Do our exes accurately represent who we are?
Gosh, I hope not. They’re exes for a reason, so to judge me by the yardstick of people with whom I no longer have contact seems particularly unfair. It’s like assessing my palate by noting that I ate baby food at one point; it’s absurd.
On the other hand, exes are are a useful aid to figure out what didn’t work. If we’re sufficiently emotionally detached, explaining why this or that relationship failed, and what made us think it might flourish in the first place, is useful information.
Key is the phrase “emotionally detached”. The cooler a person is when talking about their past, the more logical and analytical, the better. Relationships are like enriched uranium, in that we can measure their half-life as a guide to their energy…and possible toxicity.
What we’re looking for is someone whose priors are depleted uranium, and if not quite lead, then well on the way. Dating and coupling with residual relationship nuclear activity in the vicinity is a danger to your health.
And that works the other way around. Best to find someone who can look at our past without the heat of their past affecting their view. If that person isn’t available, there’s no choice but to wait.
This week I review and clarify some thoughts on individual and coupled happiness; how the small things create friction; and how exes must be dealt with…up to a point.
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The one dating experience most of us have in common is that we have exes. Ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends…unless you hit the jackpot with the first person in whom you ever took an interest, you’re one of us.
The other person needed to take a shine to you, too. Another club of giant membership is the un-reciprocated attraction club. My first teenage interest (Catherine B, if you’re out there, this is you) had precisely zero interest in either me or romance. Homework and her violin were the only loves she had, no matter how many mornings I met her at the school gate. With gifts. Ah, fifteen, how I do not miss you.
Failing to make something stick, and failing to get close enough to apply the glue; this is the true nature of finding couplehood. But human drive being what it is, all of our past history is as nothing when that new person happens along.
New. Interesting. Interested. These are the caffeine equivalents for romance.
Love – or what we call ‘love’ – can turn to hatred. Not every time, but often enough that it’s a recurring relationship theme. You know the story: none of my exes talk to me, they all hate me * resigned shrug *
Baffling to me is the way in which attraction morphs so quickly into repulsion. Like magnets drifting through the universe, two people encounter each other, and find themselves attracted…to the opposite pole. In magnetism, south seeks north, and north seeks south.
All it takes for matters to deteriorate is for one or another of the magnets to rotate 180 degrees. Neither of them has changed in any way, they are still the same magnets. Merely the direction one points in relation to the other is different.
Can we apply this to relationships? Perhaps. The way I look at it is as not so much in the obvious ‘opposites attract, like repels’ way, but more in the ‘I was attracted to this about her at first, but then came to see a complete other side’ way.
In other words, the reaction is all about the observer, not the observee. It’s me, sweetheart, not you.