Dateland: Housing Project


Later this month, we’re moving into my girlfriend’s ex-partner’s house. In case that sentence didn’t strike you as stupid enough, let’s make it even stupider. Her ex is not moving out of the house. We’re sharing the house with her….and her new girlfriend, and her girlfriend’s kids, and the kid that my girlfriend and her ex share.

What could possibly go wrong?

This arrangement was made without my approval or consultation. I was told one day that during the school year on weekdays we’d be living with the ex, and then would return to my home in a small resort community for the weekends.

My girlfriend was in full battle mode when she made this declaration. She fully anticipated that I’d start screaming. And, dear readers, I think you’d all agree that I’d be completely in the right to throw a tantrum.

But, I didn’t. I simply shrugged my shoulders and said, “OK.”

Why? Well, let’s face it. I’m nearing 50 and I’m in a committed relationship, so my life isn’t nearly as zany as it once was. I’ve taken to writing columns about my search for baby lima beans, for Christ’s sakes. You deserve better! So, yeah, I’m going along with this ridiculous plan for you, dear readers. This is certain to provide a rich trough of column fodder.

The plan, at present, is to share the house until my girlfriend’s son graduates high school. That’s four years from now. But given the fact that we haven’t even moved in yet and bickering has already started to escalate, I’m guessing we’ll move out by Christmas.

So, what’s the rationale behind this move? It has been explained to me by both my girlfriend and her ex, and I still don’t get it. I just cock my head like a dog trying to interpret why my owner feels the need to punish me. I haven’t peed on the carpet. I haven’t chewed up any of their shoes. So why am I being punished?

For the past month, my girlfriend has given nightly lectures on how I’m expected to behave once we move into the house. Most of these “discussions” (can a “discussion” be one-sided?) related to my habit of giggling each time my girlfriend’s ex criticizes her. “Every time you’re around her you commiserate against me!” my girlfriend said. “She wants you on her side.”

This is true, dear readers. I’m a people pleaser! I love her ex, and I want her ex to love me. So when she pokes gentle fun at my girlfriend, I laugh and say something stupid like, “So true, so true.” This angers my girlfriend, who then vows not to allow the ex and me in the same room ever again.

So, why then is she moving me into the same house with my comedy partner? How could this not end in some type of murder/suicide scenario?

At a recent dinner with my girlfriend, her ex, her ex’s new girlfriend, me, and her ex’s mom, the former partners explained the setup to the ex’s mother. They said the situation demonstrated how mature we all are, and how this would be the best setup for all the children involved (I’m pretty certain they include me in the children category).

The ex’s mother, a very smart and sophisticated woman, listened to this nonsense silently while coolly sipping a martini. After the girls ended the explanation with a final burst of self-congratulatory drivel, the ex’s mom plucked a gin-soaked olive off a toothpick. “I lived through the ‘70’s. I know exactly how this is going to end,” she said. And then she pointedly bit the top off the head of the olive.


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