My ex and I broke up in one of those super-dramatic ways that you’d expect to see in cheesy romantic comedies that we all love to hate. Short summary: He couldn’t give me what I wanted emotionally, and even though I probably loved him more than any of my past boyfriends combined, I knew that settling for a half-hearted love would never be enough for me in the long run.
So after handing him his key back at a sushi restaurant while ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ played in the background, I stepped out into the rain, hailed a cab uptown and cried my eyes out. I wish I was kidding.
A week later, he was whispering he loved me in my ear while going at it from behind so hard I orgasmed twice.
I assumed our post-breakup sex was a one-off that we both needed to seal the end of a relationship that had become so tainted it couldn’t last, but I was wrong. Over the course of the next two years, I continued to sleep on-and-off with my ex.
At his place. At my place. At his mom’s house. In the stairwell of my apartment building. In his car. After a really bad date with some other guy. After a 5K race, while we were still in our sweats. On Valentine’s Day. On New Year’s Day. In the shower, on my birthday, after I slept with someone else on his birthday.
We had more sex in the two years we were broken up than when we were together.
It may sound ridiculous, but I don’t regret any of our encounters. In those two years, I learned a lot of surprising things about love, sex, myself, relationships and most importantly, how to let go once-and-for-all. Let me let you in on a few…
1. He kept me from being slutty.
My ex and I never had a problem in the bedroom. If anything, it was the place where we really worked. We could switch between intimate and loving to dirty and kinky on a dime. By sleeping with him after a bad date or on a random Sunday afternoon when I desperately wanted to rest my head on a man’s chest, I called him instead of a random guy. While I had short relationships in those two years, I mainly only slept with my ex.
2. He reaffirmed what I wanted.
After my ex and I had sex, we would try to have brunch only to end up fighting over the same ‘ole things we always fought about. My relationship with him affirmed what I had suspected (and why we had broken up) in the first place: I need a healthy sex life AND healthy conversation with my future husband. My ex and I mastered the first, but when it came to the hard, real-life topics? We couldn’t make it past the first mimosa without one of us getting upset.
3. He made me really cherish my friends.
When I’d disappear for a day or leave early from the bar on a Saturday night, my friends knew I was likely getting naked with my ex. And even though I witnessed a couple of eyerolls, they stood by me. Every time I’d cry over him or express my frustrations, they’d calmly and patiently tell me that I was better than being his sloppy seconds and encourage me to stop. It didn’t matter how often I went back to him, my girlfriends were there for me. (They also knocked some tough love into me, which eventually helped me kick the habit.) Since then, I’ve had other friends go through the same experience, and though I desperately want to tell them to let that man go and move on, I understand and I’m a better friend for it.
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