That's great advice and a very solid plan. The only thing I would add is that given your state of mind, LW, seeking therapy is not a wise addition -- it's a stone-cold necessity. Do not cut that one for budgetary reasons.


LW: PLEASE do not have children. I won't say NEVER have children (even though that's what I'm thinking). But for now, PLEASE DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN.


If LW has signed a year's lease, leaving before the lease is up will negatively affect her credit rating and ability to find another place to live. This needs to be addressed if she plans to bail early, as it doesn't sound like boyfriend has the resoures to pay the rent. Talk to your landlord about either an early termination or subletting the place if you can. If not, part of the emergency escape help from friends/family will have to be paying rent til lease end. Plan B would be to stick it out and save money 'til the lease is up, Plan C woud be boyfriend ejection (which doesn't seem to be in the cards).


Excellent advice Dan, and I agree LW shouldn't have to move out, but given her nature (I can see a "he just needs a few more months to save up" scenario dragging out for a year) it's the only way this will work. Also, I doubt she needs a 3 bedroom by herself.

I've been in a version of LW's position before and have never regret making the decision to leave. You live and learn.


In addition to Dan’s advice, don’t hesitate to call the cavalry if you feel your self getting cold feet about the plan and/or need a pep talk.
Regarding the actual breakup, a phrase I sometime hear attributed to the British royal family comes to mind: Never explain, never complain. Don’t spend energy on recriminations or get sucked into some overly drawn out explanations that the dumpee will likely try to draw out of you for the sake of “closure” (and then as was pointed out, will try to use your words as negotiating points).
Finally, this relationship was a mistake, but as life’s mistakes go, the remedy is relatively simple. Being engaged doesn’t change that. Engagements break off far more often than we grow up thinking. You’ve done nothing to feel bad about so long as you take this opportunity to learn and grow. You have a whole life ahead you to look forward to.


LW! My heart breaks for you! I was in a similar situation 5 years ago and I want to give you some comfort.

First, Dan's advice is the only advice- and it is SO good and SO important-- and it's also exactly what I did five years ago.

I loved my husband, but he was a manchild (in different ways, financial, health, etc), and he was endlessly patient of my emotional needs, but because he couldn't get his shit together to be an adult (he'd quit any job where he felt any remote sense of unhappiness, leaving us in financial peril and me to always carry the stress)-- oh it was gut wrenching and awful. Our house wasn't a mess and we didn't smoke weed, but everything else was pretty similar. He would come up with elaborate "fix everything" plans and rope me back in, just as I reached my breaking point, --how he was going to take initiative and help pay off the debt, quit spending... it never really got better. After 7 years together it was time. There were other issues too, of course.

A close friend at the time (the only person who I had confiding in that I was even considering leaving), had just finished going through a breakup after 6 years, where his gf (whom he loved, everything was pretty amicable)-- had left him in the OPPOSITE way of what Dan suggests. She had said she wanted to break up, but had no plan, no separate $, no where to go and no idea what to do. My friend said in hindsight, the hardest thing was they had to figure out where they were supposed to sleep after this conversation. Was he to go to the couch? Was she? What did she want? If she was leaving, why wasn't she leaving? He was hurt and blindsided and didn't know what to do either. He said in retrospect, it would have been so much easier, cleaner, and less hurtful if she had just had a plan and left, and they could have sorted out the details later. Instead it was a messy on and off months long breakup where he kept trying to work it out because she still lived there.

I took this to heart and decided to do it the opposite way, the way Dan describes. In some ways that way feels very cruel and sneaky, I can understand that you might read it and think you can't do it. But in the end, it's the best way for both of you. It gives you the cleanest break. And cleanest breaks are ALWAYS better, easier, and healthier in the long run. Sure my exhusband was hurt when he started realizing I had a plan and had been planning. But I kept insisting that despite the abundance of love still between us, that dragging on what I knew was a done deal was the most heartless thing I could do. It's true.

Here are some other rays of sunshine for you.

I was 29.5 when I left my husband. My first real mental breakdown after I was all moved out ( and you will have those-- it doesn't mean your choice was wrong)-- was when I "realized" I probably wasn't on a timeline where I could have kids anymore...even though I wasn't sure if I even wanted them definitively, I was aware that I probably couldn't swing it.

-Fast forward, today, I have an adorable little toddler and a partner I love VERY much. Who is a full blown adult who pays his bills and is such a good partner.

-30 feels like your time is starting to be up LW, but it isn't. You have plenty of time. I had my son at 33.5 and kind of wish I waited another year or two because life is so hard with little ones! :)

-Yes the break-up "disappointment" of all your friends and family is hard. I dumped my exhusband mere months before my sisters wedding where I was slated to be maid of honor and he was to be best man. All his family and mine were invited to the wedding. It was a wedding for the ages...but we laugh about it now. When you look back on this years later from a happier, healthier place, you won't understand why you waited so long and agonized so much. YOU ARE GOING TO BE OKAY.

-After you break up, you're going to have multiple breakdowns were you think you've made the wrong choice because you're scared, sad, and lonely. Those feelings do not mean you made the wrong choice.

