By Dr. Timaree Leigh
“My ex and I split up about 2 and a half months ago after a year and a half of being together. We broke up because he wasn’t taking our relationship seriously enough for me, canceling plans at the last minute and not being attentive. He is only the third person I’ve ever slept with. I know he’s seeing a couple people casually now but I haven’t been seeing anyone and I’m getting lonely. The last couple times I went out to the bars I really wanted to call him and see if he wanted to just hook up. My friends have talked me out of it, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea because I know it’ll be good and I feel safe with him and it’ll keep me satisfied until I find someone new. Who’s right?”
Don’t you know the universal dating rules about break ups? You’re supposed to pretend everyone you’ve ever dated is actually dead … or even better: never existed. Everyone knows that as soon as your Facebook friends are alerted to your changed relationship status your ex’s number and texts should be purged from the bowels of your phone and their various left-behind clothing items should be given away or set aflame in a cathartic ceremonial conflagration.
Who am I kidding? I don’t believe a word of that bullshit. My best friends in the world are people I’m no longer dating. I come from the hippie school of thought that anyone who was ever worth loving is still worth keeping around and that adults can peacefully co-exist even after they’ve touched each other’s respective hoo-has.
That said, (dun dun dun!) stop drunk dialing your good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend.
Sure, it’s easy: the odds of rejection are pretty small, the sex will be familiar and reassuring, and you know that great spot to park your car so that you can stay until the morning without getting a ticket. But for all the temptation that reliable, comfortable sexfests offer, they also serve up a heap of Drawback O’Rama.
Odds are good your ex-man will be all about bumping uglies with the partner who was attractive enough to bang for over a year, so calling him up might seem like a good bet. He’ll know all the right spots to hit and if you knew him to be STI-free a few months back, he seems safer than some random stranger you find at Happy Hour.
Right? Wrong. Aside from the fact he may well have picked something up from one of his current side projects, you’re forgetting the little itty bitty thing called your feelings. It hurt your feelings that you liked him and he wasn’t available. What part of booty calls will assuage that need?
YO, CAPTAIN AWESOMESAUCE, REMEMBER WHY YOU BROKE UP?
He wasn’t attentive, he wasn’t considerate: it hurt your feelings. Nothing has changed. He still won’t be attentive, he won’t be considerate and your feelings will still get hurt. The only difference is that now you can’t be mad about him running around with other people because you set his ass loose. Your emotions will continue to operate as they are wont to do, but now instead of being Angry Significant Other, you’ll be a Psycho Ex, which is an even less enjoyable role to play….albeit way more fun to watch from the outside.
REKINDLING? MAYBE JUST KINDLING.
Maybe there’s another motivation to seek him out again, the same reason that you haven’t dated anyone else in the time since the split: you’re ambivalent about the whole thing. Yeah, he was an ass to you. It sucks. But you still like the stupid douchewaffle and just wish he would act differently. So perhaps there is some part of your brain, tucked deep away with the recipe for sweet and sour chicken and the knowledge of the state capitals, that thinks these late-night entanglements will lead to you two getting back together.
There isn’t a reason in the world to expect that though. He clearly hasn’t learned a thing. If he was messed up about losing you or interested in changing up his behavior, he’d have done so and come crawling back to you, not the other way around. It’s a sad, unpleasant reality, but a reality nonetheless. Letting you believe otherwise would be negligence on my part.
FINE! I GET IT. SO WHAT NOW?
Get back on that dating horse if you want to find someone. You’ve had a couple months to marinate in the juices of mourning and might enjoy the flattery of flirting with new people again. But remember to avoid making the easy mistake of throwing yourself into a new relationship hoping to get over this last one. Take it slowly, talk things out with your friends (they seem to have their heads right), forget about Mr. So Two Months Ago and re-ignite the spark with Ole’ Lefty and a bottle of KY.