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Thursday, July 26, 2012

243

Talking With My Exes' Exes

“Saxamanda” was friendly, but she always intimidated me. She was a couple years my senior and had lived in Israel and Russia and once hitch-hiked across North Africa on a whim. She looked like Penelope Tree, dated the singer of a punk band everyone loved, and always seemed to be chugging from a tall can. I was 18 and lived with my parents and got homesick even on school trips.

After Saxamanda and her boyfriend broke up, she started dating my friend “Fergus.” When she went abroad to study, Fergus and I became close. He talked about her constantly and wore one of her hair elastics around his wrist so that he could snap himself if he thought about other girls. When she came back, she broke up with him, and Fergus and I got together in a big flurry of tears and joy and regret over wasted time.

Everything was great, except that I was batshit crazy about Saxamanda’s continued existence. It made me sick to think about how much Fergus had liked her, when she clearly hadn’t been as attached. I felt sorry for him, but also ashamed of him, and embarrassed for myself, being the sloppy second. So I stalked her MySpace page and scrutinized her face for imperfections and pretended she was some crazy witch.

After Fergus and I broke up, I realized that love is not a totem pole of options with me at the bottom, and that Saxamanda is actually really cool and sane. She never held any feelings of resentment toward me, which I kind of knew all along, and which was probably part of why I resented her in the first place.

Me: You and Fergus only really dated for about 2 months, right, before you moved to Italy?

Saxamanda: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t really think of [the relationship] as anything until he said he was going to visit. Then while I was away he'd always call and email and send me shit, like 20 mix tapes. Which was great! And I liked him, just didn’t think it was all that serious.

Me: He took it really seriously.

Saxamanda:  I got the feeling he did. What was going on while I was away?

Me: Well, we were hanging out a lot, but he was super faithful to you. I remember he grew a beard that winter because he'd always wanted to and for once he didn't have any girls to impress. It was a horrible, patchy beard.

Saxamanda: Oh man, yes. I remember. He sent photobooth pictures.

Me: I have to be honest. In the beginning I felt totally threatened by and resentful of you.

Saxamanda: Oh no why!!

Me: Because I was super in love with this guy, and most of the time I'd known him he'd been obsessed with you! I kind of felt embarrassed for and of him, because it seemed even then like he'd been way more into you than vice versa. We ran into you in Kensington Market once and he got all sullen afterward. And that just cheesed me right off.

Saxamanda: Whoa! I remember that day. I was biking with groceries and said hey and you guys were acting really funny.

Me: And I remember I stormed out of his house once after I prodded him into admitting he'd been in love with you! But I ASKED, point blank, Were you in love with Saxamanda?!

Saxamanda: Oh man that makes me feel awful, you have no idea!

Me: Don't feel awful!!! I was being crazy and fanning these weird flames. I think I was just looking for drama.

Saxamanda: Yeah. It’s tough too if you were there the whole time, I mean basically through my whole relationship.

Me: And he had so idealized you. You were like this insanely cool, tough babe. You'd been in the IDF! And you hitchhiked in North Africa!

Saxamanda: Haha! Only in the civil guard. But I don’t know, it doesn’t seem that big of a deal!! It’s much harder to actually do something with yourself.

Me: Did you have feelings like that about [Fergus]'s exes?

Saxamanda: not Fergus’ ex, but my ex bf, the one I really liked, had a mythological pixie dreamgirl ex. Once he told me she sold a painting, and I got all mad, because I had never sold any art at that point. And I was getting wasted with him every day and skipping school and basically making sure that would never happen.

Me: Have you met that ex since?

Saxamanda: I have! She was okay! Definitely not the intimidating crazy anorexic pixie I imagined. She just seemed like a quiet suburban girl. But I don’t really look for that stuff, you know? Like seriously I would rather not know.

Me: That sounds like the right way to do it.

***

I met Ralph when I was 19, at a coffee place, and right away I was attracted to how much of a weirdo he seemed to be. We had a short, heated fling, which ended when I went completely nuts on him. I let my freak flag fly because a) his own weirdness seemed to call for it, and b) he didn’t know anyone I knew.

Then, about a year later, Ralph started dating an old high-school acquaintance of mine. This was difficult to wrap my head around, because a) Maureen was not a weirdo, but rather a friendly and good-natured human being, and b) in my mind, Ralph was a shape-shifting sprite lying dormant in another dimension — he’d been a green screen for all my weirdo fantasies. Maureen projected her fantasies onto him, too, but those particular fantasies involved being loved by a nice boyfriend. We saw two very different Ralphs.

Me: I’ll just start by explaining the way I’ve thought about this over the years. So I met Ralph totally randomly. And at the time I was really freaked out about STDs, and just thought that every time I had sex I would die, and I had it in my head that he was an evil ruiner who was going to give me HIV and skip town or something like that. I went totally bananas. I guess I thought I could get away with it, because he was completely outside my social world. And then, I think it was [our mutual friend Nancy] who said, “I think you know this new guy Maureen’s dating.” And it was very embarrassing.

Maureen: Well, that is a good opener. I met Ralph at a barbecue through friends. Super innocent, discovered we had lots of things in common. And I had been single for AGES, and he really liked me and showed it to me. So I was like, Done deal! You’ll be my new boyfriend. Because it had been a long time before anyone had shown any particular interest.

Me: I find that very surprising.

Maureen: I did too. [Laughs] But yeah, we had a summer fling, and when I told him how old I was he was like, “I promised myself I would never date anyone your age again.” And I thought, Huh, that’s silly. I wouldn’t normally date someone as old as YOU are, Ralph. He said he’d just had a bad experience with someone young. Then, I guess it was probably a month or 6 weeks in, we probably had a fight of some kind, and he said, “I knew I shouldn’t have done this.” And then it kind of came up who it was, and I was like, “Oh my god, I know her! We went to school together!” I don’t remember feeling particularly freaked out or weird. But it’s funny you say you went crazy on him, because I went fuckin’ crazy on him, too!

Me: Really!

Maureen: Yeah, near the end of our relationship. In the beginning I thought, well this is going to be an awesome summer thing, but it lasted, and I ended up just needing space. And then the age thing came up again because he was like, “We should live together!” And I was like, “No we shouldn’t!” So I told him I was taking a class that didn’t exist, and would just go do my own thing — like, thinking you have to make up a class to go to, just so you don’t have to hang out with your boyfriend? That’s crazy! Why didn’t I just grow a pair?!

Me: I should finish my saga with Ralph by saying that we reconnected last summer, and had another two-week long fling. He’d always haunted me in this weird way — this probably sounds totally ridiculous–

Maureen: No!

Me: But I realize now that I completely skewed our first little thing through a fantasy of what had happened. In my mind, he was this crazy weirdo who roped me in and then disappeared into the ether. But it was really fun. He’s really generous with massages.

Maureen: Yes! Yeah.

Me: And I think the second time around, I experienced some of that clinginess you describe. Except that I was 25, so less susceptible to it. When you’re 20, you’re just psyched that a guy loves you.

Maureen: I was dating a few different guys when I met Ralph. And I decided that summer that I was going to find me a boyfriend. But I had never thought about which one I wanted my boyfriend to be.

Me: It’s funny, the few times I’ve seen you over the years have been colored by "oh shit, she dated Ralph. What does she know about me?!"

Maureen: Oh. Well, you shed more light than Ralph ever did. So we should cheers to his discretion if nothing else.

***

Alphonso and I weren’t together for very long, but when he broke up with me, I couldn’t eat or sleep, and for weeks the only thing that could soothe me was Pisces Iscariot by the Smashing Pumpkins. I have no idea why.

Our relationship was doomed, partly because neither of us was over our exes. We were both a year out of our first big relationships and still spasming with the realization that we weren’t in them anymore. I loved that he wasn’t Fergus and he loved that I wasn’t Muba, but I also hated that he wasn’t Fergus and he also hated that I wasn’t Muba. By the end, I had this impression of Muba as a wild funster whose fresh attitude made me look a dour stick-in-the-mud.

When Alphonso and I broke up, I realized I didn’t know anything about Muba, save for the fact that she’d been through the same shit I had. I was excited and a little nervous to meet her, but we gelled instantly. I found her funny and smart and charismatic — all the qualities I’d seen in him — and at first I chocked this up to his good taste. Then I figured it out: a whole bunch of what I’d seen in Alphonso had actually come from Muba.

Me: The last girl I interviewed, I didn’t have any weird feelings toward — it was more, “Oh god, what does she know.” But you, I totally did have weird feelings toward. It was this super emotional thing with Alphonso, and I guess I was the first person that he dated after you guys broke up…

Muba: I don’t know when you guys started dating, but at the time I was leaving the country, and everything felt totally upside-down. So Alphonso’s new girlfriend was totally a thing to fixate on. It was kind of unpacking the aftermath of the breakup, and not necessarily about him — you use this person as a mirror of yourself. Even though I am no reflection of you, and you are no reflection of me, aside from the very obvious things [Note: we look similar], you put so much on this other person. And like, you’re just some lady! I don’t know you, I have no reason to dislike you or feel weird about you, and I certainly don’t anymore. But for a time.

Me: I remember going to Montreal and meeting your friend Teresa. And then someone sent Alphonso a message saying, “Oh, I see you’re with someone who looks exactly like Muba.”

Muba: It’s funny, that Teresa thing. I had moved to this horrible place with largely horrible people, a great place to fester in all of the questions I had about my life. Just like, I’m going to die alone. I spent a lot of time Googling how to freeze my eggs, like how much that would cost. And Teresa said that she had met you, and I said, "You just can’t like her more than me." That sounds so petulant, but I really felt that. I had this idea — I don’t know what I thought, but I had this idea that you guys would be best friends, and I’d be knocking on the door crying and it would be raining and you guys would be like, Ha ha ha!

Me: We didn’t date nearly as long, but I felt similar after we broke up at first. I was really heartbroken, and my self-esteem was pretty friggin’ low. But then after a while, rejecting all of it was actually great! And I still respected him, so it was like eating his heart in a way. Here are all these shitty things that I now think are bullshit. I’ll take the great things, make them work for myself.

Muba: I agree, in that I feel like working through all that shit was a useful experience as a human being. I don’t want to do it again. But it was useful.

Me: When you’re with somebody for that long, you get into this hegemony of two. Even when you fall out, and even when the spark is gone, there are still certain ways you’re melded together. And it takes so much longer for that to fade away.

