In her cover interview for Cosmopolitan UK‘s March issue, on sale starting Thursday, the Girls creator gets candid about her health struggles, her time in rehab and newfound sobriety, and how her perspective on love, dating and sex has evolved in recent years.
Reflecting on her split from the Bleachers frontman, 35, after over five years together, Dunham, 33, said they “fell in love” when she was “really young” — 25 at the time.
“I look back and we had a great ride, we cared for each other, but you know what? We were both starting our careers and that was our true passion,” she said. “The love you have for someone doesn’t disappear because you don’t have them; it’s just logistically it doesn’t work any more.”
“I love him so much,” she added. “He is a dear, dear friend of mine. Has it been easy every second? No, it’s not easy to divide life with someone. There are definitely moments where I was catty, rude or sassy, but he has been beautifully accepting of those and I’ve been able to be accepting of his anger too. What’s really nice is we don’t try to pretend that we don’t have this history together, but we’re also willing to move forward.”
Dunham and Antonoff, met in 2012 after being set up on a blind date by Antonoff’s sister Rachel and comedian Mike Birbiglia.
Reps for the two confirmed to PEOPLE in January 2018 that the couple had called it quits, with a source adding that the breakup was “amicable.”
As she grappled with heartbreak, Dunham said she kept dating, even briefly getting engaged to one boyfriend who proposed with the lace of a Timberland boot while they were snowed in at her parents’ apartment, per Cosmopolitan UK. (In July 2018, the actress was spotted holding holding hands with a mystery companion, but she has never publicly addressed the relationship.)
“I’d just had a hysterectomy, I’d broken up with my boyfriend, I was in the process of breaking up with my business partner — I had no business buying a pair of shoes, [let alone] getting engaged,” she told the magazine. “Then I just went, ‘You know what? I’ve been dating since I was 15 years old. I’m allowed to take a break.'”
“Sobriety for me means so much more than just not doing drugs,” she continued. “It also means that I abstain from negative relationships. It means I’ve taken a hiatus from dating, which has been amazing for me.”
Dunham said being “totally single” for the past 14 months has brought her “a lot clarity,” adding that the last two years “have been the best time of my life.”
“I realized that until I was in a dynamic with someone who made me feel super-safe, I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “People right now will go, ‘Oh my god, you haven’t had sex in over a year,’ and I’m like, ‘No, actually it’s been the most healing thing.'”
As for potential future partners?
“Here’s the thing: if I meet someone who I think would be great to raise children with, that’s wonderful, but I’ve compromised on too many things in my life,” she said. “I’m not going to compromise on that.”
Last April, Dunham — who had a cameo in Quentin Tarantino‘s Oscar-nominated Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood and is directing and executive-producing a new HBO series, Industry — celebrated one year of sobriety with a lengthy post on Instagram, saying the journey has brought her “peace, joy and lasting connections.”
“Sobriety hasn’t fixed my world. Life is still challenging — that’s the nature of the game,” she wrote. “But every day I am surprised by the richness and depth of, well, reality. I don’t need to escape this beautiful carnival. Instead, I’m on the ride.”