Monday, June 6, 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Dear [name withheld],

By the time you read this, I'll be gone. It shouldn't come as a shock to you, given how we've been growing apart the past few years, but I know how out-of-it you can be at times, so I've taken the trouble to spell out exactly how I came to this decision. What it mostly comes down to is that I've changed; I grew up, became more sophisticated, and developed different needs, and you didn't. It's taken me a long time to come to this realization, but I deserve better. I deserve to spend time with someone who knows my needs and wants, who doesn't take me for granted, who treats me with respect. I've been faithful for years, but I can't do it any longer.

Part of the problem may be that we got together when we were both so young. I was new to everything in this life, and you were so fresh and attractive, I was blind to the potential downside of committing to someone so early. It's been nearly twenty years, and I've never known any other way of being. Looking back now, though, I see clearly the problems that have always been there, and I recognize that I can't fix them, and I'm tired of trying. Things used to be so simple and elegant, but you overcomplicate everything now. You're more difficult to talk to than you used to be, and when you don't outright ignore me, I still have to repeat the simplest requests over and over to get you to do things, when you even do them. (And don't think I haven't noticed that passive-aggressive thing you do where you rearrange stuff I put in specific places when I'm not looking.) I'm sorry, but I can't live with someone so indifferent to me.

The thing I feel most embarrassed about is the years I spent defending you to everyone in my life. My friends have been telling me to leave for years, get out, start over, find someone more compatible, more generous, less emotionally abusive. They wanted only the best for me, but I pushed them away. I'd been with you so long. I knew you better than they did. You could change. You'd improve. But we both know that didn't happen. My father was the only one who saw the potential in you, kept telling me to give you another chance, keep making that investment. I guess since he steered me in your direction in the first place, he felt he had a stake in our relationship.

And the money he gave me in our early days together! The money Dad spent helping me try to help you was the biggest waste, even after I had my own money to give you. He keeps offering to pay for your mistakes, did you know that? I kept throwing money at you, hoping you'd return my faith in you by making yourself better, but all you did was run after fads, buying trinkets and fancy accessories to woo the young kids, living it up at my expense and giving me nothing in return except the same old contempt. (Here's a tip: those kids you're trying so desperately to impress all think you're over the hill, a relic, too old and inflexible to even be interesting. You're practically a joke to them.)

And still, I defended you. You were seductive and charming, and I admit it got the better of me, got me to ignore my own instincts, that nagging feeling that you weren't ever going to change for the better, and that even your best traits were withering away, making it less and less worth my while to stay. But you kept coming back, saying you'd cleaned up, that you'd gotten yourself off all that stuff, that you were on the straight and narrow for good. But it was just an act, wasn't it?

So I've decided I need to move on, start fresh, make a new life for myself away from you. It may be too soon, but I should tell you I've met someone else. It's still very new, and I'm not yet sure it's for the best, but anything has to be better than this. I'm tired, and being with someone younger, who's more malleable and is more in tune with my needs and desires can't be a bad thing, can it? I'm sorry it had to end this way, so abruptly, but the way you ruined yesterday for me was the last straw. I have to go. It will be hard, I don't doubt. At my age, with my lack of experience with anyone but you, I'm going to need to learn a lot of new ways of doing things. But I think it will be invigorating in the end. A rebirth, of a sort.

So see you around, Finale. Have a good life. If you need to reach me, I'll be staying with Sibelius for a while. Maybe for good. At least until I decide what's right for me. If I've learned anything from our time together, it's that I should always take care of my own needs first.