I have no one. He was my life.
December 14, 2009 10:42 AM   Subscribe

My partner of 8 years is thinking of leaving me. He gave notice on our apt without telling me. I'm dying inside. I don't know what to do.

I don't have any family. I haven't kept in touch with my family. I just found out because the management company asked if they could show our apt and I said we weren't moving. Then they faxed me a notice to vacate in my partner's handwriting. I called and he admitted that he'd already secured an apartment.

I think I'm dying. I don't know what to do. I don't have any family. My friends are sweet, but he's been my best friend. I don't want him to leave me. He says he's 80% sure he wants me to stay with him, but there's a part of him that's unsure he wants to be with me because he thinks we might want different things. He was speaking in this disembodied tone over the phone, completely removed. In person, yesterday, he told me I was his life. We've been having so much fun.

We jut had a wonderful weekend. We've had a number of fun and great weeks. I don't know what to do. I want to run home to my family, but I've neglected them so much because my partner was my family and my mother is crazy. I live so far away from home. I only have $10,000 in the bank and I live in the DC area. I only make $36K, so I don't even think I qualify to rent any apts.

I'm shocked, confused, at work, and I feel extremely sick now. Part of me wants to beg him to please take me with him. Part of me rationally knows he should do what he wants and I should gracefully step out of his way. I love him. Deeply. I would do anything he wanted.

He's in his late 30s and I'm in my early 30s. God, I'm so confused. My sense of well-being is fading fast. What do I do? Can someone please give me a list of steps of what I need to do? I think I'm going to be a zombie for a few months at least.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (61 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You're going to be OK. It's wonderful that you have $10,000 saved up, and your own job.

You can live with a roommate or two; that will probably be better than living alone.

It's not cool of him to have given notice without telling you; you're not crazy to think that's weird.

Someone else will have more helpful, concrete suggestions, I'm sure.
posted by amtho at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2009

You're not dying! Keep that in mind and try to spend some time talking about this with a friend or friends soon.

Then, talk to your partner and find out what's behind this. He might have suffered some kind of trauma and made a snap decision he wouldn't have made otherwise. Don't panic. This is survivable. You just need to stay calm and get more information.
posted by ignignokt at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

He sounds really mixed up — to have made that decision to move without telling you is bizarre.

Part of me rationally knows he should do what he wants and I should gracefully step out of his way.

It's not wrong to tell him what you want and to fight for it.
posted by crickets at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]

I recommend you try reading this book. Ignoring the over-the-top title, I think it's got a lot of good advice that might benefit you. Because, frankly, you sound like you reaaally need to learn to be more independent.
posted by Theloupgarou at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2009

First, I am so sorry you are going through this. I know what it feels like to have the rug pulled out from under you.

Are you on the lease? I'm going to assume no, since the management company has agreed to let him vacate, unless he forged your signature on paperwork. Sock this away for when you are ready to make such decisions, but you should never live somewhere unless you are on the lease/mortgage.

This is a time that you need to circle the wagons and find out just how sweet your friends are. You need to confide in them and let them help you, whether that is a couch to sleep on or a shoulder to cry on. Be grateful that you have the 10K in bank and set some of that aside for security deposit on a new place. You are much better off than a lot of people who get left. I'm not familiar with the DC area, is 10K enough to secure a down payment on a small condo?

If he is intent on leaving, and it sounds like he is, nothing you feel for him is going to change that. Someone who gives up the apartment behind your back and makes arrangements to get on with life is trying to get away from you. As much as that sucks, you need to accept that. It is possible that the great times you have been having were an act on his part to keep you from suspecting. You have to ask yourself why someone would treat you like this. Breaking up with someone is one thing, but leaving that person homeless in the process without the dignity of a conversation is cold and cruel.

I don't know that there are "steps" to getting through this. If you really feel like your sense of well-being is fading, you need to tell someone, a friend, and ask for their help, in whatever ways are possible for them. You shouldn't be alone a lot right now.
posted by archimago at 10:56 AM on December 14, 2009 [8 favorites]

I hate to say it, but I don't think this is going to work out. I've been a similar situation, and by the time I looked into another apartment I'd already thought about leaving the relationship for months.

I only make $36K, so I don't even think I qualify to rent any apts.

Trust me, you'll be fine. You might have to settle for a small place, or compromise on the neighbourhood, but I'd be very very surprised if you can't rent an apartment. Students rent places all the time with much less money than you make.

What do I do? Can someone please give me a list of steps of what I need to do?

Call your friends or your family (depending on how crazy your mother is). Human contact will help.

Start looking into a new apartment.

Try to stay healthy - exercise helps so much. If you can channel your emotions into a desire to work out, great. Even if you just want to avoid thinking about your troubles for a little bit, hitting the gym is probably the best way to do so and you'll feel better after.
posted by ripley_ at 10:59 AM on December 14, 2009

I get that you love him, but you wrote that he told the management company you're vacating the apartment. Without discussing it with you. Without even telling you. You had to find out from a stranger. That is awful and cowardly, and a sign of a terrible partner.

You're not going to die. You're not going to be homeless. You're going to be fine. You have a job. You have ten grand in the bank.

The person you love betrayed and disappointed you, and it'll take time to get over it. But you will get over it. I promise.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2009 [57 favorites]

you'll be fine! there's lots of places you can rent, from efficiencies, to basement apartments to room mate situations.

so, first thing, decide where in the city you want to live. do you need to be near metro? do you have your own car? decide how much you want to spend on rent.
posted by elle.jeezy at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2009

I can't advise about the relationship issues, but if you do decide to live separately, this place in DC might be of some use in the short term. I imagine having the living situation figured out might help you deal better with the other complex issues. And it might even provide a temporary sense of community. Hope it helps! Best of luck.
posted by sa3z at 11:07 AM on December 14, 2009

Regardless of the outcome of this incident with your partner, it will be difficult on you emotionally, so really reach out to those other friends near you for support... no matter how much pride you have to swallow to do it. You'll find that they're much better friends than you previously thought.

