Work today gave me possibly my busiest day of the year. With hundreds of customer enquiries to deal with, as well as cashback payments and website offer errors to correct, it was a non-stop day from start to finish, and I loved it. I spent most of the day trying to forget about outside concerns, such as the fact that I have not been happy at home for quite some time. By mid-afternoon it dawned on me that I couldn’t ignore the problem any more. I’d have to take action and talk to Ethan. I really didn’t want to, but in my heart, behind all the fear and resentment I knew there was a discussion waiting to happen. By chance Robert had just flown to Australia for a month, meaning that I have Ethan to myself for the first time all year. I sent him a polite text message asking if he was free for a chat this evening. I said no more than that, as I didn’t want to panic or rile him. He replied quickly, confirming that he was free all evening. From then on the nerves slowly built inside, as I prepared myself for the conversation that I should have had months ago.
When I got home Ethan hadn’t returned from work yet, so I put a pizza in the oven and switched the TV on to watch the news for a while. After fifteen minutes the pizza was ready and I ate it quickly, not wanting to have to eat and chat with Ethan at the same time. By the time I’d finished Ethan still wasn’t home; by 8 o’clock I was still waiting for him, and I didn’t know what to do. Should I call him? Go out and punish him by doing my own disappearing act? In the end I was paralyzed, unable to do anything, the fate of my evening completely in the hands of another. I cursed God for putting me through this. I just wanted to talk to Ethan and get everything out in the open, why couldn’t he hurry up and get home from work?
At 8.30 he finally showed up, and I put on my best smile, determined not to show how jittery I was. Swiftly we sat down and partook in the usual small talk for five minutes, asking how each other’s day had been. Then I announced that I had come to a decision about the living situation: I want to move out of the house in January. I’d thought long and hard about this all day – I’ve been thinking about it for months, really. It wasn’t until I said it that I finally made my mind up. Having done that, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders, as the security of knowing when I was going to be leaving came upon me. Ethan took the news well, even admitting that he had guessed I was going to say something along such lines. When he asked if I felt comfortable discussing my reasons for wanting to go, I felt I owed it to him to be honest, so I owned up to the fact that I don’t feel able to continue sharing a house with Robert. I felt horrible saying all of this with Robert himself on the other side of the world, as if I’d waited until he was gone before I snuck into Ethan’s room and assassinated his character. It really wasn’t like that, and I took pains to tell Ethan that I would have no hard feelings towards either of them after I’d gone.
The honest truth of the matter is that Robert as a person is not my cup of tea, and this needed to be said. I didn’t go into details about why we’ll never get on, the details weren’t important. I needed to let someone know that I wasn’t happy living with someone that I couldn’t stand any longer, and Ethan was kind enough to listen to me tonight. He said he had sensed that Robert and I weren’t gelling, even that I had unconsciously excluded myself from the group more and more in recent weeks and months. In truth it wasn’t such an unconscious act for me, but I didn’t say that to Ethan.
Living with someone you don’t get on with and saying nothing about it puts a lot of pressure on you. I’ve learnt that this year, and I hope in some ways I will take that with me in future housing situations. I couldn’t go on keeping things to myself in the house, bitching about Robert with friends who’d never met him like some playground clique. Whether I’ll talk to Robert about it when he gets back in the New Year, I really don’t know. It might be fair of me to at least tell him where I think he’s gone wrong, so that he can learn his own lessons – but then maybe that would be patronizing of me, and since we’re not going to be sharing a house much longer anyway, what good would it really do?
Ethan put no pressure on me to make any decisions about talking to Robert in January. He said he would keep all of this to himself if I want him to; he’ll only tell Robert that they need to start looking for a new housemate from February onwards. So, the decision has been made, and there’s no going back. A few short years ago I was terrible at making decisions, really terrible. I could hardly decide whether to get out of best most days, let alone whether to move home or stay where I was and put up with the pressures of unhappiness. Tonight I decided what was the right thing to do, after careful consideration and discussion with a person I know and trust. I’ll start looking for a new place in the New Year, and hopefully I’ll be moving by the end of January. It’s a little nerve-racking, but mostly exciting, to be honest. Part of me has wanted to be able to start looking for a new place for ages. I don’t know where I’m going to end up, who I’m going to be living with, or if I’ll be happy. But the choice is entirely mine, and I’m comfortable with the not knowing right now. Grown up decisions – who’d have thought I’d ever make one?!