Sunday, 6 February 2011


I've been at home all weekend; my family got back from holiday on Saturday and I allowed myself to sink a little bit, knowing that there were people around if needed.

Then tonight I came back to the flat.

I don't want this place to become an issue in my mind. I want to see it for what it is: a flat, a place to live, a central London pad that I'm paying for, a place that makes seeing friends easy and forces me to be independent.

When I first came back here the night after the Talk, I could barely get down the road and through the gates before I crumpled into floods of tears. Walking through the door last Wednesday, into the dark, seeing the bedcovers unmade from where he'd slept a couple of days earlier, mug by the sink, his things in the bedroom, it was like I'd been punched.

The easiest thing in the world would be to stay at home where my mum would cook and pick up after me, allow myself to be looked after - but then the flat would always be there, untouched, unlived in. It would become associated with an awful revelation, heartbreak and tears. I made small steps later that Wednesday night when I got in from dinner with the PiB. Clear headed with food and a glass of wine inside me, I walked around the flat almost mechanically, and removed his things from view.

I put his shoes into a plastic bag, took down his coat and scarf from the hooks by the door. I took his underwear out of the drawer we shared and put them in the wash basket. I cleared his things from the side in our room. I piled everything on a chair and threw a big white bath towel over all of it. I changed the bedclothes. His stuff is still very much here, but the personal bits are all hidden away. It helps.

Tonight when I got back here, the familiar awful hollow feeling was still in my stomach. I still held a stupid, ridiculous hope that I'd walk through the door and the lights would be on and he'd be sitting there on the sofa. Instead I unlocked the door and walked into the dark, switched everything on and started living here on my own.

There are a whole catalogue of things to be sad and cry about at the moment. I don't want the flat to be on that list.


Charlotte said...

You're doing well - the picking up of things and hiding them etc.. a good move.

I don't really know what else to say.. I can't make anything better by saying things.. I am just here reading what you write and I know that it will get better for you as time passes ... sorry.. rubbish!


jman said...

it's not the flat it's the memories. As they become replaced by lots of others, the bad ones will recede. Who knows, maybe things so wonderful will happen there you'll be hard pressed to remember "boyfriend who?"

Anonymous said...

The bad memories will fade. You are so strong for going back there and moving on.

Fen said...

It all comes down to time, so give yourself that. You're doing amazingly well, I know how tough it is, just keep your head above water xo

Redbookish said...

Gosh, you're doing well. And you are thinking really clearly about what you want and need. You're impressive, although I don't suppose that's any comfort to hear from a complete stranger o the interwebz. Hope your week goes OK.

Nimpipi said...

You know what, plan a party. Outsource the logistics to friends, ignore the possible callousness of the suggestion, from strange blog readers at that, and make occasion of the tough time. The venue - the flat, of course.

You need a break. Get people together, open the booze, take it from there. It's heartening to see how relatively collected you're coming off sounding bit by bit, since the first announcement post. There is a future.

nuttycow said...

I quite like Nimpipi's suggestion. It might be quite nice to have a huge party, get the flat a bit lived in (although you'd have to do the cleaning up afterwards which isn't fun).

Otherwise, I think you're doing really well - keep being strong you.

Anonymous said...

You need to claim that flat as your own. As Jman says, it's the memories and as you make more and the flat feels like your space rather than somewhere you got together, you'll feel more comfortable in it and you will grow to really love it as your santuary. You and he were not there that long in it so grit your teeth and give it a gentle tug in your direction. I really like Nimpipi's suggestion too - what better way to fill it with good memories than to cram people in and have a great time? If you can't face a big party, perhaps get a couple of close mates over for a pamper session with face packs, wine and nail polish (I'm not a girly girl at all, but this sort of thing very occasionally has always cheered me up).

Get them to dye your hair too (sometimes there's a reason why the cliches exist - sometimes they work).

And also make sure you spend time there on your own so it becomes your space. You must have a library nearby (surely they haven't closed all of them!) so get a good book in and spend a few evenings just lolling on the sofa or reading in the bath with wine.

The important thing about this is that you feel comfortable in your flat. In fact, it's more than that, it's your HOME.

Anonymous said...