-I would venture to guess your house is a mess and you're smoking too much weed because you're depressed in general, and also about the lie you're living. The first thing you should do when you break up, is quit smoking, and develop a gym habit. I did that too, and got into the best shape of my life. You will benefit from routine. My biggest symptom of depression is laziness. It's not uncommon. :)

YOU CAN DO THIS. Listen to Dan. I have so much love for you!


@2: I can see where you're coming from, but that seems a bit harsh... I don't think we can really make that judgement at this time. LW is probably at her lowest point. But there's hope for the future, and she should reevaluate having kids once she's in a better place (literally and metaphorically).

For now, I think that LW should put having kids "on the shelf." (I know she has anxiety about already being 30, and I get that... It sucks feeling that biological clock tick.) Right now, her priority needs to be getting out of here and taking care of herself. If (while living on her own) her apt continues to be a mess, that's something she can tackle in therapy. But it's impossible to clearly see what issues are solely her responsibility till she gets her fresh start.

LW, if the choice is between having kids with this partner or risk starting over with someone new while you're "older"... You gotta start over. Much love to you! You're stronger than you know... You wrote this later after all! It's clear you know what you want and need.


GREAT comment from @qapla!! Hope LW sees it :)


I'd recommend not getting high all the time.

Guys never really care about bathrooms, so if he did, it would be unusual.

Fix the things about yourself you can fix before you leave, but if you're unhappy, you should plan to leave when the lease is up and work towards that. One thing would be to put some of "your stuff" in a storage place, so you can get it.

But the other thing would be to realize you can only fix yourself, not others.


3 Um. No that is not correct. First, unless your landlord takes you to collection your credit rating is not impacted. Second, you can usually take your name off a lease for a fee as long as the other person on the lease is agreeing to stay the term.


Good instinct to get out. Shared goals and partnered work to make plans realities are strong indicators of long and happy marriages. You don't only not have this with your current man, but he works actively to thwart your attempts to get the mutually dynamic couple success ball rolling. Seven days a week I'd take somebody who chooses to face real life with me shoulder to shoulder over codependent lovey dovey emotional support. You deserve someone who will match your forays into self-respect and out of depression!


@9 If you're in a toxic living situation, you should remove yourself from that FIRST (if possible). The work on yourself. (Of course you can work on yourself as you go, but your energy should be focused on getting out!)


@10 your actually wrong, and I hate to pull the lawyer card, but I have to because this is a very important issue for LW (and basically all tenants) to understand.

Experian, one of the three credit bureaus, runs RentBureau. This is the only credit agency that deals pretty much exclusively with landlords and property managers. Landlords can file negative reports without putting a matter in collection. Many of them file regular rental reports, basically to track how fast (or late) a tenant makes payments.

I had one client who was asked to move out by a property manager, because the owner wanted to redevelop the entire property. The property manager then turned around and reported the tenant to the credit agency, and stated that the tenant had broken their lease. So anyway, don't rely on a lack of collections. LW should check her lease for sublease rules; she may want to talk to an attorney (or volunteer legal service for tenants); and if she's on good terms with the landlord she may want to be proactive about talking to them first.


Seconding quapla @6 and Dan’s advice, it’s all excellent.

I, too, left a toxic relationship at 30, with my biological clock ticking loudly. It’s so scary! But it’s the best thing I ever did. I got out, did some work on myself alone, and I’m now in a much healthier relationship with two great kids. I promise you won’t regret doing it once you’re out and healthy.

Re: kids, as a younger woman my mom gave me a great piece of advice: the best thing you can do for your children is to choose a good father for them. LW, your fiancé doesn’t sound like he would be a good father. Your future children deserve better. Even if you never have children, you deserve better!!

I’ve also had times in my life when I’ve smoked weed daily. Looking back, I can see that I was avoiding things in my life I was unhappy with. When I’m in a healthy routine physically and mentally, when I’m active, when I’m engaged in my career, I use weed less often, and for fun and socializing rather than for escape.

Lastly, I agree that you should find yourself a therapist! But if your finances are truly prohibiting it, maybe read about codependency and see if any of it sounds familiar.

You can do this, LW! Best of luck!


I know someone whose live-in girlfriend moved everything out one day while he was at work, moved 5,000 miles away and stuck him with the lease. She had help from family that was “visiting”. He was upset and angry, but shortly met a much younger woman, moved with her to another state, and married her. A few years later they divorced. He’s moved on to someone new.

I know another guy who had severe mental issues that landed him in the psych ward at the hospital. While he was there, his wife moved out, with his young kid, left the state, and filed for divorce. Everyone thought what she did was terrible, but I knew him and I’m sure she did the right thing. He eventually got himself sorted out enough to get married again.

Point being, you may think you know what he’ll do, but you don’t know what he’s gonna do. Leave him to cope and he’ll probably cope. Just take care of yourself.

Dan doesn’t say how long you should take to make your plan and execute it. I’d say 2 weeks. One month tops.


When I was very young I married someone to whom I was engaged because I couldn't see how to tell everyone I wasn't totally sure about it; it felt like I would be letting down both our families.

So lemme just tell you: as much as that would have sucked, the divorce I went through later sucked a lot more.

