Ex’s & Oh’s

The 15 Days of Being Single

I am a serial monogamist.

For a long time, I treated this label like an insult, akin to being called “loser” “clingy” “codependent.” Then, over the years, I not only began to accept it, but began to embrace it. I started to feel like maybe this wasn’t a negative boxing, but a preprogramming in my DNA that leads me to nest with someone the minute I get naked with them. On my second date with my last girlfriend, which, I feel like I should add lasted 22 hours straight and resulted in the queerest, most u-hauly sleepover ever, I cheekily outed myself while driving her back from one of the bars we’d just left. “Serial monogamist, right here,” I said, laughing nervously. “Me too. Oh well.” We smiled, and the hidden context was clear— you may now pass GO, you may now move at lightening speed to your joint bank accounts, pet coparenting and adopted Chinese babies. The relationship took off from there in no time, and within a couple of months (okay, weeks really) I was madly, totally, head-over-heels, never-felt-this-before in love with this woman, who I’ll call Lauren. Everything was perfect. And our habits of serial monogamy not only felt acceptable, but felt like a positive.

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My entire life (my entire queer life, that is) people would criticize me for leap-frogging from one relationship into another. “Take some time alone,” they’d say. “You need to be single.” These unsolicited comments from friends, family, the homeless guy down the street, or whoever felt like that had license to give me life advice, initially irritated me. I didn’t want to be single. Being single was boring. And lonely. In short, fuck that. And yet, part of me knew they weren’t wrong. But after a failed marriage that left me shaken and questioning my entire future, I welcomed love back in with open arms, relieved that I still had a shot at kids, a family, the white picket fence— the works. This last relationship represented all of that to me.

In true queer-fashion, I thought this was it. At 32, I’d left so many broken hearts in my wake that one girl even dedicated the song “Jar of Hearts” to me. I’d cheated. More than once. Way more than once, actually. And I’d managed to disregard any and all feelings that were not directly my own. In short, I’d spent the greater part of three decades being impossibly selfish. After the dissolution of my marriage, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I was crushed that I’d failed my wife— this amazing woman I’d sworn my life to— and by the time I met Lauren, I felt like I’d done all the growth I needed, and the stars were finally lining up for me.

But the stars do not work that way. It turns out, the stars are a cosmic bitch, actually. I thought I’d earned this relationship with all of the soul-searching I’d had to do after my divorce. Stars, fate, God, the universe, mother nature, Allah, spirits, whatever, didn’t give a single fuck about the work I’d done. After 7 months together, Lauren broke it off in what would turn out to be the most heartbreaking, life-altering ending of any relationship I’ve ever had. Those 7 months with her were spent with night after night in my bed, where she quickly took over at least one drawer, my entire laundry basked and part of my always-packed coat closet. We had plans. We were going to have kids. They were going to keep my name, although she would never change hers. We were going to move to the suburbs in the fall. I was happy— maybe even happier than I’ve ever been.

I’ve only really been broken up with once before. And that was five years ago, by a girl I dated for two months who really wasn’t my type and didn’t do a whole lot for me. When she left me for another girl, I was butt-hurt for about three seconds, and then promptly moved on. So breaking up with Lauren was jarring, to say the least. And why we broke up, I firmly choose to believe, comes down largely on the fact I have never been alone.

So why should any of you give a shit about my newfound aloneness? Because I know I’m not alone in this. And I hope someone out there can get something out of this without having to learn this lesson the hard way. I hope I can learn the lessons for you. I’ve spent the last 10 years in relationships. And today is my 15th day of being single.

I know that doesn’t sound like a lot to most of you. But if I really look back on it, 15 days is probably the longest I’ve ever been truly alone. There hasn’t been a time when I didn’t have a fall back after ending a relationship— usually an ex, or someone I could run back to that would fill the gap. Now, I have no one. The hearts I’ve broken have all healed and moved on to greener pastures, which, I am surprisingly happy about. Besides, I have no interest in reliving the past. Tinder, Bumble, and a bunch of other dating apps I didn’t even know existed have been downloaded to my phone, but I hardly use them. And when I do, they’re lack-luster and almost make me feel worse about being alone.

