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Simply Solo Spotlight: Getting Dumped in Paris

November 29, 2011
Happy Simply Solo Spotlight Tuesday! Today’s guest post is by the wonderful Ms. Ella Coquine who writes Tales from the Chambre de Bonne, a diary of her year in Paris after a painful broken engagement. After reading and commenting on Ella’s post, be sure to check out her blog – it’s a great read!
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

Getting Dumped in Paris

I have always been someone who was tough when it came to relationships and even tougher when it came to break-ups. I accepted them as a fact of life and never believed in the fantasy of forever. My parents divorced before I learned how to tie my shoes and I was well-aware of my awful former stepfather’s infidelities. Did this destroy my idea of love? I would like to think not. I know that I didn’t enter my adult life with the idea of happily ever after. Ironically this cynic moved to Paris; the most romantic city in the world.

I moved to The City of Light by myself in early 2009, at first as a sabbatical which then turned into me planting down some serious roots as I grew into my adult life and kissed my frivolous 20s goodbye. I found a job, made some friends, found an apartment and fell in love – head over heels in love. Monsieur Flâneur and I met several months after my wide-eyed and bushy-tailed arrival at the Charles de Gaulle airport, and for the first time in my life, I experienced kismet.

Within a matter of weeks, I had infiltrated his life where weekends were spent with his family in the suburbs or at cocktail parties at chic Parisian apartments with his friends. After several months, I moved in with him in the bohemian part of Paris and we were so sure that we were made for one another that we planned to marry in early 2012. Little by little, our perfect love story unraveled and became increasingly unbearable. This was due to his inability to honor commitments, specifically in regard to other people’s time, as well as his lack of problem solving skills where the slightest hiccup would turn into a three-part dramatic mini-series made for television. I was constantly warned by his family that he was notoriously difficult, and they praised me for being able to handle his intensity and selfishness. Life together was difficult, but I didn’t have the strength to end things because I loved him

Paris, drawing, rain, umbrella

Images courtesy of Fifi Flowers, developed specifically for this guest post. Aren't they beautiful?

and figured that we could weather whatever storm was currently dominating our relationship. When he ended things on a cold, rainy February night, the person who I was irrationally angry with was not my Monsieur Flâneur but Grégoire, my former French teacher. I was angry with him because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have understood the hurtful words that were being said to me. Having your heart broken in French was not exactly what I had in mind when I enrolled in language classes three years ago.

Like my mother, I dated my share of colorful gentlemen who came and thankfully went and was frustrated because I wasn’t moving on at the speed that I had in the past. There was Adam, the filmmaker in L.A. who grew impatient with me because I didn’t immediately recognize his pretentious and obscure film references and who thought that an enjoyable date for me was to watch him “make music” on his Casio keyboard. He broke up with me because he found my Christina Aguilera Back to Basics double CD. Then there was James the “grad student” in New York who overall was a nice guy but did stupid things that I excused for what I thought was his inexperience with women. He broke up with me because he couldn’t live with the lie he as living – he was only 18 years old and was actually a freshman in undergrad. I was 27 at the time. Then there was Lucien, the pseudo-intellectual in Paris who used to hold food that I was about to eat up against my thigh to demonstrate where it would go next and was under the misguided belief that when I had my period, it meant that I was open to having anal sex in place of intercourse. He broke up with me because he thought I wasn’t skinny or adventurous enough. All these break-ups left me disappointed, but not crushed, and eventually thankful that these losers left my life. I was desperately waiting for this epiphany to come in regard to Monsieur Flâneur, but our unexpected ending left me emotionally paralyzed.

Drawing, computer and Eiffel Tower, Paris scenery
Image courtesy of Fifi Flowers

The weeks after the break-up went by like molasses where his absence was deafening. In a matter of weeks, my French dream turned into a Parisian nightmare. This sudden change in scenery put me into a deep depression and I didn’t know how to pull myself out of it. I started a blog as a way to vent and try to make sense of the madness that had ensued. Instead of focusing on my grief, I began highlighting one positive thing I could do per day to improve and learn from this misfortune. While I’d like to say that everything changed and my life was better than ever after 30 days, I can’t because I don’t live in a Nora Ephron Rom-Com. What I can say is that during this time of isolation, I learned a lot about myself, as well as experienced a plethora of challenging situations turning my blog into a series of tragically comedic episodes and short stories.

Life kicked my ass this year but I believe that everything happens the way they are supposed to and just living with my ex-fiancé in Paris wasn’t enough, my life expected more from me. As a result of the break-up, I was being forced to learn, experience, suffer and overcome. Has this year been difficult? Absolutely. Do I wish that the break-up never happened? I’m finally in a place where I can see that it was necessary for personal growth. I would not be who I am today without these hardships; a survivor who can persevere after being dealt a shitty deck of cards and know that laughter is the best medicine for a broken heart.