Getting back in touch with your family is something you should do anyway - it can be surprising how forgiving and supportive people are when you're in need of it. Being in your early 30's leaves lots of time to repair those connections and put aside childish attitudes on both sides of this divide. This is a good time to take that first step.

You seem like a level-headed woman, the financial stuff will work itself out and you'll be ok that way. Take care of yourself emotionally though, this too shall pass.
posted by lizbunny at 11:07 AM on December 14, 2009

Anonymous - MeMail me if you'd like advice on livin' on the cheap in the DC metro area, as well as some reasonably priced counseling.
posted by December at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2009

Are you on the lease? I'm going to assume no, since the management company has agreed to let him vacate, unless he forged your signature on paperwork.

Often, notice from one tenant is binding on the others. Check the terms of your lease and with a local lawyer.
posted by grouse at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2009

The money you have is a plus. But doesn't help you at all with the shock you must be in right now. If someone takes steps behind your back to end things - you have to accept that they are over. That's first. It's no good for you to haggle with him for the relationship. Even if he took it all back right now, what he has done is seriously damaging to your trust.

I suggest you talk to someone you trust and allow them to help you through this emotionally. Anyone who cares about you will be there for you in a spit second right now. Don't be stoic. Get someone on your side right away.

In order to be able to heal (and even begin to deal with relationship - if you choose to do so) is to first figure our living arrangements away from this person. Either live with a friend temporarily or look for an apartment that is small and cheap right now (you have the money for this) and worry about ideal living conditions later. And, all the while, know that you will be ok.

Let people who love you in at this time. You shouldn't deal with this without freinds or family. Mefimail me if you wish.
posted by marimeko at 11:17 AM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

(misspellings all over the place - sorry!) that was MeMail me if you need to..
posted by marimeko at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2009

I only have $10,000 in the bank

Is that in a joint account? Move it right now if it is: the kind of schmuck who would kill your lease w/o telling you is the kind of schmuck who would take your money too.

Stay well.
posted by jamaro at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2009 [13 favorites]

When I found out my husband was having an affair, I was pretty much in the same financial position you are now (I made more money but lived in a more expensive city). I was absolutely positive that I couldn't support myself and I had absolutely no idea what to do. I was panicked and anxious and I literally could not fathom that I was going to live on my own and start my entire life over.

It's been about a year. I have a wonderful apartment. I have money in the bank and I am supporting myself. I have been estranged from my family for many years and there was no need to get back in touch with them during or after my divorce.

You might have to start small. Maybe you'll get a studio apartment or maybe you'll be in an older building, but you can absolutely support yourself with the money you're making now. You're in better shape than you realize for sure.

It's possible that you feel completely bereft and broken right now, and that's okay too. Start small. Make a to-do list. Set small goals. Maybe you'll start by looking at two apartments or by packing one single box.

Mail if you have any questions, and good luck!
posted by kate blank at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2009 [12 favorites]

I have no personal experience going here, but I have read that the Whitman-Walker Clinic has low-cost/donation only support groups for people leaving relationships. I see that they have support groups for people leaving long-term relationships on this list here. If they don't an active group right now, perhaps they can point you to resources.

You should be very proud of yourself for having savings. If you have the smarts to take care of yourself financially like that, you will be able to make it through this .
posted by NikitaNikita at 11:34 AM on December 14, 2009

For the short term, to soothe your worries about qualifying for an apartment - you can always look for a sublet (generally craigslist is good for those). It's not as difficult to get "approved" for a sublet (if you can even call it that - it often feels more informal than that), since it's a limited period of time and it's often done privately rather than through a rental company.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:36 AM on December 14, 2009

I am scratching my head over the parts where he told you you were the love of his life while secretly planning on vacating the apartment and leaving you high and dry. How can you trust that he is serious when he says he is 80% certain he wants you to come with him?....

On the flip side, eight years is a long time, and it is time for both of you to either get on the same page or end the relationship. It sounds like he may have already made his decision, but he owes you an honest explanation and conversation.

There may also be more going on here than meets the eye, as there sometimes is when this level of secrecy is involved.... This is a pretty crappy way to treat a partner of eight years... You need to chill out until you can go home and talk.

Know this: You WILL be ok.
posted by xammerboy at 11:37 AM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, try making amends with your family. Family is family, and everything else is impermanent.
posted by xammerboy at 11:38 AM on December 14, 2009

Someone who would give up the apartment out from under you is a coward; someone who would tell you you're his "life" while making plans to move out and leave you homeless is no one you want to have in your life at all.

As everyone else has said, it's not that hard to get an apartment if you have $10,000 in the bank, even if all you make is $36,000. It will be rough, but you'll adjust.

When you've got back on your feet, it might be time to do some work on yourself. You'll be asking yourself how you could have not known that your partner was planning to leave the relationship while telling you the opposite. You might want to look at that side of yourself. You picked a liar and a coward to be with for eight years. Did you know it at any level? Did you not want to know it? Did you not want to hear it? I'm not saying you did; I'm saying these are questions you'll want to answer for yourself so that you can trust the next relationship you choose for yourself.

You might also ask yourself if you want to be in a job where you're not dependent on anyone else for your standard of living.

Numbness isn't a bad emotion right now. Go with it. You need to take care of business. You can cry later, once you've moved out.