Muba: I think that’s what the whole challenge of breakups is — getting out of those thought patterns. It’s like climbing out of this pit and realizing, Oh, that’s not actually how the world functions.

Alexandra Molotkow is a writer and editor and fdfsgheecxowwexx.



243 Comments / Post A Comment

redheaded&crazy

"wore one of her hair elastics around his wrist so that he could snap himself if he thought about other girls"

oh NOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo

PistolPackinMama

@redheaded&crazie Like having and/or-ex-ia.

carolinaclay

nice idea this one@y

sudden but inevitable betrayal

What a cool idea. I just love this.

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Me too! It's refreshing to see someone boldly wade into uncomfortable territory and confront all those insecurities and crazy/bitch/hotter than me narratives about exes, and have it rewarded with, "Oh hey, you're also just a mostly normal person getting on with life!"

redheaded&crazy

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas yes! exes are such monsters in our brains.

crookedlegs

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas I feel like it would be insanely useful for me to do this, in terms of gaining perspective and maturing and blah blah - but thinking about actually going through with it gives me funny stomach-feelings. I'm glad someone else did this so I can just marvel at it from a distance!

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@crookedlegs Oh yeah, me too. I sincerely admire this but would not be equipped to handle it.

Actually, not too long ago I ran into my current bf's ex at a party, and we were talking for a while before I realized who she was, and then once I figured it out I just kind of ran away terrified. And then later I found her dancing right behind me on the dance floor and I ran away again. I think she was maybe kind of trying to be nice (?) but I could NOT do it.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas I would be suuuuuuper curious to talk to my ex's exes and find out how things were with them and what they were told about me - my own little mythology or something. But also I think it would be Bad News to find out he wasn't as terrible to them as to me, he lied about me, etc., and I just don't want to invite that drama into my own head.

crookedlegs

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas - Totally! My ex's ex was at the same small bar that I was last weekend, and she didn't even notice me, but I was much further into the bag than I should have been and basically went "omgomgomgomg" in my head until she left. Which is silly, because we're on good terms, and if I run into her on the street (sober) we stop and chat. Drunk logic is not my strong point.

I did have a dream a few months ago where she asked me if I wanted to be gym buddies, because she despised me so much that she would feel like she HAD to go to the gym so she could ... show me up? Be more committed to fitness than I was? Have elaborate murder fantasies about me while on adjacent treadmills? Not really sure what dream-ex's-ex logic was there, now that I think about it.

fabel

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I really loved this too, & immediately wanted to do it. But how?? How did the author set this up, for real? I could handle the conversation, but not the "so hey, let's get together & talk about this guy we both dated & our feelings?"

ViciousCersei

@sudden but inevitable betrayal In college I had a Very Sensitive Boyfriend who had been treated poorly by an ex (and his roommate) and had a hard time getting over it. That summer, she showed up at a costume party my co-workers were throwing. Before I could freak out about it properly, the cops showed up to bust our underage selves. Drama!

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Oof, yeah, I sympathize. It would definitely feel way scarier and potentially harmful with the ex of a bad, bad untrustworthy ex.

steve

I recently travelled interstate with my gf for a conference trip, which doubled up as a meet-the-parents since that's who we were staying with, during which I also got to meet three exes, which was a little strange but mostly not so bad, though of course having the best beard of all going in obviated any potential insecurity.

themmases

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I did find out that my most recent ex lied about me... To friends we both knew, while we were still dating. It still makes me mad, but it's also kind of pathetic?

He was going around telling people that I wasn't "really that smart," and that my GPA was like a 2.4 or something. I was applying-- successfully-- to grad school! So not only did it show up a huge insecurity of his, it must have just made him sound even more uninformed. But it's creepy, that someone would bother to say something like that about you.

I'm kind of glad I know actually. I feel bad about things I did in that relationship, but the mean weirdness of that blows my misbehavior out of the water. And of us two, only I had to find out from someone else.

Exene

@steve She must have been a great beard if she'd already done it for those three other guys.

Atheist Watermelon

@Exene AHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!! you just made wine come out of my nose!!!!!

Titania

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I became friends with my ex's new girlfriend while they were still dating. I contacted her through her blog because I found something she'd written about me, and I realized that he was making me out to be one of THOSE exes--the stunning, perfect, just-like-you-but-impossibly-better-than-you version and something altruistic (I swear!) wanted to tell her that it's not true. It was a real moment of epiphany that all those women I had always worried about were no more amazing than I am (pretty amazing, but not impossibly so) and I wanted to just...tell her that. So that she wouldn't worry. And also because this guy is a world-class prick sociopath and I knew it was never going to work out with them, and she'd need someone who understood when it all fell apart. We're super close friends now, talk every day, see each other every week, real genuine friends. It's nice. I'd do it again with another ex's ex, if the opportunity arose.

hollysh

@themmases I always take things people say about their exes with a grain of salt, and I think most other people do to. We all know how hard it is not to say shitty things about someone who busted up your heart so hopefully (probably) these mutual acquaintances didn't take him too seriously.

Myrtle

@Reginal T. Squirge Ahhaha! I was thinking of that movie, too. ( High Fidelity)

Myrtle

@Reginal T. Squirge Ahhaha! I was thinking of that movie, too. ( High Fidelity)

etheline.

Oh, this is my dream!
I have always been curious about partner's exes, and how they might have changed whatever dude I'm with.
I tend to look at my own timeline in terms of who I was with (or wasn't), and maybe talk about my exes more than my fiance would like.
It's also weird to find an ex's ex looks just like you, because I'm always surprised when an ex's ex (or new girlfriend) DOESN'T look like me.
I have this crazy idea people date a string of types, although I've never personally found it to be true.

Ophelia

@etheline. It's also sort of weird when you ARE the ex, and you meet them, years later...I saw a high school boyfriend at a friend's wedding a couple of years ago (we had not been dating for, oh, 15 years?), and he introduced me to his (really nice, totally cool) wife...who looked enough like me that we'd probably fit in the same police line up. We kind of looked at each other, went, "huh." internally, and then didn't mention it.

etheline.

@Ophelia VERY weird. Maybe more for her? You potentially set the tone for his entire dating life! That's a lot of power to have.

Ophelia

@etheline. Particularly given that we were about 14 at the time! (and awkwardly, while I do have someone who set the dating tone for my life...it was someone else...)

littlebearleah

@etheline. THIS IS MY DREAM, TOO!! I always ask my boyfriend about his ex's. I'm like "Did you love them? What tv shows did you guys watch? Did you like her family?"

The best part is that I was totally unoffended about him loving his ex's (no jealousy!) but got upset when I found out our mutual love for chocolate labs happened because his ex had a chocolate lab! I am crazy.

He never wants to talk about his ex's (or hear about mine) but it's just a topic I'm interested in. Plus I would love to meet them!!

Harriet Welch

@Ophelia That is so awkward!

My high-school hook up dude married a girl that looks a lot like me. We recently went to another friend's wedding and people kept calling her my name and one person was like "Whoah, you guys went from doing it in the volvo to married?!"
They left really early...

redheaded&crazy

@Harriet Welch eeeeeeeeeyiiiiikes

that's hilarious though. for you. (well maybe)

Harriet Welch

@redheaded&crazie
I thought it was amazingly hilarious. I tried to be nice to her by just staying away from them.
I was also crazy drunk and (after the left, of course)it became a game when people would yell my name I'd say "You want me or the other one?". Then there were lots more inappropriate jokes about how I should go to their hotel and give the guy back his virginity.
My friends thrive on awkward.

Ophelia

@Harriet Welch I think I love your friends.

Harriet Welch

@Ophelia
YAY! You totally should! They are the best. Actually the worst, but in the best way possible! I think everyone should have the best friends in the whole wide world who do and say the most embarrassing things possible at a very high volume.

Ophelia

@Harriet Welch PRECISELY.

Harriet Welch

@Ophelia
It's rare that awkwardness can be so appreciated. I am totally refraining from threadjacking/overcommenting with many many examples. "The best time I got tricked into doing standup right after a guy I had sex with when we were both talking about the sex we had because my friend thought it would be funny", "The best time my friend threw me a birthday party and invited everyone who didn't like me because he thought it would be funny"
...just now realizing that most people would get mad about these things...

Ophelia

@Harriet Welch I don't know if your friends are fans of the "awkward turtle" hand gesture*, but I think it would be supremely appropriate here.**

*http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=awkward%20turtle

**mine invented(?) an offshoot whereby the awkward turtle spontaneously asexually reproduces into two smaller, but equally awkward turtles.

Harriet Welch

@Ophelia
hahahaha I have seen it, they aren't really. We sort of developed a joke of trying to hide behind stuff/people (usually comically small things) when an awkward turtle gesture would suffice. Probably because it is more awkward.

The awesomest 18 year old in the world does the awkward turtle thing to me all the time. Usually when I run into her places when I am drunk. Then I laugh and make her take sips of my whiskey.

I need to see this asexually reproducing turtle. Video please.

Ophelia

@Harriet Welch Heh! I am not in a place where I can video this, but it basically means taking a frantically thumb-spinning awkward turtle, and then rapidly banging your hands together into fists that then have the thumb and pinky being the paddly feet of the baby turtles?

Harriet Welch

@Ophelia OMFG I am dying right now.
No joke, I am sitting on my couch watching shitty crime tv and trying to picture/imitate that.
I can just imagine how ridiculous that is. I might have to outsource the description to my comrade who is more adept at awkward turtle.

Ophelia

@Harriet Welch LOL, yes. Your comrade should wind up with two baby awkward turtles (unless he has extra hands).

Harriet Welch

@Ophelia He's a she. I am pretty sure she has the regular amount of hands.
If it turns out she does have extra I will whip out the awkward turtle and every variation that I can come up with.

Harriet Welch

@Harriet Welch
SHE DID IT!!!!!! She also made me a video.
I wish I could share it but it's some kind of facebook deal and I am not that tech capable. It is amazing.

Ophelia

@Harriet Welch AWESOME!!

ThundaCunt

AHHH God! So great. I would love to be able to do this....but I honestly don't think I could!! *shrug* I dont know!! Maybe because I never dated around? Same dude since I was 17. I think I would literally vomit if I had to sit across from someone I knew had sex or a relationship with him. I would want to beat her face in!!

I am so unevolved!

etheline.

