So the other day I was thinking about situations that can be both awkward and painful and I instantly remembered the various times I've seen an ex boy friend out in public and had to decide whether I would duck and run the other direction or, ya know, act like an adult and acknowledge their existence. Here are a couple stories:
The day I was driving to a girlfriend's house and drove by the church in which my ex boyfriend was getting married in . . . that day . . . at the moment I was driving by: I was heading to a friend's house and was driving past St. Pats Church in Troy; as I drove by there was a wedding party exiting the church. I was rubber necking and thought to myself, "oh my gosh, what an amazing day to get married, wait! is that Mark?!?!" Oh yea, guys- it was Mark. A high school boyfriend who was a very serious relationship and I was witnessing him walking down the church steps hand in hand with his beautiful, skinny, blonde wife. As I pulled over I instantly had a scenario flash before my eyes: As I'm driving by the church, and upon realizing it was Mark's wedding I was seeing exit the church, I would run into a tree, parked car, or a moving car. Cut to my car's horn beeping incessantly and the entire wedding party coming over to see if that poor driver is okay . . . only to find out it was me- Mark's ex girlfriend- whom the new bride detests . . . she would then scream STALKER at the top of her lungs and probably try to jump me in her shiny, white dress.
This did not happen- there was no wreckage in the vehicular sense, but I most likely had to talk myself off a ledge of deep hyperventilation and perpetual ramblings.
The first day I see my most recent ex boyfriend since he called to tell me he was going to be a dad and I was informed he is now engaged: This is really recent; Monday I was walking to the elevator on campus to go to a class when I look up and see very lanky legs poking out of gym shorts and a nearly shaved head bent down looking over a cell phone. I immediately did the song and dance of 'take the steps and ignore him or say hi and ride the elevator?' I decided to say hello, "Hey, Bake." He turned around, enveloped me in a large hug and immediately starting talking like we were old friends. I assumed our short reunion would end after I exited the elevator at the 2nd floor, but alas, he followed me to my classroom. As I thrive on making myself feel as awkward as possible, I asked about his pregnant wife to be. He was friendly, I did not have a panic attack, and it ended without anyone being seriously harmed.
Here is my point to all this rambling: Ex boyfriends are this island . . . unto themselves- that you eventually heal yourself of, but never truly rid yourself of.
Mark (wedding guy) is an awesome guy. We still hang out from time to time and talk on the phone occasionally, too. He still makes me laugh, I still enjoy kicking it with him, and he is someone I consider a friend. But let me be clear- I slept with this boy- so that always complicates things. He will never fully leave my life, because I shared things with him you can't just take back. I'm not in love with Mark, but I will always love him. He'll always be that guy- that I crossed lines with and thought it would be forever. When Mark and I talk or hang out, there is just something- am I making sense? There will always be flirting, there will always be history, there will always be that night, that date, that first kiss between us. I don't have to tell any of you that things like these never go away.
Justin (father/husband to be) was my longest relationship. We had our entire lives planned out. We used to talk frequently, but now we don't- because his life is changing and she deserves more than a guy who still contacts his ex. This is not to say I am not friendly with Justin when I see him- I am. Because even more than with Mark, I planned a life with Justin- it just never became an actuality. Similar to Mark, I am not in love with Justin, but I truly do love him and want the best for him. However, there will never be a point in my life in which I will be comfy and cozy about sitting down with Baker and talking about his jovial existence with his new girl.
Exes are an island- and they have secrets. Justin and Mark know my pet peeves, they know where I want a guy to put his hands when he kisses me on the mouth, they know what flowers I love, and what the correct words and actions are to make me soften during a fight. Justin and Mark know what makes me cry, what makes me laugh, and where I'm the most ticklish. So not only are they islands with secrets, they hold power. They know more about me than my future husband, at this point, but what is so painful about that is that while they know my secrets and passions and weaknesses, and my future beloved doesn't, they are busy making new secrets and passions and weaknesses with new girls. They are creating a history with someone who is not me and I am currently creating a future with myself.
Thinking about this and reading back over these paragraphs makes me, initially, very, very sad. I look pretty lonely compared to these two guys who once shared in my life. But before I go into full on pity party this is what I try to remind myself of:
Mark is a single dad . . . so I'd much rather just be single.
Justin is 21 and pregnant . . . so I'd much rather be 24 and not.
Mark and Justin weren't who He picked for me . . . So, thank you, beautiful boys, for loving me when I was a pain in the ass, kissing me when I cried, taking me to high school proms, and educating me on who I don't want to be with for the rest of my life.
Exes are islands and I don't mind an occasional visit, but I also don't enjoy a 24 hour sunburn- because that's what seeing/talking/running into these boys on a regular basis would be like; painful and blistering and making my skin turn various shades of red and crimson. I do not need to see you to be reminded of all the late nights we had, the long kisses we shared, or the hours upon hours we spent on the phone, but actually seeing you reminds me of these moments much more than I care for. I don't want to see you and remember all the ways I loved you and promised to take care of you because, although I truly did believe I would keep these promises, it's just all irrelevent now.
I would just prefer to think of these boys and myself in this way: I loved you once, with every ounce of my body, and I made promises I never knew I'd end up breaking, but here we are, not together- and that's okay. Because, Mark- you have a look a like who wants to see you everynight before he closes his eyes; Justin- you have a woman who is the future mother of your children to sleep next to each night; and me? I've got "500 years, 500,000 miles" to reach he who is my destination. And until I look into his eyes and know, until M meets his new wife, until J becomes a daddy- we are all okay. . . because we've helped each other get here.
So, remember your exes- mourn your exes- and thank your exes for what they've taught you . . . Then send them back so you can heal.