Whatever you do, don't listen to another word your ex-partner says. It will be tempting to think about couples counselling or whatever. But if they can vacate the lease behind your back, nothing they say has any value whatsoever. Get away from this relationship and don't look back.
posted by musofire at 11:45 AM on December 14, 2009 [8 favorites]

1)You have the $10K, and you have a job. That's 90% of practical problems taken care of. That is HUGE. I realize that it seems like no help at all with your emotional trauma, but trust me, you are way ahead of folks who find themselves in your shoes, except they have no $ and no way to survive short term. This is a blessing - hold on to your job. And YES, you can get an apartment on your own. START SEARCHING NOW. This will (a tiny bit) take your mind off the terrible emotional strain you are under - search for an affordable apartment, and rent it.

2)Your relationship is over. This is not the time to analyze why and how and what could have been different - that's distracting right now, and emotionally draining. You need to take care of practical issues, getting a new apartment, holding onto your job, making new friends, holding onto old friends it is still possible to hold on - though cut off contact (for now) IF keeping in touch with those friends will expose you to your ex.

3)Your relationship is over. The facts: a person who is capable of acting as if on top of the world with you, while behind your back he pulls the very ground from under your feet (apartment) - and you sense nothing wrong - well, that person is completely 100% not suited to you... you cannot deal with such a person, you can never trust them, nor trust your instincts regarding him. It's over. The time for reflection will be later. For now, in order to cope, just think of it like those science fiction movies, where the person you knew is gone - taken by the body snatchers, and what you have is an external copy of your ex... but an alien inside. You cannot negotiate, you cannot beg, you cannot reason. It's over.

4)Yes, you will be OK. This is impossible to believe right now. Unfortunately it needs time - you cannot hurry the process. It's like a seed in the ground - it will grow, but it needs time and screaming at it will not make it come up faster. At the same time, you must trust that starting at that barren patch, however unbelievable it seems right now, come spring, a flower will bloom.

5)You don't need to contact your family right now, but down the line, you can open communication with the reasonable ones (maybe if your mom is really crazy, don't bother - you don't need additional drama right now). BUT - lesson for the future: never again rely on anyone to be your ENTIRE world. You need your own friends, your own interests, your own resources material and emotional.

6)Keep busy. An idle mind and idle body is your enemy right now. Time for reflection will come later. It is time to fight for survival right now. Keep as busy as humanly possible. Take up a new hobby - musical instrument, classes whatever - with people around you, structured time where you are involve and must participate.

You have my sympathy - now go kick ass. Good luck!
posted by VikingSword at 11:51 AM on December 14, 2009 [11 favorites]

You're not going to die. You're not going to be homeless. You're going to be fine. You have a job. You have ten grand in the bank.

And best of all, you're not going to spend the rest of your life with the kind of person who would terminate your lease behind your back, rather than have a frank but painful discussion with you.

Best wishes.
posted by benzenedream at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]

You can't trust him right now. Whatever the future holds, you need to get on your own two feet.

I suggest looking for House sitting gigs as well. They can be a great temp housing solution. You may be able to live for free or get paid. You can shove your stuff in storage and relax a bit. I agree with those above that you need to get your own space.
posted by Gor-ella at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2009

You can start by NOT considering staying with him. How much time was he going to give you to find another place to live? Were you just going to come home from work one day and find the lock changed? WTF. That goes way beyond "didn't know how to bring it up."
posted by ctmf at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]

Someone who would give up the apartment out from under you is a coward; someone who would tell you you're his "life" while making plans to move out and leave you homeless is no one you want to have in your life at all.

Yes, can't stress that enough.

Has he given you no clue what's spurred this? When he said that you two might "want different things," did he elaborate at all? Is he prone to dramatics normally?

Without knowing why he moved out, you don't seem to have a ton of options for get him back. But even if you could, ask yourself honestly if you'd ever feel safe with him again; he pulled this on you out of nowhere and was willing to leave you homeless without even telling you there was anything wrong. I am so, so sorry this happened to you, and I know right now it feels like if you could just get back together you'd feel much more secure, but would you really be able to feel secure knowing that he might do something like that again in the future? If you do get back together, you need to be sure that he understands what he did to you was awful and a betrayal of trust, and you need to make sure he understands that if he has problems in the relationship in the future, that is NOT the way to go about handling them. Make him go to counseling with you and never give him that degree of control over where you live again; if he wants to move out on his own, fine, but a *notice to vacate* when you still live there is so out of line I can't even fathom his reasoning. It's either incredibly stupid or incredibly vindictive.

As others have said, you will be fine if you break up for good. Given his behavior, I'm leaning towards saying you'll be better off, really. You will get through this.
posted by Nattie at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

I found my girlfriend cheating on me with a mutual friend when I was 30. I had $300 in the bank and no real friends around to talk to. I kind of flipped out; bought a Greyhound ticket, moved to Florida, ran a youth hostel for a year and got my head together.

$10,000 is a lot of money. $36,000/yr. isn't so bad either. I think you're covered on the logistical end of things; but I also think you're in a very, very vulnerable position right now emotionally. The kind of guy who would dip out the way he has is not the kind of guy who's ready to go the hard yards with you. He may not be evil, but he certainly has his own things going on.

I think I know much how you feel, as much as a stranger can, and there are three things that I can tell you that will help; 1) DON'T do 'whatever he wants you to'. It seems like the best thing to do right now, but I can practically guarantee that if you can keep yourself from doing this, you will be happier and happier that you didn't in the years to come. 2) Don't focus on what/who you don't have right now - focus on what you do have and what you can do with these resources. You WILL be alright, and you WILL NOT die. 3) Don't try to figure out his behavior. It won't make sense to you until you've had a long, long time to get some distance from the situation. Rather than wracking your brain for a reason for all this, just know that he's acted in a way that leaves you high and dry, and a person who loves you wouldn't do that.

