i just read a very interesting article about being single in your 30s. feel free to give it a read (it's pretty short).
i am single, in my 30s, and living in NY. which movies and television tell you is the mecca of being single. and that's true, to some degree. in a city housing 8 million+ people, some of them are definitely single. maybe most of them.
but when i walk the sidewalks in my Brooklyn neighborhood or idle through Union Square, all i see are couples. sure, they could just be friends. but in my single mindset, they are individuals who have successfully paired off and are riding into their sunset, wherever that may be.
which inevitably leads to the question: why didn't that work out for me? even if i know the answer and (with the healthy support of my friends) come to understand that my last relationship may not have been the sunset i was looking to ride off into, the question still lingers. even bad relationships had their silver lining.
i've come to learn that when it comes to break-ups, people divide into 2 camps. there are those who believe in the clean break, an all-or-nothing mentality. even if the break-up is amicable, these people do not want any baggage to linger (at least the physical baggage anyways, let's not get into the emotional baggage everyone carries). these are the you-can't-be-friends-with-exes camp.
the other camp (naturally) believes the opposite. they believe that if someone was so important and significant to you for such a long period of time, there is no way you could just cut them out of your life. these people get especially hurt after a break-up with people who belong to the philosophy of the former camp.
i was always a staunch believer in the let's-be-friends mentality. it was too hard to go cold-turkey from someone that i spent approximately 3 days (or more) with and talked to on a regular basis (more than my comms with family/friends).
but it's also burned me a few times to think this way. one of my prior exes and i maintained good communication for a few months until he all of a sudden stopped answering my calls or responded to messages. i was definitely upset about it and didn't know why things had suddenly changed. the final axe was when my father had collapsed (he's ok now-knock on wood) and i left my ex a tearful message and he never responded with anything. i later found out that he had returned to dating his ex (who was not fond of me) which resulted in our communications embargo.
now it's my turn to make a decision. my recent ex and i broke up in an amicable manner. hardly any tears were shed, it was more matter-of-fact. in truth, while i would have been fine continuing the relationship, i was also fine when he decided not to. which probably speaks volumes about how invested either of us were in the relationship itself.
and i do miss him to some degree. i probably miss "us" more than "him." like the article above talked about, i miss having someone who knows my ins and outs already. who i feel comfortable with spending an entire day at home together. as a side note, the thing i always miss the most about my relationships is sleeping together. not in a dirty way (you pervert). there's an intimacy that can't be duplicated/replicated about lying in the arms of your partner when you fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night or morning and seeing them there. it's like a living, breathing security blanket.
and so my ex and i have been communicating (mostly initiated by me). just to say "hi" or to address practical matters from our time together (shit still accumulates over 10 months, even if you don't live together). but in our last conversation, my ex dropped this statement:
"um, so i just wanted to let you know, i've found somebody i like."
stunned does not begin to describe how i felt about that comment.
i responded appropriately with a congratulations. and then i poked the bear. i asked how they met. which is how i found out that he had only been on 1 date with his newfound love interest. the conversation ended soon afterwards.
and once i was off the phone, i really cried for the first time since we broke up. not a stately, demure cry, but bawling, uncontrollable torrent of tears. mixed together were feelings of anger and hurt. because he told me. because he had found someone else. because he had found her so quickly after our breakup. because he found someone first.
after the tears, came the questions: why did he tell me? what did he hope to achieve by telling me? all my friends had theories: he was letting me know he had moved on. he was bragging. he was trying to hurt me. he was clueless and inconsiderate. he didn't know better. he was letting me know not to talk to him ever again. he was really in love and felt he had to tell me out of respect. at this point, why do i care about his reason?
he may be the person that finally pushes me over to the other break-up camp.