I suppose I thought I was over it. Over him, I mean. It wasn’t an acrimonious break-up; we split because we both accepted that we couldn’t make it – us – work, much as we wanted it to. We’ve remained close, part of each other’s lives, best mates, even; we’re in contact daily. But some while ago we stopped being a couple, and with that came the painful acceptance that we eventually had to move on, giving each other the space to start anew.
The process has been smooth; we’ve both been fine with the whole dating-new-people thing: we have cracked jokes about the annoyance of being single once again, fallen back into bed together a couple of times, and compared notes on the uneventful dates we’ve both had with potential suitors. We’ve even advised each other on romantic-strategy: he suggesting I be less judgmental in my interactions (I write men off at the first “lol”); me suggesting he be more open to chatty women (who may be nervous, rather than just arrogant). Each of us has offered a supportive ear, a space to rant, or a cup of tea when needed, and it’s felt good knowing that the honesty we’ve always had between us will continue. Out of our relationship we’ve developed a stronger, supportive, caring friendship that has longevity, and ensuring we maintain that is important to us both.
It was all right when his adventures in romance involved a variety of somewhat nameless women: I felt fine with that. But things have now progressed from vague ‘dating’ to meaningful ‘exclusivity’: the dates are no longer a generic ‘they’, but a very particular ‘she’; I know that as I write this, he’s in bed with her. And though I truly thought I was OK about him seeing new people, I am shocked to find myself, right now, torn apart with jealousy over this recent development; it’s an emotion I am unfamiliar with.
Rather than focus on the good – that I still care for him very much, as he does for me, that I wish for him to find happiness and love in his life, and that I am excited for him that there may be a possibility of that happening – I am, instead, thinking about how she’ll be running her hands through his chest hair, smelling his skin in that tender soft space on his neck and kissing those gentle lips of his. The irrational, pained, depths of me are silently screaming, knowing that those parts of him are no longer part of me, or of my life, anymore. And it just hurts; it’s stupid, but it hurts.
I knew that this had to happen eventually; in a less tired and emotional time, perhaps, I could shrug this off. But right now, all of a sudden, it feels far too much for me to comprehend; I’m being forced to face the fact that he is no longer mine; that she (or someone else) is going to replace me.
So whilst all of this can be intellectualised – if you’re both open and honest, discussing the pros and cons of maintaining a friendship with an ex is easy to do – putting it into practice is a different matter. I didn’t expect to be awake at 4am, biting down on my illogical jealousy, but here I am, knowing that tomorrow is another day, and quietly saying to myself: bollocks to Valentine’s Day.