Unfortunately, that’s exactly how Lena Dunham kicked off 2018. In January, we learned that she and ex boyfriend Jack Antonoff—musician, Taylor Swift and Lorde collaborator, cutie—split after five years of love, lust, and talk of a possible engagement.
In a new essay for Vogue, Dunham writes about the end of their relationship, explaining they “evolved separately,” and that their hearts ached from “trying so hard to fix it but no longer uncertain about whether or not we could.” To complicate things, the couple lived together, and the 31-year-old explains how tough it is to continue cohabitating with your ex. “Our home, a sprawling loft bought when we brimmed with shared plans for each room, was no longer a space of comfort,” she writes.
Despite an adolescent disposition for solitude, Dunham says she found it hard to learn how to create a space for herself without him. “Now, security blanket removed, folded and shipped to some distant warehouse, I moved in with my parents and lay across their space bed texting everyone I knew, ‘sup?’” Eventually, Dunham made progress, telling her friends she’s “just chugging along” and revealing that despite making a new home for herself, she still mourned for their shared space.
But how, exactly, did she learn to let go? Below, the Lena Dunham step-by-step guide to a break up.
Move in with your parents. Hopefully, they live in the same city.
“We made the mutual decision that he would keep our home (he’s always loved it fiercely, while I got anxiety in the elevator), and I would regroup at my parents’ place, ten minutes away by cab.”
Take a bath so ridiculously long you probably don’t have time for it.
“I started slowly, with a bath, the kind that lasts so long you resemble a Shar-Pei, the kind where the water goes from scalding to fairly drinkable, the kind you let drain around your shivering body as you remember moles you’d forgotten dotted your abdomen. I found that the bath was a good starting place because bathing alone is natural, something you might even do with someone in the other room Skyping their cousin or playing video games.”
Stock up on some dusty Emily Dickinson and E.E. Cummings books. And a Danish.
“I read a poetry book cover to cover sitting at the kitchen counter while my parents were out for the night enjoying a more active social life than I do, double-fisting leftover Danish.”
This one’s tough: go to dinner alone.
“Then I stepped into a restaurant not far from the house and asked for the table by the window, where I ordered only tea and a bread basket but considered it a start.”
Leave the city, hit the boonies.
“Finally, four months after the end, I found myself spending a weekend in the country, and I stepped outside and away from my companions, onto a gravel path, and in the dimming pink of the sunset I began along my way.”
Tell your parents sayonara, find a new space.
“The new apartment was temporary, clean and corporate, and soon the movers would stack nearly 70 small boxes, inefficiently but lovingly packed (a dish between two items of clothing, a trophy crushing a wide-brimmed hat) by the man with whom I once shared a humming home.”
Highlight your hobbies.
“I made a list, on actual paper, of things I like to do, activities that bring me joy, pursuits that nourish me (the ground rules: Do not mention work, work dinners, or masturbation. This is purely a list of useless but fulfilling stuff, like beading).”
Et voila! No better recipe for heartache.