As for the kid timeline: I feel for ya. Maybe, like qualpa @6, you'll find the right guy soon enough to still do it--but you may not. However, I relate the experience of two very good friends of mine: both left relationships in their early 30s (for good reasons) and then didn't find the "right" person in time to have kids. Neither one regrets it an ounce. They are both doing neat other things with their lives, and have found ways to be happy without children (there are plenty of perks to being childless), and are SUPER glad they didn't end up having kids with the people they were with back when. It may not be the sadness you imagine, even if it does happen.


Ack, //qapla, sorry.


@2: Far too harsh. Calm the fuck down.

SEH is only 30 years old, and in a shitty situation. She has another 10 years before having children begins to become medically problematic, and it's plenty of time to work out many of life's many mysteries AND meet a man who's not a child.

Bonus unsolicited advice: ask yourself now and in future, is this the guy who would make a great father to my children?

Best of luck, SEH. Get lots of support, and slam that eject button.


As someone who had to surreptitiously plan moving out of a living situation with a difficult partner, I endorse pretty much all the advice of Dan and the comments so far.

Will’s suggestion to get a storage space is excellent. A small one can be inexpensive. Not only will it be of practical help as a staging area for your stuff en route to your new place, but it will also give you an emotional boost and incentive to make progress toward fully moving out — simply by having a space that is entirely yours, and which you can keep clean and orderly.

Having a messy apartment may actually be to your advantage in a way; it will be harder for your partner to keep track of what’s there and what’s not as you’re sorting through and moving things. If you have a friend who has good organization and project management skills, it might be useful to have them come over a few times to keep you on track, as long as that won’t arouse suspicion. Don’t get too bogged down in organizing your stuff as you go along; just put all his stuff together and arrange your things in a way that makes it easy to box up and sort through later.

I was a daily weed smoker for a long time, until a couple of years ago. Honestly, what made it possible for me to stop was moving abroad for most of each year, to a place where there essentially isn’t any. When I’m back in the States I still do it, but I actually enjoy it and am able to moderate my use much more than I previously could. Just ending a codependent relationship with someone who uses it (and maybe living in a place where you can’t just walk into a store and buy it) will help a lot.


Don’t waste time there is no guarantee of the future. Find someone new that makes you happy while you are still in good health. Elizabeth Taylor was married like 8 times so don’t think you can’t find love again. What if thinking is error thinking so get out there and do what you know in your heart needs to be done.


@6. qapla. I hope your story gives a lot of moral and practical inspiration to the lw.

My heart goes out to the lw, who is in a bad way, and because of her life-situation. The most alarming thing she said is that, if she leaves her fiance, she worries that she'll be so lonely she'll kill herself. Her first need, then, is to overcome the weed, the torpor and any shame at her filthy house and to re-establish contact with the friends or family who will sustain her through her breakup.

A second thing, probably continuous with the first, is to fill them in on the reality of her life: yes, her bf is sensitive and listens to her, but he drove her 10k into debt; they sit on the couch all evening and weekend watching television and smoking weed; they never clean; he's not financially responsible and (it seems) will always be a man-child. When her friends learn this, they will also think that she shouldn't marry him. And it will probably be less shameful to tell them than she thinks--they may already have an inkling.

I wish the lw strength in calling time on the wedding and separating from this guy.


Y'all are addicted to pot. It happens. IMO it's barely worth addressing any of the other stuff, you're life sounds exactly what one would expect if you smoked weed during all of your non-working hours. Together, or apart, break your daily habit, establish healthy ways for you to use marijuana (or abstain, if that's what you need) and from there, find out what elements of your life don't improve and address those as necessary. But you need a mostly-sober foundation to start from.


You might also want to move one day without warning your would-be fiancee, while he's at work.

Text after, or leave a note, then there's no debate or talking you out of it.

Or, if it's only your name on the lease and you want to keep that apartment, perhaps do what I once had to escape a fiancee -- change the locks, inform him when he can pick up his stuff in the hallway, or outside the building -- and don't be there, then.

For either option, consult a lawyer about local housing regulations, and Inform your landlord of your plans -- often, they'd rather you break your lease than be stuck with unwilling tenants.


This is long but I felt compelled to share my thing too. 6 years ago I was in a similar situation. My fiancé was a hoarder, alcoholic, and (I learned later) also taking opiates regularly. For years I’d tried to get him to put anything into our household (like literally any cleaning, cooking, taking lead on rent/bills/ grocery shopping) but every time I brought it up he’d turn it into me “being mean” and acting like he never did anything when he did things too, I’m just such a nag, it’s all because of his adhd and I was insensitive... I cringe so so so hard thinking of how much of an idiot I was. Tried to break up or take a break several times but dude would threaten to kill himself...

I ended up in a place where I’d come home from work every day and get stoned and put on my big headphones and watch tv on my laptop, affectless.

Luckily I ended up leaving the country to visit my sister for a week and realized all the stress and bad feelings in my life were his, not mine. I waited until spring break (I’m a teacher) and left Friday afternoon after school got out with a Rubbermaid of my most important belongings and just said fuck it to the rest. Lived at my parents house and paid my half of the rent on our 1br for 2 months. Spoke to him one time after that and ignored all his pleading—>unhinged rage emails.

And that was the best decision I ever made. I instantly felt 1000x lighter and finally got myself back. It was like a fucking personal renaissance, and I look back on that time very very fondly. Started playing music again, got my sex drive back in a big way, started trail running, rekindled all the friendships I had let dissolve during my depression...

