Ending a relationship while also being tied to a lease in a city that doesn't easily allow for breaking leases can make the situation even more difficult. The idea of waiting until the lease was up to end the relationship was considered, but ultimately deemed unbearable. As a result, an ill-advised decision was made to become roommates instead of partners.
1. For the first few weeks, we continued sleeping in the same bed
It was a poor decision to remain roommates after the relationship ended. Despite attempts to keep physical distance, the natural urge to cuddle during sleep was difficult to resist. Wearing layers of clothing to bed and trying to avoid physical contact didn't help much. The situation became complicated as the boundaries between friendship and intimacy became blurred, it was hard to remember the simple rule of avoiding a sexual relationship with the ex.
2. It was too easy to fall back into old habits
We convinced ourselves that cooking dinner together was a cost-saving measure, but it was clear that we were holding onto the familiarity and comfort of our past relationship. Old habits, like calling each other pet names, resurfaced but didn't feel entirely off-putting. The question of whether it was possible to maintain a friendship while still benefiting from the intimacy of the past relationship arose.
3. We considered trying it again
We spent many nights talking about the possibility of rekindling our relationship. Some of those nights were spent crying and remembering the positive aspects of our relationship, while looking through old photos. This behavior could be considered masochistic as we were willingly causing ourselves pain. Since there were no infidelities or lingering resentment, it was difficult to understand why we were so determined to end the relationship.
4. If I didn't come home at night, I had to answer to him
As I was engaging in playful intimacy with a new partner at 2 a.m., I received a message from my ex asking if I would be coming home that night. I had no obligation to respond and was frustrated that the moment was interrupted. Despite this, I felt guilty.
5. The first night that he didn't come home, I freaked out
I fell asleep on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy on a Sunday night, and woke up to find it was Monday morning, two hours later than I was supposed to be at work. I quickly got ready and headed to work. Upon arriving at the office, I realized my partner was not home. I was angry, feeling both sweat and nausea. I didn't hear from my partner that day and when I got home, he avoided eye contact with me. I angrily said "I hope she was worth it" before slamming the door in his face.
6. Our fights reached toxic levels
When we both started dating other people, our cohabitation became unbearable. We fought over small things like kitchen cabinet noise and a running shower. Our once cordial living situation turned into constant fights, even over trivial matters like pizza toppings and TV usage. We stopped sleeping in the same bed and the apartment became messy with clothes scattered everywhere. The situation was dire and chaotic.
7. It was like walking on eggshells
On days when we weren't speaking, we had to avoid each other as much as possible in our small NYC apartment. I often stayed at my best friend's place, but even though she never said it, I knew I was a burden on her and her boyfriend. We were both exhausted from the situation and decided to do what we should have done months ago, which was to find a sublet and finish out the lease.
8. We were just postponing the healing process
Living in the same apartment made it more difficult to move on from the relationship. It was like being in rehab for addiction, constantly being tempted to give in to old habits. With no clear break, it was impossible to completely separate ourselves emotionally when we saw each other every day. If we had not continued living together, there may have been a chance to maintain a friendship, but now it seems unlikely.
9. We saved a ton of money but it came at a hefty cost
Although we were no longer in a romantic relationship, we still held feelings for each other. Our breakup had left an open wound and instead of taking steps to heal it, we allowed it to worsen. Our situation was extremely unhealthy and, in retrospect, there were many better options for handling the lease. Just like the warning before any episode of Jackass, we should have taken it as a cautionary example not to try this at home.