I lived with my ex for a year after we split up


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I lived with my ex for a year after we split up

I always win when it comes to talking about bad break-ups

My best friend opened the door to me barely holding myself together. Tears were running down my face and after five minutes of uncontrollable sobbing I blurted it out. “We’re not actually together anymore.” Apparently I hadn’t done great at keeping the fact something was wrong a secret because she wasn’t shocked at all. She spent the next two days listening to me confess everything I hadn’t told her about the last five months.

On that day I was already two months into living with my ex.

There wasn’t even a breakup.  No breakup text, no “let’s talk about things”.  In a moment it was just over. We were together for four-ish years. We met when I was 15 in the small town where I grew up. He was a year older than me. He was in a band. He was the “good” kid in the neighborhood who parents and peers loved. I was hooked, and so was he.

Going to concerts was our thing

After spending two years glued to each other, he left for college over three thousand miles away in the UK. A year later, so did I. You could say I followed him (it wasn’t my finest moment). Things were OK during my first year. If you had asked me back then I would have told you everything was amazing – I was young and stupid and I thought it was. Looking back now, I know I was in complete denial.

I didn’t go crazy during Fresher’s Week. I didn’t make a ton of friends who I could get drunk and crazy with everyday in halls. I spent most of my time with the boy I loved more than anything. We were so head over heels we decided to sign a lease for a house together, seven months before we would actually move in. A lot can happen in seven months, but everything really happened in barely a couple of days.

I finished my first year, exhausted and happy to go back home for the summer. Sun, the sea, concerts and endless nights with him and my friends. But the day I landed, it was like I ceased to exist in his eyes. “Yeah sure” I thought. “Of course he wants to see everyone he hasn’t seen in months. Nothing’s changed.”

What my summers usually look like

Nope. Suddenly, it was over.

Until now nobody knew I spent every day crying for six months and nobody will ever really know what I went through. You’re supposed to want to go home and relax, but I was spending countless hours in the library and days at my friend’s houses just to delay the harsh reality I had to go back to that place. I couldn’t get over how he didn’t want me anymore – I couldn’t let go. We would fight almost all the time the both of us were there. He would leave and I would end up crying myself to sleep.

I can’t deny we did have the time of our lives during our relationship but in those moments I struggled to remember anything which didn’t make me hate his guts. It got to the point when we weren’t fighting we didn’t speak – he would walk in, ask me how I was and it was like he didn’t exist to me. I became heartless. The few friends I finally decided to confess to are what got me through it. I would cry about his new girlfriend, they would call him a dick and we’d talk about how much guys suck until I would end up crashing on their bed.

On the nights I didn’t, I could see them feeling sorry for me having to go back “home”. They came over a couple times but never too long to make it weird. It was usually just the two of us in a cozy two bedroom house in the area where all the students lived. No house parties, no friends over, it was just us and whatever was left of us tolerating one another. Although I didn’t think this back then, I’m glad he spent most of the time away with his new girl – at the time I was baffled by the fact he wanted anyone else but me – but it meant I had the chance to get over it alone and not be constantly be reminded of him.

Apart from the few people that knew what I was dealing with, in public we were strangers. There were countless times we found ourselves awkwardly on the same bus, or walking just feet away from each other, but no one knew what we were going through. I became really creative in avoiding the question “Who do you live with?”, apparently that really defined who you were. I didn’t want to be that girl who lived with her ex – so I made up a story about living with a friend from back home (which wasn’t that much of a lie).

I would party every night I could – be one of those girls who didn’t care at all. Until it got to the end of the night – how do I tell a guy he can’t come back to mine because I live with my ex? And then the truth would hit me again and I would end up going home in tears.

Sorry guy who wanted to take me home that night

As I got over it day by day it got easier to go back until I managed to be one wall away from him and feel like I never even knew him. Because I realized I didn’t, he was nothing like the guy I met when i was 15, and I became fine with that. I never really got a reason why. To this day don’t know what went wrong – and I don’t care anymore.

I could go on about how it was the worst six months of my life. I could sit and stew and blame him for everything. But this isn’t supposed to make anyone feel sorry for me – because I don’t feel sorry for myself. After spending every day of those six months crying, I came to a turning point. One single moment that would change my life forever. Everything that happened made me realize the only person I should ever give a crap about is myself, and I am fully aware that’s a selfish perspective to have.

But regardless, suddenly I didn’t care anymore. It was like I was finally free, free to actually do whatever the hell I wanted. And I did, just for me.

Taken from my rooftop in New York this basically sums me up now

I sucked up living under the same roof for the last couple months and focussed on myself: college, my new hobby, my friends, and when the year was finally over our toxic living situation ended without even the slightest goodbye. The closest thing was a note he left me on our last day – all it said was “au revoir”.

Now, two years later, I don’t know anything about him and he probably doesn’t know anything about me. But even though my feelings towards him will never be positive again, I can’t help but thank him for the role he played in the way my life turned out. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Happier than I’ve ever been, and having the guts to say fuck it and just do me. I moved across the ocean with 24 hours notice, and I’m a part of a revolution. Would the me who was trapped by the infatuation of my first love have done that? Now, I’ll never have to know.