@ThundaCunt Ha! I sometimes come across an ex of my fiance. I'm not sure she knows who I am, but I know HER as the girl he had upside-down sex with. It's a weird feeling.

Hellcat

@etheline. Are you like me and hate that you know stuff like that? Let's just say that there's a mutual friend that we have both known for years separately (though she was never technically a GF, so not technically an ex either, I guess) that we both see at get-togethers and a story about a broken rib acquired during... a moment. Honestly, he could have revealed that they once had a thing without revealing THAT THING.

etheline.

@Hellcat The part that I hate is how it's so different from who he is with me, a very vanilla, it's-not-sex-it's-making-love kinda guy. We have never, never had sex while standing on our heads. Which is awesome in its own way - but who was this guy? and what about that girl made him that guy?
...but then I remember this happened when they were in their early 20s and more athletic, and I feel relieved. Still, totally bizarre to have that kind of, uh, intimate knowledge about someone you aren't close to.

MilesofMountains

@Hellcat Why do people think they need to share stuff like that? I had one boyfriend who talked a lot about his exes. At the time I had difficulty orgasming (thank god I got over that phase) and was insecure about that and I remember him telling me about his one ex who could come at the drop of a hat and would come half a dozen times every time they had sex. I remember just feeling so inadequate after that.

Hellcat

@MilesofMountains I try to look at it as a positive, in that I guess it's better to have a partner who is prone to saying too much than one who says too little, maybe? My BF (and probably your ex) isn't saying these things for a specific reason, much less to make me feel bad. He's kind of a talker about anything and everything and when he gets going, he makes sure all the nuances of a story are there (any kind of story, not just sex-with-exes ones, which are few and far between, thank god). Maybe if he'd thought about the rib thing, he'd have left it out, considering to whom he was telling the story. While I don't love this TMI quality in him when it pertains to this particular topic, I do like it in other ways. Like I said, I'd rather have that than someone who deliberately edits too much when talking to his GF.

That said, I do think that he'd leave out that kind of stuff in a story that included one of his serious exes, out of respect for me and maybe for her too; it just seems to be the meaningless flings who make him loose-lippy in the retelling, even as I make a horrified face at him.

Ophelia

"Hegemony of two" was the best phrase I've read in a while.

Reginal T. Squirge

A new Mystik Spiral song:

"Oh, I just can't get over/ The memory of you!/ She'll never be the one!/ Hegemony of two!"

BornSecular

@Ophelia I'm familiar with the phrase "nation of two" and I think it's from Mother Night by Vonnegut.

apples and oranges

This is so fascinating! How did you go about contacting these ladies and explaining the project to them? (Did anyone say no??)

(Also once I saw my guy's ex in an airport... in another country. We did the awkward avoiding eye contact thing, but really, she seems like a cool girl and I think I would like her a lot if given the chance.)

PatatasBravas

@kangerine I was curious about how she orchestrated the interviews too!

PistolPackinMama

I am BFFs with an ex's roommate's ex. We've been friends for so long, she's like my sister.

So apparently, after I moved and was out of the picture, I guess there were stories floating around? Whatever. And, my BFF and my ex's new GF referred to me with heavy sarcasm as "Pistol Packin' Mama The Amazing."

And... I just... spent a year calling the new GF, who I had never met, in tones of heavy sarcasm Fish in Aspic. (Long story.)

Anway. The ex. Top guy. Really nice. His ex. Also very nice. And my BFF is of course stupendous.

A bunch of very nice people getting worked up about how they compare to other nice people. What. Interestingly, the ex is a nice person and I like him and we are in touch. But the women in that mix are particularly amazing people, and I still learn a lot from them.

*sigh*

Love is the pits sometimes.

Anne Helen Petersen

It shouldn't creep me out when my exes date/marry/have children with women who look like they could be my sisters (I mean, it makes sense, doesn't it?) but it totally does.

Scandyhoovian

@Anne Helen Petersen A friend of mine had a guy that she dumped insist he would have proposed to her, and then not six months later he was engaged to a girl with her same name and hair color. We all thought it was really odd.

Emma Peel

@Scandyhoovian My best male friend from high school had an (unrequited but acknowledged) crush on me for years. All of his girlfriends in the 10 years since then have been my same basic physical type and hair color. It weirds me out ever so slightly.

Anne Helen Petersen

@Scandyhoovian I've had two exboyfriends with a predilection towards Annies (myself included). One has dated four; the other three. That is some weird shit.

Megasus

@Anne Helen Petersen Oh man so my former stepbrother's high school girlfriend had his sister's name. And then they briefly broke up and he started dating this girl WHO LOOKED JUST LIKE HIS SISTER. Like, I came home from Uni and thought it was her, that's how much they looked alike.

travelmugs

@Megano! Ha, I've noticed this too. One long-time-ago ex ended up with a girl who doesn't look at all like me but had the same highly unusual college double major (in two unrelated fields) as me. I think he had an intellectual type?

Mariajoseh

@Anne Helen Petersen my ex's first GF after we broke up was called Maria (like me), went to the same college and took the same classes I took, but she was super different in every other way. It was all very weird.
I was my other ex's first ever girlfriend, and after me he has dated a string of VERY similar girls who look nothing like me, he dates them for like 3 months and moves on to the next one. Also very weird to know that I'm not his type, but he was with me the longest.

Lu2
Lu2

@Anne Helen Petersen --my only ex who mattered ended up marrying a woman whose name is mine minus a few key letters, and those letters form a word on their own. I used to read something into this, because it really did work out to seem meaningful (... oh, I can't explain without telling what my name is and what hers is, but it's really kind of fun).

Anyway, this weird name coincidence was a comfort during a time when I needed it to be!

I also had an ex get together, and stay together unto the common-law marriage years, with a woman who looked a lot like me.

Inkling

@Lu2
Oh my gosh, this sounds like the most contrived romance novel blither, but it's true which makes it REAL LIFE MEANINGFUL. Tell ussss the naaaames.

whateverlolawants

@Anne Helen Petersen My ex had a crush on a coworker a few years after we broke up. If I remember correctly, she was also a redhead, born within a few weeks of me, from the same city, from a high school that was very much like mine (size-wise, reputation-wise, demographically), had similar religious and political views (yes, I learned all this from Facebook), and had studied similar things as me. I was amused, but I tried not to read much into it, because he liked several other girls over the years who didn't look that much like me.

Heike

@Anne Helen Petersen When I split up with my partner, I remained good friends with his parents, who invited me and my new bf to visit. New bf looked very like their son. Which was tricky. Added to the trickiness, their son decided to drop in, not knowing I was there, and brought his new gf, who looked just like me. So now we had two sets of identical twins making stilted small talk round the table :-(

fondue with cheddar

My ex husband was obsessed with one of his ex girlfriends, and I was always intimidated by her because she was pretty and crazy tall. He had lunch with her one day early in our relationship because there were some unresolved things he wanted to talk to her about, and I was jealous. But he said it was resolved and had the closure he needed, which made me feel better. And then later I met her and realized she was really cool and that made me feel better still. But he still kept pictures of her (and a lot of other exes and girls he knew) in the drawer next to his computer (which I did not discover until after we split). HE was the one who wasn't cool.

I haven't talked to nearly enough exes' exes.

redheaded&crazy

this was a very cool concept though. i would love to talk to my ex's new gf because i would just be so fascinated to know what his deal is. if he's gotten any better at being a boyfriend. or like, a human being. if he's less self...

this is a toxic line of thinking. I don't think I could do this in as well-adjusted a way!

noodge

@redheaded&crazie yeah... it's hard. i have an ex (with whom I had an especially bad argument with at the end, like - you don't wanna know. property was destroyed. moving on) and he has had this new girlfriend who is just amazing - I'm envious of how awesome she is. But then I became friends with a mutual friend of the new girlfriend, and found out: he was pretty much the same. He'd learned a few things, and she was a bit more laid back than I was, but he was still kind of a jerk. Now they've recently broken up after almost 2 years and I would LOVE to have one of these convo's with her.
So yeah, kinda toxic line of thinking, but also very understandable and universal. I think we all wonder these things.

Jennifer Culp

@redheaded&crazie NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo

Jennifer Culp

Don't do it until they've broken up and years have passed! Oh man. Very understandable and universal, very, VERY bad idea.

redheaded&crazy

@Jennifer Culp don't worry I'm not going to!

my self control > curiosity these days.

plus i wouldn't want to give anybody the satisfaction

Jennifer Culp

@redheaded&crazie "plus i wouldn't want to give anybody the satisfaction"
That is the absolute best reason to avoid doing a thing, in my book.

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazie Oooooo, look at you, changing up your avatar all sexy-like. *bites knuckle at Rupert Grint/GingerNutball*

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin i feel that sultry doe eyes are an appropriate representation of how I feel about you all.

meetapossum

@redheaded&crazie Boy, this is just...relevant to my life.

So I'm on good terms with all the guys I've dated, but we're not all BFFs or hang out, except for this one guy, who was the first guy I was seriously into (and probably in love with) after I moved to New York. We had ups and downs, but the whole thing basically boiled down to the fact that I was in love with him and he couldn't "be a good boyfriend."

He started dating this girl the week I went on vacation, and they've been together ever since (2+ years at this point). She is super awesome and a great friend, and I think more than he deserves sometimes. But it was (is?) often COMPLETELY weird and sort of jealousy-inducing to watch him become this person he could never be for me. HI FEELINGS.

ETA: But also, he is still sort of a loser sometimes, and when she calls me up to complain about him, it's difficult for me not to just say that to her because that's what everyone tells her. I understand his...appeal, I guess, and that's why she likes to vent to me.

redheaded&crazy

@meetapossum yeah i mean, this guy has been treating his friends like shit. and these days i can count the things i miss about our relationship on one finger, so i can't get too jealous.

i think it's just weird and kind of UGH to put a lot of whatever into a relationship only to have it all come to fruition in the other person's next relationship.

meetapossum

@redheaded&crazie I think I've mentioned this before, but the last 3 or 4 people I've dated entered into still-presently-happy-and-together relationships right after we broke up. It's a curse!

redheaded&crazy

@meetapossum My ex is currently listed as engaged on fb. apparently it's a prank. i haven't dated enough people to see if I have a curse trending! but I'm certainly alert to the possibility.