I was so scared my family and friends would be disappointed in me for leaving, but nobody was. I stayed years past the expiration date out of some weird combo of loyalty and fear of looking like a jerk. But everybody was just happy for me instead.

And now? I don’t sweat a lot of the small shit because nothing has been as bad as that torpor and hoarder house. I have followed and achieved a ton of goals. I’m married to a great dude now, but that’s not the point. (I still smoke pot but now it’s for bedtime or sex or doing art instead of being a constant numbing agent). Still look back with regret sometimes at all the wasted time and wish I’d been a savage love listener/reader back then. But fuckit, my life rules now and it’s the specific way it is because of that dumb timeline.

You got this!! Go get yourself back!


Have we ever had a letter where each paragraph was so much more horrifying than the last? It was like season of Game of Thrones - everything just kept getting much worse. Personally, I was thinking "ugh, he sounds awful" at "When I started dating him, I fell in love with his passion and sensitivity."


Thank all of you for sharing your wrenching stories and seconding Dan’s sterling advice: especially qapla@6, borgcube@14, clods@16, Fred Casely@19 and calma_respira@24.

Seeking Escape Hatch, hard though it is, you will be happier once you have some control over your life.

Please write again and let all of us know how you are.


@18 I'm perfectly calm. I'm thinking of the children who would come out of this trainwreck of a person. Everything in her letter shouts that she can barely care for herself, let alone a child. She needs to make a dramatic, transformational shift in who she is -- she can start by taking some responsibility for the mess she's gotten herself into. Maybe once (IF) she's clear of her "mental health issues" (and the potsmoking and the deadweight fiancé), she can think about raising another human being.


Thank you all for your amazing comments — I emailed SEH to let her know I'd published her letter and to also urge her to read the comments thread. Thank you to all who wrote in to share your stories about getting out of similarly awful relationships. xxxooo


Dan the Man and @6 qapla: Agreed with @8 Kindnessiskey and others: Fantastic spot on advice for SEH!

At age 36.8 I left a toxic marriage from an abusive manchild. For nine years after being manipulated and isolated into a LTR to a man with severe anger issues, and my life repeatedly threatened I, too, finally had to devise an escape plan fully equipped with supportive cavalry. My parents, friends, and relatives were solid as rocks in helping me leave, move out, put our 3 bedroom house up for sale, financially get me back on my feet and start over.
I have since gone my separate way and am infinitely better off, despite my still dealing with ongoing service connected PTSD issues. One thing I did do right during that whole nightmare was that I never had children with him, no matter how hard the pressure from him, his parents, or friends was for us to have kids (in agreement with MartyVega, at 27).
When I last heard from my ex, he had moved to another state, and was into his third marriage. He had tried to email me concerning his second divorce (I'm thinking he was hoping I'd help him pay alimony and child support). I have never responded, knowing that this was the wise thing for me to do. I haven't seen nor heard from him since. I couldn't stop him from conceiving a child with someone else. I could only save myself. But I'm still here, nonetheless, 18+ years later.

Good luck, SEH. I hope everything works out for the better for you.


Speaking as a pothead, two potheads should not cohabitate. You just bad-influence each other into addiction. I agree with Dan's advice: make a plan and then do it. There is no way to avoid hurting this man, so accept that this will be the price of your freedom and putting your life back on track. He will get over it; broken hearts are not fatal. Good luck, SEH. (She might also try NA for support in quitting weed.)

Donny @3, they've been living together for three years so I don't think this would be an issue. Also, I would point to the two extra bedrooms; when she leaves, he can get roommates.


First, I'd say I'm with #27, LW isn't ready for kids. Maybe this is because of the relationship she's in, and a few months after she leaves, she will know.

LW will also need to make some arrangements to deal with the apartment before she leaves if she is on the lease, which seems likely given the situation. If it's month to month or will end soon, she will need to give the proper notice. This will give her enough time to get things together and a deadline when she needs to be done. She also needs to help clean the place up or hire someone to do this for her. Maybe she'll luck out and her boyfriend will take her off the lease, but she can't count on this. I suspect it's more likely he will want to move out as well. I'd disagree with those who were recommending that she move out secretly or unilaterally, she's not in any danger and she made it very clear that she contributed to the apartment's current state.

Yes, he does sound like a manchild, but there are a lot of changes LW needs to make to herself as well, starting out by handling this situation like an adult would be a good start. It'll also be helpful when she applies for her next apartment to not have a track record of bailing out on her last lease and leaving behind three years of filth.


Plan, money, therapy for you, lawyer, yada, yada, others have said it better. I won't repeat. The only thing I can add is that I didn't see anything in the letter (admittedly I skimmed the 2nd half) about his family. Part of the plan might be dumping him on his family.


A +30-year-old manchild who's perfected the art of living off women isn't going to change. He also will handle the breakup just fine. He'll mope about for a bit and enjoy wallowing in self-pity, but very soon will find another woman who will pick him up and take care of him just like you did, LW. There's a sucker born every minute, and an endless supply of women willing to take care of manbabies who make the bare minimum effort of asking how their day was.


"And I'm now 30 and want/need to have a kid soon if it's going to happen at all."

