Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’m fifty-one. I”ve been married twenty years. It’s been a while since I broke up with somebody.

Once upon a time I did a bit of work for a big computer company. In fact, that was how I came to be living in this part of the world. Of course, while I was working with them, I met several of their employees. One guy in particular had some relation to the project I was there to deliver, so I had almost daily contact with him.

Their structure back then, they had two tiers of programmers. Some were the glory boys, whose job was to develop new products. Then there was another tier of plodders, whose job was to support existing products. It was a demarkation that I’ve never really seen with other clients.

This guy was one of the plodders. I speak as somebody who was strong enough that I was able to sell my skills per-day as a consultant, very comfortable that I would pick up more work someplace when the assignment ended. He definitely existed at a slower pace of life. Furthermore, very different to me.

For a start, family money. His job wasn’t particularly important to him, not the way mine was to me. I always had a passion for what I did, that people paid me to do it was a bonus! In politics, too, this guy was very different – more recently he has argued why it is a good thing that people (and companies) avoid paying tax, and also why his children’s private school should be classed as a charity, when the only people who benefit are…his children! In a nutshell, not at all my cup of tea. Sure, I could work with the guy, I could work with anyone, but we never became friends.

So that was that. I worked a six-month stint with this company, then decided to move on. It wasn’t a brilliant contract and I easily found better clients. However, I lived probably only ten miles from this guy, so we exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch from time to time. We were kind-of bonded by the fact that we had our kids very close to each other, just a few months apart, and as they grew we would meet at the local play-zone or McDonalds. But still, an acquaintance rather than a friend. In fact, he must have irritated me at some point such that I didn’t call him, and stopped returning his calls. Even my wife agreed that he was weird – an example being how he would walk, uninvited, into the bedrooms when he visited my house. Judge for yourself – was I wrong to object?

So I was happy to consign this guy to my past.

Fast forward ten years. About a year after the stroke. This guy turns up on my doorstep. With my eyes, I can now barely recognise him, but wanting to be polite, I invite him in. It turns out that he had left this computer company. They had a round of voluntary redundancies, he put himself forward and, guess what? He’d tried to go the same way that I had gone, as a consultant, but had struggled to find work – in contrast I worked for twenty years and was without work about a month in total. In that time, I only had six clients – they used to like having me around.

However during the course of the conversation, he asked if I wanted to arrange a pub lunch. It was not long after the stroke, I wasn’t getting out much, and a pub meal every now and again is more appealing than a cheese sandwich.

And that became a pattern, every four months or so. Still, only really as an acquaintance – when we talked politics, I realised just how different we still were. When we talked about his interests (we seldom talked about my interests), I realised just how different we still were. At the last count, he had decided that he had now retired, to live completely off his investment income.

Our last meeting was back in March. As I have previously mentioned I work on home-based projects now, and this guy took me on a four-hour lunch. Even if I am enjoying myself, four hours is too long by far. And I couldn’t just come home – we were in a village that was too far away to just walk home. I mentioned halfway through that I had better get back home to work, but this went ignored. It wouldn’t be so bad if we’d had something common to talk about, but no. So I basically decided that that was the last lunch. I get out frequently enough nowadays to not get over-excited about a visit to the pub.

Fast forward again, to now. No phone call since March, I thought that this guy was finally as fed up with me as I was with him. No matter. But now, three phone calls in the last week. So far, I’ve just let them go to voicemail and deleted them, because I’m not interested in going out to eat, or even in speaking to this guy. I don’t partucularly want to be confrontational here, although I realise I have probably already been rude by ignoring the calls.

Any ideas what I should do????

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

16 thoughts on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”

  1. I would ignore him, the phone calls. Or tell him that it is really not convenient right now to meet. (I sometimes add that I will let them know something when it is convenient. That is not a lie per se but the convenient time never comes. So maybe it’s better not to make promises you won’t keep). Is it rude to ignore them? Maybe. Is it your life and your time? It is and we don’t know how many days we have left, better have a good time then. I won’t feel guilty over it. Sometimes it is a match and sometimes not.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Kacha. I like the sound of “I’ll get back to you when it is convenient”, then just letting it slide. I’m kind-of aware that it isn’t necessarily a permanent solution but it might be enough. The guy turned up once on my doorstep, so there’s nothing to say he wouldn’t do the same again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He is something special it seems. I would think, ‘well, it doesn’t mean that it’s convenient for you to show up out of the blue on my doorstep, that I am oblidged to go along’. Maybe I’m harsh and not polite but I’ve learned through pleople pleasing and the burnout that I am also important and my time and energy are mine to spend how I feel and am possible to do. There are many things in life we ‘have’ to do already.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have tried to describe the chap to my wife, and the closest I can get is that he exists in his own little bubble. One of the things with my daughter was that there were difficulties with boundaries, and I see the same in this guy, except he has got to age sixty, so his mannerisms are very much ingrained.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Stroke Survivor and commented:

    Hahaha, remember this guy? Well, I studiously avoided his calls over christmas. As John commented, sooner or later he’d get the message.

    This morning he turned up on my doorstep. With hindsight, I’m not really surprised – when god handed out subtlety, this guy was standing next to a house brick.

    I did call you a few times over christmas, he says. Now, I’m fifty-two years old, I see no point is worrying about my own sublety, not in my own house. Yes, I got your message but I didn’t reply because I didn’t want to go to lunch with you, I said. Then I added, You can’t come in because I am just getting ready to go out. As it happened, I was. In terms of a time to visit, he’d timed it perfectly, from my perspective.So I sent the guy away.

    I was polite but firm. This guy, as I’ve said, is not the quickest on the uptake, so I’m wondering whether he’ll turn up again and I’ll just have to resort to Pi** off and don’t come back.

    I am a bit incredulous. I mean, if I don’t answer this guy’s calls on two separate phone lines, why then come around to my house? Just to have me to confirm it it person? Or maybe to check whether both lines were faulty?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It actually makes me very uncomfortable to be so explicit, but I think you’re right. I suppose none of us wants to be unnecessarily confrontational. Hopefully I have said enough now. I still don’t understand what he was thinking, to comeround personally, i.e. what he hoped to gain from it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tell him you have “the virus” ;-P
    The thing about being ‘honest’ with this guy is that it sounds to me like he just wouldn’t ‘get it’…right? If he has no boundaries (bedroom, really?) and can’t take cues (four hour lunch and you said you should get home) then how likely is it that he’ll be understanding of “Hey, I think this relationship has run its course”…? You can keep ignoring him and eventually he won’t call until several months pass or you can come up with something that isn’t too far from true; “I’m finding going out or long conversations are too exhausting/taxing for me and I’ve decided to be more conscious about where I go and with whom” …something like that – whatever works for you/your situation.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I think I posted this about New Year. Since that time, after he’d left messages on both house and mobile phones, he actually came round again one day.
          I wondered afterwards, wtf was he expecting me to say? That somehow I hadn’t received any of his messages and that actually I wanted to meet up after all?
          Anyway, when he came around I just said that I didn’t call him back because I didn’t want to meet up. I’ll let him worry about why. As it happened I was just getting ready to go out so I didn’t let him in either, just sent him packing. He probably thought I was incredibly rude, but needs must.
          Fortunately then lockdown happened. I had one phone call at the very start, it was kind of a nothing call I think just on the pretext of making contact, but I ignored it and deleted the voicemail.
          But you’re right this chap could not take a hint. It would not surprise me one bit if he appeared on the doorstep again one day.

          Liked by 1 person

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