What is it about an ex? How can someone so effortlessly (and usually unintentionally) dismantle the boundaries you’ve built since the break-up – the walls of rationalization, the rock-hard certainties that this was for the best? All those nights you bore the grief and told yourself now I know, and better to have lived and loved, yadda yadda yadda, they shortened to brief pangs of loneliness and regret. Gradually your confidence returned and you’ve begun telling yourself I won’t make that mistake again. And then there you are, suddenly in their company once more and you feel yourself drawn to them all over again.
Your brain knows that it’s a bad match. You hear them speak in their familiar turns of phrase and you remember the little aggravations, the small realizations of incompatibility that accumulated over the course of your relationship. But STILL, you find yourself unconsciously leaning toward them, catching their eye, feeling echoes of intimacy while standing near them in a crowded room.
Did he just touch my arm? What does that mean? Is he-
No. Stop it girl, what the heck are you doing?
Does he still think of me? I wonder if he’s dating someone else? Does he regret-
No. No no no no no NO.
Heh, he just made a joke that only I would get. [melts]
At this point your logical side gets pouty and stomps off to the corner while your emotions take over.
Even when nothing happens, when all you do is chat with him for a little while and go on your merry way, and to all appearances he’s just some guy you seem to know well, nothing more – you carry that interaction home with you. And dammit if that old story doesn’t come roaring back and you thought you were done with this. Don’t I learn?
What is it about an ex?