case where, as too often is the case in my own life, no relationship has been established except, perhaps, in someone’s mind. When I first arrived in this unnamed municipality, I went out on a few dates with Some Dude. We went to a bar for a drink and some appetizers. We went to a movie. We went to a pub and listened to music. I wasn’t feeling it, and I told him so—one clear mistake was also telling him that we could be friends.
Yesterday, several weeks later, I found myself the recipient of the angry telephone call. Oh that! you say. Everyone knows the angry telephone call, and nobody enjoys it, but when you’re the dumper, it’s just something you have to listen to and absorb—let the poor dumpéd get whatever’s bothering him off his mind. We’ve all been there, after all. God knows I have, many many times.
The thing is, of course, in this case, that we went out three times, and didn’t have sex, and have hung out “as friends” maybe a couple additional times, and I told him it was over rather uncruelly, and now is a long time from then. And of course I’m willing to accept insults from those I’ve made feel bad about themselves. Of course I am. But it’s starting to seem less like something I should have to do, you know? When the period of martyrdom outlasts the period that you were supposedly dating by a multiple of—what, now? 10?
Him: You hold all the cards. You get to decide whether you want to see me or not.
Well, yes. I’ve often found it unfair that we can’t go around kidnapping people and forcing them to spend a pleasant afternoon with us whenever we’d like. Excellent point.
Him: I never felt like you appreciated me.
It’s true that I typically hand out the sonnets I’ve written extolling the virtues of mah man on the third date, but in your case, I already knew it wasn’t working, and I spent my time instead composing that fine email telling you that although you’re a very nice person, etc.
Him: You’re so flakey.
Which I’ve certainly been accused of before, by people much more qualified to know. However, as I did point out to This Dude, now that he’s started cataloging all my flaws, he should be well on the Road to Leaving Me the Fuck Alone. What’s that you say? I’m illogical and mean? Should be easy to stop picking up the phone and dialing my infernal number, in that case.Him: I just feel like you’re manipulating me. What else can I do? How else can I act? You say you want to be friends, but I just feel like you never gave me a chance.
Oh wow. When he puts it like that, clearly I am manipulating him. I did not give him a chance. But as it turns out, I don’t want to be friends.
The ultimate outcome of the above being that we will no longer be including among our hobbies Trying to Be Friends with Crazies. (Or at least not crazies who are no fun.)
Back to our lede, up there in the first paragraph, this all could have been avoided had I not broken up with the man in a completely inappropriate manner: Explaining to him in a thought-out, rational way that this wasn’t for me, giving a few examples to back up said idea. When will I learn? Clearly the only proper way to break up with someone is by feigning head injury (medical), saying that you’ve been called out of the country by the Agency for an unknown period of time (geographical), or explaining that you’ve finally accepted your inner pedophile, and your niece’s school is looking for a teacher’s aide (lifestyle change). I shan’t be making that mistake again.
In a possibly related subject, lately I feel as though I make at least three large, irreparable mistakes per day. Don’t know why. It’s enough to make a 96-year-old lady cry out in frustration: Life is so … stupid.