Monday, June 13, 2016


Renovations have begun. There is a plastic sheet over my kitchen doorway leading to the service porch which gently pulses with some phantom breath. The siding in the front porch has been torn off revealing the termite-addled underbelly, and two-by-fours mark the skeleton of my new bathroom.

Naturally, we have run into a snag. Saturday I noticed the hot water coming out of any faucet was just a thin trickle; Sunday morning confirmed it when I couldn't use the shower and had to take a quick sponge bath in the tub. Flash back to the days in my old apartment in the East Village that had more days without hot water than with, and large pots of water heating up on the stove. Ah, I remember it well. 

I still have no hot water. They say my galvanized pipes are the culprit and they need to be swapped out for copper which will of course cost a fortune and delay everything. Of course. And no hot water (or water at all) today. I would be more upset about this, but right now I have more pressing issues to worry about.

Apparently it's Do or Die time with the BF, just shy of one year. After spending a day with him, watching, exasperated, as he smoked all day while wearing a nicotine patch, even leaving a movie I took him to because he was "too antsy" (read: needed to go out and smoke), I was fed up. That night in bed I decided to let him have it, finally. 

He asked if his not quitting would be a deal breaker and I said yes. I said I hated how we were all inconvenienced by his stupid addiction, how much it intruded on our lives, how unfair it was. That the rest of us don't get to take a break from life every hour. That he is an addict and I am dating an addict, and exposing my children to an addict, something I swore I would never do, and that this is all my old codependent bullshit, and I hate myself for it.

He calmly asked if there was anything else holding me back and I said yes, his financial irresponsibility. That he is in no position to be a part of this family when he can't even get his own shit together or take care of basic things like his teeth or see a doctor or make sure his car runs. 

He asked if he got these things taken care of and quit smoking would I feel better about being with him? I said yes, of course.

Then he finally said the words. "Then we need to have a serious conversation about me moving in here."

My answer wasn't great but was a direct response to the sickening dread I felt when he said those words. "Well, I'd have to have a lot of therapy before anything like that started happening."

He said it was late and he had to get to sleep. 

We lay in silence for a few minutes while I stared at the smoke detector light on the ceiling. 

Then he rolled back over and kissed me and said he loved me, to which I grunted a response.

The next morning we were too caught up in the tragedy in Orlando and the realization that there was no hot water to deal with anything else.

We texted throughout the day. He says he's going to try not smoking at all for a week. Why he didn't do this when he first got the patch two weeks ago annoys me to no end. He says he's going to get everything else sorted out, too - the labyrinthine back taxes, the health insurance, the unpaid bills. He says if he doesn't then he'll end it himself, not wanting to make an enabler out of me. I asked how confident he feels that he can actually get all of these things accomplished. He said, "very". But I am not confident at all. I give it maybe 20%.

He keeps asking if we should break up for a few months until he meets all of these goals, and, if he does, can he then move in. I don't have an answer for any of this, really. Although I have determined that I don't want him living here without a bigger commitment, i.e., marriage. But that I am a long way from even considering marrying him. He has a lot of shit to prove to me first, and I need to feel ready. And I'm soooo not. 

Hanging in the balance now is Bobby's Father's Day thing at school on Friday, our trip to Hawaii in a month, and countless tickets to things over the next few months. It all sucks. But right now I don't really want to see him. I need some time alone with my thoughts. It worries me how similar he is to my mother with his self-medicating and empty promises and financial instability. 

Have I, yet again, chosen to date my mother?

And if so, there is no way that will ever be a positive or worthwhile thing in my life. 


  1. I don't think you're dating your mother! See how it goes, how much of an effort he puts ng away fro him for a week might be a good idea though if he's going to totally stop smoking because he mkt be a jerk during this time. I'd tell him that if he agrees to stop smoking cold turkey this week then I'd rather stay out of his way during the first week but, if he achieves this then you'd love to see him and celebrate his first non smoking week. One thing at a time. First smoking then his financial issues but progress should be rewarded!

    I've just had my house plumbed if that's the word. I removed all of the copper pipes as they're not up to code here in RI and had them replaced with the plastic tubing which has a much longer life and is way way cheaper. Ask your plumbers to do this? It's not susceptible to climate fluctuations - not that you get many there and it doesn't rust. I'd be happy to give you more info if you need it. Mine actually froze this winter when the heating hadn't yet been installed and they didn't burst. The copper pipe that was attached and not replaced yet sprung a leak but the plastic tubing laughed at winter and thawed a couple hours later!

  2. I think you are both doing great navigating these relationship challenges. You might not overcome them, but at least there havent been tears or fights or begging or manipulation. I agree that 20% is probably a good guess at his odds of success. People don't change. He will probably always be the way he is.

  3. Wow, you're so brave! Props to you for laying it on the line. And sharing it with us.

    It sounds to me like you are in a great place. He knows what he needs to do and that he gets to determine whether you break up or stay together as a result. Even if that isn't the whole truth.

    I also think you get to decide when and if you are ready for him to move in. Even if he quits smoking and gets his finances in order in six months, that doesn't mean he necessarily gets to move in in six months. It will take some time for each of you to get used to the new him.

  4. Kudos to you for having the courage to have that conversation. I've read and heard many times that people don't change for other people; they do it for themselves and this is the only way the changes will last. I think your gut is telling you this isn't right for you at the moment...Perhaps in a year or some time because he developed some intrinsic motivation to improve himself? He has brought joy into your lives and has been your longest romance, so even if things end, you can celebrate those facts and use them as stepping stone to even stronger future relationships. I also have chosen my irresponsible father in the past and am currently working on doing better.

    Wishing you and the boys the best,
    Lara A