My last break-up was sudden, and hard. It took forever. I had to move out of our apartment. I lost some friends in the divorce. Messy, messy, messy. Writing is a powerful tool, though, so one day I sat down to write a letter to my ex’s future
girlfriend caregiver, thinking that if she learns from my experiences, she’ll have a huge leg up in the relationship. The letter entails all of my ex’s trouble spots and the things his new caretaker should look out for. While it may seem like a list of rants and complaints, I’m really just trying to do the next girl a favor.
I emailed the letter to my girlfriends to get a good laugh, and they even added more. At that point, I realized that the letter served several purposes.
- It was a huge help for me to go through my break-up to remember all of my ex’s short-comings.
- It made me realize how love can be so blind that this stuff ever seemed acceptable, and that I was ever desperately in love with this person.
- It showed the traits of a very bad boyfriend. I’d much rather be single than be in a relationship like this again.
Of course, I never planned on actually sending this letter to his new girlfriend. But it’s a highly productive exercise. And if you’re going through a break-up, I suggest you write one of your own. Here’s mine:
Dear future caretaker of [redacted],
I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank you for taking on the responsibility of caring for [redacted]. It is a strenuous and often thankless job, but, hey, somebody’s got to do it. As [redacted]’s former primary caregiver, I have included a list and some helpful hints to make your new role easier. Please feel free to add any duties you feel fit as you become more acquainted with your role. It would be helpful to be able to pass this along to the caretaker that proceeds you.
-Keep your expectations low around any significant event. [Redacted] has never made a dinner reservation in his life, so be prepared to walk around looking for restaurants without a wait on your birthday, to order in his favorite pizza on your anniversary, or most likely, take care of [redacted]’s hangover on these days. He probably will go out very hard the night before and not likely be able to celebrate either.
-Never expect [redacted] to participate in a “date-night” where he won’t be surrounded by his friends.
-Whatever you do, never expect or even worse, ask [redacted] to come home with you any earlier than 4:00 A.M on a Friday or Saturday night.
-When celebrating your birthday with your friends over brunch, make sure to eat beforehand. When the waitress forgets to bring out only your order, allow [redacted] to eat and finish his meal. He will only notice that your meal never came when he overhears your friend alert the waitress. Don’t worry, by this time he will have finished his plate so he will be ready to start his second meal (your food).
-When in a social situation, do not expect [redacted] to talk to you. He is busy with his friends.
-Be prepared that [redacted]’s hangovers are out of his control and can appear at anytime. If you ask [redacted] to accompany you to visit your dying grandfather in the hospital after he does not offer to for one month, be prepared when he develops a crippling hangover and is prevented from going.
-If, at any time, you no longer feel up to the responsibility simply mention the words “future” or “marriage” and you will be quickly relieved from your duties. And don’t worry, even though [redacted] has most likely brought these words up to you in the past, he didn’t mean them.
And then my sister chimed in with a few:
-Make sure you are comfortable handling and cleaning up human feces. [Redacted] has a tendency to miss the toilet, and occassionaly may leave his feces on the wall of your sister’s bathroom.
-You must be able to regress to your toddler years when farting is funny instead of disgusting. When [redacted] sticks out this finger, pull it, smile, and pretend it is cute. Be sure to play along even in group settings where this is clearly inappropriate.
-[Redacted] may say inappropriate and hurtful things to your family members (i.e. sister). Just remember, he doesn’t understand how emotions work for others simply because he has not yet gone through puberty. Be patient and give him the time he needs for his maturing process.
Can you believe I dated this guy? Breakups are hard. But holy hell — I’m way better off.