February 5, 1999
Hey there! Alicia here...
I guess if you are gonna care about what I have to say I should probably give you some justification to do so. I am 24 and I graduated from college in June of 1998. I live with my boyfriend (who I'll get to in a minute) and another couple, which is interesting, to say the least.
I work in the media industry as a mere plebe in the scheme of things, but I just need to figure out what I really want to do with the rest of my life. This is my purgatory.
My Boyfriend Was a One-Night Stand
Okay, about my boyfriend...we have been living together since about June of 1997, though we weren't together then. I guess you could say we "evolved". If you really need to know, we actually started out as a one night stand six months before that, but I always knew that there was something more between us and he just needed time to realize it.
I think that my life has been in three phases: my ugly prepubescent stage, my "OHMIGOD I'm a girl with tits" phase, and my "been there, done that/ready to settle down" stage. People can argue that I am young, but I've had an accelerated life...a bra in 4th grade, period by 6th, dated a high school senior by 8th (what a loser...what kind of senior goes out with an 8th grader???) and before I knew it I was 17 with a fake ID.
So maybe I haven't "done it all" but I could write a book...and maybe someday I will...and you'll be first in line to buy it.
July 20, 1999
As I approach my "official" 2 year anniversary with my boyfriend, I thought that I would update you all on my own life. We no longer live with the other couple, in fact, it ended horribly and we are not on speaking terms with them. In the meantime, my boyfriend and I are in-between apartments. We have most of our things in storage, some of our things at my parentsí house, and we sleep at the apartment of a friend who is out of town for the summer. It has caused tensions in our relationship that we never really had to deal with before because of the instability, but amazingly, he puts up with my bad moods and my worse temper. I expect that everything will settle down in a couple months and we can find our own place again. I cant hardly wait.
December 15, 1999
Another Alicia Update:
As some of you faithful readers might have noticed, in my answers for the week of December13th, I began speaking about my boyfriend in the past tense. Yes, the guy of my dreams, the guy I wanted to marry, the guy I lived with for over 2 years, we broke up. As personal therapy, and to possibly help any of you out there in similar situations, I will shed some light on how we fell apart. I will call him Jake to make all of this more clear.
I think I noticed a change in our relationship around May. At that time we had roommate problems that escalated to a point where we sued them and moved out. Around the same time, Jake was about to graduate, so there was a lot of pressure about his immediate future. I was freaking out because I was going to meet his mother for the first time. He had 2 months of summer school to decide what he was going to do once he was done. He is not a U.S. citizen, so he is under this one year work visa deal. More and more, he was sounding like he was going to pursue a Master's degree. I felt since I had graduated the year before and had been working and being the main financial support for both of us, it was time for him to pay his dues. I also didn't see the value of getting a Masters at the same school where he did his Bachelor's especially when the school has a troubled reputation.
In the meantime, we were living in the apartment of a girl he knew from school who was away for the summer named Sara. She made it clear that I was not supposed to be there, and I hated her for it. I was sure at some point she intended to show up and finally make her move on him. He didn't help matters by keeping the only key to the place to himself, so if he had class til 9pm, I would have to kill time between 6 and 9, until he could let me in.
Due to the situation at Sara's apartment, I started hanging out with my friends a lot more. We became regulars at various happy hours and dive bars. I would kill the 3 hours waiting for Jake drinking and having fun with my friends. At this point it was the end of summer, his final two classes were finishing up. He was more aggressive about getting his Master's, and somehow talked the university into giving him a full ride athletic scholarship. I was going to earn the only income for us for yet another year. In September I found a new apartment, and we moved in with the condition that it was my apartment. He was looking for a place with friends, which I saw as a total step backwards. Once I moved into the new place, things didn't change like I expected. My friends were happy because they got me back, but I was miserable feeling like Jake and I were living two separate lives. He would stay over half of the week, and staying with friends on the nights he had class.
I Became Bitter
I was becoming bitter. I wondered when things would be normal again. Once his program started, all his classes were nights and weekends. While I was busting my ass at work, he would couch, watching TV all day or work out or hang out or whatever guys without jobs do in a day. At the end of the day, I'd get home exhausted, and he would either be at class, or be at home, telling me how I was lazy and should work out. (male translation: "you're getting fat") My good friend Kirk would listen to me bitch and whine and go back and forth about whether I wanted to put up with Jake anymore through all day instant message conversations. For everybody else I put on my happy face that everything was okay. But everything wasn't.
I took a week off work in late September, thinking I just needed time alone with Jake to relieve some of the pressure. He had to get orthoscopic surgery and ended up getting it on my birthday. I was okay with taking care of him and helping with his rehab, but I was more devastated than I let on that he didn't prepare something for my birthday before his surgery. I didn't get a present. I didn't get a card. I didn't get any indication from him that he realized the sacrifice I was making for him. He made me feel like everything I was doing went with the territory and it was obligatory. Maybe that's the way it works for some people, but I need constant affirmations.
