out with an ex-boyfriend has its advantages. The best thing is the
feeling of having made progress. It's not often I get to feel that.
Even though not much has changed in my life since we broke up, the
simple fact that we're no longer together is enough for me to feel
I've accomplished something.
nights ago, I went out to dinner with an ex. When I got to the
restaurant, he was smiling. "It's so good to see you,"
he said. And I could tell he meant it. If only he'd looked at
me like that when we had been going out, we'd probably still be
When we were seeing each other, things would
have been so much better if only I could have ignored the sense
that it wouldn't last. One night I asked him what he was looking
for. His response? "I'm not looking." Hard to live in
the moment after that.
But now that there is nothing at stake,
I can be the girlfriend he always wanted. For instance, at four
o'clock in the afternoon he called to let me know he might need
to cancel dinner that evening. "That's fine," I said.
"Just let me know either way." He was amazed. "Why
couldn't you have been this easy-going when we were dating?"
Here's why. Because now, I don't care. Why
is that so hard to figure out? As long as I'm not emotionally
invested, I don't feel rejection.
And when I'm not looking forward to something,
there's no disappointment when it doesn't happen. It doesn't matter
if he cancels - because I haven't planned for a week ahead of
time what I'm going to wear. Also, I don't take the cancellation
as a sign that I'm not a priority. I already know I'm not a priority
- we established ?that five years ago when we broke up.
Not caring means there's no jealousy, either.
He can talk to me about his sex life with his new girlfriend as
much as he wants. He might as well be talking about the stock
exchange. That's how little I care. I can listen intently to what
he's saying now, too, because instead of wondering what he really
means, all I feel is relief that I no longer have to second-guess
every word that comes out of his mouth.
Spending time with an ex-boyfriend is easy
because there's a familiarity without all the complications. Things
don't have the significance they once had. For example, he can
look at his watch, and he can say certain things that I don't
mind him saying. An ex-boyfriend saying "You deserve to be
with someone special" is one thing. It's sweet. But when
he was my boyfriend and he said this, I found it depressing.
For some reason - when you're ?the ex -
everything that was the problem in the first place becomes affectionate
nostalgia. Over dinner he was talking about his current girlfriend
and he mentioned that what he liked about her was that she wasn't
needy. "That's the complete opposite of you!" He roared.
"You never knew when to let go!" Oh, the memories.
So now that I don't care any more and nothing
matters, I could relax.
Which led me to a crucial realisation. I'm
so much better as an ex-girlfriend than I am as a girlfriend.
From now on when I meet someone new, I should give them a heads-up
and say: "You'll hate me when I'm your girlfriend but, trust
me, after we break up, you'll fall in love."