To the point where only the bare essentials of human interaction and vocation are bothered with. A hello in the elevator is the breadth of conversation we’re going to have for a few days. When we get home (assuming we didn’t call out sick), we slide into bed with the hope of staying there for a century.
Once the shock wears away — when we start crying in some creative hiding spots throughout the day — we fill our days with distractions. New projects at work, heading out with the guys every night, new book, new show, basically anything. After a week or so of this, we bluff ourselves into thinking, “I’m totally okay. This is going to be fine. I’m awesome.” This leads to…
3. Fucking anyone that smiles at us.
After a breakup our standards get really lax. That annoying girl at the bar who won’t shut up about her English major kinda sorta vaguely looks like Scarlett Johansson all of a sudden. We listen to her laud Bukowski and trample Plath, thinking only, “She has a really good point.. no, wait, that’s just her hand on my thigh.”
4. We creep on your social media.
It happens innocuously but, my god, does it spiral. We find ourselves on instagram, facebook, or twitter after days of careful avoidance. But hell, we’re feeling so good after English Major ScarJo and a dozen others that we get reckless. Since Facebook is the harbinger of all modern day angst (or something like that), a photo you posted yesterday is sitting at the top of our feed like a coiled snake. There’s a half-hearted downward scroll and then we dive right in. We catch up on what we’ve missed in the past few weeks of your life. We cross-reference your other sites and build a picture. It seems like you don’t miss us. (Instagram photos of you and your girlfriends looking great while out on the town with captions like, “Back to having fun with my girls!” don’t help.)
This is the breaking of the storm. With you (seemingly) happily single, we start to wonder what we’re worth. Did we make you happy at all? Were you so miserable? Don’t you miss what we had? On the night of this, we stay up late. Toss and turn. Stare at an empty “New Text” box, wondering what, if anything, to say to you. This part is tricky. Some men will text you at this point and some won’t. It depends on a lot of things. Either way, we always end up
6. Having regrettable sex.
At first the idea is that sex will make us feel better, distract us, and build a connection with someone new all at the same time! What instead happens is we remember all the fun relationship sex. The laughs, the experimenting, the comfort, the knowledge of each other’s bodies, and, most importantly, the love. Snap back to the present. “Who is this?” we think either immediately after or during this random hookup. We do this several more times with several more women to stave off the encroaching loneliness until we sink comfortably into
7. Something like a full blown depression.
We reminisce. Every woman we’d usually jump at suddenly seems dull or not enough. We search for you in everyone we meet and invariably come up short. We have those glitches where something funny or bizarre happens and we get excited to tell you before we remember. Sunny days seem dreary. We start watching really weird porn. Depending on the guy, we either eat too much or not at all. It’s a sad time and we want you back. “Hey, hope you’re having a great week,” we’ll text out of the blue. Things may have ended (poorly, even) but it’s impossible for us to pretend, at this point, that we aren’t still in love with you. We wonder if maybe we can work it out. We nod vehemently when Drake says, “Know we was goin’ through some shit, name a couple that isn’t.” And cry like baby back bitches when “Marvin’s Room” comes on. (Drake is every heartbroken man’s best friend — or should be.)
Eventually, though, there’s a redirection that happens. We come to terms, and instead of missing you, we just miss the intimacy. Instead of missing the exact intimacy that we shared, we begin to open ourselves up to different connections, different people. If we stopped having sex, we’ll start again. If we never stopped, we’ll slow down. Laughs will come with less bitterness. We’ll see a photo of you with some guy and actually keep scrolling this time. It’s all very gradual and everyone has different timing. Most importantly, though, we can start going back to our favorite restaurants again, thank god.