Atheist Watermelon

@meetapossum omg... i am both the marriage fluffer AND the gay fluffer, and one notable time, both- the guy got married 6 months after dating me, then 6 months after that, he got a divorce and came out of the closet. yeah. how do you ever date again? #whyihaven'tdatedanyoneinayearandahalf

meetapossum

@Didldidi Maybe we should start some kind of club.

Ojo
Ojo

@redheaded&crazie I was kind of curious about my ex's current relationship as I wondered if he grew out of being an asshole, but then a mutual friend told me that the ex had blocked him on Facebook because he'd made fun of some Star Wars cosplayers. So I guess I don't need to wonder if he's still a juicebox!

Emma Peel

This is so relevant because I am miserable about having to spend some time with my ex-boyfriend's first ex-girlfriend later this summer. We're all from the same group of college friends; they dated for about six months at the beginning of college (but it was a very intense relationship, and breakup, that seemed more significant at the time), we dated for a great four years at the end of college and after; but I've never really been close to her, and now I really hate that she and I are now basically in the same category of Sam's Ex-Girlfriends. I honestly want nothing to do with her at all.

Which is weird, because I had no problem with her while we were dating. But now I'm extremely, viscerally uncomfortable with the thought of this THING I share with this person I frankly don't like much. (We've seen each other maybe twice in the three years since graduation.)

But she is friends with my friends, and we will all be trapped at a wedding (and driving to and from) together, and I will be nice and grit my teeth and pray that she doesn't mention him.

mackymoo

@Emma Peel Yeah college is not good for this sort of thing. I had classes with two of my boyfriend's exes for last three semesters that we were in school. In one class, three of us were together! Jesus Christ! I was super insecure and could not handle any of it. Now that we're removed from college, it's not a big deal, and my bf has even mentioned wanted to apologize to his high school girlfriend for being a dick which doesn't really bother me either.

ThundaCunt

@Emma Peel She is totally gonna mention him, like IMMEDIATELY!! I can just feel it!

hollysh

@ThundaCunt Yep. @Emma Peel You should probably start practicing various nonchalant responses to brush off that topic of conversation.

Scandyhoovian

Ohhh, I've actually met two of the fiance's exes because his sister is friends with one of them and the other is related to a friend, and the first one is a HUGE SWEETHEART and we got along almost too well, and the other one pointedly avoided me (like, managed to photograph a mutual friend's birthday in such a way that it looked like I didn't go to the party) and never once said a word to me until fiance proposed. Now she has warmed up juuuuust enough that she will say "hello" if we run into each other. But that's it. It's very strange. And weird. And strange.

Meanwhile, my exes are almost entirely out of my life now (not because I excised them, mostly just because of drift and moving-out-of-town and that sort of thing) so he hasn't run into any of them. One he knew in high school, though, weirdly enough.

Harriet Welch

I love this soo much!
Your ex's exs are for just normal, real, everyday people. I love it! I live in a small town where pretty much everyone dated everyone, so it's hard to remember how you felt about so-and-so's ex while you were dating because you probably knew them in third grade.
However, I would LOVE to sit down with my husband's exes. They are like these mystical enigmatic figures that I don't understand. Are they like me? Why were they weird? What would I ask?
"Did you feel bad when you charged up a bunch of wedding expenses on his credit cards and then got pregnant with another man's child?"
Maybe I'm not mature enough for that yet...

Sefe

I love this so much. Note to all you ex-obsessers out there: never facebook stalk on an ipad/ipad. The buttons are too small and fickle; you may end up accidently friend requesting the ex.

terrific

@Sefe GREATEST FEAR.

Kulojam

@Sefe I met a girl last week who told me a story about EXACTLY THIS happening! She was facebook stalking her boyfriend's ex and she showed her friend a facebook picture of the ex on her ipad...and her friend's huge thumbs accidentally sent a friend request to the ex. The next day, she had been blocked by the ex-girlfriend. So horrifying!

redheaded&crazy

@Sefe i was once blocked by an ex of a friend's ex. i guess because she found out through their mutual ex that my friend was using my fb account to stalk her after she blocked my friend's account.

OH FACEBOOK DRAMA.

ImASadGiraffe

@redheaded&crazie I'm currently blocked by the girl that my then-husband (now ex, obvs) cheated on me with. I think it's funny, actually.

Hellcat

@ImASadGiraffe My BF had a friend-with-benefits (who turned out to be a bit of a loose cannon, and with whom he severed all ties) who has a few of the same friends I do. This woman will not post anything to any of our mutual friends' FB pages for fear I will see it. I have never met her in my life (which somehow didn't stop her from telling one of these mutual friends that I am "very nice, but a little crazy and very possessive of my boyfriends). I find this to be funny.

sarah girl

@Sefe I'm late here, but you can cancel a friend request!! It's in the dropdown that shows up after you (accidentally) click the request button. I can't speak to what will happen if the ex has notifications sent to phone/email/whatever, but maybe he'll just go "oh, Facebook must be weirding out" if he goes to his Facebook and doesn't see a request? Who knows. Anyway, it exists!! It saved me a few months ago, haaaa...

Jennifer Culp

This is great! One of my best friends and I met awkwardly when we ended up working at the same place (she was my boss!), were scheduled alone together on her first day, aaaand all we knew about each other was that we shared a mutual ex, who was a brief fling for me and then dated her immediately afterward. He was her first love, and they were together for years until he cheated on her. We ended up having a similar conversation when store emptied, and really hit it off. <3 you, Lauren!

BadWolf

@Jennifer Culp I am good friends with an ex's ex, too! He was my on/off boyfriend in college, and a total dipshit, and he'd dated her right before me---epic love-affair for me, casual/miserable fling for her. I was very awkward around her for a couple years, and tried to avoid her whenever possible, because she was (and is!) so cool and clever and pretty. And then she needed a roommate, and called me in desperation, and I needed a place to live, so I said yes...and it ended up being utterly fantastic, and we are still close. We had some similar conversations, but we mostly bonded over the extent to which our mutual ex is a terrible, terrible person, and a bad lay. Woo!

Reginal T. Squirge

Is there anything more depressing than finding out that the part of your s/o's personality that you love most is not actually them but just a remnant of someone they used to date?

Pound of Salt

@Reginal T. Squirge It almost feels like a betrayal; why didn't you manage to completely scrub your personality clean of his/her influences before dating me??

Reginal T. Squirge

It also reeks of plagiarism.

runner in the garden

@Reginal T. Squirge -- but doesn't everything come from somewhere?

Shouldn't we be thanking that ex for giving that gift to our partner? (especially since, considering the comments above, that ex is probably annoyed that someone else gets to reap the benefits from the hard work they invested in somebody)

Reginal T. Squirge

No, no, very true indeed. We should be happy that our s/o's at least have personalities they've stolen from real people and not just fictional characters on TV... or something.

Still, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable and like I'm not dating that person any more but a fading impression of their old s/o. You know?

runner in the garden

I've kinda done the opposite thing, where I read a book or watch a movie that I know was formative for a friend or partner or ex, and spend the whole time trying to use it to decode my memories of that person, or my problems with that person color my experience of the book/movie.

Bonus question: Do you get the same uncomfortable feeling when you meet your partner's family and see how their mannerisms come from their mom/dad/whatever?

Reginal T. Squirge

Yeah, I don't have much experience with meeting a s/o's parents. Things very rarely get that far. But also, it's easier because 1. they grew up with that person so it's not like they have a choice in whether or not they are influenced by them and 2. they didn't fuck/love/whatever that person so it's easier to deal with their influence. The fucking/loving part shouldn't matter, I know! But it still makes it difficult. Also, I am The Worst.

lora.bee

@runner in the garden Embarassing story: I lived with my ex-boyfriend's family for a while (he was my bf at the time!), and one day I heard him call me from the living room. I came around the corner saying "Yes sweetieeee?" like a goofball, but then I saw that it was his dad had called me. They sounded EXACTLY the same.

They would both rub their foreheads in the exact same way when thinking. I love family stuff like that.

nbt

i love this so much because it's funny and promising and just what I need after breaking up with someone last night.

Reginal T. Squirge

True Story: I broke up with the Girl Of My Dreams and she went back to her ex. I spent the next two years (and counting) trying to get her back and looking at all of their (new) pictures on Facebook and wanting to murder him. Then they broke up again. Then I saw him on the MAX with his new gf. I wanted to murder him in front of all the other train riders. Pretty sure had no idea who I was but oh, man was that a steely ice grill I had on.

Reginal T. Squirge

It just hasn't happened yet! You have to put yourself out there! All the other bullshit nonsense people tell me!

meetapossum

@wee_ramekin Ohhhhh lord. I forgot that the Chris Roberts@facebook thread was in that one!

FUCK YOU ASS TARD.

redheaded&crazy

@meetapossum oh man I had to retroactively like a shit ton of comments from that thread.

eta: i'm such a lemming

Roxanne Rholes

@Reginal T. Squirge Chris Roberts@facebook! How do we get him to come back???

wee_ramekin

@meetapossum AHhaaaaaaaa, I forgot that it was the Chris Roberts@facebook thread too! "The exhale of her breath"...hee hee hee heeeee.

Roxanne Rholes

@wee_ramekin Maybe if we mention Chris Roberts@facebook enough, Chris Roberts@facebook find us while he's googling himself. Or maybe it's like, the "Bloody Mary" thing. Stare at your computer screen and say "Chris Roberts@facebook, Chris Roberts@facebook, Chris Roberts@facebook!"

meetapossum

Whither thou, Chris Roberts@facebook???

Reginal T. Squirge

HOLY SHIT I NEVER EVEN KNEW ABOUT THIS CHRIS ROBERTS THING. I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR HAVING BEEN INFORMED.

wee_ramekin

@Reginal T. Squirge See! You can learn to love again!

werewolfbarmitzvah

@meetapossum I saw Chris Roberts@facebook ON Facebook one day! He was trolling on one of Jezebel's Facebook posts! It was eerie!

Reginal T. Squirge

@wee_ramekin

Is there a Love Again grad school somewhere? I need to further my education.

wee_ramekin

@Reginal T. Squirge Man, I am so not the person to ask. I have been single for almost two years now. (I am heartily enjoying it, but am probably not the person to turn to for Advice on Lurv.)

Nate Jones@twitter

@Reginal T. Squirge I CANNOT believe I missed that when it was originally published. Thanks!