Although you won't see this for a while, this whole thing is really an opportunity for you. A painful, unwelcome opportunity at the moment, sure, but a wonderful opportunity nonetheless - a chance to find out who your real friends are, a chance to find out who YOU are, a chance to either bond or sever ties with your family, and a chance to redefine almost everything about your life. This is another one of those things you probably won't see for the gift that it is until much later; just know that you can choose to make this whole thing work for you instead of destroying you.

Good luck with this.

ps - You will never believe how much good water and running can do until you've made a habit of them for a couple of months.
posted by Pecinpah at 12:15 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]

You deserve better than a tentative 80% invitation to stay in someone's life. Your (ex)partner owes you a serious apology and explanation for what he has done. However much you love him, what he did was shockingly unkind and I hope you can value yourself enough to see that you deserve more respect and kindness than that.

Reach out to your friends. Get some support from people other than your (ex)partner. He was not your whole life, he's just been a big part of it. There are others who care about you and want good things for you. Let them help you. I have had friends drift away from me as they got closer to a partner; I would not hesitate to help them if they called and described circumstances similar to yours--and I am not an unusually nice or generous person.

Another step I'd recommend right now: consider finding a sublet, house-sitting gig, or month-to-month lease. That way, you buy yourself some time before you have to decide whether to go to your family or find a new place in DC.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Secure any monies you have. If you have joint accounts, pull (your) money out (optional: close those accounts. But get your money out.) Do this ASAP. Do not pass go, do not indulge any distraction.

I've been in your situation: fantastic previous day; come home to an abandoned home. Your (ex-)partner says lies with his mouth that he's 80% sure he wants to continue, but his actions say that he has 100% abandoned you and the relationship.

You'll probably be in a state of stunned unbelief & questioning for several days/weeks/months. This is the time to be pragmatic: Get to the bank(s) and secure your monies. Make sure all of your money is accessible only by you. It's not uncommon for an abandoning partner to grab as much loot as they can before leaving, so really really really make sure he can't loot any more than he has.

Remember this: he has vacated the relationship; he has abandoned you and the relationship. Relationships are founded on trust, and he has violated that trust in a flagrant (but sneaky), deliberate manner. Consider this relationship Over. If you guys want to re-start a relationship, fine, but this one is over. Do not beg. Do not allow yourself to wistfully recall what great times you've had, and do not allow him to sweet talk hornswaggle you into anything not in your self-interest.

Do not indulge in notions that this is an opps! slip-up event that can be patched up with just a little more [fill in the blank]. This is sabotage. It's one thing to "split the blanket", it's quite another to pull the blanket out from under your partner in a cruel, sneaky, cowardly and deliberate manner. Do not blame yourself. Repeat: Do not blame yourself!

I am so, so very sorry you're having to go through this. Hang in there -- you'll be fine, and later, even better than before. Oh, and after securing your monies, check your lease.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2009 [10 favorites]

Since no one has put it so baldly: He is a huge, raving asshole for putting you in this situation, where you must vacate your current apartment without much notice, and without him telling you, while acting like he loves you and that you're his "life".

He may, in fact, view you as his "life".

However, it's the actions that are key in this situation: He is acting like a selfish asshole, and therefore, he is one, despite his protestations of love. Specifically, his actions are VERY passive aggressive: "I love you, but I'm moving out without telling you directly."

You deserve someone far more honest and less passive aggressive, who loves you in a less nebulous way.

Would you EVER move out on him in this fashion or sneak out on anyone that way, unless the person you were living with was being abusive and it was your only choice?


Then don't allow yourself to fall for his bullshit, and move on. Pretend he's dead to you.
posted by Issithe at 12:48 PM on December 14, 2009 [10 favorites]

So much good advice in this thread. I just want to say that you'll find friends and family to be remarkably understanding right now. Most people have had their heart broken or trust betrayed and will GET what you're going through, if not in detail, then at least at gut level. In addition to people being able to empathize, I bet your friends and family missed you, and having an opportunity to help you, whether emotionally or otherwise, during this time could be enormously gratifying for them. So please do reach out. But as others have said, avoid people who will make things worse, i.e. your mom if she's really crazy, and friends who'll expose you to your ex or who are as much or more his friends as opposed to your friends. Also, it really is a good time to make new friends - even if you're sad when you go out, people will race to cheer you up and make time to check in on you. These people will get to know you as you, outside of the context of this person, and that's a really good thing for putting yourself together anew.
posted by lorrer at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2009

A contra sound here: is he mentally OK? Securing your money is a good idea but: if he has been sniffing glue and is delusional because of that HE needs help.
posted by Eltulipan at 1:18 PM on December 14, 2009

1. If that 10K is yours, then that 10K needs to be in an account that he does not have access to - this is imperative, even if you are wanting to/thinking of/hoping to stay with him. You can't trust him right now.

1a. Anything that you have joint - credit cards, bills - make a list. Go down that list and take your name off the accounts.

2. With money in the bank and a job, you can move and you can do this. Even if you hope to work it out with him, now is a good time to have a safe place of your own, one that he doesn't share.

3. Do you want to try to stay where you are now? (I don't recommend it - see #2) If so, talk to the management company.

4. What neighborhoods do you like/where do you want to consider living? Narrow that down. Start looking for a place - Craigslist, those apartment magazines you see at the store, the newspaper, ask friends. Just start.

5. Tell him you are moving out. Mean it. Tell him you love him and want to try counseling. Mean it - if you two stay together, it will take work from both of you. Do not settle for hanging around waiting for him to make up his mind, or settle for 80% sure. That won;t work, and worse, it will show him that this type of behavior is acceptable. He will do what he wants to do.

