Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I have a COVID-induced relationship problem. My girlfriend and I dated for over a year and lived together for most of it — basically I was in between apartments, and when she and I got together, it just made sense to move in. We’ve been having problems, probably made worse by quarantining, and we broke up about a month ago. It was very mutual and actually a very mellow conversation — no drama. She even said I could still stay with her while I looked for a place, and that because of COVID, I didn’t need to rush.
Now she’s pulling a 180 because her friend saw my profile on Tinder. She’s furious that I’m trying to meet someone. I think she’s crazy for being furious. We broke up and we both agreed it was for the best. She said not only does it seem too fast, but it’s irresponsible to try to meet people during a pandemic. I think she still has feelings for me and is using COVID as an excuse to keep me from moving on. I told her that, and she admitted that since breaking up, we’ve been getting along better and it did make her miss me. The other night we were up late having drinks and she asked if we had any chance of reconciling and I said there’s always a chance, which is true, I mean, who knows what the future holds?
But now I don’t know what to do. I feel like if I’m staying, I’m leading her on in a way, but I do want to meet new people and I do think breaking up was the right thing. She said I could stay as long as I needed to and I really have no money saved and no prospects on a new place. I feel it’s unfair for her to be mad at me for trying to date though. Any advice how to navigate this?
Wow, where to start. First of all, if you’re broken up, definitely don’t stay up late drinking together, and if you are up late drinking together, definitely don’t talk about your failed relationship — and if you are still somehow conducting a late-night drunken postmortem, definitely don’t tell this poor woman that she has a chance of getting you back.
Yes, she’s clearly still attached to you — evidenced by her allowing you to stay, reacting angrily to your Tinder time, confessing to feeling nostalgic for romantic days of the past, and admittedly pondering whether a reunion was possible. You could argue that she holds the power because she’s the one thing saving you from couch surfing, which sounds downright dangerous in these days of social distancing.
Really, you’re the one in the driver’s seat here. From where I see it, you’re stringing this lady along and capitalizing on her lingering feelings for you as you lounge around her residence taking your sweet time looking for places to live, which you can’t afford anyway, and that’s when you’re not busy swiping left and right.
Do you and your ex a favor and truly move on, which means moving out of her house.
You sure are doing a good job of convincing yourself — and a not-so-good job of trying to convince everyone else, i.e., your “ex,” Wanda and I — that you’re moving on. You aren’t even budging much less moving. If you’re serious and honest about the breakup, it’s time to stop talking and start proving it.
I echo the wise Wanda: stop stringing your ex along and stop milking the living situation. And I’ll add: stop throwing yourself out on dating/hook-up sites and stop using COVID or anything else as an excuse.
Get your priorities and your act together. Yes, things are weird and more difficult than usual right now. But many people are still managing to responsibly save money. People are still moving into new apartments, and getting Wi-Fi and groceries for those new apartments. People are still being honest and thoughtful with their fellow human beings, especially people they care about.
I hope that clears up any confusion on how to navigate this situation. If not, point yourself in a direction that leads you in the shortest distance out of her apartment and her life and moves you to a place of independence.
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