It’s only been 15 days, but they have been the 15 longest days of my life. I understand now, to a degree, what addicts go through with sobriety. I have, in fact, been a relationship addict my entire gay life. And now, I’m breaking that cycle. I’m collecting my 15 day chip.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I will summarize it like this:

On the first day of being single, the bastard fates/universe/God/whatever gave to me a broken heart, a lot of crying, and convincing myself this couldn’t possibly be the end.

On the second day of being single, the bastard fates/universe/blah blah blah gave to me a few less tears, a little more hope, and the feeling that maybe, possibly, I might gain something from this mess.

On the ninth day of being single, all that shit above gave to me the sense that I actually do need to be alone. That I need to learn how to like myself enough without the help of others. That looking for constant validation from my relationships is wearing and exhausting, and until I am okay enough with me, I’m always going to be looking for that from someone else.

On the tenth day… a lot of anger. Like, a lot. Let’s just say I’m out one iPhone 7 which was casually tossed across the room in a fit of rage, resulting in a very expensive tempter tantrum.

On the fifteenth day of being single, this is what’s been given to me: the ability to self-care. Since I’ve been alone, I’ve purchased 4 new jackets (one of which is Burberry), a brand new iPhone X, a new tattoo, and just about anything else I felt like. My rule of thumb has been Buy Whatever Makes Me Feel Good. I have a good paying job, and if spending money is going to soothe some of my angst and provide some comfort, I figure it could be worse. I could be drowning myself in whiskey, sex, or worse. If a little credit card debt is the worst thing that comes out of this, I’ll count that as a win.

I’ve also learned something very important: I have people. I’ve reconnected with friends who I haven’t seen in ages, because I’ve been so wrapped up in my relationship. I’ve fortified new friendships. I’ve surrounded myself with people who love me, and appreciate me for who I am. And for the first time in my life, that has felt more than fulfilling.

 

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Rely on people who have been there for you, even when you haven’t been (featured: my friend and coworker Rachel at our hospital holiday party last week)

I’m not going to sit here and tell all of you serial monogamists to please stand up, end your relationship, or stop looking for one, and travel down this road of loving yourself with me. It took me a decade to be ready for this, and even now, I had to be forced. I’m also not saying it’s easy. In fact, I’d dare say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I’ve literally sliced into people’s rectums with scalpels). I struggle every day, every moment of every day really, to remind myself that I am good enough. That I don’t need to be desired or wanted or pined after to know that. And everyday it gets a little easier. I’ve learned to sit in the discomfort of being alone. The discomfort of not having that go-to person to text about your day. The silence from my cell phone (which has proven very unsettling at times). The terror of sleeping by myself. I’ve learned that Lauren breaking up with me was not because I wasn’t attractive enough, or smart enough, or interesting enough. It was because she simply couldn’t love me enough for both of us. But the hardest part has been reminding myself that, even if she did break up with me because I just wasn’t “the one,” that is not a reflection on the rest of my life.

So, if you, fellow serial monogamist queers, find yourself in this similar situation someday, know that there is good to come from it. There are lessons to be learned. The tears and the anger and the discomfort will give you the strength and the resilience to be better the next time, and, more importantly, to know there will be a next time. Even if that next time isn’t right now.

 

Four Straight Girls Who Are After You

You aren’t really queer until two things have happened to you:

Your mom finds your sex toy box under your bed (or, in the case of my former roommate, your strap-on actually hits her in the head while she’s moving you in), and you fall for a straight girl.

For those of you about to send me all sorts of angry “oh, Dapper Butch, you’re so narrow minded” comments, I’m only half serious here… But that means I’m also only half joking right? Because, come on, we’ve ALL been there. We’ve all fallen head over heals for one of these types. I’m just ballsy enough to bring it out on paper (ER…computer screen…).

1. The Self-Esteem Seeker

How You’ll Know Her: She’s the girl who has to catch everyone’s eye. You’ll most likely find her giggling, tossing back her hair, and grabbing the arm of anyone willing to give her the time of day.