Scandyhoovian

I actually wonder sometimes what goes through an ex's head when they meet you in passing or something -- for example, an old boyfriend once told me all about this fling he'd had, and I met her months later (while we were still dating) and in my head I was going, "I know all about it."

And now I kind of wonder what went through her head? Was it, "Haha, I've been there and she has no idea," or "Oh god, did he tell her?" or "Oh he probably didn't tell her," or...?

I'm just so curious.

Reginal T. Squirge

All that went through my head was "KILLKILLKILLKILL" (see above).

Scandyhoovian

@Reginal T. Squirge That makes the awkward encounter smiles way more sinister.

Reginal T. Squirge

For half a second my mind also went to "KISS HIM" territory just because it would be so baffling to him.

Hellcat

I know and am fine with a few of my BF's dalliances, but none of the serious exes. Unlike me, he doesn't stay friends with any of those. But a few years before he met me, he had a "real" GF... and also a now-defunct blog. I knew I shouldn't but I did. And even now, three years into our thing (which is two years longer than theirs), I get occasional bouts of completely illogical feelings about what I read (and sometimes even a juvenile "but he doesn't write blogs about me!" thing). Ugh, I'm gross.

I guess I should confess that I realized then that she too had a blog throughout their relationship. And, yes, I did exactly what you're probably hoping I didn't. And it was the worst. So bad.

etheline.

@Hellcat Nooooo, I feel that! I would have done the exact same thing.
The crazy part is, I understand how being in love with someone is different every time, and the "being in love" part can LOOK different ... but when confronted with the evidence of HIS past loves, ouch.

Hellcat

@etheline. Oh, all the logical thoughts are present... which almost makes it worse because I know I shouldn't be concerned in the least about any of it! In fact, if someone who wasn't me came to me about the illogical feelings, I'd probably tell her that they were nothing to worry about, everyone has exes--you have exes, made him into what he is today, blah-blah-blah. But it's different when you are the one feeling it.

Logically, I do not care that he doesn't make a blog that features details of our relationship; I'd probably actually not like that too much at all (plus, how much fun could they have been having if he's typing all the livelong day when he's not at work?). But then Illogical Me shows up occasionally and wonders if I am just not blogworthy and exciting like she was! And I don't even know how I felt when I saw that old photos of my mans were on her site, captioned "My Hot Boyfriend." (No, he is not, Miss Lady! You take that down!)

The truth is, he is different now, and he probably wouldn't have interested me too much then (judging solely by his Blog Persona, at least). And maybe if I'd known him at the time, I would have liked her? I don't know. I think that, in addition to those immortalized blogs, the fact that she was "the big one" before I came along is daunting in my more insecure moments. And, yeah, "insecure" because they split up two years before he met me, so just what the hell is my problem? At the same time, it's probably more or less a normal feeling, like the urge to read the blogs* (though I wish I had left it at just "urge," man).

* Hers was not only hideously ugly in a design sense, but also riddled with spelling errors that were most certainly not run-of-the-mill typos! Ha! So there! (Oh dear; I'm sorry--Illogical Me came back for a minute.)

Hellcat

@Hellcat Also, I do still harbor secret hopes that he'll take that blog down altogether, or at least trash posts that are specifically about her/them. At the same time, if he asked me flat out if he should do that, I'd probably say no. (I could say that hers is gone... but then you might think I bothered to check and what kind of neurotic loon-lady would do such a thing?!)

tibia

@Hellcat OH MAN. BLOGS. Never write about your relationships on your blogs, right??

So, my current boyfriend dated his ex for four years, and started dating me less than 2 months after they broke up. A while ago I found out that she follows me on tumblr, and when I found HER tumblr I had to go through and read it all. All 500 whatever pages. It consumed a few days. And basically, I just felt sad and bad for her. She obviously took their breakup really hard (understandably; it did not go well) and was really sad and angry at him, and by extension at me, for a long time. I just wanted to write her a note and be like "Look, I’m really sorry, you didn’t deserve that. (Also it's not my fault!)" (I never did write to her, which was obviously best.) But I mean... it could've been me.

Hellcat

@tibia I'm torn on whether you should write about relationships in a blog; I mean, I guess go ahead if you're doing a journal-type thing (and obviously don't be a douche in any way, and make sure the S.O. is OK with it too?) but remember that you might have future S.O.'s--nosy ones like me*, or maybe that you won't want to relive stuff later. I know that he actually wrote about their breakup but removed it later because he (a) sounded like a loon** and (b) found it disrespectful to her.

* I wasn't being totally nosy, really. He told me about it because he wrote about a lot of stuff unrelated to the ex during, before, and after their relationship. There were so many entries, and having no idea about anything regarding their previous couplehood, I just started picking titles that looked interesting... and then, oh, the spiral I got into that ended with her blog! Ugh.

** Illogical Me might sometimes wonder if he's sound that upset if we broke up. See? See how awful I am?

As for our relationship, I am fine (when Illogical Me is not present, at least) with his mundane (yet cute) posts on FB like, "Gig canceled; I finally get to just hang out with my GF and beer and movies." In fact, compared to that blog, I think I'm actually happy that he's happy with mundane couple stuff, as opposed to some of those bloggable antics with the ex.

anachronistique

Saxamanda! Fergus! Muba!

Daisy Razor

@anachronistique She really went above and beyond with the pseudonyms. I love it.

Lemonnier

@anachronistique Yes! Best names ever!

paddlepickle

This is a cool idea. It reminds me of the idea I have where I invite everyone I've ever slept with to a dinner party, anonymously, and I'm not there and they have no idea why they're all there and I just watch through a video camera to see how all of them get along with each other. That might be a little more difficult to implement than this, though.

kickupdust

@paddlepickle like like like a thousand times like. I have had this exact thought!

paddlepickle

@kickupdust What do you think your party be like? I think mine would end up divided into a couple of groups, between the computer/science nerds, artists/musicians, politics/activism people, manly carpenter/bike-building types, and one hippie that would annoy everyone by trying to make them do yoga or some shit. And they would probably think that they had been invited to some kind of Beard Convention. There would be so much facial hair in that room, lemme tell ya!

kickupdust

@paddlepickle holy moly you have lots more exes than me... since I don't really technically have any? it would have to be like ex-people I slept with. #relationship avoidy

I actually really like the sounds of your party! beards! my party would be like an assortment of random people in an elevator together feeling awkward. preeetty much the only thing they would have in common would be me. ahh it's so weird to imagine.

paddlepickle

@kickupdust Oh yeah, these are everyone I've slept with, not all exes. I just remembered that there's one non-beardy guy I'd have to invite, and he is a muscular, sweet-but-dimwitted bartender named Juan. He would clearly be bartending. I think the elevator-assortment would be more typical for most people; I just have a REALLY specific type for one reason. And it's beards.

beanie

@paddlepickle this setup sounds like the beginning of the Saw movies...I'll just sit right here behind my camera and watch all these people together *sinister thoughts*.

kickupdust

@paddlepickle hahaha thumbs up. I love guys with beards, although none of my elevator people would have proper ones. sigh.

ThundaCunt

@paddlepickle O, man...this would be AHH-MAZING!! Mine would be ex-slept with..no real realtionships, cuz I am totally a whore like that...but can I tell ya...it would be ALOT of bums, tattoos, gold teeth & convictions. Probably not a single degree, 401K or healthplan between the lot of 'em.

Man, did I pick alot of losers to pass my cookie out to as a young cunt!!

ironhoneybee

@paddlepickle I like this idea, particularly if there is also a murder, a big storm, and then Truman Capote shows up.

flanhoodles

@paddlepickle Mine would be exclusively the crotchety engineers that have been my boyfriends, and then the hippies that were the rebounds, when I was looking for the opposite of crotchety engineers.

adorable-eggplant

@flanhoodles That's priceless. I'm picturing an especially awkward yoga retreat.

excitedheart

@paddlepickle i can't afford a rental half big enough :/

terrific

This is so relevant. I met my boyfriend's ex at some event a few months ago and spent the whole time flipping out (inside), even though she seemed nice? I can't mentally jump the "BUT YOU USED TO LOOOOOVE HER HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY LOVE ANYONE ELSE EVER AKA ME?" hurdle.

And I feel bad, because I'm planning an event (goodbye barbecue for a friend) in a couple weeks I really want my boyfriend to come to, because it would be weird if he didn't, and I just want him there to meet a few friends of mine he hasn't yet. Except my ex will be there. There's a lot of history with my ex that makes current boyfriend kind of growly (ex was a terrible, terrible boyfriend to me, but generally a good person, and still my friend) and I just don't know how to approach it, because I don't think he will want to come, but I would like the two to at least meet, if just to say "See? Not a threat! You are the wonderfulest!"

But then I feel bad because I haaaated meeting his ex, despite her being nice.

wee_ramekin

@terrific Have you talked to your boyfriend about it? If not, I'd suggest saying to him exactly what you just wrote. That will give him the opportunity to either accept or be like "Thanks for the invite, but I don't want to meet your ex", and then (hopefully) no hard feelings.

terrific

@wee_ramekin I haven't, actually! I am tonight. We just started planning the party today. I plan on doing just that, pretty much, and hoping he understands.

Pound of Salt

I"m becoming friends with my ex's ex, and it's been really satisfying in a "fuck you" to him kind of way. But we've never talked about him; it makes me sick to think about. It's like, that horrible breakup is MY narrative and I don't really want to hear about hers, because somehow that makes my pain less special? I'm terrible.

MoonBat

Pisces Iscariot got me through a bad break up as well! Oh man, I still love that album. Adele got me through the most recent (more angry) one, though.

flanhoodles

Has anyone else's ex tried to trick them into being friends with the ex's ex? Like, hey, Flanhoodles, I'd like you to meet my neighbor/good friend Molly.

And then you find out through the grapevine or whatever that Molly is actually his ex-gf. This has happened to me twice!

punkahontas

@flanhoodles I'm actually friends with all my exes except for one, I've never tried to pass them off as "just friends" though. My husband has met and is friendly with all of them. I think the key is the honesty though.

YouBad

@flanhoodles Oh, I do this to my BFs actually. I'm friends with like 3 of my ex's and I never know how to smooth things over so I just introduce as my friend. Huge faux pas?

flanhoodles

@BedStye Oh, I wouldn't say huge faux pas if it's not awkward, but in one of my situations it was a recent break up, she still had feelings for him, everyone else in the friend group knew about it, etc., etc.

flanhoodles

@punkahontas I totally agree. Honesty is definitely the key. I'm friends with a couple exes too, but before I introduced them to my at-the-time boyfriend, I gave him the heads up.

