The day after I learned about the Saturn Return — a defining and often tumultuous period that occurs every 27–29 years — my boyfriend of four years reminded me of an agreement we’d made a few months earlier: to break up.
We’d made the agreement on Christmas Eve of 2014, while house- and cat-sitting for some friends. I don’t remember how the conversation began, but I do remember the conclusion: this wasn’t going anywhere. Neither of us felt any urgency to act on this revelation, though. We enjoyed cat- and house-sitting together, for one thing. And we had plans to exchange Christmas gifts the following day. Also, we’d already booked a trip to Los Angeles in February, which neither of us felt particularly inclined to cancel. Acting all chaotic — and not going on vacation — would only make things suck more. So instead of picking a hard end-date, we agreed to break up at some point in 2015. That felt like enough time to whatever.
The next few months were chill; our trip to Los Angeles went so well we even talked about moving there together. We were different people in L.A., y’know? Maybe New York was the problem. (I won’t speak for him, but in hindsight I believe there was more than one problem.)
So I was a little caught off-guard when, one Spring evening — a day after my friend Bennett told me I’d started my Saturn Return, and I had no idea what he was talking about — my ex reminded me of our Christmas Eve pact. I knew breaking up had made sense to both of us then, but I had evolved! And what about L.A.?
I have some trouble taking people at their word alone; I can’t help but notice vocal inflection and gut feelings and facial expressions — just, vibes. And vibe-wise, I thought we’d turned a corner. But reality-wise? We’d both meant what we said in December — I’d just changed my mind, and he hadn’t.
While our slow-motion breakup continued to unfold over the summer of 2015, I quit my job at Gawker Media, began freelancing in earnest, and started going to therapy for the first time (rather, it was the first time I went to the same therapist more than once). My ex quit his longtime job about a month after I did, at which point he let me know he still intended to move to L.A. — and he thought I should, too. I had already taken L.A. off the table — if we weren’t…