Living with an ex after you break up is like sticking your hand in a wasps nest to find out how it feels to be stung: it’s very stupid, very efficient and you’ll probably find out that what’s living inside is a vicious motherfucker.
After three days peacefully navigating the difficult emotions and change in dynamic of no longer being a couple, Keith realized that he couldn’t cry, beg or charm his way into changing my mind, so he abruptly ended our armistice.
My home went from an adorable 3-bedroom ranch to Guantanamo Keith where I was a prisoner (less waterboarding, more gaslighting) for 28 more terrible days.
What happened over those days and the month after I moved out is too nutty for one post, but this is how the shitshow started:
We’d agreed during the hashing out of breakup-logistics that while we shared a living space, we’d be respectful of each other, our home and our relationship, which had been sacred until just days before.
“Being respectful” included not rushing out to date or fuck while our lives were still entwined, which would be 4 more weeks since we’d committed to maintaining the kids’ routine and the appearance of our relationship (for them) through Christmas–the most important holiday in all of childhood.
That commitment meant that there was no ethical escape from Guantanamo Keith– even as things became unmanageable–because I was not going to fuck over the kids (whose whole lives were one big fuck over) to save myself from adult troubles that I shared responsibility for because I chose my partner the way I chose stuffed animals as a kid: the screwed up one that everyone else has rejected? I’LL TAKE IT AND LOVE IT FOREVER!
After those three decent days, Keith ran his Fuck You flag up a pole and on day 4, he was back on Tinder and posting on Facebook that he “needed a new girlfriend.”
*slow clap for the jackass*
I didn’t know that he’d thrown his cock back in the ring until the next day when, after trying out multiple lies to explain where he’d disappeared to for 10 hours while ignoring my texts and letting me worry that maybe he was dead (which hadn’t yet become an appealing outcome), he finally admitted that he was gone meeting a woman he’d begun talking to the day before on Tinder.
I was stunned: 10 hours was not a cleansing post-breakup bang, it sounded more like the beginning of a new relationship.
Keith, true to form, was distraught that I could believe that he’d be out banging or romancing. Sure, he’d lied about where he was when I first asked, but only because he knew I wouldn’t believe the truth.
Women: always making men lie.
And push them down the stairs.
And murder them.
The “truth,” thank you very much, was that he’d been helping the woman from Tinder move into her new apartment all day.
On Friday night, he explained, he came across her profile, recognized her as the ex-wife of a client from work and decided to swipe. The conversation started flirtatious, but he quickly realized that wasn’t cool because of how much he respected me, so they ended up chatting only about her terrible divorce and urgent need to get out of her former marital home. He offered to help and, voila, spent the whole next day helping her move. Like a goddamn hero.
You might recognize this as the recurring Keith Rescues a Woman trope. Of course the only thing he ever actually rescued a woman from was her self-esteem, her ability to trust her own judgment and her vagina, from not having his penis inside it.
It was also an insultingly-bullshit story that made me wish I was a cat so I could show him my asshole and then leave little passive-aggressive piles of vomit around the house instead of actually having to speak to him.
But I digress.
The Divorcee Moving Service story not withstanding, I was tremendously unhappy that he was openly searching for a new partner before the tears were even dry on our break up and that he using a public forum to do so when we hadn’t yet told anyone that we’d broken up and weren’t planning to do so for a while.
My displeasure being overt, later that night he told me that he deleted his Tinder profile because he knew it was wrong and too soon.
I thanked him, which was “We Have To Live Together For a Few More Weeks” speak for “Go Fuck Yourself.”
The next day I found his OkCupid profile.
Next: The rest of the month at Guantanamo Keith. While things had gone from awkward to unpleasant in 5 days, I’d soon yearn for the sweet warmth of merely unpleasant as we descended into unmanageable with Keith drunk, disgusting and disturbing and me exhausted, anxious, and afraid to go to work for fear that he’d harm my possessions or my pets.
And later: The worst-of-the-worst: what the fuck I learned after I moved out