An Especially Harrowing Break-Up Story (With a Happy Ending)by Chiara Atik on May 17, 2012
Everyone has a bad break-up story, but this one on The Hairpin is pretty intense: one moment, the guy is watching The Oscars with his live-in girlfriend, and the next, she’s announced that she’s no longer interested in dating him, but will continue living with him in their one bedroom studio for the rest of the month.
There’s a surprise twist to this essay which I won’t ruin here, but the paragraph that really got me spoke to a more universal truth about breakups:
“I’d decided the night before to repair my favorite shirt, which I’d ripped on the banister during a drunken jaunt up the stairwell. Not having a sewing kit, I fished through Amy’s bag for a safety pin and left it in disarray.
That night, I received an angry call from Amy. “Stay out of my damn purse!” And she hung up.
Two weeks earlier, I had been free to help myself to safety pins, keys, Chapstick, gum with hair on it, and coins stuck to wet cough drops. Now, just because she’d decided to attempt a lifegasm, her bag was suddenly sacred space. Had that much really changed?”
That is, perhaps, the most jarring thing about a break-up: suddenly things that were acceptable to do aren’t acceptable anymore, and it’s sometimes hard to know where the line is. After a break-up, can you call his mom? Can you stop by and see her dog? Can you call to share good news about your work or your friends or your family? A week before the break-up, you wouldn’t have thought twice about it, and now suddenly you don’t know the rules anymore.
Things turned out ok for this guy, in the end, though, which is a nice reminder that, in the end, no matter how painful they are, breakups often are for the best.