Stand up and tell yourself that this sucks beyond belief, and you don't deserve it, but you got it and you need to get some practical shit taken care of, and take care of it head on. Start tomorrow - better yet tonight. Don't put this off, because it's not going to mend itself - he got his own separate apartment without telling you, and that's not going to go away.

Lean on your friends if you need to. I don't know your family or your situation with them, but you might be surprised to find out that they really are there for you if you need them - that said, conserve your resources right now, try calling them or emailing.

I am sorry. I really am. I can't explain why it happened, and i don't doubt that the two of you have great times together. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong or that you could have prevented this.

It will get better, and you will be okay. I know how utterly inconceivable that seems right now. I know. But it is true, and you will look around one day not too far from now and you will marvel at how you never thought you would end up okay, and even happy.
posted by KAS at 1:31 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]

Let me get this - his plan was to evacuate the apartment and leave you homeless?

Why would you want someone who's actively trying to damage you to have any part in your life? How did he expect you to find housing over the winter holidays with no notice? He didn't care. He's either incredible cruel or incredibly cowardly.

Step 1 - Secure your assets. Remove your money from any joint accounts. Remove your high value items from your home. Don't be surprised if he's cleaned those out already.

Step 2 - Counseling. Find out what your health insurance will cover and what low cost options are available.

Step 3 - Call your friends. Let people know you need help.

Step 4 - Find housing. Look in Craigslist for sublets and roommates.

That's the big stuff - money, housing, mental health and support. You can do anything from there.
posted by 26.2 at 1:33 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]

Lots of good advice up there, but I just wanted to say that if you are in the DC area MeFi mail me if you'd like someone neutral with whom to speak in person; it can be good to be able to vent to someone who isn't part of your normal group of friends so you know that you can just let it all out without burning a bridge or anything. Best of luck!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:41 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

It is over and he doesn't even have the balls to tell you - he wants you to break up with him so he can still be the "good guy" in his imagination. He was probably trying to build up "good memories" for you, as though more lies would be any consolation.

Don't sleep there again. Don't see him again; write unposted letters if it will help but he can't help lying to you so there will be no closure from him. Stay tonight in a motel. Get a self-storage locker and move all your belongings there - if there is anything you hesitate over whether it is "yours, mine or ours" take it now and sort out the ownership later (you can trust yourself to behave honourably but you know beyond a fact that he won't). Craigslist will give you a number of ads for man with a van that you can hire tonight (or today while he is at work). Follow the financial advice above - right now. Don't tip your hand about any of this to avoid vengeance while you are still vulnerable.

Get a new cell phone with a new number to use. Don't give the number to mutual friends unless they understand they are not to share it with anyone. Keep the old number but only check the messages once a day to make sure you haven't missed anything urgent. Let your co-workers know - they will be more understanding than you think. If he calls you at work, hang up, don't respond to his calls or emails until your hear is in a better place (like six months down the road.).

You WILL survive, you WILL get through this, and you will have a life of honesty and respect - something he can not give you. Good luck.
posted by saucysault at 1:51 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've been in a similar situation having had my boyfriend of 5 years that I was living with secure another apartment without telling me he wanted to end the relationship. I only found out about everything about a week before his new lease started because I caught him in a lie.

I was so hurt and felt so betrayed and so scared as to what was going to happen next. I didn't have any money saved up. I made very little since I was only working part time when it happened and I wasn't going to be able to afford my apartment on my own.

You say that he is your best friend, and that's what I thought about my boyfriend too, but he's not. A friend would never do this sort of thing. He's a coward and you don't deserve to be treated this way. He doesn't deserve to be called your life. You are much more than who you are with and especially much more than someone who would treat you this way.

I hope you can find a way to reconcile with your family one day, but if you can't, that's okay too. You have your friends. My friends really and truly got me through my breakup whether that meant being a shoulder to cry on or a fun distraction. Don't cut yourself off from people, reach out to them; I'm sure you'll find that they want to help you.

You will get through this. I know right now it's overwhelming and new, but it will get better. You know, it's 8 months later and I've moved apartments and still am not making all that much money, but I'm so much happier now. I've grown so much in that time and am more comfortable with myself and with others. The situation you have been put in is rough, but it is also an opportunity. You can make of it what you want to.

I wish you the best of luck!!
posted by legendarygirlfriend at 1:52 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]

No one who loves you would go behind your back and engage in the process of vacating the apartment you share together. This is not something a "sweet" person would do.

No one who loves you would say that they are 80% sure they want to stay with you. This kind of thing isn't quantifiable, but it sure helps in stringing you along.

People are more willing to help you than you realize. All you have to do is ask.
posted by mlo at 2:28 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. BREATHE. (then smile, cry, feel grateful to be alive... or simply breathe again!)

2. Secure your money.

3. Call a trusted friend. Tell them what has happened.

4. DO NOT call your crazy family. Do not rely on anyone right now who you think is "loopy" or into drama. These folks will not make your situation any easier.

5. Look on the internet for apartments. Start making appointments, go see a few. TRUST ME when I tell you you'll find a place. (I'd love to have you as a tenant - a job & $10,000 in the bank!! - but I'm in LA.) Plenty of landlords will love love love love you, you are a dream tenant.

BTW, do take a temporary situation (sublet, lofstel, etc.) if you can't immediately find someplace you adore in a great neighborhood. Don't settle on someplace you hate. Please be aware that if you do settle and live someplace you hate it, then every morning when you wake up and look around you'll be subconsciously reinforcing the messages (a) that you are a victim (b) that you don't deserve nice things (c) that you're living in a shitty place because your "partner" betrayed you and broke your heart.

