How soon is too soon to hit the town after a breakup

Last night I watched the new show ‘One night with my ex’. Don’t we all love a little voyeuristic sneak peek into the mayhem of other’s relationships? This show finds couples who have recently split up, usually for reasons of cheating, lies, jealousy or other unfavourable behaviour, and reunites them for one night, after which they must decide if they will walk away for good, or give it another go.

Throughout the night they are given a range of questions to ask one another – and obviously these questions are used to poke and prod, not just for ratings purposes (although it does make for great cheese TV), but to help the couples face their issues and talk them through.

What could possibly go wrong?

I found it interesting last night when we had a young couple on who broke up over his jealous behaviour. It took me all of about 7 minutes to conclude that this guy was a no from me. But… I wasn’t the one who had to decide if I would date him again. What really got my mind ticking was when the guy asked the girl if she had seen anyone since they split up. And although she didn’t physically say anything for a while, the answer was written all over her face… girl had hit the town!! And duh… she was a single girl… why wouldn’t she?! Well… he blew off. Ranting and raving and pacing like she had told him she’d sat on his best mate’s face.

And this got me thinking… how soon is too soon after a break up to put yourself out there again?

By this own girl’s admission, she was hurt from the break up, this drinks date meant nothing, and it was a one-time affair (and by affair, she swears it was just a drink). He was explaining his disgust at the thought of her beautifying herself to go out to meet a guy, while he was essentially at home crying over his lost love.

Hmmmm. Tis a tough one.

Although… I know where I stand.

I know myself, when coming off the pointy end of a dalliance, especially if I’m the one who’s been hurt, I throw myself straight back on the horse. And it doesn’t mean I’ve moved on, it doesn’t mean I’m not hurting… It’s just my way of stopping myself from collapsing into a heap, keeping busy and keeping distracted… because meeting up with someone new often takes away the heartache – if only temporarily.

So, I genuinely felt bad for this distressed little damsel last night. I get what you were trying to do, doll, and I recon a fair few of us, guys or girls, would have done the same at one point or another.

My real life example

It reminded me of my time back in London when I had just started mixing with my soon to be boyfriend. For the purpose of this post, let’s call him ‘The Heartbreaker’. It was super early days, we had slept together a handful of times and had decided to keep a low profile because of the fact that we worked together. I had just started to feel comfy when one day he told me that it was all his fault because he knew he had led me on, but he didn’t actually want anything serious at all, he was a bit messed up, and we should probably just put a stop to all this straight away.

Yes, I was a bit confused. I had put no pressure on him for anything, and was genuinely, simply, honestly enjoying our dalliances for what they were; fun.

But of course, he was rejecting me, and rejection always hurts.

I was beside myself.

Even though I knew I hadn’t reached the mind space that I was sure I wanted to be with this person, I was still cut deep.

I hit the town with a vengeance.

I remember being shown interest by one of the local barmen. We all lived and worked in the area and that pocket of East London was like a little inbred circus, all of us living and/or working together and dating each other’s left overs (I was new to this zoo – I wasn’t having nobody’s leftovers).

The night after I was rejected I took this barman back to my place, knowing full well that I wasn’t all that interested, and that I just wanted to not be alone. We kissed a little but mostly we just talked. He asked me about my heartbreaker, stating that he had seen chemistry between us, and didn’t want to cut anybody’s lunch (what an absolute gent). I assured him we were done. He stayed the night and held me, and in the morning, he took off, promising me a date the following day.

Of course, my heartbreaker had not left my thoughts for the entire 28 hours since I had left his apartment, holding my head high and fighting back the tears. I met barman boy at one of the local pubs the next day, and of course, it wasn’t long before we bumped into a bunch of our friends, my heartbreaker included. The afternoon played out with a whole bunch of us pub crawling, me somehow always sat between the heartbreaker and the bar man.

It was awkward as fuck.

They obviously knew about each other (the bar man knew of the heartbreaker because we were the worst kept secret in Shoreditch, and the heartbreaker knew of the barman because several of our friends had made jokes about crashing our ‘date day’). I was getting ice daggers from the heartbreaker and adoration from the barman… But all I wanted was to be back with the heartbreaker, but the barman just wasn’t getting the hint – it may or may not have had something to do with the fact that we were actually meant to be on a date and I had assured him there was nothing between heartbreaker and I.

The evening rolled around and we ended up at a house party back at the heartbreaker’s place… It was getting a bit wild and I kept rebuffing the barman’s advances until he finally got the hint and left the party. That was when the heartbreaker finally made his move – it had been only 48 hours since he told me he was done. He took me into his room and explained that he was 7 shades of messed up and although he didn’t want to commit to me he regretted what he had said the other morning, and just wanted to continue as things were (jeeze, they say girls over complicate things?!) and concluded by making me promise I would spend the night with him.

I guess my point here is – often when we end a relationship, no matter how brief or intense, even if it’s only been a date or two… whenever we feel rejected, it’s often human nature to find some kind of distraction or validation. I’m not saying it’s right, or fair, and I certainly don’t feel great about the way I treated the bar man (don’t stress, we’re still mates, he’s a big fan of my GB work), but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to keep your chin up and keep on keepin’ on.

Did the heartbreaker take me back because he was jealous of old mate barman? Maybe. Did I go on a date with the barman in our local area hoping to bump into the heartbreaker? Probably. Did I start lingering around the barman to distract myself and seek some kind of validation after being rejected? Absolutely.

I’ve done it before, I’ve done it since, and I’ll probably keep doing it until I find someone that doesn’t reject me, and doesn’t give me a need to seek validation…

I’m not perfect – but I’m trying to be honest.

Surely you can see it from her perspective, now?

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