If I could give my younger-self advice, it would be along the lines of this: Eat a fully-realized dinner before you go out tonight. Seriously young Zara, all of this reckless blacking out is incredibly dangerous and it’s *not* a cute look on you, h-o-n-e-y.
Oh, and for the love of Lana Del Rey, just break up with her already, OK?
I mean, the amount of time I wasted during the most precious, exciting, effortlessly attractive years of my life crying exorbitantly expensive mascara TEARS over some lackluster, doomed relationship, is sad, to say the very least. I could’ve channeled my energy into, I don’t know, making real friends? In fact, I can count on one hand the “friendships” I cultivated in my early 20s because I was so wrapped up in whatever f*ckgirl I was dating– I didn’t have time for anything (or anyone) else.
However. It’s not the relationships themselves, that this old dyke regrets. All of my relationships — even the toxic ones — were worth it for the life-changing lessons they bestowed upon me in the most formative years of my life. Do you know what I would change? I wouldn’t have held on so tightly to them after they’d run their course. I would’ve channeled my inner Elsa and let it f*cking go.
Look, if anyone understands how hard it is to let go of a relationship, it’s me. I’m so codependent I could be the East Coast brand ambassador for Codependents Anonymous. When I start to date someone — even if I’m miserable in their company — even if I low-key detest their existence and am irritated by the way in which they breathe, I deeply fear breaking-up with them. I fear being alone with a melodramatic intensity, which is odd, as I’m an extraordinarily independent when I’m not in a relationship. (PSA: Relationships have a twisted tendency to strip you of your superpowers).
I don’t think I realized when I was younger that staying in a relationship that isn’t working, is like cramming a bunch of shit you don’t need into the trunk of your car. There is no room for cool new treasures to store in your trunk when it’s full of bullshit, is there, my sweet baby lez? We only have so much space in our lives.
And guess what? A relationship takes up a TON of your life-space. It’s like fitting a giant sculpture into a tiny studio apartment. If you’re going to put a huge sculpture in your tiny studio apartment, it better a sculpture that flatters the space. Otherwise, you’re trapped with a massive, useless piece of art you can’t stand, and you don’t have room for a pretty houseplant or a pale blue sectional sofa you would actually use and enjoy.
But here’s the thing. You can always throw the sculpture out. Even if it cost you a lot of money. Even if you saved your pennies for it, baby. No investment is worth keeping if it’s making you unhappy. But sometimes it can all feel so wildly confusing right? You’re like, “Ahh I don’t know if I will ever find something as COOL as this again!” Or maybe there are certain times during the day where you think, “Oh, wait I actually do love this sculpture! I can’t imagine how dismal my apartment would look without it!”
Well lucky for YOU sweet kitten, your lesbian big sister is here to help you figure when it’s time to cut the goddamn cord and breakup. It may be scary and it may feel vulnerable but if you make choices out of fear and weakness, you’re going to end up with nothing but a decade of regrets you can’t rectify. So grab a glass of champagne (prosecco will do if you’re on a budget like moi) and let me rescue you from destroying the best years of your life!
Here are five expert (I’m an expert! I’ve been around the block!) signs that it’s time to BREAK UP ALREADY!
1. You only want to snuggle her when you’re hungover and vulnerable.
When you’re hungover, the feelings you’re experiencing aren’t actually real. Drinking is a depressant, so after a night of boozing, you actually have less serotonin swishing through your brain than usual. Serotonin is a chemical and neurotransmitter that is critical in keeping us emotionally sound creatures. In short: when you have less serotonin in your brain, you feel far more anxious, far more vulnerable and far more sad than you otherwise would.
And guess what? When we’re sad and scared, we become needy entities that need rescuing.We aren’t as strong as we usually are so we feel like we can’t possibly survive the cruel, cold world without our partners by our sides. I’ve dated people that, when sober, I can’t stand snuggling. Yet after a long night of drinking, I’ve clung to them like a moth to a flame.
If you only want to be cocooned in bae’s strong arms when you’re either extremely vulnerable (examples: had a bad day at work, had a soul-crushing conversation with your mother, got trolled on the internet) OR because you took seventeen shots of well vodka last night and are now pondering the meaning of your existence, you need to break up with bae.
Snuggling is a huge tell-tale sign of where your relationship really stands on a visceral, non-intellectual level. When we’re truly in love, our bodies long to have a conversation on their own, and the way in which they communicate is through the art of affection. We want to snuggle when we’re happy, snuggle when we’re feeling like hot shit, and snuggle when our sexy exes are around (more on that coming in a different essay!). The moment snuggling becomes repulsive to you is the moment you need to cut the cord.
2. You have mind-blowing sex after soul-scorching fights.
I too was once stuck in f*cking and fighting dynamic. In fact, the only reason we stayed together (we had zero in common) was because after we had brawls so dark the cops would be called, we would have incredible, mind-blowing sex.
“Our relationship is passionate!” I would lamely squeal to my friends who feared I was in an abusive relationship (I was). Honey, let me tell you a little something about “passionate” relationships. If your definition of passion is incessant fights, endless manipulations, verbal (and physical) abuse, followed by tender, sweet love-making sessions, your relationship is not passionate. You’ve got the definition of passion sorely wrong, girl. You flunked the vocabulary test! Time to hit those dusty textbooks and learn the real definition of passion.
