October 23, 2015

The Salty Ex.

Jordan McQueen/Unsplash


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Heartbreak is my closest friend.

It’s with me all day and night, and I can’t get rid of it. Yet heartbreak and I have known each other intimately for a long time; we have spent many long, lonely nights together.

Breaking up with someone is always hard to do. Whether it’s our decision to leave a relationship or someone leaving us, both of our lives drastically change from that day forward.

There is a void. One usually has a plan in place and jumps right into that plan, while the other needs more time to let go and adjust to the new life alone.

Things that we used to do together we do no longer. Time and activities shared are forever gone. Eventually the void becomes filled with a new partner or new life activities. What’s left, after all is said and done, are our memories together and how we truly felt about our ex.

We all say we want our exes to be happy, but do we really?

It’s a contradiction. I want them to be happy, but a part of me wants them to come back to me. I want them to feel the pain they inflicted on me. I don’t want them to feel their own pain; I want them to know and feel mine.

I am not a selfish person, but I have feelings like anyone else. I have some attachments to a few that scarred me in their departure. To them I now say, “I am not for sale.” I claim no ownership over those who have left me. I detach as a sign of respect for the decisions they made. I carry with me what I must and what I took out of the relationship, but I keep that concealed in the depths of my soul.

We all learn early on that life is unfair. Rarely do we get the fairy tale ending to a love story.

Our emotions run their course, and we feel how we feel. There is no faucet to turn off the tears of frustration. We may even convince ourselves we are better off without them, but deep down we still yearn for them. We always have a soft spot for those who touched us deeply, opened our heart and changed our lives.

When we say we want what’s best for an ex, we may be lying to ourselves. The truth may be that we want them back.

When a relationship ends on amicable terms, do we really wish for the happiness of our exes? Even if we are the ones that left a relationship, do we want the one we left to find love with another? Sometimes I cannot honestly say I do, again because I feel like we have unfinished business.

I’ve witnessed jealously among men and women who both choose to leave a relationship, get in a new one themselves, then hear or see their ex in a relationship. I can see the question written on their faces: “Did I make the right decision and choose the right partner?” It’s almost as if they want their happiness but want their ex to hang on—at a distance.

They want to keep their claim over their former partner in their back pocket.

It’s an unfortunate experience I’ve had with the women who have let me go. Some try to re-insert themselves into my life; however, I am always cautious as to their intentions and motives.

Something about me makes them want to claim that ownership over me. They want to own me—not have me. To those women I again say, “I am not for sale.”

By saying that, I reassert my independence while respecting the choices they made.

It can be a tremendous struggle to recover from any type of lost relationship. The best we can do is wish each other well on our departure, go our separate ways and not look back. Have no hard feelings and accept the reality of the separation.

If our paths are meant to cross again, they will and we can call that fate. Until that day, or even if it never comes, we should value the experience shared with each other and be thankful we have moments to look back on and cherish. Look back on the good times together and the lessons we have learned. Release any feelings of ownership over another and truly appreciate the freedom and independence we have given each other when it is time to move on.


Relephant Read:

Can We be Friends with our Exes?


Author: Adam Wilkinson

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Jordan McQueen/Unsplash


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