Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I broke up with my live-in significant other a month ago. We agreed to try to stick out the living situation (separate bedrooms, of course) for five more months.
I find myself growing more resentful of his behavior by the day, so I found a new place yesterday.
He knows I’m fed up and want out, but I feel like a jerk because I’m bailing halfway through — especially when I was well aware of who he was before I ever even moved in. While I like him as a person and would like to return to being friends, the more time I spend with him, the less likely that outcome looks. Is it OK to move out? Do I owe him something more?
Moving Out and On
You owed him some notice — at least a month.
Since that’s apparently not happening, then you owe him anywhere from a month to five months’ rent (depending on the lease). He could let you off that hook out of decency, perhaps if you pay rent until he finds a roommate.
So springing this on the one person who can lessen your obligation is not the best way to get things rolling. Very few warm, post-breakup friendships start out in small claims court.
(If this were an abuse situation, of course, I’d say otherwise — it’s safety first in that case.)
Dear Carolyn: I’m planning to visit my sister, who just gave birth to her first child and is recovering from postpartum depression. I have also agreed with my husband to stop using birth control soon.
I’m looking forward to meeting my nephew, but I can tell from our conversations that my sister’s life is anything but glamorous right now. It might sound silly, but I’m afraid the visit is going to spook me, enough to want to renege on my promise to try for a baby. I don’t want that for my husband or me. How do I approach this visit so it doesn’t make me run screaming in the opposite direction?
“Suck it up” makes a fine mantra, both now and if you’re ever in your sister’s place.
Your sister could use the support, no doubt, so go solely with that in mind.
And if a real newborn puts you off babies, then I see that as a good thing. Nothing puts realism in family planning like immersing oneself in infant neediness, adult fatigue and home disarray.
Re: Babyville: My mom was eight months pregnant when she went to visit her sister, who had children ages 5, 2 and 6 months. My mom claims she sobbed the entire car ride home because she couldn’t undo her pregnancy. But she says now that becoming a mother was the most important thing she ever did. This, coming from someone with a great career and a full life who never defined herself primarily (in my mind) as “mom.” Anyway, I think it’s normal to witness the chaos of early childhood and feel overwhelmed. From what I understand, it’s different when they’re yours.
Thanks. It is, but the difference is in the will you summon to stick with it. The demands of yours, theirs or mine all looked the same to me.
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