Passion is beautiful, healthy and derived from the purest pit of your heart. Real passion doesn’t need emotional abuse to fuel its fire. I’m passionate about going to the Hamptons on the weekends. Do the beaches of the Hamptons have to emotionally and spiritually kick my ass in order for me to enjoy their epic beauty? No. They give me a fabulous experience without hurting me in the slightest, babes. I wouldn’t go to the Hamptons if it hurt. So why would I date someone who hurts me?
So if you’re only having good sex after massive fights, if you’re either fighting or f*cking, if you think you’ll NEVER HAVE SEX THIS GOOD AGAIN and that’s the only reason you’re holding on…girl, cut the cord. Now.
(And don’t have one last romp either. You know when you have an orgasm your body releases a dangerous little hormone called oxytocin that makes you feel “lovey-dovey” and addicted to the person who made you cum, right? Maybe the feelings of love that wash over you after the sex aren’t real, they’re just oxytocin playing tricks on you. Either way, this sounds toxic AF and you need to get out before this relationship does irreparable damage to your self-esteem and turns you into one of those annoyingly complicated, untrusting adults who pushes away people who are actually good. The toxicity you bring into your life right now, will have consequences when you’re older. And they won’t be fun. Trust. This. Crazy. Dyke. OK?)
3. You “breakup” every other week.
This is a frightening lesbian epidemic sweeping the Lesbian Nation: The dyke breakup/makeup song and dance. I was stuck in this tango with an ex for YEARS and I danced this dark dance until my toes bled. I still have the scars.
First of all, you’ve lost credibility with all those breakup threats because you keep crawling back to her the next day. Once you toss the word “breakup” around, you’ll never have a solid leg to stand on and the person you’re dating will think they can get away with murder because they know when you say “I’m really leaving this time!” you’ll be snuggled up in their arms 24 hours later. Let your breakup threats have weight, baby. Only use them when you really mean it (Or when they need a good scare. More on that in a pending essay).
Which leads me seamlessly to my next point. If you had the instinct to leave your girlfriend once, you should listen to it. Our guts are far wiser than our brains, so when you first uttered the words “we should break up” you were likely on to something. And you probably should’ve followed through. But you didn’t, is that right, sweet girl? And now you’re stuck in a cycle — and cycles are extremely difficult to break. They don’t teach you this kind of thing in school and it’s a damn shame, honey. Patterns that you get yourself into, like say, breaking up and making up, are as addictive as cigarettes and Adderall. And patterns keep us stuck. They keep us from progressing, from moving forward into the life we deserve.
So I dare you to break the pattern and dump her and go out and live your best life! Yeah, it will be uncomfortable for awhile…I mean, if kicking a habit was easy there would be no such thing as addiction! I’m going to throw another big sisterly gem at you: It’s ok to be uncomfortable. Being sad or heartbroken or missing someone can’t actually kill you. But staying in a bad relationship will kill your spirit in the long run. And what’s a life without a spirit? A bleak, dark, sad life and I won’t let that happen to you while you’re under my protective wing.
4. You’re holding on to the amazing memories you had 365 days ago.
“Oh, but we used to be so in love! That trip we took to Cherry Grove last summer was magical! Surely the bliss will come back!” Not to be a raging bitch, but the bliss won’t come back if it’s been a year since you felt it. The relationship that you’re in right now, that’s the relationship that you’re in. It’s not the relationship you once had with her and it’s not the relationship you could possibly have in the future with her.
Are you happy right now in this relationship? No? Ok, well then break it off, babes. That “rare love” you felt with her? Yeah, you’re going to feel it again with someone else. You’ll probably feel it ten more times. The “love ecstasy bliss” will happen to you many times, it’s not unique at all, so stop thinking it’s so damn rare and she’s some kind of unicorn and kindly move on.
5. You don’t trust her. She doesn’t trust you. What the hell are you even dating for?
Passionate, fantastic, hair-pulling, mind-blowing sex, a (real!) connection, intense intellectual stimulation — all of these things are utterly important ingredients in a romantic relationship. But you know what the most important ingredient is? Trust, bitch. Trust is the foundation of a relationship, you don’t have ~anything~ if you don’t have trust. Being in a relationship without trust is like living in a house with weak, crumbling floorboards.
You’ll always fear that you’re going to fall through the floor and die, even if the house is like, super pretty, right? And how can you really enjoy the beauty of a home when you’re constantly afraid that at any given moment you’re going to fall to your death? You can’t. Same with a relationship.
Maybe she doesn’t trust you. And maybe you didn’t give her a reason to not trust you, but you’ve got to let the relationship go if she can’t get over her trust issues. She’s got to work on her trust issues before she dates anyone because it will make the poor girl she’s dating crazy. I don’t care if she was “cheated” on by her ex. She can’t carry the baggage of her last relationship into her new relationship. It’s horrendously selfish and unfair to the innocent entity she’s dating. It’s like living with a delusional lunatic who keeps insisting the foundation of your home is unstable and old when actually those floorboards are brand new and safe. It’s gaslighting. We don’t like when Trump gaslights women, so why would we dare put up with it from our partner?
So cut the cord and make space for other things. An exciting career! New friends! Hot sex. And maybe, true love.