I can't say it any better than Soupy just has x

Bender's Better Brother said...

Rather than go around knowing his stuff is under this or that or packed away just get him to come round and clear his stuff out. Or pack it in bags and have him send a mate round to take it away.

Then start to stick pics of your friends and family on the walls, paper and Blu-tak if necessary.

On the wider issue about how you feel in general...when something ends we all behave in a way as if we're never going to be happy again. I don't know why we do and as I said to someone last year isn't it more likely that what's just happened is a necessary step along the way to finding true happiness. Isn't it more likely that the person who is going to make you happy is ahead of you rather than behind you?

arbyn said...

Yes this is very sad. I'm very sorry :(

London-Lass said...

Associations are horrid. My bro cant wait to leave our house (once I've moved out) as he's never been able to get past the associations he has with the place being his and an ex's domain for nigh on three years. In your case, however, you have the chance to make the flat yours again given the time you and he had together in the flat was a lot shorter and hopefully the associations (whilst raw at the moment) will fade.

PS : hope above comment doesnt make me sound like too much of a cold-hearted cow above - not intended :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Charlotte - It seemed to help but I did need a glass of wine in me to get it done!

jman - I'm not sure how much longer I'll be there, but I want to get some good memories in in the meantime.

breezy - Thanks. It took a lot of convincing myself that it was the right idea to go back.

Fen - I wish time would hurry up :(

Redbookish - Au contrare, it's good to know that I'm on the right tracks. I never know if I'm making the right decisions. Trial and error.

Nimpipi - That's not a bad idea. I do plan to have lots of friends round, although whether I have the confidence to call it a party I don't know. But you're right. It is a good idea.

nuttycow - The clean up could probably be done with wine too.

soup - That's what I want to do. By making myself go back, I want to make sure I don't get that horrible feeling whenever I walk through the door. I don't know how long I'll have it for, as I can't afford the rent on my own, but until the estate agents manage to get new tenants for it, it looks like I'm there for the time being. I might as well make the most of it.

perp - The girl speaks sense.

Benders - Yeah that will happen. A proper clear out. I expect I will talk to him again this week and sort out the finalities of getting his stuff out. Your last paragraph also makes a lot of sense. It's hard not to look back when that's where all the good / amazing times have been, and I will be happy again (I'm getting there day by day) but it will take time for the horrible wondering about what he's doing to go away.

arbyn - Shit has indeed happened.

London lass - That doesn't sound harsh at all. It's exactly what I want to happen and why I insisted he left the flat for me to live there. This wasn't my fuck up, afterall, it was his.

The Author Of This said...

I'm definitely with the haircut idea. Nothing quite like it for a feeling change. Not that it helps with the flat much.

But I do have about 120ltrs of paint left over from previous jobs. Could paint the chimney breast red or something. It's surprising how much it would alter the look/feel. Would only take an hour & you're welcome to take your pick for gratis. Throw in a decent brew and I'd do it for you.

Anonymous said...

You've done the right thing - the Deletion. I agree with Bender. Move his shit not just out of view, but OUT altogether. If he doesn't pick it up, dash it away. I don't even care if that sounds callous or not - when a relationship ends, it's all about survival.

If you're going to stay there, you need to change the energy. My ex wanted us to go back to mine to 'talk'; um, no. I made him say what he needed to say outside, because there was no way his parting gift to me was a heap of bad energy in MY house. And he didn't even live there.

Since you don't have that option, have that 'Piss Off Party' (what a friend of mine once mistakenly called a 'piss up') when you feel you can go back to the flat and sit alone with your feelings - and be OK - and have made it feel more like YOUR space.

Again, Bender - that's a great last paragraph.

Really sorry this has happened, Jo. I want to be all sassy and 'hey, I used to miss him, but my aim is improving' and all, but just do what you need to do to heal.

Here's to more tear-free days and feeling the anger and sadness dissipate. Xx

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

The Author - Very kind, but as it's a rented flat I can't even do any decorating!

China Blue - I think because I know I have to talk to him again, get everything out, that this isn't even the start of it. That's the problem. I want everything done now, over with, but I know it's going to be a long drawn out thing. I need time but I don't have the patience for it. x


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