Lena Dunham Opens Up About Jack Antonoff Breakup, Regaining Independence
"The finality nearly killed me," she wrote in 'Vogue' about breaking up with Antonoff after six years of dating.
Five months after calling it quits with longtime boyfriend Jack Antonoff, Lena Dunham has finally addressed the breakup in piece for Vogue published on Friday.
The Girls creator and star details what caused the pair to split up, which happened in December, in the story. “We sat in our shared kitchen of nearly four years and quietly faced each other, acknowledging what nobody wanted to say. That obsessive connection had turned to blind devotion, and the blinders were coming off to reveal that we had evolved separately (the least shocking reason of all and perhaps the most common),” she wrote. “That anger wasn’t sexy or sustainable. That our hearts were still broken from trying so hard to fix it but no longer uncertain about whether or not we could. The finality nearly killed me.”
“Our home, a sprawling loft bought when we brimmed with shared plans for each room, was no longer a space of comfort,” she wrote about their apartment, which Antonoff continued to live in following the breakup.
Dunham recalled the times in high school she wrote “poems about the solitude [she] was actually relishing.” She added, “My independence was still novel, and every day felt like an opportunity to indulge in my own company, to soak in it like a bubble bath.”
While she was once a fan of spending time alone, Dunham admitted that her six-year relationship with Antonoff didn’t leave her much time for solitude. “Even if some people like to be alone, nobody likes to be lonely. It’s been the subject of more art than can be consumed in a lifetime, the human aversion to loneliness and also the way we attune ourselves to it, become entrenched in a routine that isolates us,” she wrote. She added that the constant use of social media may be a facade for the lack of one’s social life. “Too much has been said about the way technology allows us to experience the illusion of connection and retreat further into hermetic patterns, but it bears repeating that texts, emails, Facebook pokes and Twitter faves do not a social life make. People are, it would seem, lonelier than ever and also less used to being alone.”
The actress also explained how a conversation with a friend about eating alone reminded her that it had been a while since she had dined out by herself. “It was that pesky six-year relationship and the habits of someone unused to venturing out without a companion’s prodding,” she said. “For an exquisite moment, rather than mourn the loss of my partner, I mourned the loss of my bravery. I used to have no problem staring into the face of the hostess when I said, ‘Just one for dinner, thank you.’ ”
Dunham then recalled the point in her relationship with Antonoff when it “had unbraided itself.” She admitted that she would often “fantasize” about having her own space. “But that was easy to imagine with a living, breathing body beside me, the constant option to call someone and complain about the chaos of my day or the stain on my skirt or the irritatingly apologetic way in which the woman at the pharmacy had asked for two forms of I.D.,” she wrote. Following the breakup, she moved in with her parents and often found herself texting everyone she knew.
While Antonoff was often out of town for work during the relationship, Dunham recalled that his presence was always palpable in their apartment. In an effort to start enjoying time to herself, she turned to taking baths. She wrote, “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.”
Dunham eventually began going out to restaurants by herself and even spent a solo weekend in the country four months after the breakup. “I had not, for once, succumbed to the numbing effect that sleep can have on the grieving. I had not demanded that my entire family join me in the TV room to rewatch a sitcom,” she wrote. “I had made the choice to face the world—trees, sky, even a rude, shoe-thieving neighborhood dog named Rico—on my own, with the power and presence of someone who can tolerate herself.”
She eventually moved out of her parents’ place, though she admitted that the pain from the breakup was still very much part of her life. "Someone would be coming over soon, the electric current of new romance in the air," she wrote. "But I was still defining myself by what I had lost."
“My new pastime was making the quiet all right for myself, defining my boundaries so that I had space to dream. I made a list, on actual paper, of things I like to do, activities that bring me joy, pursuits that nourish me,” said Dunham.
Dunham concluded the piece by stating that she is still in the process of healing. As friends continued calling to check in on her, she recalled finally feeling comfortable enough to give them believable answers. "[I'd say] 'I'm good, just chugging along,' " she wrote. "But if I were being honest I'd answer them by saying that my heart could still ache for one home as I returned to myself in another."