real life

'He promised me our breakup would be respectful. Then I found a woman's bracelet on my bedside table.'


If I’m honest, I knew deep down he wasn’t The One.

I was 21 and desperate to move to London after finishing university. Instead, I was living in a small northern town with the boyfriend I’d met on my course because I’d temporarily managed to convince myself that my relationship was more important than my career (he, categorically, did not want to live in London.)

Cracks began to show. I was working in a job I hated and my only friend was a colleague (who was much older, married and had her own sh*t going on.) The rest of the time, I hung out with my boyfriend and his friends.

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On Sundays he would play footy with his pub team (who literally treated half-time as a cigarette break) and I’d watch freezing from the sidelines thinking, what the hell am I doing with my life?

I wanted to be in London. Forging a career, making new friends, living an exciting life in a vibrant city.

I knew this comfortable, but quite frankly, boring, existence in a small town – where the highlight of the week was the roast dinner that warmed me up after watching a bunch of wheezing men having a kick about – was not what I wanted.

And it seemed my boyfriend had cottoned on to this fact.

One Friday evening, I drove home from work. When I walked into the house, he was standing in the lounge with his coat on, a bag slung over his shoulder.


“You’re not happy, are you?” he said.

Even though the answer was no, I felt my legs turn to jelly, as slumped down on the couch.

In a conversation that lasted no more than 10 minutes, we agreed that was it. It was over.

I would stay in the home we had shared while I worked out my next move. He would be across town at his parents’ place.

“Take your time with everything,” he said. “I want to be as respectful as possible.”

And then he left.

I lay on our bed and cried. Even though I knew we were doing the right thing, I was still heartbroken.

The next few days were tough and it was sad being in the house by myself, sitting on the couch we had saved for, eating at the table where we’d shared countless meals.

I decided to book a spa stay for the upcoming weekend, for a bit of self care and a change of scene.

Out of courtesy, I texted my ex to let him know where I was going to be.

“In that case, do you mind if I stay in the house this weekend?” he replied. “I’m going out with some mates and the club is way closer to our place.”

I told him that was fine.

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On the Sunday night, I returned home from the spa. To my relief, there was no sign of my ex’s car in the driveway. But as soon as I put my key in the lock, a bad feeling came over me.


The house was in darkness. I went upstairs to find the bed completely unmade and a half drunk beer on the bedside table.

So much for respectful, I thought. He’d couldn’t even be bothered to tidy up after himself.

Then something caught my eye, twinkling beside the beer bottle – a woman’s diamond bracelet.

I picked it up, knowing even before I did that it wasn’t one of mine.

I phoned him, demanding to know who he’d been in at the house with.

“No one…oh, I mean… my friend’s girlfriend popped in… she needed the loo… she must have wanted a look around the bedroom…and dropped her bracelet and… oh. I… I’m so sorry.”

His lies fell apart in seconds.

“We’re not together anymore!” he spat, in a final lame attempt to defend his actions.

But it wasn’t about that, and he knew it.

It was about respect.

And sleeping with someone else a week after we split up, in our house, in our bed, and not even bothering to hide the evidence? There was nothing respectful about that.

Although I was hurt and desperate to know who his little friend was (he refused to tell me) it made things easier. I no longer pottered around the house, looking at our shared belongings with sadness. I just wanted to get out.

Eventually, I got a job in London and a friend agreed to rent me her spare room. I was happy to be moving on. I just wished our breakup had been the respectful one I was promised.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. A stock image has been used. 

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