Sunday, January 30, 2011

An EX-tremely Unnatural Experience

You may think this is a little early, for some of you having just met me, but I am going to take this opportunity to open up.. DAH, DAH, DAHHHHHHHHHHHH. The dreaded... ex-files. 
I don't know about you guys, but this isn't the way my relationship with my exes looks (ok, bad example I know, they got back together had a baby the whole shibang). But for a few seasons we saw Ross and Rachel hangin' out at Central Perk like nothing happened. Is this what a healthy post-relationship relationship looks like?

I guess my inspiration for this post comes from a few places. When relationships end, especially when its amicable, the one promise a lot of ex-couples try to make is "lets still be friends." And believe me, I was the biggest proponent of this theory. Logically, if two people break up due to circumstance, distance, not being in the right place at the right time, then no one did anything wrong, right? You are still the same people... why cut someone out of your life completely? After much reflection, and two very different ex-periences, I have come to the conclusion that being around an ex is just... well... unnatural.

Let me point out here that I think there is a distinction between unnatural and uncomfortable. I would say that when I run into exes I am comfortable. Comfortable enough to ask about how things are going, learn more about job searches, extend  polite inquiries into the very general mundane details of their lives. But being around an ex on a semi-constant basis, is to me, very unnatural. Maybe I have just never had the pleasure of being in a Ross & Rachel relationship, where you can shoot the shit with an ex like they didn't lie, walk all over you, break your heart nothing happened. Its like, hello, uhhh elephant in the room...

Like I said, for me two distinct experiences come to mind. One, where ex-A is currently living in Philadelphia and is best friends with MY best friend. I wouldn't say we see each other on a "regular" basis, but general social outings with common groups of friends. Originally I had longed to be friends, thought if I didn't I'd lose him forever. But now, its forced at best. I still appreciate who he is, and always wish him the best. But it turns out what I wanted all along, isn't what I needed. My relationship with ex-B was, a long, drawn out, emotional, dramatic saga of whatever we were. He wanted desperately to be friends once we decided things just weren't working out for good. Reasonable request right? On paper.. maybe. But the phone calls, the text messages, the "I miss yous" were just too much. I just wasn't into it. The line between friendship and relationship hadn't truly been deciphered, and trying to find it was too exhausting.

For my relationships with relationships of Christmas Past, this notion of unnatural-ity comes back. Now don't get me wrong. I am lucky enough to be in a new relationship. A HEALTHY relationship. I'm in love. In love with a guy who would lay down in traffic for me. With the person I want to be with forever. And I know that all the shit hiccups I have gone through made him possible.  He is a product of my less than perfect past, and for that I couldn't be more thankful. But for me, being face-to-face with an ex always (at least thus far) brings back feelings that no one would voluntarily want to face on a semi-regular basis; insecurities, guilt, inadequacy, failure. Why couldn't I do it? What did I do wrong? Why wasn't I good enough? Coming face to face with an ex is like looking into a mirror at who you USED to be. And I don't know about you, but I often times don't like the view.. 

So I extend this question to you. Is a relationship with an ex unnatural, or do I just have it all wrong?

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