Tuesday, November 18, 2008

simply exes

relationships with ex-boyfriends are a strange thing. i was never really friends with any of my exes, and until facebook i pretty much only stayed in contact with one of them. now, almost all my exes are on facebook and we've become facebook friends. so when i get the occasional message or chat or wall post, i can't help but feel a little weirded out. i mean, it's just funny what i remember and don't remember about them. we were clearly a part of each others' pasts, and now we have to prompt one another to remember things that we used to know. i don't know. it's weird.

i know people who have broken up, and have continued to be close friends, even through subsequent relationships. i always thought that could only happen on television, where by necessity the characters play a merry-go-round of partners. but i've actually seen friends be exes the way gh's robin and jason are. and i still think that's weird.

i understand genuinely caring about an ex, and wishing them all the best. but i just can't imagine doing that while inhabiting the same social space. where you hang out, but aren't together. maybe it's just me, but i couldn't turn my emotional reactions off that easily. the ex who i stayed friends with happens to live all the way across the country. and you could seriously debate the nature of our relationship.

this train of thought reminds me of emily giffin's love the one you're with, which covers the weirdness of re-encountering exes really well. i really enjoyed this book, partly because i felt that the narrator was so real and honest. i understood exactly where she was coming from. i liked that as a reader you could see where she was clearly making a bad decision, but that you could still understand why she was doing what she was doing. i love books whose main characters force you to empathize with them even while you know they are behaving badly. it's so much more interesting than having the main character always be the good one, the one who doesn't make a misstep. missteps are part of life. that's what having exes are all about. you learn a lot about yourself in a failed relationship--doesn't matter who is at fault in the failing--at the very least you learn what you want, what you need out of your relationships.

i do love all my exes. they are a part of who i am, and for that alone i'll always appreciate our time together. i don't have any regrets--at least not about the relationships themselves. oh i could have behaved better a time or two, i could have been more graceful, more understanding. but as i said before, that's why having exes is so important. they are how you learn to get it right.

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