Why You Should Watch Out For Her: This girl’s affections aren’t dictated by gender… You go girl! Except here affections actually most likely have nothing to do with you, either. Her flirtation is most likely more about a quick ego boost than any deeper interest… And, let’s face it, lesbians are easy targets… Because all lesbians are attracted to ALL women. Ever.

2. The Not-So-Lesbian Lush

How You’ll Know Her: This one will most likely be twerking her way to the middle of the dance floor, double fisting vodka/Red Bulls and yelling “this is my songgggggg!” She’s always up for a good time, especially if it means being the life of the party. And she was recently inspired by Katy Perry’s “I kissed a girl” plight.

Why You Should Watch Out For Her: Sure, it’s sort of, kind of, maybe flattering (offensive?) when she sets her sights on you as the night’s target for a wild time. But there’s a slight risk for heartache involved here. Go ahead and hook up with her. Just remember… The only thing gay about this girl is the fifteen drinks she’s had and her Joan Rivers obsession. Also… Don’t be surprised when she vomits on your shoes.

3. The Closet Case

How You’ll Know Her: She’s the girl who’s always been a little too interested in your sex life. Maybe she hasn’t had a boyfriend in a while. Or maybe she’s been sleeping with every guy under the sun. She’ll quietly hold your hand when no one else is around, send you longing texts about how much she misses you, and make the sporadic “I mean… What if I were gay?” quandary.

Why You Should Watch Out For Her: The chances of this going badly are like… A billion percent. Sure, you hear stories all the time about the girl who dragged her previously straight friend out of the closet and they lived happily ever after. But you also hear about ten times more stories about he closeted girl who yanked her gay friend around, only to wind up with a husband and kids in the burbs. Be warned… This one might not be ready to be out yet.

4. The Too-Close-Best Friend

How You’ll Know Her: Easy. She’s the one sleeping next to you almost every night, after you’ve finished your pint of Ben and Jerry’s and watched Sex and the City. She mentions her man crush now and then, and when she does, you die a little inside. But then she goes right back to wanting you to spoon her and telling you that you should probably just marry each other.

Why You Should Watch Out For Her: Duh. Red flag city! This is such a popular phenomenon in queer culture that MTV even made a show about it (Faking It). If you’re one of the few lesbians who hasn’t fallen for her straight best friend, you’re in the serious minority. This is painful. Excruciating. Almost a right of passage. So please, be careful! Your BFF doesn’t MEAN to be straight! But don’t misread her nightly cuddles either.

What’s your straight girl story? Hit me up in the comments!

Why You Should Keep Dating Your Girlfriend

When Jill and I first started dating, we were doing just that– dating. Fourteen months ago (but who’s counting, right?) we would take the bus and meet somewhere downtown for sushi (not my favorite, but I ate it because it was her’s) or a movie. There was something so exciting and terrifying about those first nights. I distinctly remember sitting in the freezing cold at a bus stop by Northeastern, waiting for a bus I’d never ridden to take me somewhere near Fenway Park. My heart was pounding so hard I had to listen to music on my iPhone to drown it out. We did this once a week at first… And then, it became two or three times a week. And finally, a month or so into seeing each other, she let me come over.

Kristen Stewart playing Butch Femme2

Now, don’t get me wrong… the dating didn’t stop here. We still went out to dinner in the city and saw the occasional show. But it soon became evident to me that Jill could cook better than any restaurant, and her apartment was adorable and homey. I preferred cuddling on the couch watching fifteen straight hours of Bravo and eating her scallops and spinach risotto to fighting Saturday night crowds in Boston and trying to find $40 parking. Eventually, I moved in. And her homey home because my homey home. And our nights were adorable too, and filled with cooking dinners and drinking red wine and all of that new-couple romance.

But let’s get real, ladies. This doesn’t last forever (I can actually see the appalled look on Jill’s face when she reads this for my saying this… hear me out, baby). The truth is, over time, Friday night candlelit dinners sometimes get swapped out for On-Demand and Dominos. I love these nights. I love when I finish a twelve hour shift, swing by the local pizza place, pickup a $20 pizza and a bottle of soda, and we watch hours of House of Cards in bed. Do not, I repeat, do not think I’m in any way belittling the simple things here.

