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Life Hack: Break Up With Anyone Who Ruins Your Favorite Book

Adeline Dimond


Pay Attention to How People React to Joy

Joe and I met when I was thirty-seven and I was consumed with panic that I was never going to get married or have kids. (Spoiler alert: I never got married or had kids). It didn’t help that Joe was gorgeous, half Armenian, half Irish with dark hair, beautiful skin, a deep voice, nice chest, and an incredible jaw line. We both loved hiking and being outside. We both loved to cook, and the sex was hot. (Or so I thought, until I started reading his emails, a story for another day).

He was it. I had him, so I didn’t need to chase, but I started doing other crazy chase-like things like planning our wedding without telling him. I didn’t actually call any venues or spend any money, but I did have a folder on my desktop with cool places to get married in Michigan, where he grew up and talked about constantly.

I fantasized while stopped at red lights about succulent centerpieces, wondering if I would regret not having standard roses. To be fair, he did the same thing. When I was about to buy a new mattress, he told me to wait. “We’ll be living together soon.” And with this one sentence, I was pushed over the edge into delusion.

Because I lost my mind in the pursuit of marrying Joe, I ignored important things. Early on Joe told me he used to smoke a lot of pot. “Everyone did!” I said throwing my leg over him. “No,” he said staring at the ceiling “a lot.”

I soon saw what he meant. A few months into our relationship he started smoking again, and it turned out that “a lot” meant smoking before work, smoking when he got home from work, smoking while driving from San Francisco while I was in the car, paralyzed with fear that we were going to get pulled over and arrested.

He became irritable and withdrawn. But I ignored this because he was going to be my husband and I was going to shock everyone with succulent centerpieces at our wedding.

One day we took a day trip to Santa Cruz island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California, with the idea that we would hike around and stare at tide pools. I packed gourmet sandwiches, excited to impress Joe that I could take care of him in this way. We saw so many thousands of dolphins on the ride…