This story is over 5 years old.


We Asked People in Long-Term Relationships About Their Fantasies of Being Single

Admit it: we've all thought about the ex we'd get in touch with, the mustache we'd grow, the clumsy threesome we'd try and coordinate.

Double bed for one, please. Photo via pixabay

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada

Admit it, folks in long-term relationships: you've thought about it.

Whether you've been together two years or ten, whether it's been after a fight, a few pints, or just some casual soul-searching, there's been a moment where you imagined what your life could be if you were suddenly single. Some of us have even gone a step further, and have a full-fledged post-breakup fantasy; a crush from our past we'd get in touch with, a trip we'd take, a motorcycle we'd buy, a mustache we'd grow, a clumsy threesome we'd try and coordinate.


But like the Death Star plans in Star Wars, they're the sort of thing usually kept under heavy guard (for the record, my girlfriend's is frighteningly detailed). So with that in mind, we decided to shamelessly exploit a bunch of folks in committed relationships, and extract the intimate details of their secret breakup contingency plans.

Relationship status: dating for five years

I know exactly what I'd do. I'd go hook up with my old high school crush. No question. She's a girl I never got with. I had an opportunity last time I was single and I totally choked. And even worse, I didn't really realize how into it she was until much later (once I'd started dating my current girlfriend). If I was suddenly single today, even though I'm not sure I find that girl amazingly attractive anymore, that would be very high on my to-do list.

Relationship status: engaged, dating for two years

The first thing I would do if I was newly single would be to bask in the sweet freedom of starfishing in the open prairie of a double bed for one. God, I love sleeping alone. I'm an anxious insomniac and basically the worst bedmate ever: a too-light sleeper, a frequent toss-and-turner, and a sometime-snorer. My partner, on the other hand, falls into a deep, snuffly sleep seconds after switching off the light. These days, my best, most REM-filled moments of sleep take place on weekday mornings between 6 and 7:30 AM, when my partner gets up early for work and I have the bed to myself for a while.

I would also be so curious to try online dating. I'm one of those annoying people who is almost constantly in some kind of serious relationship, and for this reason I've missed the good ship Tinder by a country mile (by the time online dating was a thing, I was ensconced in seemingly-interminable cohabitation). I'd rekindle my love of dining out, attending concerts, and going to movies alone. You can always find a spot near the stage when you're at a concert by yourself, and going to movies alone means you can acceptably take up two seats just for you: one for me, one for my jacket, Nibs, and enormous bag of popcorn-dinner I'll have no shame about digesting strangely later, ideally in my own apartment where I live alone.


Relationship status: dating over five years

If I suddenly found myself single, the first thing I would do is get out of my girlfriend's social circle, to avoid fucking all (or most) of her friends. That way it would be okay if I fucked, like, one of her friends. Then I would reclaim my artistic passions. Make loud music, make an obscene collage, and go on a road trip to nowhere by myself at high speeds.

Relationship status: dating three years

I'd head out of town and hook up with my last ex. It sounds weird, but I think he'd be good for rebound sex. I don't care about him anymore, and when I was with him, I was a bit of a mouse—in sex and in life. I only ever had two orgasms with him. And now that I've been in a relationship where I've actually been having regular orgasms, I'd like to go back in a context where I could say, "Um. Actually, you did it wrong for all those years, and you need to do this instead." It would feel a bit like scoring a win for my younger self. I find that when I'm single, I'm more likely to try new things. If I don't have something to occupy me, I can get pretty depressed. The last time I was single, I tried slam poetry. Maybe I'd do pottery. Find a new hobby that isn't a boy.

Relationship status: dating three years

I'd throw out my earplugs and enjoy the first night of not being woken up by snoring in years. Also, I'd give the dog her side of the bed; it's not big enough for the three of us as it is.

I've had this dream for years of a Golden Summer—this time when I ride my bike everywhere, work rarely, and have just a shit-ton of very casual sex with a small stable of people who are on the same page (I used to have a good idea of who those people would be, but all of them are in their own relationships now). I'd probably also grow a beard and spend some time living in a sweet camper van, both things I'd like to have done, but aren't super popular with the current administration.

Relationship status: dating three years

My partner and I already have a trip booked through Southeast Asia, and if I were single, I just wouldn't come home. I didn't originally want to have a return date, but when you have somebody else involved, you have to make decisions that work for the both of you. If we were suddenly not together, I'd go, and just stay until my money ran out.

Beyond that, I'd explore dating other genders. I mean, I have the opportunity to do that now, but as a single person, there'd be more opportunity to do it on my own terms. And I'd start drinking again… So I'd probably end up going on a really slutty, drunken tear through Asia. That's essentially what would happen. Just a promiscuous mess through another country. Or multiple countries. Or maybe I'd only get through one, and then die or something. It's hard to say.

Jesse Donaldson is a Vancouver writer.