The hidden cost of starting over – a tale of becoming single again

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The Lady in Red and I broke up on Friday.

It’s not heartbreak, it’s not infidelity, and personally it’s not a shock. I’ll refrain from sharing the story or rehashing the details in such a public forum, but suffice it to say, it’s over. After a year of living together and two years of being together, it’s over. I don’t write this out of spite or malice, but there is an interesting moral that I’ve been reminded of recently.

The nice thing about living together was that splitting of expenses – for us, she took care of buying food, I paid the bills, we split meals and traveling on a fairly equal basis, and she got to save her stipend. The result was the ability to put aside about half of our paychecks into personal savings, while never having to make a cheaper choice to keep saving. We also ended up acquiring the things you really only need one of – a toaster oven, a microwave, a laundry rack. There’s also the matter of shared stuff – cooking for two is arguably cheaper than cooking for one, and other things like pots and pans and tools and basic office supplies people need. As she moved out, she rightfully took everything she bought or would otherwise call hers – she missed a few things and grabbed a few of mine, but it’s no big deal. What was a bit more surprising was the trip to Homeplus to purchase for myself what we had used jointly.

As I began to make a list – food, a frying pan, leftover containers, shampoo and other bathing products – I realized this might take awhile, and strain the bike in the three-block ride home. The shopping cart held a little bit of everything – potatoes, a jug for iced tea, knives, and a three shelved metal cart to replace a useful green shelf. While I didn’t need anything like clothes or furniture, I did need to restock a fridge. By checkout time, the total reached well into six figures (a couple hundred dollars) without even getting to restocking the cupboards / pantry. A follow-up visit will almost certainly reach the same amount, but four bags and a metal rack is about as much as a bike can carry. I finally decided to register for a po-in-teu ca-deu at the department store – if I’m going to be buying stuff for myself, I may as well collect the points that would otherwise go unused.

The moral here isn’t to avoid moving in with someone you love – it was great while it lasted – but to be prepared for when it’s time to start over, whether here in Korea or in the next country you live. You weren’t really going to pack that spatula, were you?

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2011
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This post was originally published on my blog, Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.



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