Something happened to us last night though. Something unexpected, and kind of reminiscent of our early “courtship.” Jill and I decided to try this place that does bowling and flatbread pizza. It’s apparently some kind institution in the Boston area. We were tired from a full work week, it was 5 damn degrees outside, and we really had to push ourselves to leave the house. But we did. It turned out the bowling joint has a 50 year long wait list (not really,  but close), so we abandoned that plan and started to wing it. For a while, we walked down the streets of Somerville (a little city/suburb on the outskirts of Boston), holding hands and trying to figure out what to do for dinner. We settled on a BBQ place we both loved, and while we waited at the bar, something crazy happened. We talked. I mean really talked. Jill and I talk, of course. We talk at home. We text. We call each other. But often, too often, as we’ll both agree, life tends to get in the way of that talking. There’s this Facebook meme going around that says something like “you’re my favorite person to lie in bed with and look at our cell phones.” True that. Come on. You know you’re guilty of it. Jill and I have both agreed on multiple occasions that we spend far too much time interacting with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even other people via phone lines when we should be spending time with each other. It’s so easy to be in the same room with someone, and not actually be IN THE ROOM with them.

For several hours, we sat and talked over pulled pork and sweet tea. Nobody picked up their phones. Nobody answered texts or checked their email. It was just us (and the 50000 other people crammed into the restaurant that night). Over just one dinner, we reconnected about our jobs and our goals, our friendships, and reminisced about our past together. There was something almost ethereal about the whole thing, as I looked at her, overwhelmed by all the same things I felt on those first few dates. I knew I loved her. I never question that. But don’t underestimate how important it is to be able to have this moment, where you look at your girlfriend like you’re seeing her for the first time… again.

I know this isn’t exactly news. But if everyone knows it, why is it so hard to follow through with? I know it can be for us. I don’t care how long you’ve been dating. I don’t care if you pee with the door open or talk about your rashes or know every last little thing about her. There’s always something new to learn, and probably, something new to fall in love with. So get off the couch once in a while, put away the take out, turn off the Bravo (I know, I know, but Andy Cohen will be there when you come home), and take that woman out for a real, honest to God date. The longer you’ve been together, the more you need to. And if you’re just starting out… make a habit of it now.

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I don’t care if you go bowling, or if you go to a black tie event. Just please, whatever you do, make a NO CELL PHONE rule, and stick to it. Focus on the beautiful woman sitting across from you who probably still has some really great things to say– certainly better than Justin Bieber’s twitter account. One of those lame signs you can hang in your college dorm room says “marriage is falling in love over and over again, always with the same person.” How are you going to do that if you’re too focused on what Ellen’s wearing to the Oscars? Go ahead. Buy her a pulled pork sandwich (or put it on your mutual credit card, because it’s 2014, and you have joint finances). You might be pleasantly surprised what you get in return.

How to Meet Your Future Wife on OK Cupid

It’s Friday night. You’re sitting alone in your room watching the same episode of Criminal Minds you’ve seen four times this week. Your dinner consists of a can of tuna and an entire bag of Tostitos, and you’re lonely. Your three queer roommates are out for the night, drinking and dancing and having fun, and you only wish you were as cool as them. No, not really. You just wish you had someone to share your Tostitos with.

In a moment of self-perceived shame, you open up your laptop and log in.

HEY! Yah, you, QTButch83! YOU HAVE THREE NEW QUIVER MATCHES!!

(First of all, can we just take a minute and ask what the hell a quiver match is anyway? Seriously, I think it has something to do with a bow and cupid and all that, but I just don’t know…)

You also have 47 messages from girls who 1. tell you about their pet worm collection, 2. ask you if it hurt falling from heaven, or 3. want you to join her and her husband in the bedroom for his fiftieth birthday present.

So how do you weed through all the crazy (and downright creepy) out there in OkCupid (or any other online dating site) Land, to find whatever it is you’re looking for?

