The Old Boyfriend Tour
I just returned from The Old Boyfriend Tour. Back home visiting my family for a week, I managed to see three different exes. These reunions were not merely happenstance. They were planned and pleasant experiences. I met with the driven, workaholic divorcée, the soon-to-be-ordained priest, and the happily-married gay man.
I know it’s odd and certainly not the norm, but I like staying in touch with my exes. In fact, I’ve done this for years. Some of the guys I never lost touch with and some I only recently reconnected. I don’t know if they think it’s strange, but they’re willing to write, call and visit so I’ll assume it works for them, too.
Now, it’s not like I stay in contact with these guys because I’m hoping to rekindle some old flame. Nor am I curious to see if they’ve grown bald or fat. I may be interested in their relationships, but not to compare myself to anyone. I genuinely want them to be happy.
For me, it boils down to the fact that at one time I really liked something about this person, something enough to date them. I’m sure the fact that my relationships always began as friendships certainly helps. Also, we always had something in common that bonded us. But despite the painful moments and breakups, we’ve all seemed to rise above. Some relationships took longer than others to recover from and it was years before we could interact. But it’s always come around and it hardly ever feels awkward.
There is one ex whom I consider my closest and oldest friend. We have been there for each other through the death of a parent, through career highs and lows, through moving across the country and so much more. He served as my Best Man at my wedding, offering up a toast at our reception, and I served as a reader at his wedding his well. Fortunately I didn’t have to lose his friendship just because we parted ways romantically.
Brian and I dated for three years, after which we had a terrible falling out. Even my mother sent him hate mail when things ended. Eventually, however, we came back to being friends. When he moved to New York City and needed a roommate, his mother actually suggested me. She despised me while we were dating, but once we were merely platonic, she thought we’d make good roommates. Go figure.
The two of us shared a teeny apartment for years and it worked out just fine. When people found out were were exes who were co-habitating they would tease, C’mon, late at night you start looking pretty good to each other, right? But we would just laugh, knowing we were definitely not going down that pot holed road again.
Interestingly enough, neither of us seemed bothered by the others’ dating situation. Actually we were able to maintain perspective on things, keeping each other in check. Heck at that point, we knew each other better than any new partners. Keep her. Dump him. Watch out for that one. What were you thinking? No opinion was withheld.
For some reason, Brian’s girlfriends didn’t seem bothered by our past, either. They saw it as an opportunity to probe me with questions about him. I was a direct link to what made this mystery man tick. One night I was cornered in the bathroom for 45 minutes trying to offer plausible insights and answers as to why Brian behaved the way he did.
Sometimes Brian’s girlfriends would simply choose to share way more information about their relationship than I would care to know. But more often I’d be a sympathetic shoulder, listening to them sob that they saw me more than they saw him. These women weren’t telling me anything new. As great as guy he was, I knew how hard it was to date him. It was just a lesson they needed to learn themselves.
I’m aware, especially in the dawn of Facebook, that many people consider it a slippery slope to reconnect with exes. Many people discourage or even forbid spouses from such interaction. But I am very fortunate to have a husband who has absolutely no problem with my being in touch with men from my past. Someone once challenged him (after HE attempted to contact an ex), how would you feel if one of your wife’s exes called the house? He replied, “It happens ALL THE TIME.” He truly does not see the big deal, and I’m eternally grateful for his understanding.
I realize this is not the best option for everyone. Somehow I just happen to date a string of nice guys, and (for the most part) missed out on the real schmucks. There are some exes that can still hurt me, although I know it’s not an intentional or malicious thing. It’s more the their ability to be clueless and oblivious that led to our downfall in the first place. But that is why they are exes and why I am married to my husband.
Okay, time to Skype. My ex is calling me from Korea. I hope he’s finally found the one He really is a catch, for the right girl.