What It Will Be Like After We Break Up


The first two weeks will ultimately be irrelevant to the entire experience, but they will – unquestionably – be viscerally emotional. Mornings I’ll wake up already somehow feeling like shit, the passage of time will feel curiously unbearable [1], my back will begin to hurt from too many hours spent on the couch, the only time I’ll leave the apartment [2] will be to get the mail downstairs, I’ll spend unhealthy amounts of time on the computer, listening to music will feel sad, cathartic, emotional, liberating and depressing, and I’ll spend a lot of time cleaning, because I’ll want to keep it like it was when you were here.

I’ll be mad at you for making my life what you’ve made my life: for bundling up your problems and presenting them so unabashedly and helplessly as to make it so only I could come up with the Grand Solution; for bringing every glitch in your happiness out into the open and crying about it, being so inconsolable about it that it made me feel hopeless, too; for having dreams that were apparently beyond my capacity to fulfill. These same issues will make me feel like shit in a different way, namely – my ego and sense of self will be greatly reduced, because I wanted to be the person on which you could rely, and what it means to have it be proven that I wasn’t that person hurts a lot.

The first two weeks will be weeks of terrible dreams. One will be of me at some kind of quiet party full of polite, young people having quiet, innocent sex with one another. From a corner, I’ll see that you are naked, and that you are negotiating – a little frightened and excited – with a guy my age and size, the sex that you two are about to have. I’ll see you get on top of him, and I’ll see you say sweetly: “This is the first time I’ve done this.” I won’t be able to remember what happens after that, only walking up the stairs with you after you two finish, feeling affected and doomed.

As told, this will all pass. The weeks/ months following this period will indeed be more formative and significant. A heavy sort of mediocrity will set in; it will be a realization that single life is just as lonely/ depressing as monogamous-relationship life; that porn isn’t real; that unfortunately, time spent dating ? time spent having awesome sex with girls with perfect bodies; that time spent dating actually = the disappointment of profile pictures, the awkwardness of hookups, the alienating realization that my standards are extremely (stupidly) specific and that everyone seems to be a dumbass of the most supreme order, and the consequent step in logic that I really fucked up, letting you go and all, not being able to Open Up and all…

Included in this period of time will also be the panic associated with seeing your dating profile appear, once more, on the dating website that facilitated our first date, as well as the accompanying, long-lasting, low-level, widespread feeling of anxiety that you could, theoretically, be having sex with someone at any moment [3]. Also: the dread of checking my email account and seeing/ not seeing a new email from you, the sadness of knowing you’re available on Gmail chat; the emptiness of my apartment; the consolation my friends try to offer – even though they know there is no real consolation; and a bad one-night stand that I’ll regret while having it.

After some amount of time, maybe six months, the urgency of the situation will perhaps fade. I’ll have received enough validating emails, sold a book proposal, and perhaps begun to date a girl that actually has something on me. The girl and I will start our own relationship, and I’ll learn that you still haven’t slept with someone else, and my general stance toward that will be a combination of good/ meh. But then something will happen – my new girlfriend will do something wrong. She’ll show me that she can’t handle what you could, and consequently, it will be revealed that I have been so, so wrong. That it isn’t okay, that nothing is okay, that nothing had been okay since we broke up, and that nothing will be okay until we get back together.

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image – High Fidelity