In the situation I was referring to, I was complaining to a mutual friend that "Molly" didn't seem to like me very much, even though I was always trying to be friendly. My friend then informed me that "Molly" was my boyfriend's most recent ex, and that was why she acted so cold towards me (Not that I blame her!). I would have really liked to know about that situation from the get go, and have avoided some major uncomfortableness.

tealily

@flanhoodles I had heard all these stories about my ex's first girlfriend and how hung up he was on her at the time, etc. Then I met this really friendly, bubbly woman at his 30th birthday party who was introduced as an old friend of his and his brother's from back home. She got him a great present, that I was more excited about than he was. In his defense, he told me afterward who she was, and it didn't really occur to him because they had dated when he was 15 and he'd had other serious girlfriends since. Still, I just died. I felt like a heads up prior to the party would have been really nice.

redheaded&crazy

@tealily I think a heads up in advance is definitely key, at least for your current partner. I mean, the ex kind of knows what's coming. Does anybody actually introduce somebody as "so and so, my ex"? That seems like it would be horribly awkward.

beanie

@flanhoodles yes! I would introduce, mention that we dated after, and then my fiance would usually forget. "You dated? I thought he was gay.."

glow bug

@beanie your fiancee sounds like my husband

harebell

@flanhoodles I've done that, but only because my (now-husband) specifically has asked me not to tell him about any of the people I've dated in the past. He also won't tell me about his, which is sort of annoying, but fine-if-you-insist.

However, even though I didn't tell him the last time I introduced him to an ex as a friend, I'm 95% sure he guessed. He does knows me really well, after all. They got on really well together!!

NeverOddOrEven

Pisces Iscariot, woot!

Fantastic album. I wish Billy Corgan didn't have to ruin all my adolescent fantasies by being a self-important dick.

Jizzcliner

@NeverOddOrEven You can't always get what you Zwan.

NeverOddOrEven

@Jizzcliner
I did pay way too much money to see Zwan at First Ave though, and it was one of the best shows ever. Also a pretty good album.

punkahontas

I recently ran into a friend of a friend, who I hadn't seen in ages. She asked about one of my exes and mentioned she had dated him a few months before I did. As we were catching up and dishing about the ex, one of my other friends mentioned the ex now has a dj night. We turned to each other and said in unison "WE SHOULD GO!"

We totally won't, because I could give a shit about dj night or that ex, but I had so much fun hanging with the friend of a friend exe's ex!

Hellcat

@punkahontas I went to a high school reunion with the friend who dated my five-year BF after he'd dumped me. We had all been friends throughout high school (he is two years older than we are) and up until the dumping; not so much after when they got together (right away!), and I was, of course, not invited to their subsequent wedding. Anyway... he cheated, they spilt up, MySpace happened, and she and I met up and went to the reunion together after lots of catching-up e-mails. More than one former classmate actually said, "So neither of you has him?"

YouBad

Oh God, my bf's ex is in a band that is playing all over the place now and we go to shows to be nice. She is very sexy and has an awesome voice but listening to her sing (and wondering how much of her new album is about my bf) is kind of agonizing. She is so sweet to me, though. It makes it hard to be jealous.

beanie

@BedStye I think I could handle one show before I Shut That Down. You are a saint/I am a jealous monster.

one cow.

@BedStye I had the opposite problem in that a guy I dated for 3 years was a musician & we dated after he'd been on and off with this other girl for like 4 years. So when he came out with his first album a few months into dating me, most of the songs were about her. And I'd go to his concerts & sit & listen to him croon about her eyes & how she was his true love & all this stuff! It was the worst, because I felt like I couldn't say anything about it. "Please stop playing your music." I also found out (through her blog, because I was a crazy) that he had given her the very first copy of the finished album (even though he & I were dating). He was kind of Terrible at times.

gtrachel

I LOVED this piece and immediately recommended it on Facebook! But (ah, I can't stop myself!) the expression is "chalked up" and not "chocked up"...

redheaded&crazy

@gtrachel i'm glad you said this with confidence because i read it and was all "wait ..... have I been thinking this expression wrong my whole life?" ... wouldn't be the first time ya know

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@gtrachel Took me a second as well; I thought she spelled "choked" wrong at first. Chocked means (according to Mr. Webster) "to prevent forward movement (of a wheel or a vehicle) with a chock."

Maybe the ex was the chock and she needed to get him out of her system so she could move forward!

tealily

@gtrachel I thought about posting it on facebook, but I don't want my exes think that I am crazy and still think about them. DOES THAT MEAN THAT I'M CRAZY AND STILL THINK ABOUT THEM??

queenieliz

@gtrachel well, for all intensive purposes, she may be right...

disco_clone

@gtrachel 'Chocked up' made me go 'aw, Americans :)'

redheaded&crazy

guys i really am having trouble keeping track of all the ex's friends of friends ex's exes ... friends ... ex

null

Oh man, I loved this. I keep in contact with a lot of my exes and it really bums me out when I know their current partner is insecure about me, but I've been there a million times myself.

Daisy Razor

This is fantastic. Like a less whiny, more emotionally mature High Fidelity.

allofthewine

I guess this is where I confess that the ex of my ex is also on Hairpin. She's fantastic and very cool and it was terribly intimidating to date our mutual ex after her.

Also! ex of an ex is referred to as eskimo sisters, according to urban dictionary. The More You Know!

wee_ramekin

@allofthewine I thought Eskimo sisters was when you had both slept with the same person; you don't necessarily have to relationship them. Yes? No? Guys?

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@allofthewine Ahhhh, this is a secret fear of mine! I'm glad it is working out for you!

allofthewine

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas well, I haven't actually TALKED to her so much as maybe stalked her just a little bit via her posts. Maybe one day?

frigwiggin

@wee_ramekin It's kind of a weird turn of phrase anyway (vis-a-vis not sure Eskimos/Inuit would appreciate it?), so we should just make up something new. Something with the word canoodle in it.

wee_ramekin

@frigwiggin Canoodling cousins?

frigwiggin

Wow, I don't even know how I would trackdown any exes of my one ex. (Well, I guess the answer is Facebook, or using my researcher skills to try to figure it out without Facebook since I don't have a Facebook account, but I'm way lazy.) Y'all are so well-connected.

hotdog

Ugh, I just met an ex of my bf, and was...not impressed. I'm far from the jealous type, and was actually excited to meet her and go out that night. She was less than excited to meet me, never made eye contact, and was a complete asshole the entire night. I asked her where she had moved to; she answered "New YORK" without looking at me or pausing for a reaction, or really even acknowledging I was part of the conversation.

My reaction, of course would have been, "oh my GOD, that is so EXCITING to me, what with moving to lil' ol' Chicago. I bet it's nothing like the time when I lived in New York!" I'm still pissy about it, because everyone was like "oh, so and so? Yeah, she's a bitch, that's her thing" and I want to be like "really? That's so cool, it was mine too, when I was 21 years old and didn't know any better"

redheaded&crazy

@hotdog ugh i worry that this is me with my ex's present gf. I've been in the same room as her maybe ... 3 times now. we still have not exchanged a single word. of course, nobody has actually introduced us. Awkward~!

tealily

@hotdog I had an extremely similar experience with my boyfriend's ex. We met right before we moved in with each other, and I had to go to their former house where she still lived with all of their formerly shared stuff and formerly shared dogs which he "still considered his" and hang out while the two of them talked and she never made eye contact with me or answered me when I tried to make conversation with her. It was the most uncomfortable experience of my life and I burst into tears when we got back to the car. I wanted to be the person who could be cool with this, but I. Just. Can't. At least not then. We've been together for years now, and I feel much better about her. But at the time, all I could think was "Oh my god, he was in love with this bitch?? What does that say about me?" Like, I felt like a less special person than I did before I met her. He'll just date any old asshole.

Great article.

hotdog

@redheaded&crazie ha, I'm sure it isn't you! This girl had to go WAY out of her way, and put in a lot of effort to try to make me feel ostracized. She seemed to also be caught in her IM SO PUNK phase, and having dealt with this particular brand of bitchiness a long, long time ago when I dated a different guy with many tattoos, I guess I should have been prepared for such blatant judging based on appearances. At this point, however, I know it's out of her insecurity with herself-because I've met a lot of very lovely, very punk ladies who don't need to make me an adversary because I don't look the part.

Megasus

I haven't met any of my ex's exes, though I did once see one at an anime convention (nerd points!)! And I was like 19 so of course I was really smug about being prettier than her.
My ex's CURRENT GF (or at least I am 99% sure they are dating, as they went to a wedding together and other reasons) I have met, as she stayed at our apartment last year. She doesn't look like me, but we do have pretty similar personalities, so I don't really see it ending well.

milkbreath

My boyfriend is my first for-realie-reals adult relationship and his first sort-of relationship ended after she attempted an awkward handjob and he was more concerned about their microwave pizzas overcooking. He admitted to me that he didn't really like her (she was kind of mean, from what I've heard) and only dated her 'cause he thought he was supposed to start dating when he was 20. I kind of wish I had a "real" ex to demonize and/or fixate on! I guess if we ever break up (err knock on wood) I'll be his comparison model? How weird!

But! I did discover that he definitely has a type and I am exactly that type, which I find kind of endearing slash hilarious. He found an old burned CD filled with images from his old hard-drive and we looked through it one day - he had an entire folder dedicated to (fully clothed!) images of vaguely punk, petite girls with pixie cuts and thick rimmed glasses. Sooo girls who resembled me. I have no room to talk, though, because I have become increasingly aware of my own "type" - short dudes with nice beards, distinct noses, and big eyes. My boyfriend, basically. My mom makes fun of me if I point out an actor I think is cute and she'll tell me that he looks like my bf. Oh well. I like beards. I like short dudes. No apologies

iheartoxytocin

@milkbreath One of my tall ladyfriends told me "Thank you, from all tall women" the other day when I told her my type is short guys. I just feel awkward trying to dance and standing-kiss tall dudes when I am not very tall.

Plus I may a little bit enjoy being taller than my bf when I wear my very tall heels.

milkbreath

@iheartoxytocin I find tall men intimidating and trying to figure out kissing, holding hands, and all that fun stuff sounds like too much trouble. I quite like not having to stretch my 5'4" self to kiss my 5'5" man. Lazy, I has it.

