ES Magazine

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Anna Bu Kliewer creates visuals to accompany a piece by Hannah Betts called ‘Letters to my Exes’ for ES Magazine.

See the start of Hannah’s article here and Anna Bu’s illustrations below. To read in full visit ES Magazine, online.

Last summer, my mother died. This would be challenging enough, but ours had been a turbulent relationship. For almost a decade, she had refused any contact. This continued until my early 40s, after which communication resumed. There was no apology and no discussion. That first Christmas back in her company was the Christmas of her cancer diagnosis. Six months later, she was dead.

Despite having close siblings, the greatest of friends, and a loving partner, only Tom, the ex-boyfriend who had been by my side during the ‘cold shoulder’ years, could fully understand my agonies. I could try to explain it to other people, but I didn’t need to explain it to him, and the relief of being understood without saying a word was seismic. I love the man and always will.

And it’s not just me. Ex-love is a new, tribal phenomenon, especially in London, that great single stalking ground in which exes never disappear. In an Office for National Statistics survey, seven of the country’s top 10 most single areas were discovered to be in the capital. London boasts legions of single people, who tend not to settle down until later, if at all, giving our ex potential more scope.