This is the absolute worst thing you can do, you can't even clean a bathroom, how are you going to properly care for a child


To all the people saying she shouldn't have kids - stfu - she knows that already, she said it herself in the letter, go back and read it properly! She knows she is not in the right place or relationship for children at the moment. Talk about kick someone when they're down. Some of the commentors here just can't resist an opportunity to put the boot in, it's pathetic.


16, there are many perks to being childless? Please, we prefer to be called 'childfree.' Thanks


LW- once you leave, you’d better hope your finance doesn’t contact Dr. Odin, as suggested by commenter 37! Haha

Qapla- your comment was awesome. I hope LW reads it.


I've never loved reading a long letter so much before; I just want to give SEH a hug. And (though IIRC Dan doesn't like hugs) Dan deserves a virtual hug too for that reply.

"when I am horny...I usually say no because I...don't think I've earned it"

Aw, you earned it just by existing, please be good to yourself.

Pet peeve: It pisses me off to have to ask to be paid. Paying on time is the responsibility of the person who owes, not the person who is owed.


@pwjeeps @36, as a childless person myself, I didn't get the memo on that.
I did get the perks, though.


Something else that might be helpful for Seeking Escape Hatch that I don't think anyone has mentioned. There's this fallacy that comes up in therapy that boils down to: I'm not perfect, therefore I have no right to expect anything of anyone. I didn't treat someone fairly once, so no one has to treat me fairly ever again. I benefited from someone being especially patient and kind to me when I didn't necessarily deserve it, therefore I have to patiently and kindly put up with that person no matter what from here on out. I didn't stand up for myself, therefore I deserve to be walked all over on. I'm partly to blame, therefore I'm entirely to blame.

Can you see how ridiculous that sounds when I spell it out that way? Your fiance doesn't shame you for your emotions. Good! He shouldn't! That doesn't mean he has all the power here. There are plenty of people out there who will be generous and caring with their affection who will also pay the bills and clean the bathroom.


I just want to stand up for potheads. And for pot, quite frankly. Over the decades, I've been happy, and I've been sad. I've been productive and not. I've been active and not. I've made huge changes in my life multiple times. And through it all I've smoked pot multiple times a day every day. L-dub, deal with your shit. Get out of that hellhole and ditch your boyfriend. But there's no reason to blame it on pot.


Okay, forget all the other stuff, financial illiteracy and irresponsibility is an absolute deal breaker. He can get his own credit card. It doesn't matter if you are poor, have bad credit, whatever, if you're American, you can get a credit card. And he should be paying his bills. If he's willing to learn all about feminism he can learn how to use money. You shouldn't forgive someone for fucking up your credit score. Not because he can't afford to pay the bills but because he's too lazy.

Also needless to say stop smoking weed forever.

When you have mental health issues it's really easy to get into this kind of codependent relationship. It seems easier than taking responsibility for everything yourself. But it doesn't help in the long run. He obviously has something wrong with his mental health also, but he doesn't want to do anything about it.


Hey, LW, looks like you've gotten some sound advice so I won't chime in there. I just wanted to say good luck to you. I hope you get out, this is not a good situation for you and your bf's niceties are constantly undermined by his very actions. You go, baby, get out and find a sunny corner of life for yourself to thrive in.


One other thing, LW, in part because of the way you describe your suffering and especially because you're so interested in having children. Getting your autonomy back is going to improve your life enormously, without question -- this situation is the equivalent of a burning building, and OUT is priority one. But to get to where you want to be, which is stable and mostly happy and preferably raising children in a solid relationship, I'd encourage you to look at emotional dysregulation as something you may be able to manage differently. The kind of painful, reactive sensitivity you're describing is something that resonates strongly with me, and DBT therapy made a really big difference in the quality of my own life -- the wise person who described it to me as, "Very pedestrian, and potentially life-changing," was not wrong.


Jumping back in here after my comment @6 LW, for a few more tidbits.

@45 is right about DBT. My current partner is a better person and partner because of it.

Re children-- while they are certainly not required for happiness, it can be a really difficult mental place to realize the possibility is floating away. Of course you will be okay either way, and of course you'll even be happy either way-- I just don't want you to think it isn't a possibility anymore. It still is.

Regarding a few glib comments about having children with this partner- it is a bad idea. It doesn't mean you aren't suited, just that your current state together is not suited. Having a kid is the hardest thing I've ever done by far. I always thought people who said that were just weaker than me, and that surely I'd fit a child into my orderly life no problem. No so. Kids are impossible and unpredictable. I work my ass off to keep my house just on the level of "not disgusting." And that's with no pot and little netflix. Its so hard. Don't do it til you're ready-- and you aren't right now.

Re: Weed-- and those that defended it here--there are certainly people who can smoke every day and maintain their life in orderly fashion with no issue. My exfather in law was this way. Smoked copious amounts and daily his whole life, worked his ass off, had a great job, raised his kids and 3 of his grandkids, maintained a small family farm, and the house was fairly orderly and everyone was fed. The weed is not to blame here-- but YOU and the weed are a bad combo right now. You shouldn't be smoking every day, it's making life worse. And since it's a bad habit, kicking it entirely will be easier in the long run that trying to manage moderation in the midst of a big life change.

