It turns out, spending a day with your ex should not be something that is done without careful thought and planning. Frankly, I wish I had realized this prior to last weekend so I could have avoided a semi-disastrous Saturday with Mr. Cute but Whiny. But, alas, I did not. Now I can only reflect on my mistakes and learn for next time. (AND, of course share these learnings with you, beloved reader.)
You may be asking why one would want to hang out with their ex in any situation. Good question. Well, for me, it isn’t about “not being over it” or hope for the future, it’s because I truly hate the idea of cutting someone out of my life. After Mr. Not Quite Right blocked me on Facebook, he made it more than clear that he didn’t have the slightest desire to ever speak to me again. Truthfully, that sucked a lot and I have spent months trying to figure out what I did wrong that would make him hate me so much. So, when Mr. Cute but Whiny said that he wanted to come to the golf tournament with me, I thought, sure, what the hell. At least he doesn’t hate me.
Looking back on the weekend I can tell you that the number one thing I learned is that hanging out with your ex is a stellar idea — in theory. But in real life, it is a delicate situation. If you want to avoid emo talks, confusing heartache, and general awkwardness, pay close attention to what I have compiled as my official rules for hanging out with your ex.
The Ex Rules:
1. Avoid discussion of your past as a couple - Let’s be real, you’ve talked about it all before and discussing it now is not likely to change anything. Rehashing your romance just brings up old pain and makes it impossible to just have lighthearted fun.
2. Do not discuss your future – Sure, when you are having a great time with someone it is easy to forget all the reasons you broke up and instead you may find yourself focusing on how awesome the two of you are together. It is tempting to talk about a magical day in the future where your relationship may actually work out, but don’t. This conversation makes it hard to focus on the present. You know, the reality in which the two of you just don’t work and therefore should be keeping things platonic.
3. Absolutely do not allow there to be kissing or any activity that falls into “boyfriend/girlfriend” category – Clearly you were attracted to this person at one point and maybe being single means you’ve been deprived of any, um, physical benefits, but this is extremely dangerous ex behavior. Once you go down this path it is all too easy to see yourself slipping into that girlfriend role again.
4. Don’t get wasted – Why this one wasn’t obvious to me, I am not sure. Being drunk makes everything fuzzy, especially your convictions. Sober You may be positive that Mr. Ex isn’t for you, but Drunk You probably doesn’t remember why.
5. Talk to your ex about the rules - Without getting into some long talk about your past or future, communicate the nature of your hang out sesh with the ex. This is probably best done prior to the day, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you are not on the same page, don’t hang out.
6. Make sure others are clear on the nature of your relationship – I was having a REAL challenging time flirting with the cute guy at the golf tournament with Mr. Cute but Whiny by my side. It wasn’t until the ex went to get a drink that I was able to clarify the situation and give the little golf darling my phone number. (Side note, I have yet to receive a call from this young man. Just texts and a couple of tweets. Major sigh.).
7. Don’t have any expectations – This means everything from not expecting him to profess his undying love, to not expecting him to pay for you or notice you lost ten pounds. Expectations are bad because when just one isn’t met, everything else starts to seem sucky. Expect nothing and you may be pleasantly surprised.
8. If you eff it up, don’t dwell on it - So after I failed to do ANY of the above, I spent the following 48 hours feeling like a real dumb ass. How could I have fucked it up so badly? I’ve never questioned my decision to break up with him so I couldn’t figure out why my emotions were on a freaking roller-coaster all weekend. But tonight I realized I can continue to dwell on it and be mad at myself for not being smarter/stronger, or I can learn from it. If nothing else, at least next time I’ll be a hell of a lot more prepared.
So kids, these are my top 8 rules for hanging with your ex. What am I missing? Any other good rules that I should add? Please, I beg of you, tell me now so I can avoid future disasters.