I just broke up with my long-time boyfriend. I loved him, but he didn’t excite me. I developed a fast crush on a co-worker, and we arranged to go out on Valentine’s Day. But I’ve been thinking of my ex more, and he just texted to ask if we could spend one last Valentine’s together; he said it is the only thing that would bring him closure. I’m torn. Who should I see?
You can stop feeling torn this instant. Why? You won’t go out with either of them. Your ex must start the tiresome existential work of mending his broken heart, and as hard as it is, this is a solo — not a group — effort. He must do whatever it takes to recover from his lost love. He could train for a marathon, shave his head, sing along to every Nick Cave song, get a pet falcon — but he cannot gaze wet-eyed through the candlelight at his ex-girlfriend.
It can be disorienting to be without your long-time love, but don’t just fall into your co-worker’s arms. Like your ex, you must do the thing you are most unused to: being alone. Get accustomed to your own company. See what — and who — it is you really want. Sometimes, the most essential and exciting of all the romances is the one you have with yourself.
Claudia Dey is a novelist, columnist and Governor General’s Award–nominated playwright. She is the author of How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier.
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