Dear American Express,

I just can’t figure you out anymore. You’ve changed from the quiet, agreeable AmEx I once knew into a volatile, unpredictable monster. When we met, you were just what I needed. I’d come off a bad relationship with Visa, and you were there, waiting with open arms to take me in. You said, “Listen, I know your credit history isn’t terrific, but I believe in you. I’ll give you a chance.”

So we started going together, and things were great. I was growing with you, becoming a better, more responsible person every day we spent together. You had a $2,000 spending limit, but I, in an extraordinary display of self-discipline, swore I’d only use half of it. And I never used more. I did that because I respected you. I respected the exclusivity of our relationship.

But I’m frustrated, AmEx. I’m upset and I’m confused and I’m frustrated. Here we are, getting along great, and then yesterday I get a letter from you saying you’ve decreased my credit limit to $1,300. I’m guessing you did this because some commercial reporting agency said I was a deadbeat or that I didn’t pay my student loan on time this month.

Well, you know what? That’s bullshit. Am I not good to you? Don’t I pay your bill on time every month? Yeah. I most certainly do. I am so good to you, AmEx, and this is how you repay me. We’ve known each other a long time, and I thought we trusted each other. I trusted you. Did you trust me? I guess not. You know me, AmEx, but apparently you’d rather base your opinion of me on what your gossipy, bitchy friends the credit bureaus have to say.

And what gets me even more is the e-mail you sent me today, not even 24 hours after I got your letter in the mail. It says you want to make sure I’m protected from identity theft. Oh, really? One minute you shit all over me when I least expect it and the next you’re acting like my mother or something?

God, AmEx. I just. Don’t. Get you.

So what do we do now? Obviously, this changes things. I won’t be able to use you now and not feel like a stupid, irresponsible child. From now on, every time you come out of my wallet, I’ll hurt a little. Your soft-blue logo will no longer make me proud; it will make me feel castrated and useless.

But I want to stay with you, AmEx. I guess it might be a matter of convenience, which I know isn’t necessarily healthy, but somehow I feel like we might be able to salvage things. Things may have changed, but you do still have $1,300 on you, and that’s better than nothing. Let’s take some time to give each other room to breathe, and see where we are at the end of the next billing cycle.

Michael C. Maloney