The Ex Files

11/22/2011 The Charmer 8 Comments

Before I jump into my story, just the tiniest bit of business to get out of the way.
First off, I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving! Eat a lot, spend time with fun people, and please, be safe in your travels. I'll be going home tomorrow and I'm thrilled. I haven't gone home for Thanksgiving since I came out to BYU and so this is quite a monumental occasion.
Oh and Mr. Director is coming with me.
(It's the crucial "Can-I-spend-14-hours-in-a-car-with-you" and the "How-do-you-interact-with-my-family" tests all rolled into one week. Poor Mr. Dir.)
Tee hee.

Secondly, I would like to apologize to Featherstone McGee and his lovely date for appearing to be a total date stalker, or as he politely termed it, the "Guardian Angel of Dating." I promise I wasn't trying to creep on you and I don't actually follow you everywhere you go, even though it might appear that way. Promise.

Okay. Story time.

I haven't really written much about The Ex on this blog. By the time I started writing here, that story was pretty much a closed book (or so I thought). It had ended about 4 months earlier, and so even though I've alluded to him a few times, I never felt like diving in and giving you the heart-wrenching details. Better to put your past behind you, right? (Or as Puumba of Lion King fame would say, "You've gotta put your behind in your past.")

Anyways, the story of The Ex is much too long to ever give you the full account. It literally takes me an hour to tell. And no, that is not a joke. I'll give you the Cliffnotes version:

The Charmer dated a very nice boy for a very long time. Things were going very well. The Charmer and said boy talked a lot about getting married.
This nice boy had a tragedy occur. Things were very difficult for him and for The Charmer as well.
The nice boy and The Charmer took a break so that the boy could figure things out.
Sadness ensued.
The Charmer and the nice boy started seeing each other again and decided to get back together.
The boy decided that he still needed to get things straightened out in his life and that he was not ready to let The Charmer back in.
Extreme sadness ensued. The Charmer was not herself for a very long time.
The next year, the boy and The Charmer gave it another try. The boy seemed to be okay and nearly back to normal. The Charmer really wanted things to work out.
The two dated for a few rocky months. Things were rough, mainly because the boy didn't treat The Charmer as well as he had the first time around.
The boy decided he didn't love The Charmer and didn't want to be dating her anymore. He broke it off again.
The boy became The Ex.
Nursing a fractured heart, The Charmer tried to cautiously re-enter the dating scene but was instead thrust into it headfirst by the emergence of far too many boys who were suddenly interested.
Very shortly after this episode of heartbreak, The Charmer began writing on a wonderful dating blog and her dating life began to amuse and inspire strangers.

I was, naturally, dealing with some very hurt feelings during the first few months of writing on this blog. It didn't help that I was literally running into The Ex on a weekly basis (actually more like an "every-other-day"ly basis). We got to the point where we were okay talking/being in the same room, which was a good thing since we were ending up at the same parties. Obviously, seeing him was still weird. But it was a sort-of-okay weird.

And then came the day when we finally reached the point where we were really friends. The awkwardness was gone. The bitterness had evaporated. I ran into him on the Saturday following the Piano Man kiss. He was heading to lunch and so I joined him. It was wonderful! We talked and laughed and had a good time and I could tell he was finally himself again. I realized that I had finally reached the point where I didn't "long" to be with him. He had just become a good friend whom I could confide in and talk to about my life; I told him about Masimo and Piano Man and he gave me advice. It was such a relief to know that the hurts inflicted on both sides had been healed. Then, because of a random turn of events, I actually ended up at his house for dinner as well. He said a couple of odd things to me, like "We should do something again" and told me I looked pretty, but I didn't think much of it. I figured it was nothing.

A couple weeks later, after I'd just started dating Mr. Director, The Ex asked if I would be willing to go with him to pay a special visit. I was touched that he'd asked me, since I knew this was very important to him and it involved the very difficult events of last summer. We went, and afterwards we ended up just sitting and talking for about three hours. It was a really good chat. So good, in fact, that I found myself wanting to keep talking. That day, I realized that next to my best friend, The Ex really knows me better than anyone else in the world.
There was something very familiar and reassuring about sitting there in the autumn sunshine with him. I discovered that afternoon that the door marked "The Ex" wasn't quite as closed as I had previously thought...and I could tell that he felt it, too.

Anyways, I decided that I couldn't dwell on thoughts of The Ex. I was, after all, dating a wonderful boy and I was (am) very interested to see where it goes. I talked to The Ex semi-frequently after that Saturday, and he even came over to my house once to pick up a very belated birthday present for his brother. Sometime in the midst of all this, he let me know that he wanted to talk to me about something. Now, because I know The Ex so well and I like to think that I have a bit of a 6th sense about boys, I was fairly certain I knew exactly what this conversation would be about.

I agreed to meet up with him one day and discovered that I had been right. Basically, the gist of what he told me was that he felt terrible for the way he had treated me the second time around, I'd been there through some very hard times and he really appreciated that, and he still had feelings for me. He told me that if things didn't work out between Mr. Director and myself, he would be interested in trying to pick things up again.

I'd been worried that this was the direction the conversation would take. But then, he surprised me. He looked at me and said, "Honestly,'re still the love of my life."

Wow. I was not expecting that.

