The last time I was single, I was a hot second away from graduating from law school. My boyfriend at the time was about to propose (we’d been designing the ring), only to dump me at the suggestion of his parents that Monday morning . . . after almost five years together. We broke the lease to the apartment we had shared for over a year a few days later. The last time I saw or spoke to him was the day we turned in our keys.
Before that, the last time that I was single was in college and I was heartbroken over a guy who texted me “good morning’s” and “good night’s” for approximately three weeks. LOL. He had a great smile, but so does approximately 99% of the modern world after some Colgate and braces.
Sitting here today, single hits differently.
There was no fiery blowup or third parties involved. For lack of more fanfare, after two rescheduled wedding dates and a lot of difficult conversations this year, we both decided it was better to no longer pursue a romantic relationship right now. After two and a half years of adventures (remember that second date I flew to Washington DC for in this post?), we’re navigating a new chapter, one where an enduring romance is replaced with a steadfast friendship.
I’ve been trying to put words to what this transition’s been like, and for weeks I’ve been unable to articulate what it’s been like. While it’s devastating to have reminders of what will never be (hello, beautiful wedding dress), this breakup’s been different because I’ve never really stayed friends with an ex after the fact.
I still have days where I’m flooded with emotions and cry over shit like this post I wrote just after we got engaged…or this one that I wrote shortly after we started dating. It’s tough to think about plans and promises that will never be, but at the same time, the future doesn’t seem all the bleak because I’m going through it with my (former?) best friend.
Now there are “perks,” if you can even call them that, to all of this, like being able to make my own schedule absent anyone else’s. Shortly after everything happened, I went to Trader Joe’s and bought every damn snack and frivolous oddity that I wanted. I sat outside with my dogs and laid with them on the concrete. I made dinner for one, which tbh was piss poor because I took it off the stove before it was ready. The gourmet entree was, drumroll: runny eggs, green onions, toast, potato chips, and kombucha. I know, I know . . . anyone reading this is probably like, “THAT’S NOT DINNER,” but hear me out: I’m fresh out of a longterm relationship and most days I don’t even feel like eating, period. The first couple of days, I was lucky if I could choke down one meal, and by meal I mean any semblance of calories, so this is progress. Give me a little grace if shitty eggs aren’t your ideal dinner.
But absent being able to do what you want, when you want, single hits different these days.
After that breakup in college, I marched my happy ass to the gym every single day and got so strong. I booked a solo ticket to Europe and explored all over the Netherlands and Spain. I had dinner in a cave in Brussels and felt like a million bucks. After that breakup a few years ago, I took chances like a second date across the country and telling my now ex-fiance how I had more baggage than an airport on our first date.
I felt like I had so much ahead of me…and for whatever reason, right now, I don’t feel as invigorated about being single in 2020.
Maybe it’s the pandemic. Maybe it’s throwing away save the dates for not one, but two (hello, COVID) wedding dates. Maybe it’s feeling jaded about love after almost eight years and two great guys of almost forevers…or maybe I’m just at that age where everyone I know is pairing off and multiplying genetics faster than they took shots of Dirty Girl Scouts in college…
WHATEVER IT IS, I’m trying to sit with the discomfort and this is how it’s processing.
In some ways it’s comforting to know that while some people have found their happily ever afters, others are rebooting and starting over like me. I don’t know if “starting over” is totally fitting, but it sure feels like that when you go on a first date after a year plus of wedding planning and it’s beyond awful and you never want to go on another date again.
But maybe that bad date was a reminder that I need to spend some more time sitting solo and working on myself. With all of this extra time I might actually get around to some landscaping and wallpapering I’ve been putting off. Maybe I’ll get around to it, or maybe I’ll binge some Shitt’s Creek with a bottle of wine and start an Only Fans account.
Well, anything’s possible, right?
That’s all I’ve got. Breakups are exhausting. But then again, so is living through 2020.
I guess I’ll just keep puttering along.