Welcome to the Ex Games: a content series about love lost. Whether it's the realization things need to end, the act of rejection, the reality of being single, or the resurrection that is moving on, the Ex Games has every stage of a breakup covered.
And to really bring these stories to life, we've launched the Ex Games podcast, where we delve into the two sides of a break-up story with a new couple each week, and aim to end up somewhere near the truth. Because when it comes to affairs of the heart, everyone plays, but does anyone win? Let's find out.
I don't think I can officially call any of my relationships the "shortest" because most of mine end around the same time: after six tequila shots and a bagel in the morning.
No, I'm totally kidding. I enjoy dinner as well.
But I wasn't always the girl who could fill a book with all of her short-lived relationships. I used to believe that when someone takes you on a date, they had the intention of committing to a long and happy relationship.
It wasn't until I moved to New York and met the first boy I really fell for that I learned what "keeping your options open" meant. Because that's exactly what he did with me. He tossed my heart in a basket filled with all the other girls' hearts he was stringing along. And it wasn't until I developed real feelings that I learned the truth.
And that truth is: Most people don't "settle" these days. We're always waiting for the next best thing or the newest upgrade.
We match with three different people on Tinder before our Bumble date is even over. We've got so many choices that we don't feel the need to dedicate time to any one person, and that's where "almost relationships" and "short-lived flings" come from.
As relationship psychologist Dr. Gregory Kushnick points out, "It seems like a second date feels like a marital commitment for many millennial daters." No? Just me?
These days you can mourn a breakup for longer than a "relationship" lasted. Not me. I treat breakups like lessons.
If it didn't work out in 10 minutes or three weeks, it wouldn't work out in 10 years or three kids later. And three kids is an awful lot. Especially, coming from a girl who might hold the world record for the fastest killing of houseplants ever.
I say embrace it; for better or worse, there are more dating options now than ever. If Jay-Z says "on to the next one," so be it. At the very least, you can take comfort in the fact that these relationships are probably shorter than any of yours ever were.
One And A Half Weeks
“I found out he practiced Scientology.”
- Emily C., 29
“It ended after three months when I figured out he had other girlfriends in the cities he visited often for work.”
- Joey D., 34
"Every time we spent time together, all he could talk about was the size of other women's breasts (I was basically flat). Specifically, a woman he worked with."
- Donna S., 35
“It ended because his mother, who was Indian, called to tell me I wasn't good enough for her son since I was a useless little black girl whose mother was probably on drugs and that it was over because she forbade it – in much harsher words than I've written. I was 13.”
- Ayele A., 38
"His idea of telling me good night was to take his goods out of his pants... I looked at my watch, said 'I have to be at work in five minutes, and that would be five minutes for me if anything, so good day to you, get out of my car.' And that was that."
- Rebecca F., 29
“The relationship lasted about three months but ended when he brought his wife to watch me perform stand-up. We had sex about three hours prior.”
- Ashley P., 27
"I was 15. Lasted two dates. I knew he was gay. He came out 40 years later."
- Mary M., 54
“When we were at a hotel pool, he refused to wear a towel, getting water all over the slick tiles and there were older adults and children around. I told him to be careful and he replied that he paid enough for this place, someone else can wipe it up. There was a 0% chance I was going to stick with him after that.”
- Abby S. 38
“There was this Brooklyn lawyer who went to Burning Man between our first and second dates and decided he suddenly wanted to live in a commune and have a lot of kids.”
- Missy G., 41
Three And A Half Weeks
“We were together for three and a half weeks. But I kept getting sh*t for it because everyone thought I stole him from another girl. And his sister hated me. She was a big reason why we broke up. There was too much drama plus he also turned out to be a man whore the whole time and super emotionally and mentally unstable. He would send me the most bizarre self-loathing texts.”
- Jenna M., 25
“We met when he came home for spring break to visit his parents. He was only 21, and I felt like a predator but his pop culture knowledge made me give him a chance. We meshed so well, and I fell hard and fast. The sex wasn't bad either. But he was still a flaky 21-year-old, and what was I really going to do when he went back to [school for] his sophomore year 7,000 miles away?”
