Thanks to necessary dates and yearly presents and romantic getaways, relationships are thought to cost much more than singledom. Top Ramen costs a couple quarters and when you don’t take a shower for a few days you save on water and your family understands when you can’t afford Christmas presents for a year. Or two.
However, once you’ve been in a relationship, the cost of getting back to Top Ramen-eating, shower-avoiding, present-dismissing solitary neutral can be devastating.
A break up will cost you five previously made plans. You’ll have to cancel their surprise birthday party and return that “just because” gift and beg for an expensive deposit back. You’ll refund concert tickets and transfer airline miles and struggle to find someone else to watch season finales with. The moments you once couldn’t wait for become moments you can’t erase quickly enough.
A break up will cost you four favors. You’ll ask to occupy couches and raid liquor cabinets and replace calm evenings with restless sob-soaked nights. You’ll call in best friends to help separate all the material things you once combined with someone else’s, in the hope forever was possible and not just the unrealistic ending to childhood stories.
A break up will cost you three possibilities. You could have possibly been best friends with theirs and you could have possibly loved their overprotective mother and you could have possibly spent the remainder of your years brushing their grey hair while they rub you down with Bengay. You let your mind wander and your imagination off the leash and both left you with nothing but foolish naivety.
A break up will cost you two healthy years. You’ll lose yourself in calories or chase elusive hours of sleep or avoid eating entirely thanks to the rock that seems to be pulling your stomach to your knees. You’ll drink too much whiskey or pursue too many strangers or dive into whatever pool of narcotics that’ll leave you feeling detached from the reality you had once been promised you’d never face. Any sense of self preservation seems as foreign as their arms and as distant as their love.
A break up will cost you one level of trust. You won’t trust anyone to stick around or someone to mean what they say or the opposite sex to understand the complex neurosis you’ve become so accustomed to hiding. Mostly, you won’t trust yourself. You won’t trust yourself to read between the lines or barricade protective walls or decipher fleeting feelings from enduring emotions.
And just as you are about to sign the check and lick the stamp and send every suffering cost on its way, you notice the fine print. Fine print no bank or credit agency or loan officer could possibly pen. A fine print you won’t find on the back of a receipt or at the bottom of a bill or behind the card that accompanied flowers.
All sales and returns are anything but final. All costs accrued will be recycled into your ever-growing character. All losses are additions to a foundation you will eventually pick yourself up and stand on. The cost of breaking up is not a loss. It is an investment.
A promise that, in the end, you’ll cash out ahead.