How To Be My Ex-Boyfriend

Be a lovable asshole. Have your insensitivity be mostly brought on by your profound inability to lie about anything. Tell me the truth when a dress makes my body look kind of lumpy. Don’t be afraid to reject me when you’re too tired. Don’t hesitate to tell me to take a shower. Say all of these things with a certain level of obliviousness that makes it difficult for me to actually get mad at you. There’s no venom in your voice. It’s treated with a casual matter-of-factness. You’re just tElLiNg iT lIkE iT Is! I never wished I could date a liar until I met you.

Be 30% cuter than me. Have the inequity in our attractiveness hover over us like a cloud of doom, bringing all of my insecurities to the surface. Get hit on by beautiful women wherever we go and have it made clear that I’m not seen as a threat. The audacity of these women—to treat me like I’m totally invisible! I never felt ugly until I was with someone so beautiful. I never thought of the different values of attractiveness until I was with a permanent comparison. Despite seeing other women flirt with you though, you never made me feel anything less than beautiful. This makes it hard to get angry and punish you for simply being a babe who’s universally desirable.

Be the one who loves less. It’s clear from the beginning that this will be the dynamic of our relationship; these are the roles we’re destined to play. It will always be me trying to extract things from you that you’re ultimately incapable of giving me. You resist and then occasionally give in which will foster hope for a period of time but eventually we’ll be right back where we started. It’s unclear as to why you can’t love me. Even after all this time, I’m left with a lot of unanswered questions. It’s not like you’re a cold person. As much as I want to, I can’t paint you as a villain. That would make everything so much easier and offer me a solid explanation as to why things didn’t work out, but the reality is that you aren’t a cold man. There are frosty bits to your personality but as a whole you exude warmth. Warmth that wasn’t enough to keep me warm.

Be a coward. Fail to break up with me. Instead, push me away so badly that you’ve given me no choice but to do it myself. Rude. If you fall out of love with me, you can at least have the decency to be the one to break it off. Do you know how hard it is to break up with someone you still love because you’ve been backed into a corner? You made me clean up your mess and I still resent you for it.

Be someone who’s hard to let go of. For the brief moments we’ve interacted after the break up, I’ve felt myself being brought back to life and it’s pathetic. I didn’t cry for a year but when I ran into you on the street, it was the first thing I did. I went home and sobbed in bed like a sad cliche. For a second, I thought all my insides were dead, but you proved that they’re still working. They still work but only for someone like you—which means that they’re positively useless.

Try to erase me. Unfollow me on Twitter, hide my feed on Facebook. Try to forget I ever existed. I wish it was that easy for me but I guess some people are just easier to erase than others. TC mark

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  • JustAGirl

    This is the exact relationship I have with my ex. I’ve told him these things on a few occasions. I thought I was the only one. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/annderwhelmed Ann Marie Awad

      yeah seriously did we all date the same asshole?

    • Shannonheath2

      same here

  • Anonymous

    “Be a coward. Fail to break up with me. Instead, push me away so badly that you’ve given me no choice but to do it myself. Rude. If you fall out of love with me, you can at least have the decency to be the one to break it off. Do you know how hard it is to break up with someone you still love because you’ve been backed into a corner? You made me clean up your mess and I still resent you for it.” <– Ouch. That is much too familiar. Thank for putting my thoughts into words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TrinaToxic Ashley 'Untamed' Janosko

    This was written so well, that I thought someone was reading my mind. Before my husband, I was always in devastatingly cruel relationships like this. But don’t give up, ladies, and gents. I know some women have the power to do this same thing. There is hope! 

  • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

    Wait, did we date?

  • http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com/ Summer

    Love this. It helps so much to know that other people are hurting, too.

  • Jim

    I’m 90% percent sure this is how my ex felt about our split. I’m still not sure how to correct it or even if I should. Genuine regret and apologies just don’t seem like enough.

