I Asked My Ex For Brutally Honest Feedback On What I'm Like As A Girlfriend
Lez talk about EXES, baby. It may be early in the week, but we ("we" meaning "I") are GOING FOR IT. We're diving right into the controversial subject of EXES.
To me, the weirdest part of breaking up is the sudden loss of intimacy.
I'm not just talking about sexual intimacy, that's too obvious. I'm talking about the little things like brushing your teeth next to each other. Finding your partner's hairs in your shower and getting irritated about it (but sort of loving it at the same time). Socks that aren't yours in your dresser. Kisses. Kisses. Kisses. What the hell is more intimate than kisses? I don't want to know.
Suddenly the only stray hairs in your shower are yours, because you're ALONE NOW, HONEY. You shared this intimate little life with another human being, and now it's over, and the only socks sitting in your drawer are your own goddamn socks.
The people in charge say that because of this shared intimacy, you can't ever be friends with your ex. In most cases, that's probably true. Especially if there is a sprinkling of unhealed hurt lurking beneath the surface of your skin. (I think it takes way longer to heal from a broken heart than we think. I'm still reeling from middle school.)
However I have this one ex (Lauren) who's still my friend. This is us VOTING together, as BEST FRIENDS DO.
It took us a few years of lesbian drama to get here, but we just jive so well as friends and trust each other totally, so why would I recklessly toss her out of my life? Just because she'a controversial EX? I think if you're lucky enough to have amazing people in your world, it's bad energy to kick them out of your orbit. You gotta hold on to the precious gems no matter what.
And sweet, sweet Lauren (she's single, ladies) is a precious gem. I believe we were destined to be friends.
No one really knows me or gets me like Lauren does. We met in the thick of our formative early twenties, so we've been through the ringer together.
She forced me to confront the big things I prefer to run away from, like my eating disorder and sexual trauma. I helped her send her bestie to rehab. I'm the only person who can say to her, "You're depressed and drinking too much."
Sh*t is just real for us. And in a bullsh*t, bedazzled world, I like to hold on to the realness.
I'm turning 30 next month, and I want to be FRESH for this brand spankin' new decade. So I decided I was going to ask Lauren for some REAL, HONEST feedback about how I am in relationships, what she thinks I'm doing wrong with my life and, basically, how I can be a BETTER girlfriend in my next relationship.
She's brutally honest, so naturally I was full of anxiety and nerves before I called her. I mean, self-awareness is hard. And I knew this was going to be a no-holds-barred exercise in self-awareness.
And this -- this, my cute kittens -- is what went down:
So, Lauren. Let's dive in: What are some of my BEST qualities?
You're incredibly genuine. You're thoughtful, you always have everyone's best interest in mind -- and you're very, very, very selfless.
What are my worst qualities?
You're a f*cking horrible communicator. You're the worst on your f*cking cellphone. You also constantly spill sh*t. LIKE CONSTANTLY. You make a mess everywhere you go. You leave a trail of bracelets and makeup behind you. You talk with your hands and your champagne flies everywhere and the funny thing is, you don't realize it. You need someone behind you who is constantly picking up after you and making sure you don't lose your damn purse.
What would you have changed about our relationship?
Our communication. I think all of our fights came from our horrible communication. We were the worst at it. Also, our fighting. Our fighting was a mix of healthy and toxic, and I would have gotten rid of the toxic fighting.
What was HEALTHY about our relationship?
How supportive we were of each other's careers. We authentically loved each other. We had fun together, like so much fun. I've never had fun with anyone like you.
What was UNHEALTHY about our relationship?
Drunken fights over absolutely nothing. We also let other people creep into our relationship. Bad people that for some reason you would give the time of day to. Simona* was a big problem and big reason we broke up. We would just get territorial and irrationally jealous of other girls.
I would personally get really jealous that you and I never had any alone time. You would constantly invite other people into our world. If I would ask you to go do something, it was always "CAN I BRING EDUARDO?"
I felt like you never wanted to spend time with just ME, which drove me nuts. You're always trying to please too many people at once. And it's weird, because I'm actually finding myself in that same spot right now, which is ironic. I'm now the one trying to please too many people at once.
Do you think I still do that? Try to please too many people at once?
I don't know -- even now! If I try to hang out with you, people always have to come with you. I get that you're busy, but we never get to have a family catch-up, you know?
Do you think I'm ready for a relationship?