- Chloe M., 28
“Three months with a narcissist. Within three months, he displayed all of the symptoms of that personality disorder. I caught him swindling people and warned a friend who was about to be swindled. That led to a violent ending of the relationship that gave me the opportunity to practice my self-defense skills. He started the physical assault and I ended it.”
- Tammy H., 51
“I dated a beautiful girl for one week. During a nice dinner out, she insisted on Instagramming the whole thing — including a trip outside to grab a shot of the sign.”
- Michelle A., 37
“Two-month whirlwind romance came to a screaming halt when she announced she was moving in with me at lunch with me, her, and her mum in attendance."
- Alex R., 24
“We hung out a lot over winter break because my roommates had gone home and I had the place to myself. Things were going pretty well, but it seemed like we were always at my place and he didn't want to go out with me anywhere – he even offered to go out to get food and bring it back! I didn't want to be a secret, but frankly, once I found out that he was sharing a queen bed with another guy to save money on rent, I totally lost interest. Dude, I'm the one that should've been embarrassed to be with you!”
- Lauren H., 27
"We started dating, spending long days together – for two weeks – [until] I discovered he plays World of Warcraft excessively, had a dirty home, was married to a woman in another state, masturbated with a butt plug, and was quickly needy of me, and quickly started discussing how much he wanted a family because he grew up with a dad thinking he was a vampire and a mom who was always pawning him off."
- Laura E., 31
"He was really into movies, had told me, and we'd talked about films. While he stepped into the bathroom, I took a closer look at the DVD collection that was lining the floor all the way around the apartment and crammed into bookcases."
- Susanne R., 49
“I dated a guy for about a month. It was going well until he sent me a long rambling text about how he was going back into therapy because his ex-fiancé had stolen a lot of money from him and he was having anxiety attacks about being serious.”
- Amanda C., 28
"He was 13 years older than me (I was 23 at the time) but he behaved more like my peers than some of my peers did. He was simultaneously 'too young' and 'too old.'"
- Anna P., 31
“I was in high school and went out with a guy a few times... then he told me we couldn't be together because the Ouija board told him our child was going to be the Antichrist... so he had to date one of my best friends instead because, apparently, their kid would cure cancer or something monumental like that.”
- Frankie W., 31
“I dated a guy for 1 month and broke it off for several reasons: 1. He lived with his parents, drove a car his parents gave him, and his parents paid for his gas. 2. He got mad at me for getting a tattoo on my foot in memorial of my great-grandpa who passed away. Told me he 'didn't understand why I couldn't memorialize him in a less permanent way.' 3. He told me one night that he thought my dad was lazy and needed to lose weight. My dad who works sometimes 50-60 hour weeks as a programmer for Starbucks.
I'll be honest and admit that I even took the rude way out and broke up with him via text message. But, honestly, most of the time I had to come to him, and he wasn't worth my 30-minute drive.”
- Kristin G., 29
One Month And A Half
“He came to nurse me back to health when I had bronchitis, brought me soup and stuff. When he realized I got bronchitis from sleeping with someone else, he said I wasn't 'kindhearted' enough.”
- Lindsay B., 30
“He was obsessive. I was in school and he'd call the house nonstop. So I broke up with him. He didn't get it and the whole last month was us 'breaking up'. He ended up getting a broken heart tattoo.”
- Angel G., 33
One Month And A Half
“[We lasted] about a month and a half, two weeks of which I was on the other side of the country! I let him stay at my place those two weeks (surprise, he was homeless at the time), and it was dirtier when I got home than when I left. He was very obsessive, clingy, and, unfortunately, legit, crazy. He took everything I said and twisted it or was otherwise offended somehow. Said he loved me after a week. Ended up flipping out because I told him he needed to pay bills if he wanted to stay any longer.”
- Andrea M., 35
“The relationship was about five months or so. We were out at a club and got into a huge fight because I knew that one of his best friends had cheated on his girlfriend. I told the girl about it and she confronted her then-boyfriend and my boyfriend. My boyfriend was angry and said he couldn't trust me and I broke 'guy code.' So he called it off.”
- Jiana L., 24