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Button permalink
    November 29, 2011 9:59 am

    Quite a story, I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult year and it’s so good to hear you turned it into personal growth. I also admire your bravery to move to such a new place on your own! The one thing I would say, and likely you’ve thought about this before, is that what really sticks out to me from your other relationship-recap is that despite seeing their issues, you wait for the male to break up with you… Its been hard for me in my own experience to learn, but there’s a personal strength built into saying “this doesn’t work for me.” In a non-egotistical sense, you gotta be the #1 person looking out for yourself.

    • November 29, 2011 11:05 am

      Thanks Button! Good point you’ve made. I’ve always had a problem with saying no. I guess I had just hoped that they would return back to the person that I fell in love with at the beginning of the relationship. With Monsieur, I should have kicked his French ‘cul’ to the curb months before he ended things!!!! He was such a piece of merde!!

      Thanks for commenting! : )

  2. November 29, 2011 12:13 pm

    I tried to “like” this post by clicking on the button but couldn’t because I don’t have an account. No matter — because I would rather click on a button that says “really like” or “love” this post. Bravo, kudos and well-done. It’s obvious that you wrote it from the heart. Live and learn. That’s all that we can do. That and getting to know yourself and what makes you (and not someone else) happy.

    Great images by Fifi Flowers! The one of you (?) with the cheerful umbrella goes perfectly with the post.

    • November 29, 2011 5:21 pm

      Thank you so much MK!!! Yes, live and learn. I know that something like this isn’t likely to happen again but you know what by ill fate it does, I’ll certainly respond differently. Wiser and calmer. As always thank you for support on the blog. : )

      And definitely kudos to Fifi! She’s so talented!! I’m grateful that she donates images of her artwork to support the saga of Ella Coquine.

  3. November 29, 2011 12:34 pm

    Beautiful and touching post Ella! It reminds me of my past break-ups and hardships as well. But, all the ‘merde’ has made me stronger and I agree that laughter is the best medicine, and that time (and writing/art/therapy) heals better than you think. We grow and move on to better things, a better life! Life is circular, pain and disappointment will not disappear, but we learn how to cope better and refine our judgement and lifestyle choices. Cheers!

    • November 29, 2011 5:25 pm

      Hello Miss D! Thank you very much. : )

      “Refine our judgement”..I like that. I have to keep this in mind more. That has been the theme of this year. I always see the best in people and hope that they would have my best interests as I have theirs. This year taught me that isn’t always the case. But as MK said we ‘live and learn’. Here’s to a beautiful holiday season and a better 2012.

      Again, thank you for your kind words. : )

      • November 30, 2011 5:21 am

        Hi Ella!

        I also want to add: Therapy is great. It is often taboo, not to mention expensive, but it sometimes takes a professional to help us efficiently get out of our pattern or choice-making, to find clarity, learn to say no/yes, get over childhood trauma, to make better/to help with life choices, etc… It’s amazing what you can discover about yourself with a professional, being a patient one often ends up saying “Wow, I never thought of it that way…”

        “Here’s to a beautiful holiday season and a better 2012.” A large vin chaud (and free samples of foie gras sur pain at the xmas market) to that!!!

        And when you’re a best-selling author I hope to get an autograph!

  4. November 29, 2011 12:54 pm

    “He broke up with me because he found my Christina Aguilera Back to Basics double CD.”

    I laughed out loud at this part — specifically because I often fear that the men I date will find out that I have an affinity for Michael Bolton!

    (But guess what: The current man in my life — for 2.5 years thus far — didn’t even balk!!!)

    Great post. Those of us who’ve been through bitter breakups (and I can definitely relate) eventually figure out that it all happens for a reason. But that’s such a tough pill to swallow while you’re going through it.

    Good for you, Ella, for finding your voice so soon after your situation! It took me about 2 years to start writing after my bat-sh*t crazy divorce…


    • November 29, 2011 5:31 pm

      Hi Mikalee!

      Cheers to you having a guy who lets you indulge and “celebrate the entire catalog” of Micheal Bolton! Because at the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter!! Right?! I love ‘Love is a Wonderful Thing’ btw….

      and Back to Basics is such a fun album…that guy was such a jerk!!! It’s much better to be with someone who let’s you express you interests, whether they’re cool or not!

      Thank you so much for writing! And cheers to you for moving on from a rough divorce! Love is such a tricky thing, eh?

