What do we do with the exes?
I’ve been on all the sides. Been an ex, (and naturally) have had an ex, been with somebody with an ex and (naturally again) been with somebody who’s an ex himself. And let me tell you….the whole thing is ugly. Or at least that’s the way I see it.
I am not being judgmental here. I don’t hate exes. Hell, I love them. They are the ones who keep the little sparks in the relationship alive. They are the ones who make for those cute little tiffs that make “making up” all the more endearing. If ever you run out of things to sniff about (this is for the girls, by the way, though I have known guys to play this game too) there’s always the “ex-factor”. You can always start asking questions like “Was she more beautiful than me? Do you wish you were with her instead? Are you in touch with her now?” and make sure that the guy sits up and takes notice and starts paying you more attention just so long as you don’t overdo it (then it becomes a drag….and sends out the message that you are insecure) And if what you fear about him being still in touch with his ex turns out to be true, and he doesn’t want you to know, then there are always the guilt gifts to keep you happy. So you see, I don’t have anything against them exes. It’s just that the handling bit gets to me big time. Could never get the hang of it, and I hate things I can’t do properly.
For a girl going out with a guy, I think the ex would rate right after the big M. They both come with the “Handle with Care” tag. Rule of the thumb is to keep away from them….as far away from them as possible. And for as long as possible. Especially in case of the ex and ex-especially if the break-up has been anywhere in the last couple of years. Chances of you having to meet the ex is pretty slim, so maybe you don’t really have to worry about the keeping away from them bit, but yeah, you could try keep them away from conversations as much as possible. There are two ways of going ahead with this. You could be the friend, the shoulder to cry upon and try amusing yourself by dreaming about those amazing pair of shoes you’d seen the other day, while the dude goes on and on about it to get it out of his system once and for all, and doesn’t notice that you have phased out. And after it is over, you let him know just how much you appreciate him sharing all this with you, and how it was so not his fault and how you will always be there for him and give him enough love to forget that “what’s her name was”. You also add, very sweetly, that now that the past is buried in the past (he must of course feel lighter after letting it out of his chest, right?) could you guys just move on to the future and leave the past where it should be? Behind? (And mind you, it is out of decency that you don’t use the more appropriate and on the tip-of-the-tongue synonym…you know, the one with that certain part of our anatomy)
Or you could play the jealous girlfriend (to some extent jealousy IS romantic….shows that you care this way or the other) and say that you don’t ever want to hear about her from him. For all you care, she doesn’t exist and she never did. You tell him you don’t want to know about the past because you don’t care about what had happened as long as his present and future is with you. And then, for good measure, you add the “I love you….and I have faith in you…and I will keep loving you no matter what” bit so that he knows exactly what you’re talking about. No talk about ex. End of discussion.
So what do you do when you’re the one having to handle an ex, and the guy’s the one with his tiny little insecurities? Well, that depends…on precisely how you feel. I have always kind of believed that exes cannot be friends. I mean, I am yet to see two people who have been lucky enough to have remained friends after going through the heart-breaking and immensely bitter course of a break-up. I know that’s what they all say when they decide they want to break up with you…or maybe you kid yourself into believing that maybe this once, just this once, a relationship need not remain sour forever. But that rarely happens, does it? The stronger the relationship, the longer it had lasted, the closer you’d been and the more passionate the emotions had been the more difficult it is to tone them down to the steady and unbiased feelings one associates with friendship. But let’s not get into the technicalities just as yet. Back to the way you feel….so, if you’ve been the one to dump, and you’ve got somebody in your life who makes you happy and keeps those “How could I have been an A-class bitch?” feelings at bay, it would be wise to steer clear of any conversation that reminds the poor bloke of the fact that he is going out with “Miss I-Dumped-my-loser-of-a-boyfriend”. It would do no good for him to keep wondering if he’d have to walk down the same road some day. Habits are hard to break you see, and everybody knows that the liberating taste of being the dumper and not the dumped is something any self-respecting girl would cherish close to her heart. Also, this means that if you keep talking to your ex, you are in the weird position of having to tell him you’re going out with somebody (to which he would confirm that you are, after all, an A-class bitch) or having to hide it from him (to which your own conscience will start singing the bitch song). So it would be best to stay away from him till the time you are ready enough to not defend yourself and everything that you did in front of him each time you talk to him.
However, if you’ve been on the wrong end of the spectrum, and some pathetic loser (can’t help being a feminist here) had broken your heart and you have finally found somebody to take you out of that deep abyss of absolute misery you had drowned yourself in, then maybe at times its not that bad an idea to let out a deep sigh all of a sudden without any reason sometime during the course of an absolutely sunny conversation. And when asked what the matter is, maybe subtle reminders of the fact that you had been dumped (don’t be overt and obvious, though…and even here, moderation is the keyword….don’t overdo it) would keep that knight in shining armor spirit burning nice and strong. But it is fair enough to say you have to stop talking to your ex. Like absolutely. If you’d been dumped, chances of you still going through that bitter “oh I love him so and I hate him so” phases are very high. So to keep things sane, maybe you should not talk to the ex at all. And if the Gods play their games right for once and someday he comes back to you begging, make the most of it. Look your best….better still, outdo yourself. And please make sure he gets the feeling that you are much, much happier than you actually are. In the meanwhile, though, make sure your present guy feels like he is the reason you are happy, and once you’re out of that damsel in distress zone, do thank him again and again for the change he’s brought to your life. Its good to be grateful. And it sure is good to feed his ego every once in a while.
Ahem, back to the basics…so lesson learnt from case studies Dumper and Dumped. Not to talk to the ex.
If however, both the people in a relationship have been exes, no matter what the combination is: dumped-dumped or dumper-dumper or dumper-dumped, it is maybe best to talk about things. Maybe talking does help sort things out. Especially in the last combination, maybe talking would help both understand the other side of things. On the other hand being on the same side of the spectrum brings the “we are so in the same boat…lets row together” sentiment alive. And if ever things come to drowning point, the blame can always be shared. They did row together after all.
Enough of that tomfoolery. …time to stop this monkey business. Break-ups are serious….and to joke about exes is nothing short of breaking the sanctity of the very book of love. The book which has all the rules written down in no less than the blood of million bleeding achy-breaky hearts. We still are to answer the question with which I started, though. What the hell do we do with the exes? We let them be, don’t we? We don’t poke or prod…and we sure as anything don’t try bring them back. We move on, and we make life move on. We laugh about the good times, and slowly let the bad ones fade. Selective amnesia is the word I am looking for I guess. And this is where I know I have an angel of a mom. When this one day I was moping and moaning and crying (very loudly, too, if I may add) for the umpteenth time on the phone about how I can’t forget anything about my brand-new ex, and that I want to, I almost heard my mom smile over the line as she said, “Why do you have to forget everything? Keep the memories safe somewhere. You don’t need to show it to anyone that you miss him…you tuck those good times somewhere deep down, and if someday you feel like, you take them out, go through them like you would go through old photographs, and then after you’re done, tuck them back again safely” And maybe I’d say the same thing. Because after a while, those vivid snapshots that you think will remain crystal clear forever inside your mind and heart will fade. No matter how much you try not to, you will someday forget the way he had smelled, or the way his touch had made you feel. Those photos will wear down after some time….no earlier and no later.
There must have been a reason an ex became an ex….and truth be known that history does repeat itself. Exceptions being ignored…and duly and heartily blessed of course. So what we do about the exes….we let them remain exes. Because that is the only way everybody rests…sorry, I mean, lives…and loves in peace.