Unlike the days of Jane Austen when the person you ‘dated’ was usually the person you married, this generation has to deal with the modern invention of the guy/girl you’ve been romantically attached to in the past but for some reason, it didn’t work out. The Ex. In the process of creating this new Ex phenomenon, somebody did the breaking. Somebody else got broken. Sometimes it’s an amiable, mutual breakup, but I find that more often, usually it’s one person who wants out more than the other. And then, sometimes, because life isn’t always a linear path, we go back to these exes… but always with apprehension, regardless of what role we played in the breakup. With an ex, it’s never a clean slate.
Reasons behind the apprehension:
1. Obviously, if they broke up with you, had a change of heart and are back in your life, in the back of your mind (or the forefront) you’re thinking, Am I an idiot? Am I back for round two? There’s a saying that comes to mind, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Hmmm, does history repeat itself? Has this person really changed?
2. Now, maybe you were the heart breaker. Look, there’s a reason you left this person in the first place. So your apprehension comes from that past negative experience with this person. And also, maybe, just maybe if you realized you were completely in the wrong or it was just all a communication/Venusian vs. Martian misunderstanding, but you wanted out… maybe in the back of your mind you wonder if this person has ever or will ever forgive you or if you’re going to have to spend a lot of time trying to make things up to them. You’re hoping their not thinking, ooohh. payback time. nah. It’s all just in your head. right?
3. And lastly, those lucky rare individuals who had a mutual breakup. You’re not totally off the hook. Let’s say you both remember a glorious past. Maybe you were too young? Maybe parent’s disapproved? Maybe someone moved away and you both knew a long distance relationship is hard? If this person was amazing in the past, your apprehension comes from the fear that that beautiful memory might be replaced by a new memory that won’t match up to what you remember. And then that old memory that you cherish will be destroyed forever because even if it was a different time, I think our minds process the person’s most recent behavior. In other words, a person’s most recent character traits dominate the mind. I think of a document that you save on Word. The most recent changes replace the old work. So if the sweet, upbeat ex comes back around and time has made them bitter, cynical and downright unpleasant to be around, it’s hard to preserve that old positive picture.
It’s scary to find love with an ex. You can’t just pull an Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind on them and start from scratch. But hey, I’m not here to discourage. Just throwing out some thoughts for you to ponder on, as usual. It’s good to be aware. But the best advice I can give you is this: if you do consider getting back with an ex, dive in completely and treat it as if it were a new relationship, a clean slate. Forgiveness goes with forgetting. Think about these apprehensions and then toss them to the wind so you can go into it completely open, positive and responsive. Love is the part of life where you have to be all or nothing. You have to give your 100% or you’re just wasting both of your time. So let me say it again. It’s scary to find love with an ex… but it’s scary to find love with a stranger or a friend too. With an ex it’s fearing the known. With a stranger it’s fearing the unknown. With a friend it’s fearing the loss of friendship if it doesn’t work out. Love is scary no matter what. But it’s always worth it.