I wonder if there is such a thing as a "mature" break up.
Middle age is like revisiting adolescence -- roiling with incomprehensible hormones, living in a body that's doing weird stuff, and experimenting with new kinds of relationship as a result of a new found sexuality. Except this time the relationships are a result of having gone middle-age-crazy and chucked friends and lovers in a fit of "is that all there is" housecleaning, or having been chucked ourselves when a partner has gone looney.
And so I notice there are lots of new relationships afoot, and a lot of dumping of same. And the breakups looks as callous and clumsy as they did when I was 15 and experiencing romantic rejection for the first time -- in fact, that time was sort of elegant in its sparing use of words. My boyfriend, and he was a boy so the term is accurate, I loathe "boyfriend" at our age, simply invited over the girl next door while I was at his place watching a movie. Being the third wheel while on my own date, I went home and that was that. I heard he married her so in a way I guess I was standing in the way of destiny may she be fat and he be bald.
The most recent example of a stupid breakup happened to a friend who was in a torrid long-distance affair with a long lost love, a man she last saw at the age of 18. I'm all for taking a spin through ye olde address booke but this affair did seem a little tenuous -- the beginning was all about long emails and long distance phone calls, the actual sum of time together being about three weeks in thirty years. Still.
My pal flew off to England to reunite with said long lost love, only to be greeted by a rather chilly man who fried her a lot of sausages, made her eat burger butties -- the only name I can think of for a hamburger, bun and butter -- and offered many "a cup of tea" when she most wanted an ice cold martini. Well, he's British.
On her last night there they were sitting on a gorgeous beach gazing at the sea when buddy brought up interest rates and expense and the high cost of air travel in tourist season. "Are you breaking up with me?" she asked, as his household finances were boring her to tears and she just wanted to cut to the chase. Turns out yes, indeed he was.
But the "this relationship isn't worth the cash" is a bit harsh, no? Surely there could be some muttering about needing space or "it's not you it's me" or "actually, turns out I'm gay" or something.
In my own most recent case, which wasn't so recent, my beloved was in a fit of icy rage and said he didn't "need the aggro" and "I don't like to be in the same room as you." Ok then. I made him a seared tuna salad and left the house. Sorry for the aggro darling.
That's not such a great way to end a long relationship either.
On the rare occasions when I've been the one to orchestrate the ending -- in fact I think I've done it exactly once -- I've tried to be reasonable. I am a bloody beacon of reasonable maturity, oh yes indeed. My break up was over dinner at the nice neighbourhood joint we went to fairly often. I explained that I just couldn't go on anymore -- we'd had lots of break ups and reunions and all in all I figured it wasn't what I wanted in life though of course I didn't say exactly that. Love ya baby but gotta keep moving was more it, gently. So gently in fact my ex didn't miss a bite and said, finally, after my speech "but we can still have sex, right?"
So what's the right way? Maybe there is no right way to reject someone who likes you. No one thanks you for breaking up, even when it's the best thing for all involved. Even when that rejected soul goes on to meet his or her soul mate.
Maybe it's just as well to go down in flames. The great thing about the way my ex busted up was it left little room for debate or hope, there was nothing for it but to move on.
Should I ever be in the position to do the ending again, I think I'll make it good and theatrical. Memorable. I'll make sure it makes for a good story at the pub. I'll make it a lot more interesting than "not worth the cash."