The Second Break-Up – Are You a Victim?

Though I live in Brooklyn, for the last month, I’ve been in Los Angeles taking care of family and it just so happens that one of my ex-boyfriends lives in Southern California too. Don’t get excited, I’m not trying to arrange some secret, sensual rendezvous where I cheat on my current boyfriend,** who’s honestly the best guy I’ve ever been able to call mine. Still, though my ex and I broke up in undergrad, I just want to get a beer and catch up, is that so wrong?
Ben* and I went to college together while on a year abroad program in England. At 19 years old, we began as friends, linked by our quick sarcastic quick wit amongst a group of about 15 students trying to figure out how to drink Ribena properly. He’s Jewish – why do they love black girls? – hilarious and adorable when he lets his curly hair grow freely. Eventually, we ended up dating, then broke up and tried unsuccessfully to become friends comfortably. After England and undergraduate graduation, me from UC Davis and him from UCLA, I moved to New York and he stayed in Los Angeles. We both began working in the music industry, Ben as a road manager for a singer/songwriter and I started the bumpy journalism road.

While on tour on the East coast, I met up with Ben and his tour buddies including the singer. She, who I won’t name here, was unknown then but sweet and I wished her the best of luck in her career. That meeting was almost five years ago and the singer has since become pretty famous and without knowing it, the biz made her change her name, I became a big fan of her work. Her lyrics let me cry when I feel sad or shout in my apartment when I’m happy. Then one day I realized, ‘Holy crap, I know this chick!’ The singer was the young lady I’d met years ago with my ex humbly in a quiet New York bar.

After figuring out the connection, I rushed to find Ben’s information only to realize he wasn’t on Facebook and all I could find was a dusty email address that I hoped worked. Clicking open my gmail account, I sent him an excited note saying ‘Guess what I’ve just realized? Call me when you get this!’ and left my number. Did I get a call back? Nope. Instead, I got a sarcastically – some thing’s never change – funny reply ultimately asking ‘What’s up?’ and no call back.

My feelings were hurt. Here I was trying to share that I’d grown to adore his artist and her music and this happens to be the album he’d put an inordinate amount of work into, and I get no reply. What part of the game is that?

Weeks later, as I drove though Westwood with my grilfriend, we talked about the theory of the “second break-up,” defined as when an ex declines a post-relationship friendship. Somehow this rejection hurts all over again because who cares if your relationship was some bit of collegiate silliness — weren’t you friends at some point? What’s the big deal? My girlfriend said she’d contacted her ex to see how he was doing and instead of a welcoming response, he took time out from his hectic medical residency schedule — we’ve all seen “Grey’s Anatomy,” those doctors are busy — to tell her he ‘didn’t want to contact her’ and he’d rather she ‘didn’t contact him.’

Wow. Reactions like these make one want to stop dating.

As my girl and I licked our wounded egos, we had to say ‘Fuck it.’ Who cares, right? Not everyone’s meant to stay in your life for good, or however that saying goes.

And then, guess what happened last week?

On an idle Sunday night, Ben text me that he’d watched some TV show that reminded him of me. Now we might make plans to hang this week.

Whatcha think, should I hold my breath?

*names have been changed to protect the unresponsive

**no boyfriend’s feelings were hurt in the writing of this post


Last 5 posts by Hillary aka Steely D

  • Sol Chantal

    I’m on the other end of that stick. My ex spent a year sending me pathetic emails, it was horrible! He would send long winded “I’m sorry emails, I miss you” but then he’d be out with the same old biotches… The last time he sent me one, you better believe, I took the time to let him know that I didn’t want him in my life. I’M Oookay with that. (this situation may not pertain to many). But sometimes one just has to move on and NEVA EVA! look back.

  • Chantal

    I feel like if that person were so important, they would still be an active role in your life. Since they’re not – whats the push to be friends? Especially since ure happy in your relationship, there’s no reason for “just because” outsiders.

  • Steely D

    are people not named Chantal allowed to comment?


    I dunno, guess I’d like to be cool, if I haven’t fired the ex for life. There are DEFINITELY some of those ‘don’t ever talk to me again’ cats and they can stay missing. My man knows I ain’t going anywhere =)

  • I have come to realize that men have a hard time dealing with rejection and break-ups. They are 100 times worse at it than we are. And as a result, some of them can´t handle a follow up friendship. It is unfortunate–especially because most relationships start from some sort of friendship. All that goes down the drain once emotions get involved. Sucks.

  • Incomparable

    dope post! I’m all for moving on, but I never understood investing years in a relationship only to become strangers. It makes me question if the trivial games people played in high school still apply in adulthood. I’d like to think not, but matters of the heart make people do funny things. Oh well, gotta keep it moving

  • Dom

    I got a facebook friend invite from a guy I dated a year ago. The “break-up” wasnt smooth. At first, I accepted it but then decided to not only remove him, but block him too. He’s dating someone new, and I paired off with the guy I dated right after him. Why keep eachother as fringe friends when we’ve both moved on?

  • Gigi

    Ummm. Did my ex put you up to writing this? Probably not.

    I’ve gone the much colder route and decided not to respond at all. I’m not interested. I dont want to follow you on Twitter or be your facebook friend, or email pen pal.

    I’m so sure he hasnt gotten the point, and that’s ok, cause I do.

    You are not meant to be friends with every ex. And I think if there were more time, and distance between us I could see an occasional chat, but as of today, no thanks.