Oh, though I rarely wear heels but when I do, I like to pretend that I am Godzilla and he is the city of Tokyo. Fear the giant girlfriend, little man!

themmases

I actually met my boyfriend through his most significant ex, who is one of my good friends. We did not date when we first met because their history was still really recent then, did other stuff, and were maybe the most surprised when we finally got together four years later. We just danced at her wedding last year.

Most of the women I remember being this intimidated/fascinated by were friends or almost-friends who were so much smarter, more creative, and mysterious than I was. Looking back, it's clear that the feeling was mutual and that the people around us did not think of me as a less successful version of them. But I still could not/would not want to do these interviews with them-- too scared!

insouciantlover

I love this, mostly because it shows how these fantasies that we create about people we don't know are just that, completely imaginary. But seriously, how much power they wield, these people we don't know! Just as easy as it is to place someone with whom we're infatuated on a pedestal and see the best in them and all that they could become and how happy we could be together, we also see their exes (or new partners) as these caricatures of themselves. If someone makes more money than us they're either so much more successful or they've sold themselves out, however you want to spin it. If they're prettier (or so we believe) then that's suddenly a reflection on you not having been good enough, and if they're uglier (or so we believe) then there must be something really really wrong with me to have him dump me for that?

I'll wrap this up by saying how much I have loved being able to connect with my own Saxamandas and dispel the myths, particularly when that results in us realizing that the two of us being friends is so much better than either of us having been with THAT guy.

Melusina

I don't think this would work for me . . . the only relevant ex for this discussion had a parade of exes visit him without telling me they were his exes. So I met them. Actually they weren't completely ex if you know what I mean. This wasn't sneakiness so much as the hope that I am actually a mindreader. Moral of the story: Do not date someone who is polyamorous if you yourself are not.

Harriet Welch

@Melusina URGH! That is unkind.
Plus also not really in the spirit of polyamory. It's totally the cool kid thing for early twenty-somethings to do something in my town. It has kind of turned into a way for some douchey dudes to have a harem (This is only in my experience, not making a huge generalization) If he was "not quite ex"ing other people, I am pretty sure that's just cheating.
I am sorry that happened.

OaklandBooty

I met two of my ex's exes in real life and one online AND his girlfriend (that I didn't know about) that he was cheating on with me. Then I found out there was an entire like...club of girls he'd cheated on that were now friends. Very surreal, esp. when you realize how much we all resembled each other. it was like meeting the seven twins of yourself that supposedly exist in the world!

milkbreath

@OaklandBooty Oh my, seven? At that point it's just become a habit, hasn't it?

iheartoxytocin

I feel like because of how small my college is and how small my current grad program is, people end up being friends with each other's exes without even meaning to.

This sounds horrible, but I promise they were cool with it and it wasn't awkward! - My bf junior year of college was actually roommates with my ex. We were all on good terms and in fact went on a fun double date with the ex's new gf.

With entirely different people, in grad school, my (then) bf's friend started dating a girl the bf had hooked up with months before we started dating. So then we would all hang out as a group - me, bf, bf's friend, and girl who had hooked up with bf and was now dating bf's friend. Bf and I are no longer together, but girl and bf's friend still are! Also she's super nice and I'm pretty sure my (ex)bf was a jerk to her when they hooked up.

chickaboom

@iheartoxytocin ugh the roommate thing happened to me too but it didn't turn out near as happily. it just meant he had to come sleep in my room all the time and i got kind of sick of it, plus weird looks from his roommate all the time as if i were his long lost love (i wasn't)!

faience

An ex and then good friend of mine confessed that he had been dating my former neighbor who had forced my bf and I to move following 6 months of escalating threats. In his words, he found her 'craziness' sexy (she had a number of personality disorders for which she was untreated by choice). She also knew I was his ex while we lived in the same building and shared a kitchen and bathroom (it was more a boarding house than an apartment building) which explained some of the sheer hostility and she also gleefully confessed to him that she had been living off my food in the fridge for months. We knew that last part but both lacked evidence and were far too afraid of her to confront her head on.

I still get the creeps remembering all this and the friendship with my ex didnt last after he told me all this.

maggagie

Sax..amanda?

wee_ramekin

@maggagie I just assumed her name was Amanda and that playing the saxophone was one of her many accomplishments. She kind of looks like this in my head.

romastrega

I would love to chat with my ex's ex-wife now. When I started dating him they were in the separating/divorcing stage and I blamed her for so many of his issues. And now that I have gone through so many issues with him I can finally see that he was just as much as fault for why their marriage didn't work and I no longer blame her. I'm glad I can accept & understand my jealousy now.

christonacracker

My childhood best friend married my ex and the first dude I fell in love with. Now that he's over 10 years my ex, it's just funny to me, and while I wish them the best, I seriously don't know how she manages to be married to him. We're 99% cool with it but then there's the moment where we were discussing circumscision for some reason and then we both look at each other and it's like *I know what your husband's weiner looks like*

Kate Kane

In college I had a boyfriend whose ex's existence intimidated the hell out of me for months - until we were both drunk at the same party without him and hit it off. 10 years later I found out via Facebook that she's moved to my state and is married to a high school ex of mine! What? Now I want to interview her.

buzzgirl

After my ex and I broke up, I met the woman he had been dating just before (or maybe when - I could never exactly parse the timeline) we met. He had described her as crazy, and described what a horrid person she was. When we met and later became if not friends, then friendly, I asked her about some of the things he had said she'd done. She was like, "Whoa, that's not how that went down" and pulled out her phone. She promptly forwarded me an email exchange between the two of them that clearly showed me that my ex was the lying psycho. She was just a reasonably "normal" person who had gotten out before I did. Sigh.

queenieliz

@buzzgirl I have such a fear that this might turn out to be the case about my BFs EX. Hearing only one biased side of the story makes me suspicious. I'm glad to hear that you both got out of a relationship with this guy, and that you got to hear it from her!

Oh, squiggles

Staring down the end of the relationship tunnel, and I can see Breakup City approaching fast. It sucks and I feel like I am scrabbling to figure out a way for it to not break my heart. But it probably will, and I don't know what to do about it. So this brings up all the feelings for me. Not really about his exes, but just what it is going to be like when he is my ex.

wee_ramekin

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Oh darlin', I'm so sorry. It sucks when you know those break-ups are necessary, because it often doesn't make it hurt any less.

We're here if you need us.

whateverlolawants

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Hugs to you too... it sucks.

Shirin

So my current boyfriend has this ex, and I obsess over her and am insecure about her & generally think about her way more than my boyfriend ever does.  And therefore I am going to hijack this thread to ask: how do I stop this?

She was the first person he ever slept with and was totally hotter than me and aaaaaaaaaa I know I sound completely crazy but I can't stop obsessing.

The story goes like this: boyfriend, his ex and I all went to the same university, and hung out with roughly the same social set.  His ex & I were friends -- and by 'friends', I mean I had a huge crush on her.  She started dating my boyfriend, but honestly, she didn't seem to care about him much or talk about him, so I barely thought about them as a couple at the time.  (Other than to be moderately jealous of my boyfriend, because she was hot.)

Boyfriend's ex and I decided to live together the next year.  There was complicated friendship drama, and this plan fell apart badly, and the ex and I were only kind of speaking.  I go away for the summer.  She and my boyfriend break up during the summer.  The next year, she & I patch things up a bit, but it's still really awkward.  She also leaves university partway through term, and I never hear from her again.

Fast-forward a semester, and I start hanging out with my now-boyfriend more.  We start dating.  I find out a couple things about her: a) she was the first girl he ever had sex with, and b) at the time, he thought he was in love with her.  I...   try not to be really insecure, and fail horribly.  (Note that current boyfriend was my first sex partner.).  He & I fall in love, it's all good, his ex is no longer in his life -- except I'm still kind of haunted by her.

I *know* she was hotter than I am (because I totally wanted to date her too), and I also know she had more sexual experience going in the relationship than I did.  And she & my current boyfriend were dating in that horrible, drama-filled "we're no longer friends" thing, and she told him at least some of what was happening.  (I was out of line at the time, but so was she.  It was basically a mess all the way around.) Also, she was generally more competent at life and more social and did I mention better-looking *and* better in bed?

I know she shouldn't still haunt me.  Current boyfriend and I have been dating six months -- longer than she & my boyfriend dated -- and I know he loves me.  Awful as this sounds, I know that he loves me more than he loved her.  They didn't really work as a couple -- they didn't really talk, they didn't see each other every day, they rarely slept together.  (They had sex, of course; they just didn't sleep in the same place.).  My boyfriend says that he & I have a better sex life as well, because he & his ex didn't really have compatible kinks.  I've directly asked him if he wishes he was still dating her, and he definitely doesn't.  My boyfriend and I work really well together, and even though I'm currently 2,500 miles away from him,  I still hear from him every day.  I am generally head over heels in love, and so is he.

So: how do I stop being crazy and jealous re. his ex-girlfriend?  Help?  Anyone?  tl;dr, I know, but I need advice.

queenieliz

@Shirin I don't want to not answer, as you clearly seem to have a lot on your plate and I wish I had some good advice, but I too am vaguely obsessed with my BFs EX and don't know how to get over it. If I knew a good way to get over anything that I am obsessed with I would share it, but the only cure I have ever found is time. Eventually you will get bored of thinking about it!

chickaboom

@Shirin do you remember ask a lady post where she said "brains make thoughts like butts make poops and none of it necessarily means anything"? i approach my jealousy about exes that way. if they were supposed to be together, they would still be together. hotness, mysterious glamorous allure, and sexual experience are all a) subjective and not quantifiable (how do you know you're not just as hot to your boyfriend?! plus people become more attractive as you get to know and love them more, fact!) and c) totally inconsequential if you're with someone you love who loves you whom you trust to not be hiding a secret love from you/hung up on a dysfunctional relationship that didn't work.

the point is to focus on the relationship you HAVE, instead of the one that he had — that frankly sounds like it sucked! but being far away and in love can make for strange loops that happen in your mind. that's why i always like to remember: brains make thoughts like butts make poops. good luck!

