So I’ve concluded week two of being “on a break” from my relationship. Newsflash: It still sucks. So far, I’ve progressed from the “so damned depressed I may never emerge from under the covers” stage to the “okay, this may actually be real” stage. I’ve got no idea what week three’s stage will be, but I hope it’s better than this. Still, in the last two weeks, I’ve tried to pay attention to the changes in my life that have come as a result of all this upheaval. What follows are 10 strange things about being suddenly single.
1. Nobody says: “Have A Safe Flight!”: I’m not that anxious when it comes to flying, but I’ve always felt grateful for the times I’ve had someone sitting next to me with a hand I could squeeze. Flying alone, it feels like good luck to have a quickie phone call with someone saying, “I love you! Have a safe flight!” before shutting down my cell at the pilot’s instruction. Not so this time.2. Using The Padlock: The idea of a home intruder freaks me out. When my now former live-in-boyfriend would travel, I’d make sure the windows were locked and the door was double-locked when I turned in for bed — two things it never occurred to me to do when he was home, because, for whatever reason, he made home feel safe. Now, it’s my nightly ritual. My dog just doesn’t give me that same sense of security.
3. TV? Not As Fun: Last night, “Dexter” and “Californication” premiered, and there was a new episode of “Mad Men.” Sure, my favorite shows were still entertaining to watch, but I found myself pouting there was no one to A) have sex with when the sight of Dexter humping Rita made me horny, B) crack up with when Charlie and his wife discussed snorting cocaine off his penis on “Californication,” and C) cheer with when Draper sucker-punched Jimmy Barrett. “Gossip Girl,” though, is still fun — possibly more so because now there isn’t someone mocking me for watching it.
4. In A Crisis: No More Mr. Fix-It: The other night, I left my laptop in a cab. I never lose anything, and my laptop is what makes The Frisky happen. I went into full-on panic mode. The boyfriend/fiancé was excellent at calming me down and helping me fix whatever crisis had occurred. At first, having to solve it myself looked fruitless. Three hours later, the cab driver came back to my apartment with my laptop. He figured out my exact address because I’d left my prescription for birth control in my bag. Thank God for the Pill.
5. I Cook What I Want: I love to cook. Some of my specialties didn’t sit well with my live-in. I have a recipe for whole wheat pasta with broccoli rabe and Italian sausage that I love, but he always thought it tasted too bitter. Guess what I’m having for dinner this week?
6. That I’d Be (Briefly) Unhappy To See My Period: A week after “the break,” I got my period. For about two minutes, I was really freaking sad. Not because I imagined being suddenly pregnant with his love-child would fix anything — because it wouldn’t, it really wouldn’t — but because if it doesn’t work out for us, we’ll never have a child together. If we don’t, it’s not meant to be, but I guess I’d planned on that fantasy for so long that getting my most recent period cut deep. With him, I wanted the timing to be right. Now I have to face the fact it might not ever be right. And that sucks.
7. That I Still Feel So Close To His Family, But It’s Different: One of the saddest parts about this break for me is that I may never become a part of his wonderful family. I have a wonderful family of my own — my mother and brother have been especially supportive — but who doesn’t want to expand their immediate family to include more wonderfulness? I hope we’ll stay connected, in spite of what’s happened.
8. That I Have To Learn To Be My Own Best Friend: I’m on a plane as I write this. Today, I read a quote from Diane Von Furstenberg. She says becoming your own best friend is one of the most powerful and important things a woman can do. While this situation has rocked my world, it has been refreshing to rely on me, myself, and I for the first time in a while.
9. That Sometimes It Feels Right To Be Insanely Sad: This weekend was hard because it was the first one where I was totally home alone, without house guests or friends. It was raining. I felt profoundly sad. I could have done something to ignore it or distract myself from it: go out with friends, see “The House Bunny,” watch the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric. But it sort of felt right and almost good, in an odd way, to feel the sadness, cry over it, and let it pass.
10. Sometimes It Feels Right Altogether: During the last few weeks, there are times when “the break” has felt right and good and justified and appropriate and for the best. And that’s made me feel guilty. This is not to say I want this break to be permanent, or that I’m not hopeful for a reconciliation, or that I haven’t considered that not reconciling might be okay, too. But the uncertainty about what’s to come, while unfamiliar after years of feeling like I was with the person I would grow old with, is not an altogether horrible feeling to have.