BDF @30 is also right that two potheads cohabited can also be really bad news. That is just honest, good pragmatic advice that potheads should not take personally. My current partner (the great one) struggles with maintaining the balance of the right amount of weed in his life to maintain motivation. He's a terrific partner- but it's good I'm not a smoker. His ex was, and they would fall into the do nothing smoke everything pit for months at a time.

Some miscellany: My exhusband I mentioned earlier also threatened to kill himself if I ever left him. It certainly contributed to my fear of leaving. In the end, it was a very empty threat of a very codependent person. He may have even believed it, but when I left he actually did okay. He was rough til he found someone else to be codependent on, and then he was remarkably okay. He is still the same person I left 5 years ago. Once I got out of that rough first few months, I've never regretted it for a second. One bit of advice since yours is also financially mismanaged and leans on his pre-retirement/little means mother--- try and leave him in the "best" financial situation that you can managed. I saved separately for 3-4 months before I left. I left making sure all the bills were paid and current, the rent, the car payment, everything. I did this so I could leave guilt-free when he inevitably ran out of cash and made a mess of his finances. I knew a phone call would come (it did) for money, and if I had left him on his own with too little notice on rent/bills-- it would come back to bite me and I'd feel guilty. I wanted to leave guilt-free, so I did-- and to some extent that was setting him up for success. It's a last gift, kind of, but it also makes your life easier-- if that's possible for you.

I also had my sister and a few close friends/family ready and on board with the decision in advance, as Dan and others describe here. It's really important. I packed and snuck out a few boxes of my things in advance... he never noticed (he was also a hoarder but apparently didn't pay much attention to my things). I made sure everything else of mine was orderly, it made it easier to give the appearance of just grabbing a few things to leave.... we had so much stuff since he was a hoarder he didn't notice...

I'm trying to think what else. It feels so consequential but later you won't be able to remember the details either :) I'll echo what other folks said here, that 75% of the time all I felt after was this huge weight physically lifted off me.

Try to imagine you, in a small, cute apartment. It's clean, there's less stuff. You're going to the gym. You aren't smoking weed. You're rekindling friendships. You're doing your dishes every night. You listen to the music and the podcasts you want to listen to. You're an independent person. It feels so good. You're going to be freaked out and sad sometimes. But you're mostly going to look around your tidy, fresh start, and feel relief. You'll start going out on dates. You'll use the ridiculous apps. You'll have some horrible dates-- they'll be good stories. You'll have some amazing dates. You'll have some that don't call you back, and you can't believe you're crying about them already, three dates in! You'll have amazing sex, you'll have mediocre sex-- but you'll rediscover your sex drive. Hopefully- you'll find confidence in the body you have now, and maybe you'll work to get some of the extra weight off, but you'll be so proud of yourself for leaving you'll cut your physical body some slack. It's doing a lot of work too. You'll go back to therapy, alone--maybe DBT, (not just CBT ideally)-- and you'll learn real skills and coping mechanisms for your anxieties. You'll feel better. It's going to be great LW, you just have to do it!


First off, good luck SEH. I lived with a man like that for 6 years. He eventually started the process of leaving but he wanted to continue the relationship in a different state so I ended it. It was better for both of us. He's now happily married with a kid and I'm single and have had quite a few adventures that I would not trade. I've also lost 150 lbs since leaving him.
Second, how/why is noone discussing the idea of filth chicken? That's the most hilarious yet accurate concept I've heard in a long time! I've played it before, there is no winner to this game. The only way to win is to not play and find a partner that prioritizes the same standard of cleanliness you do, and will either do their share or pay someone to do it.


@13 Experian might run RenBureau but it does not get reported to credit UNLESS THE LANDLORD TAKES THEM TO COLLECTION. I am a banker. I was also an apartment manager. I run credit every day. I also know all of the myths everyone has about credit and this is one of them. UNLESS THE LANDLORD TAKES THEM TO COLLECTION their credit score is not affected nor does it show up on the credit report. Sorry but you are absolutely 100% wrong on this point.


@27: much better than @2. Thanks!

SEH should definitely not have children now - and isn't planning to, so moot point. If having children is as important as it sounds, she can and should work toward and be motivated and empowered by that.

One of the most important attributes of a good parent, in my experience, is actually wanting to be one. It's not everything, but it's a lot.


@27 "Trainwreck" is a pretty strong word for someone who knows they have mental health issues and plans to prioritize getting help once she gets out of this toxic relationship/living situation. Unless you're trying to say that no one who has ever struggled with anxiety or depression should have kids.


BiDan@30~ “... they've been living together for three years so I don't think this would be an issue. Also, I would point to the two extra bedrooms; when she leaves, he can get roommates...”

LW says, “(he) completely ignored the budget and I never confronted him about it. All of the household bills are in my name and I'm the only one who has a credit card. I have to remind him every week that he needs to send me money for rent and household expenses. He never sends the money unless I ask. Often he wouldn't have his full amount and he never makes up the difference...” This is not a responsible person who will pay the bills once she’s gone. He will default on the lease, and, since her name is on it, she’ll get stuck with the bad credit & collections from the Apt. building.

Wood@49~ point is, when Boyfriend defaults on the rent, the management WILL take whoever’s name is on the lease to collections which WILL affect credit rating. LW needs to wait until the lease is up, or make plans to MAKE SURE the rent/utilities are paid.


