Dear Girlfriend I Recently Moved In With,
It’s been about six months since we moved in together, and I have to admit – it’s nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s actually been kind of, well, good. Our differing sleep habits, tastes in music/tv/movies, eating tendencies, and definitions of the word ‘clean’ have yet to become the relationship killers we both feared they would be. I’d say we’ve settled into a really nice groove at the intersection of friends, lovers and roommates. I cook for you, you clean up after me. I toss you the occasional romantic comedy in exchange for your undivided attention during football season (although we’re still stuck trying to hammer out a deal for the playoffs – I will not under any circumstances watch Sex and the City 2. But I’m confident we’ll get a deal done). I leave the seat down, and in exchange, you take responsibility for the epic amount of your hair that clogs our shower drain (seriously, are you secretly getting chemotherapy?). And we’re both still holding in our farts around each other (except for that one time we both had the flu). And the great thing is, we still occasionally make time to do things on our own, you with your ‘retail therapy’ nights with the girls and gays, and me with my poker nights with the guys.
Really, everything has been great since we moved in together. We’re both as content as we’ve ever been. So because of all these things, I think it’s time we consider our future.
(If you can sense where this is going, first let me apologize for doing this in a letter. God knows it’s not the most romantic way, but I might not ever get my nerve up to do it in person, so…..Deep Breath…..Here it goes.)
I think I should move out.
And now that you’ve run out of dishes to throw at me, let me explain. Cohabitation is killing Independent George.
You see, every guy has two sides. Relationship George is The Man they feel they should be – a fine upstanding citizen, aspiring husband, father, and homeowner. And Independent George is The Guy they want to be – a guy’s guy, man about town, the dude whose miscellaneous antics and assorted shenanigans are retold using the words ‘I swear to fucking god’ for countless years to come.
Though the two Georges are fundamentally different, they can coexist relatively peacefully for years…until their day of reckoning eventually comes in the form of a serious relationship, cohabitation, engagement, marriage, kids, etc. Every one of us has a different breaking point. Mine came when I gave up having my own place. Without the Batcave, after all, Bruce Wayne is just some rich dweeb with a spandex fetish.
The funny thing, though, is that I didn’t even know Independent George was gone until you went on that two-week business trip. Suddenly, he was back in charge! He left the seat up, he willfully ignored the existence of the hamper for his dirty clothes (opting for the more logical place of storage for such things, the floor), dishes piled up, beds went unmade, empty beer cans found new life as ashtrays. Scented candles, decorative pillows, potpourri and bras hanging in the shower? Gone. Porn (and I don’t mean the “female friendly” crap that we watch together, I’m talking about the good stuff) was played on loop like mob movies at a gimmicky Italian restaurant. Take-out containers of varying ethnic cuisines piled up to the extent that it looked like the U.N. cafeteria after lunch….
But I digress. The point is that when Independent George was resurrected, I realized something that I had forgotten: that guy is fucking awesome.
Relationship George doesn’t crash rich people’s house parties in Chicago. He doesnt pull all-nighters in Atlantic City shooting dice. He doesn’t toss a hundy to the bouncer at The Boom Boom Room in NYC so that his buddies can see the half-naked models drinking champagne in the bar’s giant hot tub. He doesn’t spontaneously go to DC with his friend’s band just for the hell of it. He doesn’t convince his friends to shroom out after the World Cup game because they had already taken the day off from work and it was only noon. He doesn’t fly to Amsterdam to see a band he’s already seen dozens of times. He’s never made UPS an accessory to the interstate smuggling of a controlled substance (for personal use only!). He’s never gotten a stripper’s phone number just to prove he could. He never occasionally wakes up on a couch he’s never seen before, and he’s definitely not the greatest wingman in the history of The Game.
You know what Relationship George does do, though? He goes to dinner with you and other couples, where he makes small talk about golf and “the markets.” He goes to wine tastings (where he SPITS like a goddamned fucking snob). He goes out drinking sometimes, but he can’t help but think that the two of us could be catching the same buzz at home by ourselves for way less money and with way less Lady Gaga reverberating through his ears. He hosts dinner parties, during which he uses some variation on the word “gastro” way too many times. He lets his gym membership expire. And his idea of a hot three-way is you, him and the couch.
In short, he’s kind of lame. But that’s okay, because he’s not a bad guy – and in fact, he’s a vital counterweight to Independent George, whose proclivity toward excess is simply unsustainable, and who admittedly occasionally needs that hot three-way with you and the couch to recover from said excesses.
But relationship George has his excesses too. Namely, that couch: we’re on it too much. Our near-perfect compatibility makes us content to just lay around in our spare time watching TV or a movie. Do you remember when that was just our occasional lazy indulgence? Now it’s our routine. It’s gotten to the point where we only leave our little opium-den-of-love for work, groceries, or because neither one of us could think of a movie we haven’t seen (despite an hour of trying).
This isn’t what I signed up for.
This may be the way I choose to live in the future, probably after Independent George hits rock bottom and has his moment of clarity the way Relationship George is having one right now. But the fact remains, I’ve got a few solid years left before I hit 30, and I’m going to milk them as much as possible before I have to become a grown-up.
And even though I still love you and don’t want this to be the end of us, I suspect it will be. Because you will likely read entirely too much into what I’m saying here and infer that I don’t love you anymore. And even if I did, relationships, in your mind, can never go backwards. I’ve known girls who’ve stayed by their man through infidelity, domestic violence, substance addiction, prolonged unemployment and even a receding hairline. But I’ve never heard of a girl staying with a guy after he decided that they’d moved in together too soon and wanted to go back to having his own place.
I guess a girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere.
The Guy You Love, But Whom You Will Soon Probably Break Up With Because You Might Believe Relationships Can Never, Under Any Circumstances, Be Allowed to Go Symbolically Backwards
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