I'd let myself forget why we'd broken up in the first place. After the landlord's news, I remembered that I'd broken up with Nathan and did so in a way that passed the point of no return. As much as I loved Nathan, I knew one thing for certain: We had grown apart. Our living together had revealed discrepancies we constantly struggled with. For instance, the state of the apartment—he was clean and I was messy. We also had very different, deep-rooted ideas about life. An early illness imbued him with a live-for-the-day attitude. Meanwhile, I was always thinking and preparing for the future. I had asked Nathan once what he saw when he imagined himself 20 years out. "I see myself healthy, happy, and still having fun," he'd said without missing a beat. That pretty much answered any questions I had about a future with him.
With the brownstone on the market, our apartment searches began in earnest. By mid-June, we had both signed leases on our own new homes, mine a studio back in Manhattan and his in Brooklyn. When I think of that time, it elicits a near-Pavlovian response—a distinct buzz no doubt generated from stress.
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Surviving the six months had its upside, though. The rough road not only paved a path back to friendship for me and Nathan but also cemented in my mind the reasons why leaving was the right thing to do. Nathan and I did talk about possibly staying together, but when it came to making an actual decision, neither of us were willing to go out on a limb. "This is what you wanted, wasn't it?" he'd say. I had no answer. Which only underscored the big gamble ahead of me.
While rummaging through the silverware set Nathan's mom gave us shortly after we moved in together, the stakes announced itself. The only thing in the cutlery drawer that belonged to me was a pair of mahogany chopsticks, an impulse purchase from an upscale boutique in Boston. I didn't even have a fork to eat with.
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Pilar wrote For Love or Money about her decision to break up with Nathan despite being financially and emotionally secure in the relationship.