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Shout Out To My Ex 🙅🏻‍♀️

Ooh, a controversial one, this! Cazza B does controversy – roll up, roll up!

I used to keep my relationship pretty private to deter tedious gossip and ill-informed opinions. But then I realised that people are only going to gossip and judge anyway, so why not just hold my hands up and say, yeah, actually, it is a shit show, but IT IS WHAT IT IS.

It's better to hear the facts from the horse's mouth, than gossip from the donkey's arse - is that the right expression? 🥴🤣

And to be fair, most of time, I actually don’t think that my situation is a shit show.

(Although, obviously there are always going to be those people who reckon they know the ins and outs of your life better than you do, and use this flimsy ‘knowledge’ to broadcast their opinions!)

My ex and I are in what some probably refer to as a ‘situation-ship.’

Romantically, there is absolutely nothing. Nada.

We are, however, still friends, and we currently live together.

We sacrificed a lot to buy this house and have dedicated boundless time and money to it. And let’s cut the crap here – let’s be honest – who can actually afford to live on their own in this day and age? Christ, you only have to fill up the hamster’s bottle and your water bill has sneaked up by £85,000 per calendar month.

Right now, I don’t want to meet anyone else, and nor does he (my ex, that is - not the hamster). So the rational thing to do would be to continue to share the house for now. Now I’m not saying that it’s an arrangement that’s going to be ideal for all of eternity, but at this precise moment - while new relationships are the least of our priorities - it works.

We very much have our own lives and do our own thing. When I’m not at work or out running, I have my home-office to sit in and write, and that basically takes up the majority of my time, mid-week.

At weekends, we’re both out and about with our individual friends and families, or doing hobbies. We actually don’t see as much of each other as people might think, and this probably why the whole thing works!

If you can get past the history between us, we’re essentially just house-mates!

Naturally, there are times when I do question what the bloody hell I’m doing with my life, but then I look at some of the ‘conventional’ relationships around me and I often think that actually, we’re probably happier than most in our strange little set-up!

After all, a friendship built on respect is far, far better than a relationship lacking in it…

Don’t get me wrong – cohabiting with an ex is most definitely NOT all sunshines and rainbows!

When he squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, do I want to squeeze his testicles in the same illogical fashion? Absolutely!

When he fishes a six-week-old bathroom cleaning sponge from the bin and proceeds to use it to scrub the pans, do I want to ram it down his throat? Of course!

When he listens to weird, vulgar Australian podcasts at an unnecessarily ear-splitting volume while I’m trying to read my Caitlin Moran book, do I want to smear the insides of his best trainers with Marmite? Every. Bloody. Day.

But at the same time, do I enjoy showing off my latest catches on Pokemon Go with someone who I know will appreciate the fact that I have gained a ‘shiny Togepi?’ I do indeed!

Do we still make plans as friends and enjoy days out at the Grand National and the Foodies Festival? Yes, and there’s no-one else I’d rather do those things with! (Except maybe on my own, but I’m working on being less of an only-child-lone-wolf stereotype) 🤣

I don’t get this whole thing about it apparently being standard procedure to block your ex from your entire life.

The fact that I am still friends with my ex raises a fair few eyebrows, but I honestly don’t understand the dramz.

Just because two people gave a relationship a go and it didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that they then have to proclaim their burning loathing for one another.

Seems to me like the only socially acceptable resolution to a relationship breakdown is to become sworn enemies the moment you change your Facebook relationship status to single.

Like... why?

(Obviously, there are exceptions. For example, if your ex cheated on you, emotionally or physically harmed you, or maliciously left you in the shit, then yeah, by all means, cut that ass-wipe out of your life.)

Sometimes I do feel bitter about some of the things that happened and the fact that I wasted years of my life in a relationship that wasn’t right for me. I wish I could shake 22 year old me the night I met my ex and tell her not to bloody bother. But that would then also mean erasing our first few very happy years together, which I don’t regret, despite how the relationship nosedived and ended.

The time wasted feeling unfulfilled is partly my fault, though, and I have no-one but myself to blame. I knew around a year before we broke up that I didn’t want to be with my partner anymore. I stupidly let things drift on for far too long, until it turned really sour. I should have had the balls to be honest and call it quits instead of convincing myself that things would one day return to that blissful ‘honeymoon phase.’

He did some dickhead things, but then, so did I.

I don’t agree with some of his life choices, and he doesn’t agree with some of mine.

He’s not going to change, and nor am I.

We’re two very different people with hugely contrasting interests and values.

Is he someone I could see myself romantically spending many more years with? No.

But ultimately, do I still like and respect him as a person? Very much so.

It’s important to remember that every single one of our relationships – both the failed and the flourished – teach us a series of valuable life lessons.

My relationship essentially taught me that I am not designed for relationships! No, seriously! I always kinda knew that I’d struggle being in a relationship due to the fact that I am fiercely independent and love my own company above anybody else’s. The breakdown of my long term relationship confirmed my suspicions: I’m happier flying solo.

It also taught me to listen to my gut instinct. If I ever do get into another relationship, God forbid, I’ll certainly be a lot more assertive if I feel things are going a bit Pete Tongue. I won’t spend 12 months wasting either my time or his, waiting for a change that just isn’t going to come.

Accept the situation for all of its highs and lows, learn from it, and move on without malice, where possible.

Personally I think situation-ships/ cohabiting are the way forward! Well, they are for me, anyway. I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want without being negatively invested in someone else’s shit, but I also have the nice elements of a ‘relationship,’ including having someone on hand to run up to McColls to buy me salted pretzels at 11 o’clock at night when it’s ‘that time of the month.’

I can go on holiday on my own (which was the one thing I missed the most while in a relationship), go on dates, and can basically prioritise my own happiness and wellbeing above anyone else’s.

I reckon that I’m going to be one of those coy 80 year olds who has a ‘gentleman friend’ that lives in a different house entirely and whom only burdens them once a week to provide light companionship at the garden centre.

And you know what? That’s totally fine by me!

I try not to dwell on the reasons why my ex and I didn’t work. The trick to retaining a friendship with your ex is to remember why you initially liked them in the first place. Not why you loved them, but why you liked them. What first drew you to their personality? These are the foundations of what will hopefully become your friendship.

My ex and I have the same sense of humour. We still regularly full-on belly laugh together.

He is someone I consider to be one of my best mates, and I’m grateful that we were mature enough to allow a friendship to blossom in place of a ‘failed’ romance.

We are, happily, a real-life example of Gwen Stefani’s song Cool.

Aged 22 and 24, on our first holiday in Prague. Baby faced and proper loved up 🤮🤣

'And it's such a miracle that you and me are still good friends. After all that we've been through... I know we're cool'

Cara Jasmine Bradley

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