The Thing About Adult Breakups

I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Bad? Wise choice. Like a Band-Aid.

The bad news is, you’re not allowed to look at the post just before this one anymore and think, Aw, what a cute couple! That’s because LF and I are no longer a couple.

The good news is, I’ve written a new blog post! Okay, so I guess you already knew the good news, or you wouldn’t be here. Pretty lame good news, huh? Should I try again? How about, I’m back on the market! (Is it good news that I’m back on the market? Yes? No? Too soon? Oh, how would you know, I haven’t even told you when we broke up!)

Speaking of that term, back on the market, why do we refer to ourselves as if we are pieces of real estate, to be fixed up and sold to the person who makes the highest offer? I feel less like a renovated, freshly painted house that is ready for a new buyer and more like a college frat house the day after an end-of-semester party: crushed beer cans and red plastic cups all over my floor, Mardi Gras beads hanging from my chandeliers, ripped bras slung over banisters, and porn DVDs still playing, even though no one’s around to watch them. (How do I know these are the normal characteristics of a post-party frat house? Duh. I watched all four seasons of Greek on Netflix last year.)

The thing is, though, when you’re an adult, no matter how it makes you feel inside, breaking up is not allowed to be the drama festival it once was (unless maybe you get cheated on – I wouldn’t know, thank goodness). My point is, it usually happens quietly, without fanfare, and without being too drawn out. And then life goes on. Your friends are supportive for a few days, and then, whether you’re prepared, things pretty much return to normal. You’re not expected to be the melancholy, morose, angst-filled, never-leaving-the-house personality you were when this happened at 16 years of age. I know my friends are tired of hearing me wax on about everything that went wrong or everything I could have done differently. In fact, they’re already talking about “fixing me up” with someone else. There’s that real estate language again. “Hey, wanna date my friend Audra? She’s what you’d call a fixer-upper, but I think if you’re just willing to invest enough time and energy, you’ll see she can really shine.” Yeah. Encouraging. But maybe it’s not actually that far from the truth. After all, who doesn’t feel a little (and often a lot) beat up after a breakup?

So, for better or worse, whether I feel 100% marketable again, here I am, thrust back into the single world as forcibly as babies are thrust into the world when they are first born. (During a conversation with friends recently, one asked what babies can possibly have nightmares about. Another quipped without missing a beat, “Birth.”) Birth and breakups, man. It’s rough stuff. And it’s no wonder nobody wants to keep doing it.

So why, therefore, I do keep doing it is a mystery to everyone, except perhaps my therapist. Although, if it’s not a mystery to her, she has yet to enlighten me. Probably because she needs me to keep paying her.

In order to trick myself into fully embracing my new status, I’ve compiled an exhaustive pros and cons list about the single life. (I realize that including cons isn’t exactly uplifting, but who ever writes only a pros list? It’s all about balance, people.)

Pro: Get to meet new and interesting people again.
Con: Have to start doing my hair again.

Pro: Get to smile encouragingly at cute guys who look at my left hand to see if there’s a ring (where before, of course, I tried to avoid eye contact with anyone who looked in the general direction of the left side of my body).
Con: Have to dig through my old jewelry to find the decoy ring I use in emergency eye-contact situations.

Pro: Get to be close friends with guys again.
Con: Have to watch out for their wives and girlfriends again.

Pro: Can choose for myself the amount of sports I want to watch/listen to.
Con: Have to go back to using Google for sports trivia answers.

Pro: Don’t have to worry about what is going on this weekend.
Con: That’s because nothing is going on this weekend.

Pro: Don’t have to try to explain feelings I don’t understand.
Con: Don’t have anyone to tell me things will work out okay in the end.

Pro: Don’t have to worry about my dog and his lack of personal-space boundaries offending someone.
Con: May have to send my dog to therapy for separation-anxiety issues and lack of closure (he didn’t get to say goodbye).

Pro: Get to be spontaneous again and say yes to everything or no to anything.
Con: Have to start counting wheels again and try to avoid being a third or fifth or seventh.

Pro: Don’t have to offer to split the bill anymore.
Con: Can’t eat out as often because nobody’s picking up my tab.

Pro: I’ve now gone to couples’ counseling with two different boyfriends and have learned a lot about myself and relationships.
Con: I have become the girl who drags her boyfriends to couples’ counseling before they’ve even talked about marriage.

Pro: Get to have leftovers again after cooking.
Con: Eat the same thing for three days straight because I have leftovers again after cooking.

In all seriousness, we really did break up, and breakups really are sad, and ours is no exception. But we are on good terms, and there’s nothing more you can hope for in a situation like that, is there? LF, if you’re reading this, I hope that bit I just said (about us being on friendly terms and all that) is still true now that you’ve gotten to the end of this post! I started this paragraph with “in all seriousness,” but I’m going to end it with a kind admonition: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Otherwise you’ll never survive any breakups, or even any of life’s true joys. Peace.



Filed under bloggy, experimental, irreverent, sentimental, writing exercises

12 responses to “The Thing About Adult Breakups

  1. Amy

    Leftovers, man. Leftovers. It’s like guys have never understood the meaning of that word.

    (And, you know, you can freeze whatever you don’t eat for much, much later.)

    Oh…and I (seriously) need to visit.

  2. John Swanton

    Silly girl. I will buy you dinner anytime, just to see you smile when I ask you to split the check.

  3. katie savage

    Sorry Audra! Bleh, breakups. I haven’t had to have one as difficult as yours sounds– but that was because I was more of a “piner” than a “dater.” Just got lucky with Scott, and I realize I totally dodged a bullet. Or seventeen. Anyway, whenever you’ve got no weekend plans and you want weekend plans, just send me a text. I can’t promise excitement, but I can promise spit-up. And though I really liked you guys together, I really like you individually, too.

    • Thanks for the offer, Katie. I totally plan to take you up on it. I like your fam a lot as well, so you will probably hear from me soon! And I don’t need excitement. Just friendship & human connection.

  4. Well the first commenter stole my focus, which was the leftovers thing, because that is a HUGE pro, in my opinion. I love leftovers almost better than the original meal.

    And as far as I’m concerned, you can be sad and depressed as long as you want. Breakups suck…unless you’re me, in which case the two breakups I’ve had were a huge relief. We’re talking knot-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach-disappears-and-I-feel-instantly-happier relief.

    I might be a robot.

    • Reese, I love leftovers too. And you’re definitely not a robot. It’s funny that your two breakups happened for essentially the same reason my last two did, but for you they were more of a relief than a heartbreak. It’s lucky for you that you didn’t get as invested as I did before you realized it was never going to work, and I’m glad you’ve never had this experience. It sucks big time. But I’ll be fine. Sometimes it’s kind of annoying that life goes on without caring whether my heart is broken, but other times it’s energizing and encouraging because it means that I don’t have to be stuck here. I can choose (or not choose) to move on. And that is a good feeling.

  5. I think you should be a non-dater like me. I am titanium!

    • Yeah, you and Joshua Harris. No dating and then BAM, married. Sounds healthy and wise to me…not. I don’t know, B, I like dating. It’s so much fun. I’m excited to get back into it; it just presents so many possibilities!

      • Kalyn

        Hey. I’m the wisest person you know. Or something. But I’m glad you’re excited about dating. I would be too if there were any cool dudes left unmarried in Oklahoma.

  6. Pingback: 1,001 [Bad] Dates | A Literary Illusion

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