Shirin

@chickaboom That is great and I shall try to keep it in mind. (Where has Ask A Lady gone, anyway? I like Ask A Lady.) I want to be logical about relationships all the time, and yeah, not so much. But I shall try to accept this, and not dwell on it as much. <3

Logically I know that attractiveness is very much in the eye of the beholder. Current boyfriend is not exactly going to become People's Sexiest Man Alive, but I love him & want to have sex with him basically all the time. But it is hard to internalize that when it comes to me, if that makes sense?

Bed Monster

@Shirin This may or may not be the answer you're looking for, but it's based on the fact that I was once in a ridiculous love triangle that involved a jealous ex, me being jealous, and my boyfriend at the time being fucking useless. You already have two things going for you in this situation: 1. He freely admits that he's very happy with you. 2. The ex isn't really an issue to him anymore.

This may not be helpful, but the best way to stop being jealous in my experience is to work on how you view yourself as a person. There's no reason for you to be insisting that you're not as pretty or as sexually competent as his ex because neither of those things can be measured with a scale. You are you, and he obviously likes that because he's with you. Dig deep and figure out how you can make yourself feel better (this is especially important in a long distance relationship) about who you are. Ask yourself why you view yourself in this light. Try to build up your self-confidence in little ways (doing nice things for yourself on a daily, weekly, whatever basis) and big ways (evaluating what does and doesn't actually make you awesome). You'll compare yourself to her less with time, and the jealousy should fade.

I personally was only able to really start doing these things once I started seeing a therapist (and was single), so that's another thing to think about if you find yourself having a lot of trouble making progress by yourself. However, it's absolutely not necessary to do that.

Good luck!

Blushingflwr

@Shirin
Here is my philosophy: she is his ex for a reason (which it sounds like you know). Also, it's not a competition. Life is not about who is hotter or more together or better in bed, in part because those are completely subjective standards. This kind of jealousy is really usually about our own insecurities - the reason you measure up in your own mind as less hot, less together, whatever is because you don't think that you are hot and together. Which, you know, you probably are. But our insecurities are frequently not logical (e.g. if someone I'm dating calls another girl pretty, and I don't think she is, I will thenceforth not trust his assessment of me as pretty, because clearly he does not know whereof he speaks). Having a partner who can reassure you is very helpful, but it also needs to be something you work on for yourself. There's no magic bullet (for me, the thing that made me start to think of myself as sexy was working in a place where sexual harassment was rampant, because it was the first time I got a lot of positive male attention. This is not a solution I would necessarily recommend for anyone else). But journaling and honest introspection can be helpful, and then when you find things about yourself that you don't like, you figure out how to fix those things, and take steps to become the person you want to be. Or you recognize that those things that make you feel self-conscious are actually not all that important and/or not worth your time/energy. E.g. if you feel like you're not "together" - what do you think it would it look like if you were? What can you do today to start becoming that person? Additionally, evaluate if you're measuring based on who you think other people think you should be, or by who you actually want to be (you mentioned she was more social - okay, well, as in, she was better at working a room than you, which can be taught, or she was just more of a party girl, which isn't necessarily something you need/want to be?)

youguyshaveapool!

I really like this idea. Also, I just wanted to share that I dated my ex's ex for two years after dating the ex for only a few weeks. And she now is/has been in a relationship with a mutual friend's ex for the last three years. Boom lesbian. (I'm not sure who I'm "booming", since no one asked me anything.)

wee_ramekin

@youguyshaveapool! Hahaha, but I appreciate the "boom" anyway. The unnecessary aggression makes me chortle.

chickaboom

ahh this article is so Relevant To My Interests. i had a really good friend who dated an ex boyfriend next after he and i broke up, it was years ago but it just came up again this week, and i was wondering what is that is known about me by her; and what experiences she and i now must share, even though we stopped talking when she started dating him.

thanks for the reminder that ladies are just ladies, and you have to leave it all behind you when you go.

snowmentality

Exes' exes:

1) The ex my first SO was totally obsessed with and totally still in love with. Mysterious, inaccessible, apparently genius-level intelligence. I never met her. Occasionally I see him chatting with her on Facebook now. She's a lot less intimidating to me now -- because I'm older and less insecure, or because I'm no longer desperately in love with someone who says he's desperately in love with me but is still obsessed with her. She's probably the only one I could interview like this.

2) The ex my first SO was still hot for. Way more sporty and assertive than I was. I met her a few times and kind of liked her. During the whole long weird time when I was sort of breaking up with him but not really, we went to a party and she totally got all up on him and I was crushed.

3) The ex who treated my second SO like crap before they broke up -- but she was also the only person I knew who was sane about my finally breaking up with SO #1 for good, to date SO #2. There were whole levels of emotional abuse going on with SO #1 that I hid from absolutely everybody, so I got a whole lot of "But you're PERFECT for each other! You're the couple who was meant to be! How can you break up?! You're making such a huge mistake!" SO #2's ex was the only one who didn't give me any of that crap and treated me like someone who had the right to make her own life choices. A very complicated person, someone I liked despite her reputation as a hardass, but then she did treat SO #2 like crap, so I never could figure out how to feel about her. We were acquainted both before and after she dated SO #2, but we've lost touch since.

My husband (SO #3) never talks about any of his exes. I don't get the impression there are deep dark secrets; I think maybe there's just not a lot to talk about. I'm curious, though. But I feel like it would be really weird to plop down next to him on the couch and start quizzing him about exes.

Oh, two months ago he did mention in passing that he was totally in love with this one girl during high school, but her parents vetoed them dating because she was Indian and he was white. I said "Awww. I'm sorry you did not get to go out with her," and genuinely meant it, because I remember being in high school and totally in love with people and not getting to date them, and it stunk. However, that's all I've got for his exes.

After reading this, I kind of wish I had dated more people and they'd had more exes, so I could interview them. It's a really interesting thing to think about.

Uumellmahaye

haHA! I read this whilst curled in bed after just experiencing a raging moment of ex inspired inadequacy. (my current boyfriend, er... fiancé[barf- love him but hate that word]) was confused by my sudden need to go to bed...) We were looking through his old pictures from his past and PRE ME IN HIS LIFE and stumbled across a few snaps of his ex, topless, smiling like the funloving, sunkissed, C cup goddess that she is. Please come back self esteem?!?!! I don't know what's worse, the pangs of worthlessness or the anger/frustration from having these shitty thoughts in the first place :/

one cow.

@Uumellmahaye Oh man, I would have totally gotten upset. I think your reaction is completely normal. If you can, I would tell him that it made you upset to see it. Maybe he can get rid of those pictures, also? I don't think that's unreasonable. Ugh, I would just feel miserable.

Uumellmahaye

@one cow. BIG SIGH. Thanks for the feeling validation, the worst part is wondering how ridiculous I'm being. Part of me wants to tell him but the other part is ashamed of my intstant insecure reaction, I mean - we're getting married and she was a flash in his life years back, and to be fair I did walk in on him scrolling through pictures from past on a recently found hard drive, it's not like her picture is in our photo album....... :/ Should I be able to rationalize/justify my way to sanity by myself on this one? I read your horrid band boyfriend story up thread and ... Whoa boy, that sucks - I think I might have needed therapy after that (sorry and hope you d'ed.t.m.f), kind of terrible?? NO, all the way terrible!

MoonFlavor

This whole exes thing can get even more complicated when cheating is involved. My current boyfriend and I didn't have sex or anything when he was with his ex-girlfriend. But we did not have a completely platonic relationship either, definite emotional cheating. A few weeks after they broke up, we started sleeping together and have been together ever since.

I feel really bad about how we got together so whenever I have been around his ex I have avoided talking to her. Which is a shame because I think we would probably get along. But I just feel too much like a home wrecker to attempt it.

cosmia

Kensington Market!! All the cool people I am secretly jealous and resentful of hang out in Kensington Market (and sometimes terrifying people I am terrified of)

JoanTition

But what if you do this because you think it's, like, the weird adult thing to do and then the ex turns out to be ACTUALLY nuts and crazy and fucks with your braaaaaaaaain?!

But also this is awesome.

Amy Porter@facebook

This was amazing! Thanks!

yeahiguess

Before I continue reading I'm just gonna yell KENSINGTON MARKET! I'm not cool enough to hang out there. Also oh look cosmia said that already kind of.

manutia

My ex had an ex that I was freaked out by, even though she nicely tried to be friends with me for a while.

After I broke up with my (actually crazy awful) ex, I emailed her to apologize for dating him despite knowing the shitty way he had treated her. She was incredibly nice, even though afterward I realized the email had been kind of condescending. I am still grateful to her! It was amazing closure.

Blushingflwr

I have so many stories about exes. My first boyfriend was the ex-girlfriend of one of my college roommates (we lived in the same apartment for two years, the first year he was dating her, the second he was dating me, and we both slept in the same room while we dated him - we traded rooms after the first year). When he and I had sex for the first time, he told me how much better I was than her (while we were having sex, I should add). Which, you know, *awkward* and inappropriate.

The current girlfriend of one of my exes (whom he started dating before we were technically broken up, a very failed attempt at polyamory) called me about a year ago (high on a mix of vodka and klonopin) and apologized over and over again for hurting me and all that jazz. She's been with him for almost 5 years, he and I didn't even make it to one full year. She didn't remember this phone call later (see above re alcohol and benzos). Also awkward (and annoying, because I told her like 15 times that it was okay and I forgave her but because she was altered she kept talking and I just wanted to go to bed).

And then there's the fact that my current social circle can be rather incestuous, so I know many of the people my partner has dated, especially since we knew each other socially for about 4 years before we started dating. He used to date a girl that I've met a few times. He tells the story of their break-up in a way that is not very flattering to him, and uses her real name. I met her using an unrelated nickname, which is also how other people talk about her. I didn't put his story to her face for a while (which was also awkward when a friend of mine told me that he was reserving judgement on my BF because of how that break-up went down, and I wasn't sure my BF had dated the girl in question).

shoaibali

Life is hard enough with out having to go thru it with some bizarre commercialized brand name of a moniker. I'm HOPING Hashtag is JUST a nickname. Songs.PK

GeekSays

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Nguyễn Nam Cường@facebook

I have so many stories about exes. My first boyfriend was the ex-girlfriend of one of my college roommates (we lived in the same apartment for two years, the first year he was dating her, the second he was dating me, and we both slept in the same room while we dated him - we traded rooms after the first year). When he and I had sex for the first time, he told me how much better I was than her (while we were having sex, I should add). Which, you know, *awkward* and inappropriate.Auto FB Marketer 2.0

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