Right now you have a choice about where to live while you process this event, this is an opportunity. If you choose to live someplace shitty, I can almost guarantee you will continue to re-live the trauma every single moment of every day while you inhabit the crappy space, and possibly into the future, as this sort of self-reminding can become an unconscious habit.

Please, please don't do this to yourself. Take care to (immediately or eventually) find a permanent living situation that makes you feel good.

6. Put your (ex)partner and anything to do with your relationship with him ON HOLD until you sort out proper living arrangements. Don't worry right now about why or how this could have happened. A few folks upthread said it - pretend he's dead, pretend the bodysnatchers took him away or whatever - someone who would do this is not someone who loves you. Grieve as needed, but keep moving and don't talk to him until you're in a safe place that you control (have dominion over), both physically and emotionally.


Find someone to help you pack and move, hot bathes or showers, stay away from negative/violent/sad input (including people, tv shows, music, and books) go for walks, exercise, go to a park, do favors for people, be generous to strangers.... and, oh yeah - stay away from your ex.

Great advice upthread. A lot of people here have been in your shoes.

Maybe once you get settled somewhere, I suggest you submit a new question to AskMe about additional steps! Most of us are concerned about your living situation first, but in the past, I've seen the hive come together to relate personal experiences regarding situations like yours and success stories of processing and getting past it. Which is a looong way of saying - we're here for you!

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 2:33 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Gotta go with groupthink: the relationship practically ended the moment he signed that document, or perhaps metaphysically when he decided to change both of your lives without bothering to tell you. That isn't selfish, or confused, that's evil. You don't need to be worrying about what to do after the lease is up, you need to be worrying about how to get away from this person sooner.

Seriously. Make sure your money is safe at minimum; I don't think you'd be over-reacting to leave immediately, or even to stick him with whatever's left of the lease (if he's the only name on it, that is).

The 80% where he "decides" to "keep" you is not a road you want to travel (though I've seen way too many people do it). Your hanging around after the ridiculous stunt basically tells them that they can get away with anything up to that line, because you're that scared to lose them. They'll not only brazenly pull things up to that line from that day on, but eventually push the limits again -- and if you think this stunt is bad, just wait until that one.
posted by Pufferish at 2:38 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]

Read this thread closely. Know that you're going to be fine to find a new place to live - you've got more than enough savings for a security deposit + first month's rent, and you've got a job.

Consider your group of friends. Is there anyone who can let you stay with them for a couple of days? Is there someone who would be good to look at housing with? Is there someone who can help you set up a budget for living on your own? Call one of your friends to talk this through if you need to. You're in shock right now - having someone to be with you through the next steps will help you get them done, and hopefully help you make better decisions, since it's hard to think clearly right now.

Get out of your apartment. Provide for your physical and financial security. Take a few days off work if you can and need to. Take care of yourself - anything you need to do with respect to dealing with your partner can wait until you're in new housing. I'm sorry you're going through this, and I wish you the best.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:50 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, Pufferish. Yes.

"Your hanging around after the ridiculous stunt basically tells them that they can get away with anything up to that line, because you're that scared to lose them. They'll not only brazenly pull things up to that line from that day on, but eventually push the limits again -- and if you think this stunt is bad, just wait until that one."

Emphasis mine.
posted by jbenben at 2:53 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you paid first/last months rent and/or a security deposit keep in mind you should be receiving it back. You may want to take it out of your joint account now and let him deal with settling up (since you can't trust him not to keep the whole amount). The same with any security deposits for utilities (and cancel any in your name).

It would be smart to have a quick consult with a divorce attorney since DC recognises common-law marriages

I am so sorry you are going through this. There is no way to the other side except though the pain. Treat yourself well and purchase a few tunes.
posted by saucysault at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2009

I definitely knew people who made less than you and weren't homeless in DC. I think you'll be in a better place emotionally if you realize you can support yourself. Start by looking at Craigslist and the City Paper for an efficiency or a group house. Mount Pleasant is nice and upper Georgetown has a lot of student type housing.

You'll be fine (really -- I've been there. After the initial shock wears off, you might even start to think of this as a new adventure). And someday you'll meet a guy who at least will have the balls to tell you if he's moving out.
posted by bananafish at 5:33 PM on December 14, 2009

Tons of great advice here, anon. Listen to it, especially the parts about securing your finances NOW and immediately terminating the relationship.
The rug ALMOST got pulled out from under you, but you are now armed with great step by step advice that is very on target and 40+ intelligent people agreeing on a positive course of action for you.
Sort out the immediate stuff now, finances, living situation, and start getting used to the idea that this guy does not have your best interests in mind.
As said above, you have more resources than you think right now, so take a breath and get out of panic mode. When you have your immediate needs sorted out, you can step back and deal with the emotional fallout.
posted by BillBishop at 9:53 PM on December 14, 2009

What a repulsively cowardly underhanded vile thing to do to a person. What a doubly repulsively cowardly underhanded vile thing to do to a partner.

He's not who you thought he was. He's certainly not your best friend.

Listen to everybody upthread.

Best of luck.
posted by flabdablet at 12:01 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

My partner of 8 years is thinking of leaving me.

The douchebag has already left you. Listen to everyone else here. Don't panic, you're much better off than you think (especially without his dead weight hanging around anymore).

Part of me rationally knows he should do what he wants and I should gracefully step out of his way.

Fuck being graceful. Be safe in the knowledge that you would be totally justified on calling him out on his outrageous behavior. Making you homeless and finding himself a new place took time and planning. He already knew you were homeless and that he had somewhere to go while he was telling you he loved you. How sick is that??? Go to your friends for support right now. They are a million times nicer than this jerk.

