Daily Archives: January 10, 2011

Let’s Talk About Ex, Baby!

There is the family that you are born to and can’t do anything about. There are friends you choose of your own will and from whom you grow away. And there are those your heart beats for (or more likely your hormones delude you with) and from whom you rip your life away. Ah….the world of ex-boyfriends and girlfriends.

I have come a good, long way. When I was a kid, I had a naive dream of meeting my one and only true love and settling down with him in a fairytale life. Well, there have been more than one, hardly any of them true and none I suspect, were love. I don’t think it is a bad thing anymore, no matter how it sounds. Each one of them has been an experience, a learning about myself and about life. How many would-be feminists realize that they’re almost worse than the men they battle? How often does a strong person realize how weak he is? Or a weak person, how strong she is?

There are the jarring experiences, the ones where if you never saw the person again, it wouldn’t be a day too soon for you. I was in a relationship with someone who was not at all good to me, in every way that it is possible to be so. But he had great friends. I shared their love of books and could spend hours talking about them. I suspect I actually got along better with them, than he did. Looking back, I think I had more fun hanging out with his crowd than him. We did not part on good terms and I don’t think I will ever feel happy about the fact that he was once in my life. After the pain of break-up subsided, I was sadder that I had to let go of a number of nice people because they were his friends first.

Friendships apart, a person who has shared something with you romantically, has known you in a way that others just haven’t. Everyone who has ever been through a break-up knows just what a mix-up of emotions it leaves behind. But of course! How can you suddenly become indifferent to someone you have been really close to? It is hardest to forgive people you have loved; it is also toughest to forget them.

The other day, one of my friends told me that a guy I had once gone out with, had got married. I wasn’t sure how to react for a minute. I wasn’t jealous…not even the faintest bit. He wasn’t Dr.Evil but he was just a little desperate. The slimy way. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. But some girl thought he was good enough to spend her life with. Really, really weird feeling to imagine your rather undesirable once-admirer as the husband of some woman.

Time is a healer and once the initial fireworks subside and you are able to look at the bigger picture of life, it may even be a good thing to catch up with a person who has known you so intimately and then hasn’t been around for awhile. It gives you perspective. People who have been a part of your life for a long time may not always be able to tell you the truth about yourself. But someone who has known you for at least awhile closely, and now doesn’t fear losing you, just might.

There is closure too. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much baggage you are carrying until you meet the person who gave you all that garbage to tote around in the first place. Then you realize that you may as well put both him and your memories back where they belong….in the past. Occasionally, very occasionally you might realize that there are more ways than one, that a person can be a part of you life. That is rare. But you never know. You just might get lucky. In a different way from when you were dating.

My first-ever boyfriend is friends with me today. We meet for a coffee every few months, catch up on each others’ lives and laugh over silly things. Today I can say that he is a great guy. Well, I’m a great girl too. It’s just that we’re great as friends and not anything else. It’s taken years for us to get to this place and I’m glad we did. It is a long way to stop feeling bad and then another arduous journey to where you can actually feel good about the other person. I can’t say that this is possible with every single ‘ex-‘, which is why this friendship is remarkable.

My heart is a scrap-book of mixed memories.


This is an updated version of an earlier post. A version of this also appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.


The Beatles sang,

“All you need is love”

and they may well have been right.

In our increasingly urban world of nuclear families and zero work-life balance, the emotional support system of a loving, caring partner becomes even more important. Ironically, it seems like the demand for such a person is going up just as the supply is diminishing. It’s not that our capacity for love and caring has diminished.

But it seems like trust is so much harder in our times. Break-ups and emotional upheavals are as commonplace as economic fluctuations. Leading a person on with no regard for commitment, is a socially approved activity with the disclaimer of ‘String along or be strung along’. An abusive or cheating partner is entirely your problem. While the world clicks its collective tongue at such occurrences, that’s about as much sympathy as you’ll get, and even then, grudgingly.

And after you weather the misadventures of these cruel times, what’s left of your heart to share with another person? Multiply that by two and it makes the fate of love seem very dark, indeed. Love maybe a universal need but relationships are certainly not for the faint of heart.


A version of this appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

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