Love, Awkwardly - Episode One: The Clean Break

How does one end a five-year relationship with someone? In past decades, a heart to heart conversation would have sufficed. In the eighties, a John Hughes-inspired dance floor break up may have commenced. As I learned last year, the common way to cut the string on a relationship in the 2000s is easier than you might have thought, and summed up in one simple word: Facebook. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, as it basically paints you out to be the tool of the town. But for those with testicles the size of frozen blueberries, it's a pretty easy and clean way to deal with things.
The ultimate icing on the cake is that my now ex chose to wait until I left our home for the day, and catch me during my shift at work while I was on the now loathed Facebook chat feature. Mid shift, a message popped up, and a conversation soon took place that would alter the course of my love life. A small pop up on the bottom of my screen, abrasively reading "Hey, I don't think this is working for me anymore." Confused, I rebutted with "What isn't." A one word ending, brisk with a sting: "Us." When I tell people I was broken up with on Facebook, they either laugh or presume I'm joking. In hindsight, it seems pretty fucking post-modern and hilarious. At the time, I was more enraged than amused.
On my walk home that day, staring off into the rainy Vancouver skies, little did I know what was ahead of me – something altogether new and unheard of. Something called dating. Gulp. From the time I was nineteen until early last year, I was in a relationship with the same person. Coming from a very traditional small town, I never experienced much in the way of dating, romance, or sex. Oh, little did I know the joys and terrors that lay ahead of me. Much as it was awkward to not have my first kiss until 19, it was equally awkward to try dating for the first time at 24. You see, as soon as I arrived in this beautiful city almost six years ago, I found myself not dating, but immediately paired with and living with someone who I would be with for five years. Ridiculous, right? I missed out on those awkward teen romances, and uncomfortable early twenties dating pools. Well, now it's all been about playing catch up.
In day-to-day actions, in customer service jobs, and transit run-ins, I had learned just how bizarre human beings can be. But when you actually attempt dating them, a whole new Pandora's box is opened: one filled with tortured creatures of every type. Each specimen remains a ticking time bomb that erupts at the most random and inopportune time, but each accompanied by a priceless and curious story to tell friends over drinks. Everyone has these stories, sure. But it wasn't until this year that I was able to know just exactly what this dating world was all about. And I'm not sure if I'm better or worse off because of that.
In the coming weeks, I will indulge you with the socially bizarre individuals I've met along the way.

JJ Brewis is a student at Capilano University. He writes on his experience as a mid-twenties gay man who suddenly finds himself single for the first time since teenage years, and attempts the reverse order of dating after a relationship.

JJ Brewis Columnist

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