You thought you could play your little power game, threatening to withhold "support" unless I, once again, reaffirmed my commitment to you. You call it a renewal of vows. I call it psychotic clinging.
I used to think your annual self-improvement jags were cute. The way you actually renamed yourself each year, I felt like I was getting a whole new partner. Now I realize that you can enlarge some features and slather makeup on others — all based on what you say are "my needs" — but it's still the same you. A you that sees our time together as "uninterrupted service," as you put it in your last letter. Even for an accountant, that's cold.
Honestly, Q, you should know better than anyone about the precarious state of my finances. But I've come to, um, intuit that you're less interested in our relationship than you are in how much money you can squeeze out of me.
If you still care about me at all, try to think of the good times we had in the early days, when nobody knew whether a relationship like ours could work. Remember all those late-night hours we spent together in the halogen glow of my office? I found one of the love sonnets I had penned on a paper scrap, back when you were eager to learn what I had to share.
And how about our first update? I brought a bottle of merlot and my PIN numbers; you brought that unflinching directness. "Do you want to update Quicken now?" Yes, a thousand times, yes.
Soon, I was telling everybody how much I loved you. You got along with my friends; when we all spent time together, it was as if you and United Mileage Plus Signature Visa spoke the same language. You made order out of my chaos. You were the keeper of our memories. Even when we struggled to find that balance, you always made it easy to reconcile.
But let's be honest: We just don't click like we used to. It's been six whole months since we've been together. I know this because my friend Windows XP has been keeping track, which, yes, is a bit creepy. And you've noticed, I'm sure, that I've been spending more time with my old friend Chase, who is suddenly very supportive.
You're great, Q. You'll make someone very happy. But I need someone who's just enjoying life without making constant demands. You'll probably say that's code for "younger," but that's not it. I've been talking — just talking! — to some of the fresh faces around the bookkeeping pool, such as Mint, Wesabe, and Expensr, and they all seem to understand the real me.
I honestly don't know who I'll end up with, but we're through. Try to have fond memories of me. And please don't sell my financial data.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.