Your guide to cleansing after uncoupling.
Inevitably, your city wears the residue of your past relationships. There’s that one local pizza place where you fought on the sidewalk, that one corner where you made up. That meal, that park, that bridge.
Less darkly romantic or fundamentally nostalgic, though, is the taint your former significant others leave on the interior of your own home—a space far less avoidable than that one downtown pizza counter. No matter how deeply amicable, or kind, or circumstantial the nature of your break-up, your living space is left with the lingering reminder of someone else. And for obvious reasons, this tends to hit hardest in the bedroom—a space you have no choice but to occupy with just as much frequency as you did pre-uncoupling.
So, how do you reclaim a bedroom colored by its own relationship history? How do you, once again, make a safe space for intimacy of a new kind...short of breaking your lease, burning all your furniture, and starting fresh?
In pursuit of an answer to that very question, we took a look at the (feasible, cost-effective) ways to cleanse your bedroom, and in turn, prime it for a new version of intimacy. And we highly suggest giving them some consideration before you set fire to your bed frame.
New sheets are non-negotiable
No matter how many times you wash your sheets in vats of bleach or hydrogen peroxide, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find ways to dissociate your bed from your previous partner without scrapping the sheets and starting over. Bed linens have a particular gift for holding onto their various stains and nostalgic blights.
So, with that in mind, go for something new. Make your bed feel luxurious again. Try one of those particularly glamorous DTC sheet brands perpetually advertised on your Instagram. And if that doesn’t feel entirely feasible at the moment, snag something classic and functional. But nevertheless, make a point of doing away with the old linens.
Solo sex is your friend
In the pre-COVID world, you might’ve chosen to invite new sexual partners over as a means of reclaiming your most intimate spaces. Either way, right now, while casual strings of partners are off the table and boredom is at an all-time high, take some time to recalibrate your bedroom as a backdrop for your own sexual pleasure, partners aside.
Invest in a new vibrator. Re-consider your porn habits. Focus on you, and allow for the most intimate corners of your bedroom to radiate with your own pleasure as a way of smoothing over and doing away with its previous sexual associations.
Reorient your bed
Organizing your room spatially is no small task, so it may not be simple, exactly, to re-arrange. If possible, though, something as minimal as shifting the orientation of your bed can work wonders when it comes to refreshing a room. You’ll wake up with a different view, you’ll fall asleep to one too. It can be surprising how much this does to smooth over the nostalgia factor associated with your bed.
And if the movement of furniture is out of the question, consider, when within reason, doing away with some of the most deeply nostalgic fixtures of your room (in my own case, replacing an Ikea bed I’d spent hours upon hours constructing messily with an ex, with a shiny new Floyd frame—which did not require that I call in reinforcements for building purposes—was my first step towards emotional freedom).
Revamp your accents
Sometimes, the minor details in a room can work wonders to lend new life to a space. Perhaps you burned one kind of candle for the vast majority of your relationship. Maybe you watered the same window plant or kept the same books on either side of your bed. Consider rearranging your artwork, trying a new scent of candle, springing for a new plant. Give the little decor accents once embedded in your bedroom habits a refresh. It’s about time.
Remove relationship debris
We’re all (and I mean all) guilty of holding onto remnants of past relationships, even when we know its in our best interest to rid ourselves of them. Maybe it’s a drawer of clothes. Old letters. Pens, notebooks. Birthday cards. And while some of these things should be returned or disposed of, there are others that we do want to hold onto for various personal reasons. That said, keeping said things exactly where they were left, or worse, contained in a shoebox beneath your bed, will allow for some lingering bad energy.
Whether or not you believe in feng shui, it’s certainly said to be true that items we associate with negativity or past trauma near our beds will keep us up at night. They’ll color our spaces for the worst. So instead, gather up all your relationship debris, seal it in a box, and tuck it in the back corner of some kitchen cabinet you only open thrice annually. You need not part with it eternally, but you sure as hell don’t need it in your bedroom.