I’m not an expert. But I did manage to meet my girlfriend on OkCupid over a year ago, and we’ve been happily together ever since. I’m also told I got lucky, only going out with one other girl before Jess, and only talking to a handful of…colorful characters. But the dating world is daunting, to say the least. Especially if you’re queer. And unless you’re one of those who feels okay going to your local Dyke Night and offering to buy that hottie a drink, there aren’t a whole lot of other outlets. Online dating can be fantastic. And the stigma behind it seems to dwindling as it becomes more and more common for couples of all types to meet through dating sites. But there are ways to up your chances of success.

  • Know what you’re looking for!- So maybe you aren’t looking to meet your future wife. Maybe you’re just looking to get some. And that’s okay too! Whether you’re searching for a one night romp, or the great love of your life, or something somewhere in the middle, the important thing is that you’re up front about it. Before I met my girlfriend, I went on a date with a girl I met on OKCupid who sounded pretty neat. She seemed smart, funny, and relatively attractive, and after a few OKC messages, we started texting, and eventually met up. Right away she was all up on me, flirting and touching and doting. Also, she was drunk. We’ll get to why all of these things were a recipe for disaster. But for this point, I’ll say that it wasn’t until things got physical that she up and bounced, and I realized that she wasn’t looking for more than a hookup. I, on the other hand, was looking for more, and by the time we’d crossed that line, I actually liked this girl. Shame on her for not being up front with me about what she wanted right off the bat. But more shame on me for not asking. Whatever you want, just be straight up with it. Either the girl will be on the same page with it, or she won’t. That way, no one gets hurt.

  • Don’t be a Prick- This one seems pretty obvious. Right? But how many online dating profiles do you see that could have easily been written by the Biebs on an ego-fueled bender? Do you really want to go out with someone who’s What I’m Doing on a Friday Night section says “banging bitches, drinking 40s”? You aren’t being funny. You’re just being gross. And no self-respecting girl is going to respond to that (also, don’t answer your Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit section with anything along the lines of “I look great naked.”). There’s a fine line between bragging about your sick motocross skills, and talking about yourself like you’re the second coming of Shane McCutcheon. The same applies to messaging. This is sooooo important. I learned this the hard way, in the post-messaging phase of my relationship with my girlfriend, when I made sure to tell her I was a great kisser. I think she probably barfed all over her phone. She told me later that she felt weird, because we hadn’t even met yet, and she wasn’t even sure she WANTED to kiss me. Which brings me to my next point.

  • Flirt With Caution! – Congratulations. You’ve figured out what you want in a girl, and what you are able to give to someone else (because we all know that’s the most important part, right ladies?). You’ve made yourself a great profile with a few interesting facts and some pictures that look reasonably like you (if you turn off the lights and squint real hard). And hey, you’ve even found a nice, cute girl who responded to your message. She says you’re funny. She says she likes your tie in your profile picture. And she says she loves craft beer too, and it might be fun to get one together sometime. And then, she drops you her digits…”hey, texting is way easier. You should hit me up ;).” Go ahead, Casanova. Do it up. Text that girl. But please, for the love of the L Word, keep it clean! I think my point above is a pretty good example of how easy it can be to alienate a great woman with a few bad pickup lines. Now, I was toning it way back with Jess, because I sensed she was a lady, and not one to let anyone in her pants after a few dates. It was one of the things I loved about her. It’s fine to drop the occasional “you look beautiful in that picture,” but stay away from anything resembling a come-on or a sexual advance. Seriously. Just trust me. She will find out on her own that you’re a rock star kisser. And you will have plenty of time to tell her she looks smokin hot in that dress. All in good time, grasshopper. For now, stick with getting to know her, and keep the (blatant) flirting to a minimum. Remember, you don’t know this person yet!

