How Breaking Up For Greener Grass Made Me a Criminal

Breaking up may seem like the best thing to do, but how do you cope when your ex crops up looking thinner, happier and more successful than you?
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Breaking up may seem like the best thing to do, but how do you cope when your ex crops up looking thinner, happier and more successful than you?

'No, you break up...'



Last Summer, I did the unforgiveable. I left my partner of ten years, scrapped our wedding plans and decided to get my own place; for what? Fuck knows. Ten months on, Superdrug have barred me for shoplifting Immac, I can’t afford to pay my electricity bills and I just can’t seem to get back on my feet.  As I huddle in front of a candle chewing the inside of my own face for sustenance, I feel a bit like a Victorian urchin with her sooty face pressed up the bevelled glass of the sweet shop window. Yup, those lemonade crystals look great from the outside, so why do I keep banging my forehead off the glass like a monkey with Parkinsons? Oh that’s right, the glass is in the way. Twat.

Despite being the instigator of this misery - and therefore not entitled to any sympathy whatsoever - I did find it difficult when my ex revealed his new girlfriend like a magician whipping a hanky off a white dove.  She wears tight jumpers, has a tragic past and swishes her hair about like she’s happy. And I turn up with egg down my top and the slightly simple expression of someone who hasn’t eaten anything hot for a few days. It’s like Felicity Kendal v Gollum; she smells of Dior, and I slink away into my mountain cave to eat more goblin shit. Not only that, but she has an interesting job; she’s a solicitor.

That tells me that,

1. She probably has quite a good salary (agreeable to my ex, I’m sure, seeing as I was regularly escorted to cash machines in my pyjamas by bailiffs hunting down his outstanding parking fines)

2. She has some kind of staying power

3. She’s probably quite interesting and knowledgeable and a good raconteur. I can tell you some interesting things that happened to me at work this week. The first thing was that I was pulled to one side by a small man who’d carved out a Martina Cole book to hide a flapjack in; I congratulated him and then we ran out of things to say. The next day he was in Healthcare after a dirty protest; I don’t actually think it was a protest, I suspect he just put too much butter in his flapjacks. The second thing was that I had to speak to someone about getting a unicycle into work for a performance.

They didn’t know what a unicycle was. They wrote ‘half a bicycle’ on their notepad in bubble writing. The third thing was that Ruby had an accident in the bath, and we had to abort the mission with indecent haste whilst chasing a turd around the water with a bucket. It’s hardly like representing one of the Kramers.


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Another point is that my ex-partner has a lovely house; a Victorian house with open fires and original features. It’s a home. I have a flat that used to be an old nightclub, where the lights are always paedo-dim and the walls still smell of Leffe. My neighbours consist of a pock-faced man who looks like he should be crouched next to a pile of burning tyres in a forest, a woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to Raul Moat, a very clean accountant and some faceless misnomer who keeps playing ‘Catch a Falling Star’ at full pelt every night. My old neighbours gave me summer plants and showed me how to train an Espalier. These cunts won’t even let me share their wifi.

‘Oh no’, said the bloke upstairs, ‘It’s my bandwidth. That’s something I wouldn’t feel comfortable with’.

Hang on, I’m not asking you to take pictures of me for Razzle, I’m asking to use your internet for which I’m also offering to pay half of your bill every month. How is that something you’re not ‘comfortable’ with? Or do you and your bandwidth have a difficult relationship that I’m not aware of? No? Well sorry, I don’t get your difficulty. Obviously you didn’t get your Public Relations badge from Scouts, and just for good measure, Patrol Leader says you’re a wanker. It’s difficult to leave any conversation with a new neighbour on the word ‘wanker’, and still expect to be liked. That’s one of the many things I’ve learnt this year.

In moments of sheer human desperation - watching RudeTube, or when they find evidence of Roman tampons on Timeteam- I do try and justify the horrible reasons for leaving. Unfortunately this just descends into every cliché known to man; I was young when I met him, I was terrified by the wedding, money troubles, no time to actually do anything together….I bore myself with my pathetic reasoning and errant logic. But more than anything, I’m angry with myself for assuming this life would be better. What did I actually think was going to happen? That I’d be sailing around the Maldives in a gold Dior bikini, or living in a studio in Paris hammering out a Booker prize winner?  I’m that horrible cliché of the woman who left, only to be gutted by the speed by which the jilted has moved on. He’s re-designed his house, lost weight, found a beautiful, intelligent blonde and got a far better job; hurrah! And I’m so skint I’m considering blow-jobs for a fiver behind the local Nisa.

Perhaps this is a lesson in thinking things through before you do them instead of being impulsive and hopeful for ‘better’ things, or maybe it’s a realisation that, you know, it really wasn’t that bad. The victim has emerged gloriously victorious.