He asked for my feelings on the matter and I told him that I was committed to Mr. Director and that I felt very good about how our relationship was progressing. I admitted that I wasn't as over him (The Ex) as I had originally thought but that I wasn't sure if I'd actually want to try and date him again. I also informed him that if things didn't work out with Mr. Dir, I would be going on my mission [which has been the plan ever since I was the ripe age of 5. Boys keep popping in and trying to change that] and so that he (The Ex) shouldn't get his hopes up.

And that was that. I haven't seen him since; Mr. Dir and I both agreed that it's probably best if I don't see a lot of The Ex. After all, I need to get over him, right? It's been interesting; I really thought that I was over him. When things are going really well with Mr. Dir, The Ex doesn't even cross my mind. But then there are times when things with Mr. Dir aren't so great, like last week, and my mind starts to stray back to The Ex. I think it's just because The Ex is so familiar; he did encompass a year and a half of my life, after all. They always say that "old habits die hard," and so I think that's the only real problem. It also doesn't help that I really care a lot about him as person and a friend, and I want him to be happy. However, I'm almost certain that I don't want to try things with him again. We already did the whole date/break-up/date/break-up thing; it didn't work. Besides, I'm not even attracted to him anymore.

So why can't I get rid of these last little shreds of Ex lovin'? Do you think this is something I should be concerned about? For those of you who have had similar experiences, how long did it take before those feelings went away?

The Charmer

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Dearest Charmer -

I cannot tell you how familiar this sounds to me. See (VERY long story short) I dated someone for 2.5 years. I was in love with him and then he broke my heart. Honestly, it was the best thing to happen to me and it has led me to a wonderful man that I am now dating. However, I still run into my ex ALL the time. In fact, we are friends now. I can totally understand the part where they (our exes) are the persons who know us best. We did spend a good chunk of time with them after all. I honestly still occasionally have feelings for my ex. He and I are good friends and run into each other on a very regular basis. There are a few things that have helped me move on:

1. I KNOW that no matter how much we care for each other we won't ever get back together. The timing has never worked out in our favor and at this point it's not worth me wasting any more of life trying to see if it's going to work out between us or not.

2. We've both moved on and are dating other people. (in fact, we went on a group date together not too long ago. yes, we're crazy. but it was fun)

3. While in another relationship it is stupid to think about the possibilities with someone else. Worrying about what MIGHT happen is going to cause strain on your current relationship. IMHO it is more important to focus on the current relationship and just let things play out. Chances are you'll never even get the opportunity to try any of your what ifs out. ;)

enjoy Mr. Dir. I think you have a great catch. :o) (sorry this was so long! I really do understand where you're coming from though!)

Anonymous said...

Have a fantastic trip! Strongly encourage you to leave it be. Even not to allow your thoughts to stray to The Ex. (This is good practice for future permanent commitments). Say hi, whatever, but your energy needs to 100% be focused on Mr Director.

I think you're right, it is because he's so familiar. It's comfortable.

I think that your instincts are right though to not see too much of him and you gave him the best answer one could give, an honest one.

Because it was such a great and promising relationship for you, naturally you're going to inadvertently compare him with everyone else you date for probably a long while yet. While I know saying "don't do that" is easy to say, its hard to do so I would suggest to try consciously to curb it when you notice it happening.

Mostly, just relax. Thing will work out. I think you know that first hand now. :) And eventually, because you're growing and changing, there will come a day when you DON'T feel like he knows you best...because he only knows a former you.

jenerator said...

Girl, you've gotta just quit cold turkey. It's going to be tough. But you pretty much have to when there are still feelings involved on both sides.

Kyle said...

I remember my sister saying once a year or so after she got married that she still felt more comfortable in some ways with me and her other brothers than she did with her husband because of the long history and shared experiences that we have.

It'll take awhile for your relationship to grow to the same level as it did with The Ex.

I think your feelings are perfectly normal and appropriate given the situation.

Marigold said...

Wow. I, too, relate. Actually, I've only had one serious relationship. It was off and on for 2 years, and I loved the guy. It has been over a year since we broke it off. Currently, my heart is just beginning to peep out again, and he's engaged to be married in a month. I, personally, had to keep my thoughts from him and not be with him. Sometimes I wonder if he's the only man who will ever have loved me, but I have to have faith in the fact that that's a lie. Keep your chin up, Charmer. It'll all work out.

Anonymous said...

I think it was really inappropriate of the Ex to say those things to you. If he were a true gentleman, he would respect YOU and your current relationship enough to keep quiet unless it did not work out. Maybe he is just having issues with being replaced by someone better for you since he rejected you outright. Which is imho narcissictic--he told you outright he didn't love you and now he says you're the love of his life. Leave him to someone better suited and continue to move on. There are thousands to choose from in Provo, he will be fine.

You've got a good handle on it. You were with him for so long and he was such an important part of your life that you feel comfortable going back to him in difficult times.

I was dating a girl for a while and for certain reason it just wasn't going to work out. I constantly kept going back to the good times with her and constantly thought about going back to her, only to have to fight to remember it would not be good for either of us in the long run. It was hard and it got me down. Honestly the only thing that got me over it was time and living my life.

I suggest the same to you, let time take its course and live your life, eventually it will all pass. You will have relapses, that's normal, but eventually it will just be a memory in the past and you'll see a whole bunch of things that you learned in a clear light.

Just go with the flow and it will totally work out ;)