Following up on Donnys point and mine re: rent and names on leases— because I did what I described in my comment and left him in a good financial spot (rent paid up in advance with all bills paid up— ) he was willing to work with me on getting my name off the lease. Do it quickly, and officially. Do not trust that he will not fuck up your rental history out of the goodness of his heart.


Another strong "don't have kids now!" message, not in the interests of piling on, but because if you find it hard to see a way out of this codependent relationship now, you'll find it impossible once there are a couple of kids who really love their daddy, and that he really loves back.

My husband was a mostly terrible husband, but in many ways a really good dad. I couldn't face what a breakup would do to the kids (and what losing close access to the kids would do to him) , so instead I subjected those children to years of our stormy relationship. Not a good choice, in hindsight, but it's hard to see these things clearly when you're in the midst of it.

Everything that is really hard about your life now will be ten times as hard when there are kids in the mix, so look at the almost non-existent sex life as a bonus -and pay close attention to your birth control regimen!


@35 sandwichesatbedtime: Did you even bother to read my comment @29, or were you too busy stuffing your face? Better yet, read agony's comment @54.
@36 misspc: I'm okay with either term, and still enjoying the perks regardless. Get over it.
@53 qapla (and DonnyKlicious): More good advice for SEH. Kudos.
@54 agony: Thank you.


@3 DonnyKlicious: How on Earth did I miss your spot on advice about SEH breaking her lease, and getting an agreement with her landlord? I nominate you and qapla (@6 & @46) tied for the WIN on offering such perfect financial recommendations for SEH.


@57, I'm sorry that happened to you. I agree that it is cruel to announce at the time of leaving someone that they've basically been living a lie for years, And I'm not surprised it caused damage that took a long time to heal. But I do think there is some room between that kind of sneak attack, and for a psychologically fragile person who has a history of trouble protecting her own interests, making an announcement months before she's financially capable of carrying it out. She's sure. In this case, nothing he says is going to convince her that the relationship shouldn't be over... But giving him a window to work on her, isn't good for either one of them. They can have the breakup conversation when she is financially able to carry it out with dispatch, without it becoming an ambush.


"Mental health problems are not a get out of jail free card"

@58, no, they're not. And there's no shortage of them in this situation on both sides, it seems. but that cuts both ways. I see this as a case of needing to put your own oxygen mask on before attempting to help anyone else -- or if you prefer, not trying to rescue a struggling swimmer and drowning yourself in the process. This man is 1, not a child, and 2, is someone who has had a great deal of ongoing help from the letter writer, including help she shouldn't have given him for her own well-being, and has failed to either improve or to return the favor in any substantial way. His feelings should not and cannot be her priority at this point, And frankly her leaving may be the only thing that jolts him into taking care of his own problems.


Picture yourself in a year. You’re living within your means in a nice, bright, clean place. It feels wonderful to come home to. You eat good food. You only use weed for fun or not at all, you don’t need it to cope. You walk all the time. Sometimes you feel lonely but that’s okay, you can live with it. There is so much air to breathe. There is so much space. Ask me how I know.


@57 I've been on both sides of that. When I delayed a break-up about 9 months too long, I definitely felt guilty about it, but for me (and, IMO, a lot of people) it's more the realization that the good times, which are good, aren't worth the bad times. It doesn't invalidate the good times that were had in the pre-break up period. Some portion of it is the "maybe we'll turn a corner and balance will be restored" hope, some is the "well I don't want to break up right before valentines day/her birthday/a trip we'd planned and she was excited about/her family visiting" and an endless parade of "once this thing is done it'll be less disruptive to her/our lives".


@57 and @58-- cruel all depends on the how. It can also be cruel to just tell someone it's over and not have any plan to get out-draw out the misery. A close friend of mine experienced that after a six year relationship and said it was the worst part-- agonizing. Where to sleep after this conversation? The couch? Someone blows money on a hotel--when money is short supply? Long arguments while one party is packing for two or three days? Arguing about who take the apartment and who moves out because neither can afford it for several more months? A plan is better in this case. It facilitates a smoother break-up. Of course if you SAY everything Dan is saying to do as you're leaving, it's cruel. You have to be gracious and kind- but I hope that goes without saying. You never mention the few boxes you had prepacked and snuck out of the house days prior. You don't mention that you've been privately saving for a few months so you could leave, bills paid and with enough notice for them to find a new roommate or move out themselves. You don't tell them you've told close family in advance so they can help facilitate the ease of your exit. You partner just witnesses the breakup going more smoothly when it comes to the actual execution. It has nothing to do with gaslighting. You certainly don't say you've been plotting and considering a breakup for 9 months. You say the gentler version of the actual things-- you've been unhappy for awhile, these things about us don't mesh up, we're in a filthy house where we do nothing but smoke weed and watch neflix, and it's not good for either of us. We're not having sex and our finances aren't matching up and I love you but I can't anymore. There is NOTHING cruel about that.


I'm so grateful to the other commenters here. (Most of them.) It's so, so common to put a lot of emotional energy into a relationship with a person who is kind and decent but drags you down in ways you have a hard time quantifying. He doesn't have to be terrible overall to be a terrible match for you. Judgment is a waste of energy.

