The Great Famine of 2010

What do you do when your live-in boyfriend won’t leave?

Look, I get that people have problems. People go through things. They get depressed. They lose their motivation. They apparently decide to camp out in their girlfriend’s house and play computer games all day.

I was once involved with a man who will be forever nicknamed Soft Hands. Let’s just say he had obviously never repaired a barbed wire fence. He held himself out to be a successful financial adviser. He wore suits and loved to proselytize on the interwebs about everything. I was trying to be less shallow so I went for it.

After a while, he somehow ended up moving in with me and it went okay at first. He “worked from home” and was on the computer all the time. Because I frequently overheard telephone conversations about business, it never occurred to me that he was a complete fraud. Unfortunately, he also had severe hoarding tendencies and my house was soon occupied territory.

As the relationship soured, I abdicated my responsibility to address the situation. I was working 12-hour days in an extremely stressful environment and just didn’t have the bandwidth to notice what was happening with him, let alone deal with it. He rarely helped with any of the bills but I didn’t need the money so I let it ride. I figured since he was home with my dogs all day, it was worth it. At one point, I ended the relationship but told him I was fine with him staying as my roommate as long as he helped around the house. He had nothing to say.

I moved out of my own bedroom. I just literally couldn’t even.

One night, I snapped. The house was a wreck. My lawn was dying. The dogs hadn’t been fed. He was playing computer games day and night. I don’t know how long it had been since he had earned any income. I finally lost my shit and screamed to him, “Get your shit and get the fuck out of my house.” He gave me zero reaction. His phone rang and he took the call. He also didn’t leave.

I gave it a little time for him to process the information and find another place to live but nothing happened. I took photos of the hoarder’s paradise my home had become and emailed his parents for help. I served him with a 30-day notice to vacate and insisted he sign it in front of me. He just kept pretending nothing was happening with the flattest of affects. On the couch. Playing computer games.

My mom is the one who suggested I go medieval and starve him out. I had tried everything else I could think of so I stopped bringing home groceries. He was a soda addict and there wasn’t a drop in the house. I drank coffee at work where lunch was also served. For dinner, I would either stop at my mom’s house or grab fast food and hide the sack in the garage trash can. I was literally sneaking around to get food because the pantry was down to dry beans and flour. Neither of us ever spoke of it.

By the time SH finally began preparing to move, he had lost about 35 pounds. I wrecked my back helping him carry ridiculously heavy furniture. My friends even came to help because they would do just about anything to get him on his merry way. I cleaned my house for what felt like an eternity. I bought all new furniture.

In hindsight, I was an idiot. I just kept letting things happen without a boundary in sight. And as always, mine is a cautionary tale.

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