OMG I can't believe how unbelievably fucked up this situation is for you. I'm so sorry.
posted by like_neon at 5:14 AM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

This guy deserves an award for most cowardly way to leave someone of the year. What a giant-sized jerk.

You can move forward knowing, at least, that you were way too good for him. Wow.
posted by rokusan at 5:43 AM on December 15, 2009

He isn't your life...You are plenty of things with a partner and without a partner that dont change with your relationship status. It took me a very long time to learn how not to lose myself in relationships. You've had a lot of good advice in this thread. Setting small goals was a good one. Take care of yourself. You worry you will be zombie like for a long time. Try not projecting so much into the future. You don't know what will happen. Take things one day, one hour or even 15 minutes at a time. Maybe things won't be as horrible as you think. Maybe as people have suggested this will be better than you think, open mindedness will be key for you in the days to come. Keep a positive attitude about you, don't listen to the tapes play about how great he is, play the tapes about how great you are. If you get stuck call some people who can support you. If you have insurance maybe get into some therapy, exercise, yoga, etc.
posted by heatherly at 9:40 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

follow-up from the OP
Thank you all for your insight and support. I appreciate it.

We talked more, and I learned that he secured the apartment at a time when we were fighting a lot. I had been unkind to him. He has had access to the apartment since the end of November, and he didn't expect things to get better between us (at the time, I realized I was being unfair to him and unsupportive, and look a long look at myself for how non-committal and awful I was being, and he had gotten the apt thinking he had to leave before things got worse). He didn't expect things to get better between us, but I realized how completely wrong and unfair I was being because I was afraid and insecure. He'd already paid the rent money, and we'd been looking for apts in that area previously. I meant to move to MD because I want to go to grad school and have in-state tuition status for when I apply. He wanted to be in a place where the rent was low enough that he could pay it in full when I go to graduate school, so I don't have to take out additional loans.

I know this all sounds so messed up, with red flags waving all over the place. I was really offended by his 80% comment, but then I thought about what it would be like to have had me as a partner, and I'm ashamed to say, I probably would have done the same thing (have threatened to leave him from time to time, and said things out loud intimating that I wanted to be by myself). He's very remorseful about this all now. He feels very bad about it. He'd gotten a second set of keys and asked the landlord if I could be included on the lease as an occupant if he needed to share the apt before signing it.

I admonished him for not telling me. Did he expect me to live on the street? What would happen to me? He said, no, he expected, if he didn't feel better about us, that I would come with him for awhile and live rent-free until I could find a place of my own. He said he would have never, ever done that to me. He wasn't really thinking anything through, except that we needed to get out of the apt. Then, after he decided to stay, it sounded like a neat surprise to him, which he was going to work up the courage to tell me about tonight at dinner, because we've been having so much fun since I realized how awful I'd been to him over the summer and fall and quit being awful.

This all sounds really messed up. It's not the ideal situation at all where boy meets girl, girl meets boy and they fall in love and decide to be together forever. I never thought I'd meet anybody or fall in love, and a big part of me, through the eight years, has been mourning the loss of the person I thought I'd be (independent, condo-owning, single girl about town). I didn't expect this relationship to last this long.

We are both deeply flawed about this whole relationship thing and how to be in a relationship when you're extremely attracted and attached to someone, and the attraction and attachment won't go away, but know that all the cool people are lone rangers.

If this ends in disaster, I promise all you helpful people I won't react like I did yesterday. I am endlessly grateful for your support and kindness. If this ends badly, I know I will look at all your responses again, and be prepared this time. Thank you again for all of your help.
posted by jessamyn at 11:40 AM on December 15, 2009

I'm glad it turned out mostly OK! Still, sounds like you definitely want to work on him not being "your life." Not necessarily because you'll break up for real later on, but you'll both have richer lives if you have sources of fulfillment outside of him and because it's quite a lot of pressure to "be someone's life."
posted by ignignokt at 1:04 PM on December 15, 2009

OP, I hope when you re-read your follow-up you can see how you are accepting his blame for his behaviour. It is NOT okay to lie to a partner of eight years, let alone make plans to leave them homeless, act on those plans and continue that level of deception for a month. This is not analogeous to threatening to break up, because he did break up with you and was holding off on telling you until you were homeless. (Really, in his plan why would he cancel your lease while also moving out? Why did he not move out and let you keep the aptarment until you found different living quarters?). You are choosing to believe his hastily-concocted explanation about cancelling your lease behind your back (not to mention the liar's favourite line: "I was just about to tell you").

Since so much of your worth is wrapped up in this person you may want to examine why you are so willing to accept such an unequal partnership where you are to blame for his lies and actually feel guilty for making him create such an elaborate alternative life without you.

There was nothing wrong with how you reacted yesterday, you reacted exactly like a person who has just discovered a deep betrayal. I wish you the best and hope you learn you can stand on your own two feet and deserve nothing less than full honesty in relationships. I hope too that your boyfriend seeks help because his behaviour (especially from someone in his thirties) is so shockngly outside any sociatal norms that it will continue to impare him in having a full and honest life.
posted by saucysault at 9:26 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

If this ends badly, I know I will look at all your responses again, and be prepared this time.

Errr, you need to be prepared before he does something completely asinine again.

I hope everything works out for you, but I would still follow everyone's advice about making sure all your accounts and rental situation is covered assuming he splits. Your account above seems like he's just spouting off convenient coverup lies and you are very eager to accept what he says without examining it critically, due to your emotional state.

