By Ed English
Before making that big move-in with a special someone, you should know: When you break up, your home isn’t where the heart is anymore. Not as you knew it, anyway. There’s, you know, the inevitable haunting. This isn’t a “Casper the Friendly Ghost” haunting; I’m talking full-blown exorcist. Head spinning and all.
Of course, when I say “home,” I don’t just mean your physical living space – though surely any smiling photos you still have nestled away of your ex will certainly now look “supernatural.” Your home is also all the places you and your boyfriend used to go and enjoy as a couple: the supermarkets, the bars, the bathhouses (no judgment!). It’s the familiar settings that make you feel like home, and because there are only so many gay places to go in metro Detroit, you’re destined for a potentially awkward run-in.
See, metro Detroit’s gay community is smaller than a Pocket Gay. So small that everyone knows said Pocket Gay, and everyone has their own Grindr story about said Pocket Gay. But I digress. Because of our community’s sheerness, wee-ness, tininess, there are only a pocketful of hangouts where we homos can go that are exclusively gay. These hangouts are “home,” too.
As couples, we shape these homes together into cozy nooks. And just like the physical space we share, these places reflect our taste as a couple.
There’s “our” favorite coffee shop in Ferndale. There’s “our” favorite place to eat in Detroit. “Our” favorite places to go on the weekend.
It wasn’t a week after our breakup when I saw my last ex at “our” Whole Foods shopping on “our” market day. “For fuck’s sake!” I thought. “Is this the only Whole Foods in Detroit?” Turns out, it is.
This is a critical encounter for anyone recently single. It’s when you have to decide how bad you want this turf. For myself, I wasn’t about to duke it out for $10 strawberries. So I consciously decided to relinquish organic grocery stores as “his” territory. By the same token, it’s like moving out and deciding which one of you gets the couch.
So while breakups are never easy, we ask the same questions: Was it all for nothing? Maybe he never loved me at all? Maybe we just needed some time a part? With enough negotiating, dividing the home you built as a couple can be refreshingly simple.
You don’t have to hide out. In fact, you shouldn’t. You’ve got to get out and reclaim “your” territories. Your bar. Your Whole Foods. Your heart. And remember: cocktail hour at aut BAR is non-negotiable. That’s yours.