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love out loud: dealing with the ex

The mention of an ex-partner is hardly going to warm your heart, even at the best of times. And in my dealings with men, I’ve often also had to deal with their histories.

From the crazy ex to the lovely one to the one they go back to, even the most unobtrusive has usually played some role in my relationships through the sheer fact that they exist. But what makes me more certain of how best to approach these circumstances is that I am likewise ex-girlfriend to several people, and have thus been on the other side of the equation.

As bad a reputation as ex-partners get, these situations are often far from volatile. But when they are (one where I made an impulsive decision to confront an ex about a girl he was kissing – while he was kissing her – springs to mind), the one thing they all have in common, is that they are the product of some lack of resolution between the ex-couple.

It took me a while after the aforementioned instance in which I pulled Bon Jovi away from a pashfest to yell at him (definitely one of the dumber things I’ve ever done), to realise what had actually been upsetting me. Sure, it didn’t feel great to see him with someone else, but I’d also met someone since our break-up a couple of months earlier (which, of course, doesn’t forcibly mean I was over it) and I truly no longer wanted to be with Bon Jovi. But what I did want was a reason to get mad.

Without even really knowing it, I was angry with him. Angry that we’d jeopardised our friendship for what was ultimately a disappointment, angry that it turned out I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did, and angry that none of this seemed to affect him as much as it had me.

In other words, it had nothing to do with the girl.

Now, I don’t mean that it was none of her business and she should’ve just backed off, but rather that it was Bon Jovi who had to address issues I had with him, and she accordingly simply stood back while he and I had it out. It was all she could do.

Break-ups are rarely clean or painless, and their aftermath can unfortunately sometimes linger even longer than it takes at least one person to get into a new relationship. Most people have an ex, and the best you can hope for is that your partner does feel that the state of affairs between them and their ex is resolved, or otherwise doesn’t care one way or the other (aside from them actually being friends, but I realise this is tricky terrain). Getting involved is unlikely to help.

And if the ex does contact you? You’re usually best off just telling your partner and letting them handle it, otherwise you risk giving the ex cause to take personal issue with you.

Alternatively, just block them on facebook. Few things are more infuriating to someone who wants a reaction from you.

(Image credits: 1.)

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