Two and half weeks! It sounds so short when I write it down, but living it has felt much longer. The first two days moved at glacial speeds; every moment was an effort, since every ounce of strength was going into ‘getting over him.’ Everything, buying a pint of milk, getting on the tube, reading a book, doing my work, was connected to Mr Ex in some way and therefore it was painful and required endurance. Now, two weeks on, I’ve succeeded in the art of just living again, which is a relief. The ‘getting over him’ parts are just that – parts of a whole day which is punctuated by lots of other parts that don’t involve Mr Ex at all. That’s the weirdest bit, in a sense. Finding that I can live without him, and even – occasionally – without a thought of him. I reckon the day I stop this blog is the day I wake up and realise I didn’t think of him at all the day before. Until that happens, I think I need you, fellow bloggers.
The following may sound callous given all I’ve just said – but it’s an interesting debate, so I’ll write about it anyway and feel free to judge. I went to a party on Saturday night, and kissed a man and gave him my number. I’m confused about it for many reasons – the most pressing being that my friends and acquaintances have given me diametrically opposed advice about post-break up behaviour regarding ‘other people’. Some friends advise a sustained period of mourning – with no physical, sexual or even flirtatious contact with anyone else. Others suggest ‘light-hearted fun’ – a flirtation, maybe, a date, maybe even sex, but (this said with head on one side and concerned eyes for my mental state) nothing serious. Then some – a surprisingly large number, in fact – prescribe the old addage ‘The quickest way to get over one man is to get under another’. Some even go further and say I need to start looking for Mr Right straightaway… in fact suggesting that the only way I’m ever going to REALLY get over this break up is by meeting someone else who trumps Mr Ex. Until then, I’ll always be in a kind of relationship holding period.
I don’t really know what I think. I suspect distraction is a very valuable thing; I understand the value of lighthearted fun and flirtation. I also – as a self-identifying feminist – feel uncomfortable about the idea of ‘needing’ someone in any sense. Apologies for those who like their quotes more intellectual, but I’m about to quote the film Cool Runnings: there’s a scene when John Candy’s character is explaining why he cheated for his gold medals, and he says ‘But if you’re not enough without a gold medal, you’ll never be enough with it.’ I want to be enough for myself, and not to need anyone else. Anyway, I also know -from past experience – that when you’re not over someone, the ‘other people’ always feel wrong. Their personalities, their bodies, their faces are an odd-picasso-esque distortion of what you’re used to, and it’s disorientating and depressing: it can make you miss your Ex more, not less. However attracted I have been to those ‘transitional men’ the attraction has always been mixed with a strange revulsion. I felt that way about the man on saturday night. I think I will feel it towards other men for a long time.
Some people would say that’s a reason to stay well away, and others would say it’s a reason to get back in the game as soon as possible: to reacclimatise and reclaim the possibility of others, a bit like reclaiming your favourite songs. My somewhat bland conclusion is that you have to do what feels right for you. For me, personally, it felt right to flirt at a party on a Saturday night; to pass on my number and to share a kiss at the end of the evening. I don’t know whether I want it to go much further: I know that no one, now or anytime in the near future will be a substitute for Mr Ex. But I want to remember, at least, that there are other men in the world who can give me butterflies.