It’s that time of year again. Welcome to Breakup Week on Solo-ish.
No, this isn’t when most breakups occur. According to a 2008 study of Facebook status updates, the most common times to break up are around the December holidays or when spring break hits in March. But there is another spike around April 1. What better way to spring-clean your life than to get out of a relationship that’s not working?
Whether you’re going through a fresh breakup now or are still smarting from an old one, Solo-ish is here for you. Throughout the week, we’ll have stories about how people have coped in the immediate aftermath of a split; we’ll help you decide whether breakup sex is a good or bad idea; and we’ll look at whether, after you’ve healed, it makes sense to keep an ex around as a friend.
But before all that, let’s take a quick look back at some relationships we featured during our first Breakup Week. When it comes to heartache, these three Washingtonians show what a big difference a year can make.
There was Garrett Schlichte, a gay man in his mid-20s, who got a lot out of a short-term relationship, even though he knew from the very beginning that it would end in three months.
A year later, Schlichte is single and trying to be more bold when it comes to expressing his feelings for people. He also reports that he’s “less concerned with the idea of being in a long-term relationship and more concerned with exploring a lot of different kinds of relationships.” What kind of relationships, exactly? “I’ve moved farther away from worrying about finding one big love than being someone who’s enjoying smaller but very exciting experiences,” he said.
We also took a deep dive into a breakup Morgan Givens experienced when he was transitioning from female to male. He had a serious, long-distance relationship that ended over text message. For a long time he was highly skeptical of people’s motives and kept the people he dated at a safe distance. But in that video, he also talked about how the relationship he was in at the time felt more serious and different than anything else he’d ever been in.
Givens is now engaged to the woman he mentioned a year ago. Reflecting back on the past year, Givens said he’s learned a lot about patience. “Before when I would date people, I’d be like: We’re supposed to be meeting this landmark at month six. At month 12, we should be planning on moving in together.”
But his fiancee, Catherine, will not be put on a timeline. Givens said he was ready to propose to her a year ago, but that she wanted to live together first before making that decision. She knew Givens had a ring and was just waiting for her go-ahead.
This past Valentine’s Day, Catherine was ready. She handed Givens a card that said: Hey, I love you. Will you be my husband?
Givens was flabbergasted. After saying “What?!” a million times, he said yes.
And then she said: You want to get that ring so that I can wear it now?
Kelly Carnes’s breakup was the rawest of the three we explored. The split had happened shortly before we filmed her talking about it, and she was in a place she now recognizes as rock-bottom. “It took a long time to crawl out of that hole,” Carnes said recently. “I could only do it because I was pulled out by my friends and family who supported me.” Her mother came to stay with her for a while, and girlfriends would drop everything and come over whenever she needed someone else around, she says.
A year later, Carnes is in a relationship with a man she’s crazy about — and who had a front-row seat for her previous relationship. When she and her ex from the video were together, they had a weekly date-night tradition of spending Friday nights at Cusbah, an Indian restaurant on H Street NE. The two of them struck up a friendship with Ryan, the bartender. Carnes says she always wondered: Why isn’t that cute bartender in a relationship? “I tried setting him up with a girlfriend of mine,” she said. “I brought her to the bar. There was no spark at all.”
About six months after her breakup, however, there was a spark for Carnes and Ryan. This past June, Carnes was just starting to enjoy being single when she found herself at a party at the National Museum of American History that Ryan was also attending. They hung out with a bunch of friends, and ended up swimming in his backyard pool later that night. “It just arrived really organically,” Carnes said of the relationship now. Though for a while, she fought the idea of getting back into something serious.
“He’s single-handedly made me believe in love again, taught me what a GOOD relationship is like, and has made me the happiest I have ever been,” Carnes said in an email. “In a strange way, I have to be grateful for [my previous relationship]. Without whom, Ryan wouldn’t be in my life.”