Because you're still stuck in the toxic parts of your past.
NO, I'm NOT! (I tried not to argue with her points, but I couldn't help myself on this one.)
You can't move forward until you've let go of your toxic past. Actually, maybe you are ready. But you have to remember to BALANCE, Z. You're not good at balance. You need balance. You need to learn to balance your career AND your relationship. You let one or the other run you over.
What advice do you have for me in my life currently?
You have to start going for it and STOP caring what the f*ck other people think.
What areas do I specifically care too much about what others think?
Your appearance. Your writing. You just obsess over negative things people say about you and you let it hurt you too damn much.
Do you think I'm too caught up in my appearance?
I think that's just who you are. I can't imagine you any other way. I personally love your appearance. I love the whole package. Your style. Your makeup. Look, some people don't get it! That's their loss, but still.
What kind of person should I end up with?
Someone exactly like me! (Lauren roars with laughter.)
Nah, just kidding. You need someone career-driven, because you're so career-driven. SOMEONE SEXUAL. You need a VERY SEXUAL PERSON, because you need lots of sex.
You also need someone with good taste. Someone who is fierce and has super swag. You love that super swag sh*t.
But you really need someone who is on your team. Someone who can cheer you on. Someone who isn't threatened by you, but loves how much you throw yourself out there. You actually need someone really confident more than anything.
Do you think I'm still f*cked up about food?
Yeah, you scrape your cheese off your pizza, for Christ's sake! It's motherf*cking New York pizza -- put it in your damn mouth! You won't eat pizza, but you will drink two bottles of champagne. Come on, Z.
Do you think I self-medicated in our relationship?
Yeah. The Xanax. I mean, you were prescribed it by the doctor and were just following instructions. But I think sometimes you abused it.
Do you think I still self-medicate?
I don't know. You said you don't do any of that anymore. I can only take what you tell me.
Do you think I'm honest with you?
I hope so.
I think you are honest about almost everything except for medication and exes.
That's a funny answer.
But you know you CAN tell me anything. After all I wasn't one to ever judge you. You even wrote about it in your f*cking article!
That article got you so much ass. Speaking of which, was I good a lover?
What kind of lover was I?
Intimate. Intense. All-giving, like nothing-else-in-the-world-matters kind of lover.
What annoys you still about me?
You f*cking scrape your teeth on your fork. It's so annoying. Also the f*cking texting. You're horrible at it. I don't think it can get much worse than you and texting. But you ARE getting a LITTLE better. Instead of texting me once a month, you text me once a week.
What advice would you give my future girlfriend?
Before they judge you, they have to look beneath the surface. Take the time to get to know you. People can be really judgy toward you. People don't realize how much you have going on inside. It's actually bullsh*t when I think about it (the judging part). Also, she shouldn't get annoyed when it takes you forever to get ready. The outcome is always worth it.
What could you have done better in our relationship?
I could have been more emotionally available and more there for you. I don't think I gave you what you needed. It takes me a little while to open up, and you're the type who wants it right then and there.
What could I have done better in our relationship?
Answered your f*cking phone.
I got off the phone call with Lauren filled with a lot of ~feelings~. She was right about almost all of it, but it was weird hearing it from the lips of another person, not just from the insecure voices inside of my head that keep me up at night.
Some of it was hard to hear, some of it was nice to hear. But regardless, I'm glad that before I turned 30 I got the chance to have such a real conversation with a person who knows me on such a deep level. I think we are the most raw versions of ourselves in relationships. So the bitch knows me.
It also made me realize how much we all bullsh*t the people we love. My best friends and family know me just as well, and I'm sure almost everyone in my life would agree with what Lauren had to say. But no one has ever told me some of these things.
And sometimes a girl just has to hear that she's too caught up in what other people think or that she's a sh*tty texter.
So I texted another ex, a more recent ex.
"What feedback would you have for me after dating me?" I randomly asked her. I didn't really expect a response, but I figured what the hell?
She immediately responded. My heart pounded.
"One day, Zara, when you get your sh*t together...you're going to make someone the luckiest woman alive."
I thought about this for a moment, and I came to a realization. I might be a little depressed. I might spill my champagne. But I do have my sh*t together. And the fact that I finally have my sh*t together -- and know it -- kind of makes ME the luckiest woman alive.
Because the most important relationship a girl will ever have is the relationship she has with herself. After all, I'm in this one for life.