The two split in January after five years of dating, and in a new piece for Vogue, the former Girls star gets candid about the moment they decided to go their separate ways, and recalls the "loneliness" she's felt since.
"We sat in our shared kitchen of nearly four years and quietly faced each other, acknowledging what nobody wanted to say," Dunham wrote. "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). 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, and I remember muttering, ‘But what if we still went on dates?' He laughed sadly. ‘Whatever you want.'"
Dunham said that she and Antonoff decided that he would stay in their apartment while she would temporarily move in with her parents. It wasn't until months later that she finally got her own place. The actress revealed that though she "used to love solitude," after her first relationship in college, "the independence I had so prized was replaced with a mourning that could be sated only by consistent male company."
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Lena Dunham and Jack Antonoff Split After 5 Years Together
It wasn't until a friend expressed concern over going out to dinner alone that Dunham realized that she hadn't eaten by herself in ages. "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,'" she said.
Eventually, the 31-year-old tested herself by taking baths, reading books, taking herself out to a restaurant and finally taking a walk alone in the country. She learned to "tolerate herself," but also mentioned a possible new relationship.
"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." Dunham then came up with things she liked to do alone, with a few ground rules: "Do not mention work, work dinners, or masturbation."
"[I'd say] ‘I'm good, just chugging along,'" she revealed of what she'd say when friends checked in on her. "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."