  • Give Love a Chance! (But Not Too Much of a Chance)- Look, I’m not saying love should be based on physical attraction. But let’s all just take a minute and be honest with ourselves here. When we’re cruising our Quick Matches, we aren’t looking for someone who also loves Golden Retrievers and baseball. At least not right off the bat (no pun intended). The first thing we’re going to see is someone’s photo. I’m certainly not suggesting you dismiss all other factors and go out with someone because she looks like Jennifer Lawerence pre-haircut (*sigh*). Of course not. But there’s that old saying, looks will get you there, personality will keep you there. And that’s truth, folks. Straight up truth. But what about that 99.99999% match who isn’t quite your female archtype? I say, go for it. TO AN EXTENT (and I say that with caution!), attraction can bloom over time. This girl, who may not strike you as someone you’d necessarily be attracted to, could turn out to be someone you really click with. That being said, I don’t really believe that attraction can be forced. Either you’re going to be attracted to her, or you aren’t. Don’t waste your time, or her time, messaging, texting, or especially going out with someone you know it’s just never going to happen with. We’ve all been there. Probably multiple times. It’s Friday night. You’re eating those Tostitos again. You’re lonely. So you pick up your phone and text that girl whose number is listed under “Jen OKC” and ask her for a drink. Don’t. Just don’t. Unless you’re a heartless bastard who doesn’t mind crushing people. You never know. Jen OKC might really be into you. And you might break her heart. Yes, give love a chance. Don’t shut the door on someone because she couldn’t necessarily be Beyonce’s sister. But don’t be a negligent dick either.
  • Don’t Give Up!- All too often I hear friends say “I’m done with online dating.” And they walk away. For about a month, until they come back and re-activate their account. Online dating can be a great tool! But, as with anything out there, you have to wait! Not every date is going to be the girl of your dreams. You’ll probably have to sit through some awkward conversation, some sparkless first kisses, and some painful rejections. But with some patience, some hard work, and, let’s face it, a little bit of luck, you’ll find her. I did. And if I got that chance… any of you guys can.

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How to Have a Bromance With Your Girlfriend’s Ex

There’s a strange phenomenon that happens in the world of queer women. It happened ten years ago on the L Word when Alice and Laura remained friends after Dana– rest her soul– left her (I know, I’m still recovering from that one too). And it happened again with Helena and Bette. Really, if we want to get completely honest here, the entire premise of the L Word (which, let’s just face it, is our one beacon of truth into lesbian life), was comprised of it.

This is why I’m shocked it’s taken me so long to come to terms with it.
I’m having a bromance. That sounds like it should be a True Life episode, doesn’t it? And not that lame one about the guys who are a little too into their best friends.

Dani Campbell and Whitney Mixter-- a true bromance.

Dani Campbell and Whitney Mixter– a true bromance.

No. I’m having a bromance with my girlfriend’s ex. And I can’t help but think I’m not the first woman this has happened to.
When *Jess and I started dating over a year ago now, we talked about our exes pretty early on. Not the first date, of course. We made sure to take it really slow and wait until at least date number two. I heard all about my new bro. Said bro was smart, had an awesome job for some startup that my girl knew everything about, and, being the good lesbian I am, when I stalked her Instagram, I found out she wasn’t exactly a woofer either.

So what do you do when you find out (gasp) your girlfriend has been under the sheets with someone before you? You get excruciatingly jealous and haunt her with it for the remainder of your lives. Duh. Because how dare she ever have a past! How dare she not have waited her entire life for you to sweep in on your white horse and whisk her off into the sunset! I mean, the nerve!
No, but really. We all have a past. I just happen to not be particularly proud of most of mine. But what if your girl has an ex, and she just so happens to sound awesome? Maybe, God forbid, even more awesome than your awesome self (as if that were even possible). It’s not an uncommon scenario. But what is a bit more unusual about the lesbian stratosphere is the number of us who remain friends (yes, just friends) with our exes after the sex stops. As I’ve learned from talking to my straight friends, this just doesn’t often happen in other communities. The look of disdain and disgust on my straight girlfriends’ faces when I asked this question spoke volumes. “Friends with that bastard? Not a chance in hell.”

I admit, I’m not friends with any of my ex girlfriends– mostly because they all still think of me as a womanizing asshole (which, if I may clear the record, I am very much not!). So, you can imagine my discomfort when I found out that J not only has this superhero old flame with the cool job and cool clothes and cool apartment in New York City, but they have also stayed best friends. And they talk. Often.
I would love to say that, ten or eleven months ago, I looked Jess in the eye and said “that’s fine, baby. I like that you’re besties with the last serious relationship you had.” It makes me want to go on “what I should have done theatre” from Saved By The Bell. But I didn’t. Instead, I went Jenny Shecter jealous on her ass.

