Case Of The Ex

Maya 2

We all know how the story goes, after a tough breakup, we either miss them like crazy or have no desire to get back with our ex. Especially if the pain is still fresh in our minds. Sure, time heals all wounds, blah blah, but this seems almost impossible to believe when you’re still lying on the floor bleeding your heart out. Eventually as time passes, you slowly recover and gain the strength to try again. But I’ve realized that this is the most dangerous time after a break up. Not the first few days or weeks, it’s the six months after or sometimes five years later, when the pain has faded and we can’t remember why we broke up in the first place. It happens to me still, especially when things get rough.

Recently, I called my ex, for the first time since we said goodbye over six months ago. Hearing his voice again was weird, but comforting, almost like nothing  bad had ever happened. I felt as if we could just fall back in love and make plans to go on vacation next month. I almost asked him what I should get him at the grocery store. It was that familiar. What’s worse is that he sounded like the man that I needed him to be a year ago. He was kind, caring and said all the right things I needed to hear. Damn him! I wanted to say: “Why didn’t you talk to me like that when we were together?” After I hung up the phone I started to wonder if our break up was a huge mistake…

So many times when we hit a rough patch we end up bouncing back to what’s familiar, because it’s safe and comforting. We don’t have to wonder if the person likes us, we know they do. We second guess our decisions because we forget the reason why we decided to leave them, or they decided to leave us, in the first place. We rationalize away all of the red flags we saw in the relationship and say: “Was he/she really that shitty to me? I mean, no one is perfect!” Or: “Maybe I just need to be less picky because I don’t want to end up alone.” But is that fair to us? Or better yet, is that fair to our ex? If you’re experiencing a case of the ex, ask yourself If you want to be with someone who thinks you’re “not so bad”, because believe me, that’s what your ex thinks or he/she wouldn’t have broken up with you in the first place. Or ask yourself why you would want to be with someone who you think is “better than the alternative”. Is being single that bad?

I believe, remembering why you left (or how you were left) is part of the healing process.

I tell myself this every day: I don’t want to be in a relationship with my past, I want to focus on my future. And the most important part, is that I don’t want to settle for anything less than being in love with someone who feels just as crazy cookie about me! When my ex and I were breaking up, I specifically remember asking one of my friends if she could please remind me, in a few months, the reasons I was leaving my relationship; because I knew that at some point I would second guess my decision. And the last thing that I want to do is make the same mistakes I’ve made before.

Once time has healed the open wounds of a breakup, it’s much easier to recall the good times we had with our ex. And I think it’s great that we can do that, it sure beats being hurt or bitter. But the true test doesn’t come until we see of hear from them again, that’s when we sometimes face the toughest challenge. I’ve been on both sides of the table, I’ve taken someone back after they left me, and I’ve gone back to someone after I left them. The reasons are too complex to explain in one blog post, but I can say that none of these experiences amounted to anything more than prolonged pain and wasted time.

I would rather be alone, than return to a relationship I made a conscious decision to get out of.

I get it, dating is hard, it’s like a freaking jungle out here, you never know when some wild creature might creep up on you and try to tear your heart out. You’re constantly getting slapped in the face with tree branches, and most of the time you have to fight for your food. But there is hope! We are humans who make mistakes, are complicated thinkers and poor communicators, which is why relationships are hard work. But it doesn’t mean that you should give up trying to find a good one.

I have so many friends who’ve experienced the case of the ex in different ways. Some of them have been repeat victims of abusive relationships, and I don’t just mean in the physical sense. Others have taken advantage of someone who was more vulnerable and willing to take them back. I know someone who married her ex because she was “tired of dating”. From an outsiders’ perspective, none of these reasons seem good enough to me, but it’s a lot easier to dish out advice and tell all my friends to move on with their lives, than to follow my own wisdom. Because when you’re the one in the hot seat, it seems nothing your friends tell you will make you get up and leave the ex zone. You have to make that decision on your own.

Las week one of my friends asked me: “What if you’re dating someone and then suddenly their ex moves back in town, and they start acting weird?” I wrote back as soon as I could because I wanted to save him the trouble of wondering the answer any longer. “I would say this is the time to disengage (or have a serious conversation), because the other person has already started to. Sounds like they’re trying to figure out if they want to get back with their ex,” was my response. It might sound harsh, but in my experience, a case of the ex always ends in a mistrial. How can we compete with the ghosts of someone’s past? And why should we?! If you’re dating someone who you’ve only known for a few weeks, you don’t have enough good or bad memories accumulated for this to even be a fair comparison. In case you’re wondering, I know this because I’ve heard people who’ve gone through a case of the ex say things like:

“My ex knows me and I know my ex, and what to expect.”

“I still love him(her), so why not give it another shot?”

“I mean, we had a good/decent/average relationship, it’s better than anything else I’ve seen since I’ve been single.”

“I just need to settle down and make a life, It’s time to grow up.”

“Well, he/she has changed, they won’t make the same mistakes again.”

“I know he/she cheated, but back then we were in a bad place, and now we’re not.”

Reading these statements, I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous they still sound out loud. But as we all know… hindsight’s 20/20. Yes, I have rationalized my way back to my exes many times, and have uttered similar phrases in the past, so I would consider myself to be somewhat of an expert witness on this case.

Good news… It DOES get better!

I know some of you have lost hope, and think that you might never find the right person. Maybe you’re still healing from your breakup or maybe you’re over the break up but don’t feel like the options out there are working for you. Whatever the reason, I want you to know, (this is what I tell myself over and over by the way), that it does get better! Not being alone, is not a good enough reason to let your ex back in your life, they played a role in your story, and their character has met its tragic GOT style ending for a reason. You will find someone who treats you kindly, is honest, respectful of your relationship, and won’t make you wonder how important you are in their life. You will find someone who will be a better fit for you than your ex was. I know this is a FACT, because those friends of mine who have suffered from a case of the ex, and gave me the lame phrases I wrote above, have found better relationships once they broke free of their pasts and moved on with their lives. I will name a few because I know they won’t care, that’s how happy and fulfilled they are in their new relationships: Alicia, Luis, JT, Kevin, Ryan, Huck, Jeff, Rochelle, Reya, Leigh, Lindsey, Amber, Justin, Tara, Sarah, Claudia… and that’s just off the top of my head.

Now I think it’s also worth mentioning that I have two friends who were able to make things work again with their ex, but only after prolonged periods of time apart, immense sacrifice and focus on improving their communication. I commend these two friends because they were able to identify their issues correctly, and alongside their partners, have repaired and strengthen their relationships. But neither of my two friends ever violated their relationships by disrespecting each other or being abusive, these are things that I have never known a relationship to recover from. Patched up, maybe… but rarely fully recovered.

I leave you with one last thought. After years of admittedly poor dating choices, including taking back one too many exes, this is what I tell anyone who takes back their ex, which is the same thing I tell myself after I make a repeat mistake:

“You’re making the same choices, so don’t be surprised if you get the same results.” 

Now enjoy this throwback video… Maya’s Y2K: “Case of the ex”! 🙂


{By the way Maya in this video reminds me of myself circa 2003, complete with the crop top, nose ring, and stringy curl look. My mom almost disowned me when she saw the nose ring…}


  One thought on “Case Of The Ex

  1. November 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Agree!! I know a couple of persons that will really need to read this!!


  2. M.Tyler
    December 31, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    A great read!! As an official ex, I must say…this was refreshing and insightful!!mp


    • January 2, 2015 at 2:35 am

      Haha… thank you for visiting mp. I’m glad you enjoyed the read 😉


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