Thursday, 5 November 2009

The eX factor

I have a recurring problem – an ex. However hard I try to shake him off he just keeps on coming back. Up until the other day I didn’t think I was friends with any of my ex’s, not really out of choice, more out of awkwardness. I dumped the first one and he was so bitter he deleted me out of his life, the second one, well we’ll come back to him later and the third, he dumped me, so enough said.

When you break up with someone the old cliché comes out ‘I hope we can still be friends’. Maybe you really think it’s possible, because of course you can’t imagine life without them. But after the uncomfortable break up sex, a few awkward conversations later, and a new girlfriend thrown in for good measure - you wondered why you ever thought being friends with them was such a good idea.

So when an ex text me last week saying he wanted to ‘catch up’ I just rolled my eyes. It wasn’t the first time he had popped up in my inbox – ever since we split up over a year and a half ago he’s text pestered me. But I really have no desire to text him back let alone see him.

So why has he got it into his head that we’re friends? Or is he after more than this? Sex? Reconciliation? Don’t you dump someone for a reason? I’m sure my reason wasn’t so that I could catch up with him over coffee one day, have sex on an occasional basis or get back together with him after a year and a half.

But the problem is I’m just too nice to my ex’s. I text them back with an ‘oh I’m so busy’ instead of ‘leave me alone before I get a restraining order.’ And I go through the polite ‘hi, how are you’s?’ when I bump into them, when I’d rather just blank them and forget they ever existed.

Then there’s the ex’s that dumped you and come crawling back, after a) they realise they’ve made a big mistake, b) they couldn’t find anyone better or c) they’re drunk. A friend of mine has had all her ex’s admit that dumping her was a mistake. If only my life was that great. But when you’ve moved on and you have a new love interest on the go a drunken text message declaring ‘whyyyy di I dump u? I bl**dy uve u!’ doesn’t really mean a whole lot to you anymore.

And it’s always the same when you meet up with an ex – it’s as though you’re competing to see who has the best life: ‘I have this amazing job,’ ‘My new girlfriend is gorgeous,’ ‘I’ve started at the gym you know – I’ve lost three stone’ and on and on it goes until you’ve both made yourselves sound like movie stars with perfect A list lives! And of course you refrain from telling them about those bad dates you keep going on, or how you’re likely to lose your job in the New Year, because that would make you look like a loser in front of an ex, right?

I remember a one sided conversation with one ex where he rattled off how his life had changed for the better since our split - it’s a shame the moaning idiot couldn’t have got it right when I had been with him. And friends have told me similar stories about how ex’s have sorted their lives out since they’ve split with them – so is it just a bid to impress us or was us dumping them a catalyst to make them, finally, realise just how awful their lives had become?

Of course some ex’s can be friends – but they’re the brave ones. Maybe it works for old Bruce and Demi but just knowing I’ve seen an ex naked, bared my soul to him, argued with him about how to cook an egg/pasta/anything edible and endured a Sunday lunch with his false teethed grandma puts him way outside friend territory.

I think the best theory is that an ex is an ex for a reason – whether you’re thinking about taking them back or becoming ‘friends’ with them. Who wants a friend, who was once a boyfriend, breaking down on your wedding day and declaring his love for you right before you say ‘I do’? As for my ex I think I’m going to have to pluck up the courage and tell him, very bluntly, that he has no chance of being my friend, let alone anything more – either that or this blog may just happen to appear in his inbox any day now!


  1. i think it's always tricky when your ex becomes a friend. 'coz you have to wonder extra hard if it's really just friends or if either party is thinking of getting back together. and of 'coz if it's just friends, then you have to stop yourself from thinking or acting all coupley like you guys used to in the past. i'm not really sure how that works.

  2. So true. And even if you're the one who dumped them, why would you want to see him with another girl? That's just asking for trouble! My most recent ex (long term bf - three years, lived together) have made tentative attempts to stay in touch but to be honest, it's too painful on both sides. Which is a shame, but sometimes you just have to let them go! x

  3. I've never been friends with an ex. They're an ex for a reason. I swear by the motto "if it didn't work out when we were together, why would it work out when we're broken up?"

    except, with this last ex, that motto went out the window. we've entered an open relationship, and we actually spend more time together and talk more NOW that we're "not officially a couple" than when we were [sigh]

  4. Many of my ex girlfriends try to get back in touch with me, but that's because a; I have mastered the art of being unobtainable, b; I am attracted to psychotic women and lastly, my relationships with women rarely end well or even end. Normally they involve me leaving without any further arguments or explanations. When this is the case there is always the nagging doubt it could have worked. I have had several variations on the "yes but you tried to kill me, yes but your married to someone else, No I don't need your money" conversations.

    Ren had it right up until the whole open relationship thing. I am far too jealous to let my girlfriend have sex with someone else - no matter how much I hate her.

  5. I totally agree with the theory about exes being exes for a reason. If it was suppose to be, you wouldn't have had doubts in the first place. Going back is just a case of not giving yourself enough time to push forward. You won't get over it right away, but you will, in time.

    I get missing someone - I'm missing someone right now - but I will find that friendship in someone again, ten times over in fact, I just have to look for it.

    Also, funny how 4 weeks ago I was begging him to stay in touch, and now I couldn't possibly be avoiding him more...

  6. Thanks so much for this information. I have to let you know I concur on several of the points you make here and others may require some further review, but I can see your viewpoint.
    ex factor guide



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