Why don't both of you take a 1 week vacation from the other to think it over?
posted by benzenedream at 12:13 AM on December 16, 2009

one more follow-up from teh OP
It all went to hell again as I thought about how much effort and work it took to do this. It took a number of separate steps to do this, and I'm okay, but the shock just splashes over me. It was my name on the lease. He forged my signature on the Notice to Vacate. In trying to salvage the situation and save myself from my own humiliation (lie to myself), I told the property management company he bought me a condo for Christmas (I'm such an idiot, but I was too embarrassed to suggest that I could be caught in this level of dysfunction) and I was excited to vacate. I can't afford the apt on my own. I was trying so hard to understand why someone would do this, and I can't. Obviously, even in eight years, I didn't realize how cold and calculating he could be. I denied the glimpses I saw sometimes, chalking them up to him being angry.

I actually always believed that he was a better and more compassionate person than me 98% of the time I was in love with him.

He's been begging me to come with him and he maintains he did it because we weren't getting along at the time. But it took a lot of effort (effort he usually doesn't have). He recently graduated from a master's program, and got a good job, and he keeps trying to explain that he'd been in a bad rut for so long (I foolishly believed I was helping him) that he wanted to change his life completely, which included getting rid of me.

I realized he forged my signature on the Notice to Vacate because he didn't want to continue paying double rent. He accidentally admitted that that was his reasoning. I didn't think he was capable of being so self-serving and cold. I'm in a lot of pain at odd moments. I'll be okay for ten minutes and then just feel so cold inside.

Thank you again for helping me, for responding, for helping me. I don't want to tell anyone what happened. I feel really ashamed of myself for being in this kind of relationship, for being so foolish, so stupid, so blind for so long. This was the first serious relationship I'd ever been in. I'd been in love with him for so long, forgiven him so much, and I can't do this anymore. He wants to make it up to me, but I know in my heart now that no good will ever come of this.

This is all really painful, but I'm doing better than I was on Monday. I can't believe someone I loved and trusted, who I would have walked to the end of the Earth for, would do this to me. How can someone do this?
posted by jessamyn at 12:44 PM on December 17, 2009

Thanks for your follow-ups. I know that it a tremendous shock to think that someone whom you loved could frankly not give a shit about you, but you should not be embarassed. People get tricked / fooled / misled all the time. Your trust in him should be a source of shame to him, not to you.

You should do what many people in this thread suggested at the beginning. Consolidate and ensure control of your assets, move out, and don't ever look back. Your soon-to-be ex is a Bad Guy, and continuing this charade any longer will mean continued lies and heartbreak. Good luck.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:22 PM on December 17, 2009

I don't want to tell anyone what happened. I feel really ashamed of myself for being in this kind of relationship, for being so foolish, so stupid, so blind for so long.

Some learning opportunities are really painful. Please don't beat yourself up extensively over this one. It's okay if you don't want to deal with telling anyone about it right now, but please don't try to bury it because you think it's a horrible, shameful secret. You were betrayed by someone you thought was worthy of your love and trust. I don't know anyone who that hasn't happened to. Maybe there are things you're facing about yourself that you don't like right now, but don't put any blame on your own shoulders that doesn't belong there - he failed you in a spectactularly underhanded way. Remember, for one thing, that this is not all your fault, and for another, that no one makes perfect choices all the time, especially where relationships are concerned. Be smart, but be gentle with yourself.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I feel really ashamed of myself for being in this kind of relationship, for being so foolish, so stupid, so blind for so long.

Don't worry too much. If you're single in your thirties, pretty much everyone else you meet of the same age who isn't married will have been through at least one long-term "starter" relationship that didn't work out. Once you start going out and meeting new people in single-friendly groups, you'll realize there are lots of others from similar situations.
posted by benzenedream at 1:35 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry to hear it has gone south again. You did nothing wrong, nothing to deserve his deception. You certainly sound stronger now - you WILL get through this and you will be happy with the life you make without him.
posted by saucysault at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2009

This was the first serious relationship I'd ever been in.

Yeah, those hurt when they collapse.

But you've learned a lot from it, and everything you've learned is going to make your next serious relationship work better, provided you focus on what you've learned about you.

You'll need to avoid the classic error of treating your next partner with the suspicion you've now found would have been appropriate for the arsehole who has just done this to you. This will take care and concentration, and it will come a lot easier if you take a longish break from the whole relationship game before seeking another one.
posted by flabdablet at 5:45 AM on December 19, 2009

I am so sorry that you feel so foolish and bereft and adrift. I felt precisely the same way at the end of my marriage and as I said above, I literally could not fathom starting my whole life over. I know that you feel that the rent on your current apartment is too much for you to afford long-term but I wonder if you could swing it for another 30 or 60 days just to get your bearings. Not having to move immediately will give you a bit of a breather and a sense of control (since you'll be able to rationally and reasonably select your next apartment instead of jumping into any place with four walls). You don't have to tell your property manager that your Christmas condo didn't work out or your relationship has fallen apart -- just ask if you can extend your lease another sixty days. There's no other explanation necessary.

I found a lot of little things really helpful when I was dealing with the end of my marriage, but nothing was more helpful than the realization that I had been given a tremendous gift -- an opportunity to change my entire life. Getting to that point took months and months of crying in grocery stores and parking garages and public bathrooms and restaurants. If I could you one thing, it would be the freedom of that realization without the turmoil that proceeded it.
posted by kate blank at 8:47 AM on December 19, 2009

you'll be totally okay to rent a place. i rented a place when i had no job at all by showing them my $10,000 savings account. i was unemployed for the whole time i lived there.

however, i'd actually recommend not living alone and instead moving in with some roommates or into a room in a house. you're gonna feel lonely and shitty for awhile and not being alone will help.
posted by groovinkim at 3:51 AM on December 22, 2009

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