So Distracted… By Work

I love my job! I can’t imagine how society functioned before everyone had jobs. One day, I shall have to pull out a few Jane Austen novels and peruse them just to find out: what excuse do you come up with for letting a relationship tail off when you haven’t got a job?

I’m thinking of the guy with whom I had a great pre-date telephone conversation. Or at least, I thought it was great, and pre-date.
“I’d love to drive in for a date,” the guy said at the end of the call. “But I’m really busy with work these days. Let me be in touch when I find the time to come in.”

Odd thing, that. The shadchan had assured me he was unemployed. I guess he was busy hunting for a job? I should mention that this happened two months ago. I haven’t heard from him since. Phew! Unemployment sure does swallow your time!

And what about the guy who was everything (in theory) that a Dater could want? Granted, she wasn’t especially attracted to him, but that could come with time. She wasn’t going to throw out a great guy like this on a technicality. He was steady, he was sensible, he had a good job he loved, he was responsible…

Darnit about the job! Turns out he loved that job more than he loved her. They went out a few times, spoke on the phone, exchanged a few emails, and then…

“Sorry this was so short. I’m really busy with work. I’ll email you something longer when I have more time.”

That was the last she heard of him.

Sometimes, late at night, she wonders if she should have done something when he disappeared. Called the cops and reported a missing beau, probably buried under a toppled pile of documents in the back of a government office… What with the sequester, they might have cut the cleaning crew, and nobody would ever find his body now until they cut the A/C in the fall and it started smelling.

When someone starts using work as an excuse for falling out of touch, it means the relationship is dead—they just haven’t acknowledged the body yet. They’re like the girlfriend who propped her dead BF in his lazyboy, turned the TV to NASCAR, and placed a beer in his hand. Unable to admit that they’d crossed the point where gravity was exerting an inexorable tug on their bond, they waffle along until they drift so far apart they don’t even realize they’ve broken up.

I’ve done it. I’ve even used work as an excuse. And I hate that lack of closure. I guess it’s closure enough that neither of us pursued closure. But if I could go back, I’d ditch the cowardice, be a (wo)man, step up to the plate, and say, “Let’s break up.”

That’s what a friend of mine had to do.

Things were thrumming along between the two of them—they went out twice a week, texted several times a day, and spoke almost every night. Until Pesach.

“sry,” he texted after their week apart. “been bsy w/wrk.”

A few days later she called to ask if they were “okay.”

“Yes, of course we’re okay,” he said, a little distracted. They spoke about the weather for a half-hour and hung up. Two days later he texted that maybe they needed some time apart to think about “things.” Unwilling to watch their relationship die, slowly, writhing on the hot pavement, she did what he should have done. She talked him though a breakup. Via text message.

Then she sat down on her living room floor and cried for two weeks straight.

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7 thoughts on “So Distracted… By Work

  1. That last story sounds exactly what just happened to me. Three months and then…

    Except I’m a guy, and she didn’t say work, she said school, and I didn’t cry afterwards, I just started dating other people.

  2. Oy vey, you know that’s not okay, right?
    A person should be treating the other person in the relationship with respect and dignity.
    That means treating the other person like a human being that deserves a phone call AND closure.
    Get over yourself, get over the brief awkwardness, figure out the REAL reason you want to end the relationship, and respectfully explain your side.
    It’s tough, but it’s definitely better than the pain left by a relationship ending in neglect.

  3. I’ve never heard of such a thing, who DOES that? That’s absolutely terrible. Treat a person like a person, and if you can’t, you shouldn’t enter a relationship in the first place. Bad4, I can’t believe you did the same thing.

  4. I must say, I followed the link to the case of the dead boyfriend, and I was quite shocked that there was no allusion to “A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner. Philistines.

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