Column: Thats Mine, This is Yours

What are the seperation terms when the affair to remember is now one you want to forget?

 

Harry: Right now everything is great, everyone is happy, everyone is in love and that is wonderful. But you gotta know that sooner or later you’re gonna be screaming at each other about who’s gonna get this dish. This eight dollar dish will cost you a thousand dollars in phone calls to the legal firm of That’s Mine, This Is Yours.
Marie: Harry.
Harry: Please, Jess, Marie. Do me a favor, for your own good, put your name in your books right now before they get mixed up and you won’t know whose is whose. ‘Cause someday, believe it or not, you’ll go 15 rounds over who’s gonna get this coffee table. This stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale coffee table.
Jess:
I thought you liked it?
Harry: I was being nice.

“When Harry Met Sally” is one of those movies that everyone I know from 20 to 50 years old has seen. I shared with you my favorite scene. Harry’s neurotic bitterness comes out when his best friend, Jess, moves in with Sally’s best friend, Marie. He’s chronicling the demise of the relationship just when it’s kicking into high gear. Maybe there is a teachable moment in these words. When a relationship ends, what are the terms of the breakup?

Lately, I’ve been party to more than a few breakups amongst friends and other random people I got drunk with one night. My impressions of it all remain the same. Breakups are hard—and even harder for the people close to you, who have to deal with the collateral damage. I try to handle it like Switzerland, but I’m not a good skier. So, I listen and deliver enough Oprah-like wisdom to not get burned, yet still seem empathetic and pipe in with an “I feel you” when warranted.

Inevitably, the couple wants to get territorial about certain things. It’s common to want the ex to lose his or her zip code privileges or vacate a favorite hangout. Other things naturally sort themselves out, like friends (“We were friends first”) and pets. But, what about weird or unreasonable requests?

I remember a few years ago when a friend, Caroline*, broke up with her partner, Stephanie*. For years, Caroline obsessed over the missing peanut butter when Stephanie moved out. I could never really understand why peanut butter was such a source of irritation, but let’s face it: It’s never about the sandwich fixings. So, what was the real deal? I can’t begin to tell you, but what I do know is almost anything can cause one or both parties in a breakup to go medieval.

Speaking of inanimate objects getting the raw deal in a split, my friend Aimee went a step further in her breakup from her fiancé, who will remain nameless, by conducting an exit poll. In the midst of calling it quits, they both decided to make a list of the 10 things that bothered them most about each other. Why? “We both liked torturing each other,” Aimee says. I was eager to hear more after I stopped laughing.

In their Top 10 list of emotional daggers, they both listed as No. 4, hairspray. For Aimee, she didn’t like that the ex got mad at her for using hairspray in his car. Likewise, the ex didn’t like that Aimee would spray up in his car. At least they can leave this union knowing they were on the same page for a moment. As we all know, it’s never about the hairspray. Why this would make the list instead of, oh, I don’t know, being a Cubs fan, I’m not sure. There have to be personality quirks more dire than using hairspray in an enclosed and unventilated area to cause one to rethink who they are dating. But, I digress.

So, you tell me: What’s yours and what’s your ex’s when the affair to remember is now one you want to forget? Do you look back thinking your demands were justified, or just plain stupid? Weigh in on my blog when you get a second.

*Note: The names have been changed so that I still have a few friends left after this article.

 

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Photo credit: Illustration by Sarah Quatrano

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