The Cowardly Break-Up

cowardly break up

By Olivia Dolphin

I know what you’re thinking. Perhaps this is a post about a text-message breakup—the singular act of true disrespect. But this breakup was a far worse thing than a text message. And I think, but not totally sure—I was the one who did the breaking.

My boyfriend of two-and-a-half years and I broke up. We lived together in a house with three other roommates, though luckily we didn’t share a room. We hardly even slept in the same bed because his mattress was uncomfortable, and I liked having the whole bed to myself anyways.

At the time, all my friends had OKCupid profiles. Some seemed to go on some successful dates, and my best friend ended up with a boyfriend through the site. It seemed fun, and quickly got addicting. Constantly looking up people, and sending messages, most of which never got returned. As a writer, there was a lot of personal pressure to send a really cool first message—I’m quick and witty, right? Here, look at this clever example of how quick and witty I am and my great example of what we have in common.

With the help of OKCupid, I started seeing this guy that lived at least an hour away from my college home (Yes, I was still living with my ex at this point—that’s a whole other post). It was so sweet that my new boo would take the drive to my neck of the woods, just to meet me! We were both into beer, and the bar near my college has 69 beers on tap. Can’t beat that first date.

We went on a few dates and there was a lot of kissing. He met my other roommates and even came to one of my concerts. He always took the hour drive to see me, as I never wanted to go see him. The drive was long and through a scary part of town, and I just didn’t want go alone. He was into gardening and played the baritone and was good at math and never paid for the whole bill, we always split it—not necessarily a plus, but I was enjoying myself.

Seeing my ex-boyfriend almost every day makes it hard to let go. While apart, it seems like we were unable to avoid each other—living in the same house, same major, being snowed into the house together for four whole days when Nemo hit. During these moments of awkward encounters, we pushed through, realizing that we had forgotten how to make time for each other, and somehow mistook that for not loving each other anymore. These two things although very different, can be easily confused. While I enjoyed being single and dating, I knew my boyfriend and I were going to get back together because it was right.

But that didn’t stop me from still feeling young and slightly blind to what is right. Even though my boyfriend and I had been discussing getting back together, I invited Mr. Cupid up for dinner and a movie. We got burgers from the local Shack and watched “The Hunger Games.” I was so freakin’ excited because my ex, soon-to-be-not ex anymore, boyfriend never wanted to watch what I wanted to watch, and Cupid was so OK about all of it. Most likely he was trying to impress me, and I liked that.

A lot of our relationship was texting. We would text all day; even when he was at work, he would email me. This is what I actually wanted and what I actually desired. Constant attention, a constant companion buzzing at my side, listening to whatever I said, whenever I wanted to say it, because that’s what I lost in my past relationship—my companion.

After the movie, he wanted to stay longer, but my brother was in town and I was going to drive back to my parent’s house. He seemed upset, but there was something underneath it all that was going unsaid. The unspoken thickened the air, and looking back, it was all too easy to ignore. Cowardly. He put his shoes on; I got ready to leave as well. I locked up the house. I turned to him, kissed him quickly on the lips because it felt routine and obligatory, even though I hardly knew him.

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, sounds good.”

He got into his car, I got into mine, and we both drove away.

I never heard from him again, I never texted. He never reached out to me. We never became Facebook friends, or any other form of social media besides a Dropbox folder full of music that I pretended to care about. After apologizing about my flighty behavior to my boyfriend, we got back together and have been happy ever since.

I think about Cupid every now and again. I tell the story to my friends of how a routine kiss and a see you later turned into a permanent goodbye. I feel bad that I basically used him for attention and as an outlet to figure myself out, and to grow the F up.

It was cowardly of me not to tell him it was over, because there was a part of me that knew. Girls, we always know, and if we don’t know, then it’s not right. When I kissed him goodbye and said I was going to text—I was lying. The words felt truthful. I was going to let him contact me and then I would break it off (probably through a text, I’m awful). He never made contact, so I never followed step two. I should have been upfront about my feelings—he knew I was confused and still talking to my ex-boyfriend, but still.

I wonder if he wonders about me. I wonder if he thinks it all really happened. I wonder if he searches for me on Facebook. We literally saw each other on four different occasions, probably. Maybe he thinks I’m ghost, or that I was never real. Maybe I triggered a self-realization journey for him, as he did for me. Or maybe I’m just a bitch.

I like to think I’m some enigma he wanted to figure out and a puzzle he wanted to solve, a competition he could win. But, really, I was using him for attention and was too much of a coward to break it off. I like to think he still thinks of me.

Sometimes I almost accidentally Snapchat him, and that’s the closest we’ve come to contacting each other since we said our goodbyes.

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About Olivia


Current musician and Harry Potter Convention Coordinator. Future publisher. Headed to the Tosche Station as soon as she finishes writing





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