Q. My boyfriend and I have been together for more than three years, and I now realize we have opposite life goals. I want to be married and he doesn’t believe in marriage. I want to buy a home and he has no interest in doing this. We live together but everything is in my name only.
I tried to break up with him about a year ago when I started to see these problems (also, I was upset that he had lied to me about a few significant parts of his life), but he somehow talked me into giving him another chance. A few weeks ago, I tried to break up with him again, giving him the honest facts without placing blame. I said, “I am not getting what I need and I want to be married. I have different goals than you so this isn’t going to work.”
Somehow after I told him this, he decided that it was his decision, and that he has decided to try harder. It has been awkward since then, and he has been trying to shower me with gifts and attention I don’t want (I want him to accept our breakup and leave). How do I get him to understand that I am breaking up with him and it’s not his choice? How do I get him to leave? I have been really unpleasant around him since my last attempt to break up with him. I haven’t been acknowledging him or cooking for him like I did in the past. I’m trying to make it uncomfortable so that he will want to leave. What else can I do?
A. You must have this breakup conversation all over again. This time you’ll have to reject his bargaining and work with him to come up with a practical plan for separating your lives.
You can duplicate the tone and language of your second breakup; just add some questions about the living arrangements. Does he have a place to go? Would you leave for a bit to give him space? How much would it cost to move? Stick to the practicalities.
The second he tries to talk about working harder, let him know that this isn’t about anyone having to change. You’re two people with different life goals. That’s the end of the conversation.
If you can’t bring yourself to be assertive — and if there’s any concern about how he might react to a real breakup — consider having the discussion in couples counseling. Sometimes visiting a professional is more about processing a decision than saving a relationship. Sometimes it’s about having a third party in the room as you make a plan for next steps. If you need that help, don’t hesitate to get it.
Meredith is right in that you can’t passive-aggressive your way out of this. You need to have a frank talk with him and make it clear that he has to leave.
You may have to lay it out cold: “You don’t understand. I am done, and you have to leave.”
Wow, Meredith missed it on this one. You need to see an attorney, and work to get this man out of your apartment. You suggest that the lease is in your name, but he still may have some tenant rights. You need to get him out of your apartment first. Then, change the locks.
I think that [above] is good advice IF she asked him to leave and he declined. The only thing she mentions is being unfriendly to him and not cooking him meals. There’s a step that needs to happen before going to a lawyer because it will be premature to get legal advice if she hasn’t been clear in her communications that he needs to be out by a certain date. Nothing in her letter indicated that she said this.
Go to your landlord. Tell them you are moving out. Find a new place. Don’t let him come with you.