After his surgery, he lived with me full time again. I was sure this was what I wanted, but I saw his reluctance and I really started thinking about our future together. It started looking dim. A Love and Learn reader asked the question "How do you know when it's time to get out of a relationship and why is it so difficult when you know it's the right thing to do and why does it hurt so much?" I wrote my answer about my first serious relationship, but have to admit I had been thinking about Jake when I was answering it. I just started thinking that maybe my stress levels would reduce if I didn't have to worry about him so much. Things were becoming too complicated.
In all fairness, my behavior wasn't necessarily conducive to us repairing our ties. I was going out all the time and meeting a lot of new friends and hanging with a lot of old ones. Before about 95% of my spare time was devoted to him, and in the past months, we were lucky to spend 3 hours together in a week, and we would go weeks without having sex. Believe me, I was not the one to cut off the sex. I can't remember the last movie we saw together, or the last concert we went to, and in all of our time together, we went to a bar together maybe twice. While he was complaining that I didn't want to do the things we used to do together like play soccer (male translation: "you're getting fat")or run ("you're fat") or play tennis ("you're fat"), he didn't want to do the things I liked to do. It was obvious we were falling apart together.
I think the thing that told me it was over was when I got a call from his sister about his grandparents passing away. He had known for a week and didn't tell me. He was making a clear point that I was not as big of a part of his life as I wanted to be. He was becoming emotionally vacant. I know this will shock a lot of people, but in all of our time together, he never, not even once told me "I love you". He said that words don't mean anything and actions speak louder. I grew up in a house where the three words are exchanged all the time and the meaning is never diminished by saying it too much. I heard a motivational speaker once say "Girls, wake up. If he can't say he loves you, it's because he doesn't." This echoed for me throughout our relationship.
We Did It While My Boyfriend Slept in the Other Room
So here's how it ended. We got in a huge fight on the day before Thanksgiving. He left angry, but we agreed to talk about it later. My friend Marie was in town and called me. She came over and we met up with our friend Kila. We went to dinner and decided to bar hop. At this Irish pub we ran into old high school friends and were having a great time. This guy was watching me and we began flirting. Somehow, being out with my friends, listening to music and thinking about my fight with my boyfriend, I was convinced my relationship was over long ago. Jake called and said he was ok with me being out, and we proceeded to stay out all night. I eventually talked to my flirting stranger. He was with his brother who was showing interest in Kila, so after the bars closed we were sorta hanging around and I suggested everyone go to my place. My boyfriend was sleeping in the bedroom. Everybody left except my perfect stranger, who laid down with me on the couch. I will stop the story here.
The next day I woke up and Jake told me it was over, that I was disrespectful, that he heard everything, and that he was moving out. I didn't cry, I didn't say a word. I listened and basically agreed with most of what he said. He talked about how it was things had been different for months. I let him pack and leave. I watched him slam the gate behind him. Then it hit me. The thing was that when I finally got upset about everything, I knew that this was for the best. Though I would've liked to have end things on different terms, I think I knew the surest way to cut the strings. Though I am sorry for my indiscretion, I am not sorry that we are over. I would like for him to speak to me someday, but I don't think that will happen.
We were two people who never wanted to compromise. Even our future plans were his and he had the attitude that with or without me, he had his plan set. The one thing he and I both agree on is that it's better we found out we were wrong for each other now, before marriage and kids and family vacations and buying a house and anything else that "futures" can hold.
It's hard to say what I would do if I could do it over again. Sometimes I wish I had never slept with him when I met him if you follow the column, you know that he was initially a one night stand. Other times I wish I had never met him because I fell so hard for him and caused my own blindness for the way things really were. I feel bad that I hurt him, too, but most of the time, I am content with the notion that everything happens for a reason. In terms of practicality, even though love isn't necessarily rational, I will be sure that in the future I will only live like I am married if I am actually married or have the ring on my finger. This means no joint credit cards, no merging finances, no free ride. After all of the emotion and good times and bad times, the financial part seems might seem trivial, but it is a lesson I have to take from this.
I am single once again, and though I find myself having brief periods of loneliness and sadness, for the most part I am a much happier person. I feel like a lot of my pressure left when he went home for the holidays. I took a vacation to Las Vegas by myself and had a great time. I went to church for the first time in years and didn't feel like an outsider. I got a cute kitten that keeps me entertained. I've been seeing a lot of friends that I had closed out of my life. I made amends with the guy I broke up with before this relationship began, and we are once again great friends. Most of all, I am rediscovering who I am and what I like to do. I feel like the rest of my life starts now, and I don't have to feel like I have to wait for things to happen, but enjoy right now as it comes.