The thing about my girlfriend, though, is that she doesn’t take any bullshit. None, whatsoever. When I go crazy Jenny on her, she goes feisty Italian on me, and that’s just about the end of that. The very last time I gave her crap about talking to my new bro ended with my giving back her key (needless to say, that turned out to be a small snafu in our now long-term relationship). I learned my lesson. Ain’t nobody gonna tell this girl who she can and can’t talk to (also, I learned that drinking at Pride is not always productive).

This past summer, her ex (my bro) and her long-term girlfriend (did I mention there’s another reason for me to refrain from being jealous?) paid us a visit in Ptown. We spent the day together, but not before I sulked and bitched, and tried to reverse-Jewish-guilt Jess, who insisted the whole time that I suck it up, because they were going to be friends, and I was going to like this girl. It wasn’t a demand. It was just what she knew would happen.

When I finally met my new bro, something terrible happened. Jess was right. I liked her. A lot. And I had to admit, I didn’t have the worst time in the world. Still, I spent the whole afternoon watching for some secret sign of chemistry or pining or sexual tension between them that probably wasn’t going to be there. Which brings me to my first words of wisdom on how to become bros with your girl’s ex; when she says there’s nothing there, there’s probably nothing there. Sure, it’d be easy to lie about it. But has she ever given you a reason to think shes would lie about it? I didn’t think so. And, as much as we’d like them to be, feelings aren’t always that transparent. If you can’t see them sneaking a seductive glance or worse, you probably aren’t going to see much. Don’t torture yourself by overanalyzing that smile or that laugh or how your bro knew what kind of ice cream your girlfriend wanted. They have history. This shit happens. And if none of that works, here’s a wild idea– trust her. She’s your girlfriend. YOU have history now. Regardless of what happened with them in the past, she picked you, and she continues to pick you every day (although, she might not if you get too Shecter on her). Take that. Run with it. Go. Really. Run.

Over time, I was actually (spoiler alert) able to do just that. Jess and I have been together for thirteen months now. We live together. We’ve built an amazing life together. Why would I ever believe she’d want anything or anyone else? Flash to the other night, when Jess tells me that she and my bro were talking– a concept, I admit, still makes my skin crawl just a little bit, try as I might to fight it– and my bro said she and I should start talking more. Today, in a post-migraine-euphoria, I Facebook messaged my bro, and gave her my number.
We’ve been talking all day– our bromance moving quickly from texting to Google Hangout– which, as we all know is pretty serious. As it turns out, we are eerily alike. We both love hockey, even though our respective girlfriends hate it when we watch sports. We both strive for our hair stylists not to say something along the lines of “I’m going to keep it longer here so it looks more feminine”. Clothes and shopping (especially Jack Spade bags) really bring out the girl in us. And we both really, really care about Jess. My next piece of advice on how to bag your bro? Once you stop seeing them as a threat, you can see them for what they really are; a person who respected and loved the woman you respect and love, and wants to keep them in their lives because she’s so awesome. And yes, your girl IS awesome. But that doesn’t mean that her ex is plotting to steal her back. Odds are, as is the case with my bro, they have found their own awesome girl, and are happy to leave the past in the past.

This is what a real Bro-dyke looks like...(yeah, that's me, bro-ing out many many years ago...)

This is what a real Bro-dyke looks like…(yeah, that’s me, bro-ing out many many years ago…)

It took me a while, but I think I finally get it. I’m having a serious bromance with my girlfriend’s ex. And, if she didn’t live all the way in New York, we’d probably be drinking beers and watching hockey right now (okay, well, maybe not, because I don’t really drink much anymore. But you get the manly euphemisms). I’m pretty confident that if we lived closer, we’d be best friends. I used to roll my eyes when Jess would suggest a visit to the Big Apple to stay with them. Now, I’m planning our shopping excursions, where our girlfriends will, undoubtedly, be doing the eye rolling when we max out our credit cards at Top Man.

*Name changed to protect the innocent

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