For Both Sides of a Breakup, the Cut talks to exes about how they got together and why they split up. Lindsay, 41, a designer, and Rasheed, 42, a photographer, had very different ideas about what they wanted out of life. In the end, these differences proved too much.
Lindsay: We met at a new-business meeting. My design firm wanted to work with his start-up, where he still worked at the time — he doesn’t work there anymore. We didn’t get the business. He flirted with me, which I thought was really unprofessional. But he was pretty hot, so I minded a little less.
Rasheed: She was pitching us, all confident and professional. But then I looked at her when she was kind of like, being normal and not a businesswoman, and I winked at her, which is so, SO cheesy but was just what my body did. And she laughed and rolled her eyes at me … and that was it. We both knew we were going to hang out another time, having nothing to do with work.
Lindsay: I feel like it’s such a classic situation, but on our first date, he said he definitely didn’t want kids. There was no wiggle room. No kids! I was like, Okay, you do your macho, nonconformist, I’m-so-independent thing. I’ll change your mind; you just wait and see.
Rasheed: Never wanted kids. I like my life. I travel all the time. I love my freedom. I’ll never give it up. I don’t understand what’s so confusing about that. It seems pretty straightforward to me. Lindsay always dismissed this fact about myself. Which was cute at first. She was all, “Oooh, you’re gonna love me so hard, I’ll have you in the palm of my hand.” But then it got not-cute!
Lindsay: So I was going to freeze my eggs, because I was 35 and dating a dude who didn’t want kids (whether I believed that or not). And at the doctor’s office, I found out that I wasn’t so fertile to begin with. My numbers weren’t great. This really freaked me out. I felt like I had everything working against me. At this point, Rasheed and I had been together a year, so I went straight to his apartment — he’d been laid off by now and was just freelancing as a photographer — and just bawled my eyes out to him. I was really scared for my future and my dreams.
Rasheed: I felt like she was manipulating me. I guess I was being paranoid, but the tears seemed insincere. And I really didn’t appreciate that. After she left my house that day, I was like, we have to break up. This is bad. I felt anxious about dating her suddenly. Like, it all comes down to trust and the whole thing felt staged to me. If I’m being perfectly honest, I didn’t even really believe her about the results from the doctor. I remember thinking: Is she just telling me this so I’ll come inside her?
Lindsay: He was nice, when I went over to his place and cried. It was good to have a “person.”
Rasheed: I was leaving for a month in Paris the next day. There was some photography work for me there. She was going to visit me. I didn’t know if I could go without breaking up with her first. It felt so urgent somehow.
Lindsay: The day he was supposed to leave for Paris, he texted me about getting a coffee. I hoped it was to say we could start trying for a baby. I’m such an idiot!
Rasheed: I told her the baby stuff and tears and doctor appointments … it was all too much for me. It wasn’t what I wanted in my life. She started crying. I felt really bad.
Lindsay: It was such a wake-up call. He’s giving me this whole spiel about what HE wants and what’s best for HIM, and I was just like … yuck. Bye. You’re gross. I basically stormed out of there and canceled my flight to Paris.
Rasheed: We never saw each other again. It was good we broke up. I have a girlfriend now; we’ve been dating for six months but were friends for almost ten years beforehand. She doesn’t want kids, and we split our time between Berlin and New York.
Lindsay: That all happened about five years ago. I don’t know what he’s up to now. But I got really lucky, with no major fertility problems in the end — I have a baby and another one on the way. My husband is someone I met on Tinder not long after Rasheed and I broke up. He’s a family man and never made me explain why that was important to me. The only unfortunate thing is, Rasheed and I did have a really fun, wild-spirited relationship and it would be nice to remember it fondly. Instead, I look back at it feeling kind of sick to my stomach. But maybe that’s just the morning sickness.