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A Closed Break-Up Letter To My Soon-To-Be Ex

by Anonymous

What you are reading is not an article, short story, think piece or listicle. This is a break-up letter, from one anonymous person to another. What I can tell the casual reader, is that I am a man, breaking up with a woman. We both live in Portland and share the same pool of friends. We both consider ourselves "socially progressive," though during the process of writing this letter, I realized in all likelihood neither of us are progressive (though only one of us is willing to admit that). Enjoy.

Dear soon-to-be-ex partner,

This is me, _______, telling you that I do not want to be with you anymore. It’s over. While it may be my fault, it’s DEFINITELY your fault. In polite company, I would describe you as "difficult," but let me say it the way I say it to my friends, you are a psycho. Such a psycho, in fact, that I am too afraid to break up with you in person, by phone, text or even regular ol’ mail. The best option I have is to break up through this magazine. But, given the middle school nature of this town, this is likely to circulate among the right people and find its way to you in about one or two months, by which time I will have hopefully found a job in another city

Okay, so, how do you know I am talking about you? Well, that can be deduced from the reasons I have for leaving and from why I savor using the word "psycho," while chatting with bartenders for the past year.

The way you present yourself to others, both in person and on social media, is as someone who is artistically active, honorable, honest and, above all else, passionate about social justice. The reality that I have experienced, is a vampiric egotist who would rather let the world burn down around them, rather than question themselves.

At least once a week, for the past year and a half, I have had an emotionally and physically draining argument over total horseshit. Things like arguing over use of the word "tribal" to describe the political divide in the country. It’s a generic term—not something specific about Native Americans. Once, you got mad at me for saying "tribal tattoo," and then, at another time, defended tribal tattoos when I said they look douchey—the accusation being that I am "racist" for not liking tribal tattoos. And, when I pointed out to you how we have had wildly different arguments over the same word, you curled up into a ball and said you "don’t feel safe."

The issues you post about ten times a day on Facebook are not issues that I necessarily disagree with. Yes, there is lots of sexism in the workplace. Yes, institutional racism has not gone away. The only problem is, that while you really do believe in these causes, all of your good intentions are bankrupted by their service to your massive, very real addiction to drama. Despite how miserable you appear, it must be nice, being unable to reflect on things.

But, when an opportunity for some attention comes up, you act like the world’s biggest victim—willfully forgetting that most people grovel or pander when you enter the room. Not once have I heard a convincing enough victim story from you. Maybe some ex-boyfriends (not ex-partner—I am done saying "partner"—it’s so clunky, forced and doomed to go out of style, so I may as well quit now) lied to you or blatantly didn’t care about you.

I cared about you. I still do, but the same way I care about flood victims on the other side of the country—I wish you well.

Now, if I cared about you, then why don’t I just break-up with you in person? Well, it’s because, in Portland, if a woman is dumped, she has the option of convincing those around her that she has been "emotionally abused" or "gaslit." And, of course, I mean women who are social justice warriors, which has become another way of saying "fundamentalist."

I can see it all now: I tell you I want out, you think about recent history, where I didn’t show signs of breaking up (you know, like being affectionate and saying "I love you"). And, the dissonance between these two memories is contrasted with the ugly feeling of rejection, which is then followed by the notion that this is all intentionally hurtful—as if breaking up with someone was ever a fun thing to do. This train of thought leads one to look for ways to describe what has happened—to "make sense of it all" and that is where your social justice fundamentalist friends step in to grind their axes on the whole situation, weaponize your pain and fight the revolution.

Of course, you may be wondering (and, this will help you realize whether or not I am talking about YOU), if I have so many problems with you, then why did I stay? Well, it’s because of the way you laugh, your taste in music and the way you turn the spoon upside down when you eat sherbet…

Just kidding—it’s the blowjobs.

And, this brings me to another point I feel obligated to make: I am responsible for this situation. This all sounds like I am blaming you for my misery, which I can’t, in good conscience, do, since you were probably a fucking mess before I met you. This break-up wouldn’t be complete without me saying that, ’cause otherwise, I would hook up with someone just like you later and repeat this very distracting cliché.

I am responsible for how gratuitously stupid our relationship has become, because I am the type of person who will pretend to admire someone just to have sex. And, maybe you can sense that. Maybe your higher self intuits that I routinely lie—or, omit my real feelings—so I don’t piss you off and prevent us from fooling around later. A year and a half is too long to keep that up. I feel ragged, dirty and tired. And, sorry. I really am sorry, for not just telling you to shut the fuck up the first time I met you, for not keeping my options open in the off-chance I might meet someone I am comfortable being honest with.

The hidden player in all of this, is my self-hatred. I don’t think I can do better than histrionic, maladapted cock toys. That self-hatred hasn’t gone away, obviously, ’cause here I am, breaking up with you, anonymously, in a porn magazine.

You know what? Come to think of it, maybe let’s hold off on the whole thing. This feels rushed. I’m sorry...I take it all back. If you find out who I am and who you are, I’ll never forgive myself.