    • Anonymous

      But why?

  • BL

    wow.  Did I write this? could swear you were in my head using my thoughts to write this. Amazingly accurate to my life right now.

  • Lenicles

    sounds just like my ex. he was a narcissist.

    • Guest

      Sounds like mine as well except he never even told me I was pretty

    • Anonymous

      LOL SAME.

  • FASF

    Seems that there are a lot of girls saying this about their ex bfs here. Well i’m an example of the opposite. She was useless…


    I never felt ugly until I was with someone so beautiful ‘

    You made me clean up your mess and I still resent you for it ‘

    If I could sing I would definitely nick these lines and use them in a song. With a credit of course*

  • cocola chulisnaqui

    “Be the one who loves less.” Yep, that was it. So glad that isn’t the case anymore….

  • Mamajamerson

    I am feeling every single word you wrote. Simply substitute husband for boyfriend and you’ve told my story, and quite eloquently, I might add.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1616790001 Annie Streats Streater

    “It will always be me trying to extract things from you that you’re ultimately incapable of giving me.”

    Once I realised this, something clicked and suddenly I was okay with us never being together ever again. It was a revelation.

  • Jessica

    wow i could have written this myself, especially “Fail to break up with me. Instead, push me away so badly that you’ve
    given me no choice but to do it myself. Rude. If you fall out of love
    with me, you can at least have the decency to be the one to break it
    off. Do you know how hard it is to break up with someone you still love
    because you’ve been backed into a corner? You made me clean up your mess
    and I still resent you for it.” except i’m a girl and so is the girl i was dating. i miss her immensely. ugh.

  • Reader

    you’ve said all the things i’ve been too afraid to tell myself. thank you for this.

  • observer

    I didn’t realise unkindness to people was so commonplace. Seriously, my ex was exactly like this (fortunately I got to retain some of my dignity by being the more attractive one) and my head felt like it would split open with the thoughts in this article. Move on ladies, there will be someone better than that. 

  • Anonymous

    the “fail to break up with me” part is exclusively strong and by the way damn those motherfuckers 

  • Anonymous

    Reading this made me cry.

  • Sophia

    “If you fall out of love with me, you can at least have the decency to be the one to break it off. Do you know how hard it is to break up with someone you still love because you’ve been backed into a corner?” THIS THIS THIS.

  • Shatha H.


    I thought all my insides were dead, but you proved that they’re still working”!!!

    Dear January Nelson, You’re my favorite TC author!!!

  • http://twitter.com/rfarahmand Roxana Farahmand

    This made me cry…so much of this hit home, especially,
    “I didn’t cry for a year but when I ran into you on the street, it was
    the first thing I did. I went home and sobbed in bed like a sad cliche.
    For a second, I thought all my insides were dead, but you proved that
    they’re still working. They still work but only for someone like
    you—which means that they’re positively useless. ”

    and
    “Be the one who loves less”

    Jesus. Thank you for this.

  • Farah-Silvana

    This piece totally freaked me out. It was like you read my diary and shamelessly copied everything I wrote about my ex. Literally. Word for word. (I think I’ve made my point.)
    I think I’m gonna cry now. Sad tears, because you’ve made me realize how much I still miss that fucking asshole ( although he wasn’t really an asshole, he just couldn’t give me what I needed and it wasn’t his fault that the fact that he was the most beautiful specimen of mankind walking this earth made me simultaneously dizzy with lust AND insecurity, despite the fact that yes, he constantly told me how pretty and amazing I was.) 
    But also happy tears. For you, because I read your last piece of scrumptious writing and you found a boy ( man? man-boy?boy-man?) who actually lets you enjoy being with him.
    And one huge happy tear-sigh (sigh-tear?) because finding out that a complete stranger who lives on the opposite side of the world (in that magical borough that I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl) has lived through the exact same thing as me somehow makes me feel less alone in this world.
    Thank you, January.

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