All you have to do, really, is decide this isn't working for you, and make a plan to get out. Having gone through this like commenters above have, I agree the clean break is easiest emotionally, probably on both of you, but even if it is only easier for you, it's still okay to do it that way. If he was participating as a full partner, you could involve him like one, but he isn't. That's the whole point. And it's why you ultimately have to nuke it.

For what it's worth, the partner I had to leave this way is now much better off too, and though it took him years to get there and his family was mad at me and there were things about our breakup that my friends didn't agree with, I'm still at peace with it and I'm better off today than I could have been if I'd stayed, even if he had tried harder. We were just a poor conduit for progress in life together, and nothing we could change about our circumstances would change that about ourselves. We are very good friends now, and we probably wouldn't be if I'd stayed until we had both worn each other down to where I couldn't see his positive qualities anymore. You still have good things to say about your soon-to-be-ex, which is a good sign. In ten years from now, you may very well be better emotional support for each other as friends than you were as partners. Aim for that on the horizon and let it inform your decisions now, about how to do this. Do it now, before you're so frustrated and angry and run down that you become cruel ... or just are out of gas and don't have compassion to give.

I left him with virtually everything, because my family/support network was here, and his was across country, so that's what felt fair to me ... or as fair as I could make it (it wasn't my fault he did not cultivate sufficiently supportive relationships on his own in the decade and a half he'd been here) - I still feel that a support network is more valuable than any amount of material goods. I did the best I could, and no one can ask more of you than that. Including yourself. Best of luck to you. You can do this.


Definitely start quietly moving out a box of irreplaceable items here and there, store with friends/family or in a storage locker only you control. When I realized I was going to have to leave my abusive alcoholic, ketamine-addicted ex husband and I was going to be the one moving out of our shared apartment- that now also had his girlfriend living with us (she was going to end up homeless, so I as primary partner said his girlfriend could store the bulk of her stuff with us so that it would be somewhere safe and stay with us 3-4 nights a week and crash with friends the other nights..and she ended up dealing out of our apartment while moving her ass in fulltime and the two of them doing enough special k each day to tranquilize a horse. I checked with a vet), that was the first thing I did. Fortunately, my long distance secondary was coming over a few days later for a prearranged visit so he brought a couple of empty suitcases with him and into those empty suitcases went all my irreplaceable legal documents and my photo albums and my other photos. Future visits to my secondary I would sneak out other items i wouldn't need day to day and my ex wouldn't notice were gone and would royally suck to replace (my SCA garb, valuables), and I started looking for a place to live because I was also starting school that fall. Friends of mine were moving and made arrangements for me to take over their basement suite in a shared house. I slept in my new house the first night I could. My cavalry were able to get me some clothes and my kitchen gear moved that first night and I slept on a camping bed in my new living room (bedroom needed painting before I could move stuff into it) and my mental health and stress levels improved by 100%. It took me a week to get everything moved, 1-2 loads a day when my friend would stop by after work with his car and drive a load of boxes to the new place (my local secondary was a Rock Star during all this. I'm disabled with bad knees and back and moving out of a third floor walkup. Local secondary was super fit and ensured I did not have to be alone in my former apartment with my ex, who kept trying to initiate relationshit triage conversations or be abusive and intimidating OR argue with me about every single item I was packing, while also schlepping boxes downstairs into the car). And thrm I'd spend evenings in my new sanctuary, unpacking, with zero drama and no sketchy people, and my life has only gotten better in the 7 years since I left. I'm now living with the person who was my long distance secondary, we've been primaries for 6.5 years, engaged, have a couple of awesome secondaries each and a loving polycule, a couple of cats and I am so much happier. My apparently miserable (I had to go no contact). His girlfriend (the one who moved in with us) committed suicide and last I heard, he was living in some shitty "apartment" and ranting on fb about how nobody ever spends time with him. My relationship with weed got healthier after I got out and I wasn't dealing with gut wrenching, nausea inducing stress 24/7.


100% in agreement with Dan. This a mess and iths harming you. Get a plan together and get out. I promise that the people in yourife who care about you want you to be happy, not suffer for the sake of appearances or to avoid guilt/awkwardness over ending the relationship and canceling the wedding. Best wishes, LW.


She will not leave, until and unless she is ready.

I remember an undergrad friend. She moved in with a man who proceeded to abuse her for the next few years. (Yes, this is a somewhat different scenario than that of the LW.) I told her that I would arrive with a truck, a team of friends, and the sheriff, when she was ready to leave. She wasn't.

Eventually she and her baby did leave, on her own. But it took a while.

I hope that the LW will be ready sooner, rather than later.


@35 & @36: ,,,,,,and don't get me started about the tale of a guy I knew back in college who, despite an otherwise carefree, happily single gay lifestyle, suddenly "needed" a wife and child to be conceived by his 40th birthday, or--eek!--gasp!---arrghhh!---he'd turn into a pumpkin, and be disowned by his conservative Catholic family, not to mention his local clergymen.




@69: The bathroom's still a mess, but I scored the Lucky @69, dammit. :)


Oh that couples counsellor needs to be struck off. “You need to work on your resentment over how you have to do everything”??? Was LW’s boyfriend bribing her?


@11: Do the world a big favor and go drown yourself in Lake Flaccid, you pathetic trolling bot.

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