  5. November 29, 2011 3:20 pm

    well well. I just loved this. it seems you and I have a lot in common. Although I did not break off an engagement in Paris, rather just turned down a proposal. But I am now almost 30 and cannot count the messed up relationships I’ve had.

    I broke off my engagement two months ago by literally calling movers and moving my stuff out while he was at work. It was the only way i could bare to do it. Yea, i’m probably selfish but he has now realized it was truly for the best. We had given it two tries and sometimes you have to throw in the towel.

    So, from one formerly engaged broken hearted many times over girl living in chicago – i say that i feel ya. And whenever there is even the smallest bit of doubt, that usually means that it’s not right. you did the right thing. you know that. it’s just hard and will be for awhile. even in the most beautiful city in the world. although i’d argue florence 😉

    enjoyed your post very much

    • November 29, 2011 5:49 pm

      Wow! That’s brave! Now i have to know, what happened when he came home and saw that you had left?! What was that phone call like? But you’re right, after two tries you’ve got to move on because sometimes the shoe really doesn’t fit.

      I too was planning on moving out while he was at work to end things because things had gotten so bad but he dumped me before I got the chance to. Good thing he did, this process would have taken so much longer and not sure if I would have ever mustered the courage to do it.

      I’m really enjoying your blog, by the way!

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. November 29, 2011 10:03 pm

    “Having your heart broken in French was not exactly what I had in mind when I enrolled in language classes three years ago.” Brilliant.

    Beautiful piece. Very moving and certainly something we can all relate to. Thank you for your honesty, and I admire your positivity very much.

    • November 30, 2011 3:08 am

      Thank you, Larissa! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It means a lot to me. Comments like yours and everyone else’s is the true reward for blogging.

      Thank you again.

  7. November 30, 2011 3:50 am

    Brilliant!!! I love this, not because you had your heart broken (in French, ouch) what I love is that you’ve come out the other end a much stronger, together and enlightened person. It’s so refreshing that you can share this with a fabulous humour and no trace of self pity.

    I sincerely wish you all the best and hope your dreams come true… whatever they may be xxx

    • November 30, 2011 4:29 am

      Thank you Kristi!

      At the time, it felt like the end of the world but now I feel confidant that I can do anything! It’s empowering.

      Thank you for your kind wishes. : )

  8. November 30, 2011 8:04 am

    I love your writng style – it’s honest, funny and insightful. I

  9. Duchesse permalink
    November 30, 2011 9:18 am

    Your 20’s sound suspiciously like mine… it gets better, trust me!;) (And the stronger you get, the more fabulous it gets:))

    I find that when I started accepting life’s lessons as opportunities for personal growth, everything just sorta fell into place and I started to enjoy an embarrassment of riches:) I’m sure it’ll be the same for you:)

    Duchesse xoxo

    • November 30, 2011 9:56 am

      Awww Duchess! my very first reader!! Thank you!!! I always love reading your pearls of wisdom. Thank you for your support since the beginning. : )

      I am already starting to see things turn around for me…although I spent half the day scrubbing newly discovered red wine stains out of the rug courtesy of you-know-who. Not so fabulous but on a whole, I’m doing pretty well. I finally cut off ALL of the fat on the meat and am surrounded by some pretty incredible people who encourage and inspire me. Enfin! Putain… 😛

      Ella xo

  10. November 30, 2011 5:41 pm

    So, after reading this post, I had to check out your blog. Your writing is too funny! I love it and am so jealous of you for being able to pick up and move to Paris! I will definitely continue to follow you! You have inspired me to become more committed in my blog writing! 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 10:35 am

      Thank you so much! Yes, the move was daring. I didn’t know anyone, My French was horrid and I was constantly getting lost! Oh, the glory days….

      Please email me your blog address, I’d love to check it out!

  11. November 30, 2011 8:21 pm

    Bravo… great post! I can relate after going through a breakup and calling off my wedding not too long ago. My favorite line was your closing, “a survivor who can persevere after being dealt a shitty deck of cards and know that laughter is the best medicine for a broken heart.”

    • December 1, 2011 10:39 am

      Thank you! So how are you doing after a called-off wedding? It’s emotionally exhausting no matter who does the calling off, it must have been hard for you to take that step. I say Bravo! There was obviously a reason.

      Bouncing back certainly takes some time but once you get through it, there’s a sense of relief and almost confidence that you can overcome anything.

      And yes, laughter is the best medicine. I don’t where I’d be without my sense of humor!

      Thanks for commenting!

  12. January 14, 2012 10:13 pm

    The updated web address for Tales from the Chambre de Bonne is now:


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