We’ve been together for more than forty years. But we both know it was never true love. And we've grown farther apart, not closer, as the years went on.
You know why I couldn’t carry on. You complain about my job – long hours, low wages and the rest of it – but you're happy to spend my hard-earned money. And you were forever inviting your friends and relatives round to stay without telling, let alone asking, me. I don't have anything against them – really I don't, I'm not prejudiced, not at all, never have been – but there's only so many bedrooms and sofas. But you won't let me tell them it's time to leave.
I know you don’t agree with my decision to break up, and I know I might have made you angry, but I want you to know that I still care about you and I hope we can continue to be friends. In many ways, I think we make a great team, and I’d like to think we can continue to do some of the things we used to do together – we've just got to put things on a more practical basis.
That being said, I also thought I should mention the things we need to sort out. “Tying up the loose ends,” I suppose.
I’ve opened myself a new bank account. And don’t even think about asking me to pay half of that loan back – I never wanted the flat screen TV in the first place. Or the cycling machine. And of course I can’t keep giving a contribution to your dad’s nursing home. Bloody extortionate place.
I know the rent on the house is high but I’m sure that if you make a few savings you’ll be able to afford it without me. And incidentally, talking about the house, I’d like to keep using the cycling machine, if you don’t mind. And, now I come to think of it, I can’t afford Sky anymore, so can I come to yours when the footy’s on? I’ve still got the key so you don’t need to be there. And I did help pay for it after all.
Oh, and I know that big Don over the road keeps calling you nasty things on Twitter. But I’ve seen quite a lot of him since we split, and he’s actually a really nice guy, and I’m sure he doesn’t mean half the things he says, so don’t worry about it.
I do hope we can continue to be friends. It would be nice to have the odd drink now and then. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be around all the time to help you out, mind. I can’t keep bailing you out when you run out of cash before payday. And you may need to call the council about the neighbours as you can’t expect me to help deal with that any more.
In the fullness of time, when you’ve got over this, I’m sure things will be fine. Let’s face it, hand on heart, you always cared for me more than I did for you, so you’d be silly to cut off your nose to spite your face and stop seeing me, wouldn’t you?
Anand Menon is the director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at Kings College London
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