The Ex Project

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I scribbled down another emotion, this time writing it in bold capital letters. Even my writing was angry.

HATE

Jason simply raised his eyebrows as he wrote beside it;

Love

Well. All he had to do was write the opposite emotion to what I wrote, so it was easy for him. I scowled as I wrote again.

Betrayed

"That isn't an emotion," he argued, as I glared at him.

"Well, it's how I feel. Which is an emotion, Jason."

"You still feel betrayed? That means you still care, right?"

"Fuck off."

"It's supposed to instigate a conversation between us, Charlotte."

"You know this because you're a serial fuck up, Jason," I shot back, as he groaned.

"Great. We established you thought that in session one. Are you ever going to get over it?" he snapped, as I stared at him in shock.

"My God, finally the real you appears."

"I'm bored of listening to you tell me how much of a dick I am. Just let's get this shit done with already," his eyes flashed with anger as he sat back, dropping his pen onto the floor.

This was new. He had been reasonably nice up until now, but he had clearly given up.

"This shit? The official end of our relationship?"

He yawned then, and I had to turn away. I wanted to punch him repeatedly in the mouth, and I didn't trust myself to stop if I started.

"This doesn't work, it's the stupidest fucking idea ever."

I turned to see a man beside me, folding his arms and glaring straight ahead.

"Did you cheat?" I asked, as he glanced at me.

"No, she did."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

He sighed as the woman beside him glared at me, before making a circle with her fingers, as though she wanted me to turn around.

"Maybe you should focus on your own relationship, before trying to come on to my boyfriend," she snapped icily, as my mouth fell open in surprise. I didn't need to respond as Jason interrupted.

"There's nothing to focus on apparently. I'm a dick, and that's all there is to it. If this was how fucking shitty our relationship really was then I don't want it either."

I stared at him as he wrote a word in bold letters across the poster.

Hopeless.

"You're not supposed to write-"

"But I did. Because I don't care anymore Charlotte. Three more sessions and you will never have to speak to me again."

I didn't say anything, I just stared at the poster. For every word I'd wrote, he had wrote something positive. I know he had to, but he had wrote so quickly it was almost like he meant it.

"If you could be here by choice, would you? That's the question I want you to answer as-" the voice of the group leader was interrupted by a snort from across the room.

"Absolutely not."

"Very well, Rachel. But some of you here do want to salvage your relationship. So for the remainder of this session I'm going to ask you to do this. If you feel your relationship could work- for example if trust was rebuilt, if money were no object, if everyone accepted your relationship- whatever the obstacle to continuing this relationship is- I will ask you to stay beside your partner. This doesn't mean you are back together-"

There were murmurs around the room as wide eyed people took in others reactions. Beside me Jason remained completely still, his arms folded as I swallowed.

"Please, be quiet. So if you think it would work, providing a magic wand could be waved over the emotional part of the problem, stay where you are. If you think there is absolutely no way, then you are free to leave."

There was a brief silence in the room, as I felt my hands go clammy. The issue with Jason and I was trust- and if they could somehow make me trust him again- would I stay with him? It was such a hard question. On one hand, it wasn't just the issue of trust he had broken. He had destroyed our friendship, disrespected me beyond anything. So respect had been scuppered too.

Respect.

Trust.

Magic wand.

I turned to him, sneaking a glance at his face as he stared at the ceiling. He looked like he was incredibly pissed off, his jaw clenching as he exhaled. Then his eyes met mine.

"You're still here," he pointed out smugly, as I threw him a disgusted look.

"Because they are speaking hypothetically. They don't have a magic wand. But if they did, all would be well wouldn't it."

"Would it?"

I chose not to answer him, instead watching as a couple before us gazed at each other as if with new eyes. The change was significant, but they simply smiled like they knew. My heart swelled as I saw her hand creep towards his, as he smiled broadly.

I tore my eyes away, as I noticed the leader watch as many people stood up to leave.

This was so sad.

I noticed there were only three couples left; us, the couple opposite us and another couple I'd barely noticed before.

"Ok, well that's good. It means you have one significant problem. Now I want you to speak to one another and see if you can both agree on what that one issue is."

"Its trust. But it's also respect. If-"

"It's trust. I do respect you, always have. But you don't trust me anymore," he said quietly, examining his fingers as I shrugged.

"I guess. But you disrespected me by doing that."

The leader walked over to the centre, clapping her hands to get my attention.

"Ok, let's start with Yolanda and Timothy. Have you agreed what your main issue is?"

"Yes. Trust."

The other couple agreed this was their reason too, and of course we said the same.

"Trust, once broken, is incredibly hard to get back. But you can get it back, of the relationship is worth fighting for," the woman smiled, as she handed each couple an envelope.

Jason took ours, casting a curious glance in my direction. I stared at the envelope, as he handed it to me. He knew I liked to be in control at all times, so this was just an old habit of his.

"As each of your relationships didn't have complaints from either party about any form of abuse, we are pleased to offer you the Trust Exercise. This means you have an checklist to adhere to, and after you have completed it, you will come back here and we will continue. But there is one rule. You cannot see other people sexually or romantically whilst this is happening."

She smiled at us as I ripped open the envelope hearing her heels click as she walked away. The folded sheet of paper fell into my hands, as I read the first task.

Swap mobile phones for three days.

I let out a nervous laugh as Jason frowned at me.

"What does it say?"

"Like you haven't been through this already," I sighed, as he shook his head.

"No. Theres never been anyone I've wanted to stay for."

I closed my eyes, hating that I had to do this in order to finalise the end of our relationship. To prove there was no point.

"We have to swap phones."

"What?!"


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