You’ve finished work for the day and you’re exhausted. You’ve had to deal with nagging coworkers, glitch ridden computer programs and never-ending demands from your boss. It’s time to go home. You climb into your car and begin your slow traffic jammed crawl home. As you inch along the car packed interstate, your eyes see something that makes your heart stop. Driving the car directly beside yours is your ex-boyfriend. You haven’t seen him in over 6 years.
You quickly try to look at the road and pray to God he didn’t notice you. Too late. His eyes are locked on yours.
“Hey!” the two of you yell and break out into laughter. He tells you how good you look. You return the compliment. The two of you inch through traffic catching up on each other’s career, major life events and anything that doesn’t give emotional leverage to the other. Slightly before his exit he yells out his number and you type it into your phone. The two of you promise to hook up later and he disappears into the night.
But now you’re at home laying on the bed and looking at the cell phone number on your phone. You’re remembering your relationship and trying to discern if time has magically covered over the negative aspects of who he was as a person.
You remember the good. He was spontaneous. He loved to laugh. He was with you during the most difficult moments of your life. He never cheated on you. The sex was absolutely the best you’ve ever had in your life (and no one has even come close since you separated).
And then you remember the bad….
He was verbally abusive when he was angry. He liked to throw things. The two of you decided to end your relationship a while back because of several reasons but the primary reason was him. He was extremely immature back then. He only thought of himself. There were several instances in which he left you high and dry (like that time he left you to pay the rent while he went to Vegas). He got arrested once or twice for fighting at a bar. He lied like nobody’s business. Constantly. He lied on easily verifiable things (like paying the rent).
You’re finding yourself torn between pressing the call button and hitting delete. What should you do? After all, no one’s perfect. And since we’re all growing, wouldn’t it be wrong of you to ignore that change?
This story could be one of a million people today. We’ve all either been tempted to fall back into a friendship/relationship with an ex. On one hand, they know you. They have a sense of what your romantic DNA is. And let’s be real about it. There’s a lot of comfort there. People who reconnect with their exes almost never remember the bad. They often only remember the good.
But in almost every single case, rekindling a relationship with an ex will always turn out bad. There just isn’t anything good about it. It takes a lot of energy to reach the point of calling it quits. And that energy is drawn from compatibility issues that are often ignored in the short term but are inevitably the most powerful in the long run. The relationship ended for a reason.
Here are 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Date an Ex:
1. It Causes Self Doubt: We are all human. We all make mistakes. But the strongest judge in your life is you. And nothing says doubt more than being a wimp about why you ended a relationship in the first place. Jumping back into a relationship with an ex surrenders the strength of your decision-making capability to the desires of an unrealistic do-over. This changes you in ways you’re not aware of. Next thing you’re doubting many of the other firm decisions you’ve made. Your internal judge is almost always right. Fighting that can cause emotional and sometimes physical harm.
2. People Change and Then They Don’t: The biggest motivator of change is Consequence. Consequence often changes physical behavior, but on an emotional level? People are fundamentally who they are from 25 until death. Sure, a smoker can quit. An overweight person can be taught to eat healthy. But emotionally and internally? They’re mostly the same. Most people walk around thinking that they are normal until death and so change evades the common man. People are who they are. Time will not erase the emotions of a person. The revelation of who that person has shown himself to be to you 6 or 7 years ago is often the same steak with a little salt and pepper added.
3. It’s a Waste of Time: I’m not sure about you but I hate to do anything twice. Remember the first time you beat a video game? Remember the first time you went to Disney World? Remember that first kiss? All of those things dull after the first time. That’s the big funny part of life. This is a one-shot deal. The experiences you have are meant to be taken in as one big journey. Entering a relationship with an ex is like having to find your way out of forest, twice. Sure, you learn new things about them. But are you learning new good things or new bad things? And if you’re learning bad things, what was the point?
4. Previous Problems Might Be Amplified: Have you ever had a car with a pin stuck in the tire? First a little air escapes that hole. But as you ride on, more and more air escapes. Pretty soon you have a flat tire. Relationship problems are the same way. Think about this for a minute. If you’ve ever ended a relationship, who goes directly into therapy to address the issues? Almost no one. Why? Because we all inevitably think we aren’t the one with the problem. Meanwhile, those problems carry forward into our next relationship, getting bigger and bigger. If you or your ex have never gotten help with those previous emotional issues, who’s to say that issue was ever resolved? Chances are it’s going to be worse because it was never truly addressed. And the one way in which it was at least cauterized through separation, has been ignored. An explosion is bound to happen.
5. You’re Settling for Less: Going back through the issues with your ex is going to ultimately keep you from finding your true love. And believe me, there is a true love out there for everyone. The more time you waste trying to sort previous emotional issues, the less time you have for finding true happiness. No one is promised love. It just can’t be guaranteed. But one thing is for sure. Love is out there. And sticking with a loser of a relationship when you know that perfect person may be waiting for you is like being in a prison of your own making.