It happens to the best of us. You’re walking along, fine as wine, having yourself a big & rich time when all of a sudden, out of nowhere…your phone rings. Or it lights up, indicating a text. Or you get a Twitter update that someone has @ replied you. Or a Facebook alert that you have a new message. After determining which of your many methods of communication is signaling you, you see it. That familiar name. HIM. After months and months or years and years of absolutely no contact, not even the occasional standard “How’s life?” email, suddenly with one swift click on a keypad, HE has resurrected himself from the Island of Former Boyfriends. And just like that – you’re smack dab in the middle of the X-Files.
You can bet the bank on it – give an ex-boyfriend long enough and he will always come back around. It’s just one of those undeniable facts of life, like spilling something on yourself every time you wear a new shirt or men leaving the toilet seat up - it’s gonna happen. No matter how long it’s been since you broke up or what remote, deserted island you moved to in order to escape him – he will find you. He will Google his way back into your life no matter how much searching he has to do to locate your new cell number…you know, the one you changed on account of him. Nope – ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no river wide enough to keep him from you. And more than likely it will happen right at the very second that you finally get over him. It’s like a weird male antenna that receives a signal that you’re not hung up on him anymore and his fingers are suddenly drawn to his phone like a moth to a flame. “She’s not crying into her pillow every night anymore! I better call and remind her why she was crying in the first place!”
While not all exes have bad intentions, and some might actually be calling just to see how you’re doing, it’s best to avoid that danger zone like a bad perm. Why? Because as the old adage says, “A leopard never changes its spots.” In this case – the spots being whatever reasons you had for ending the relationship in the first place. Whatever spots he had when last you saw him, you can bet they’re still there – even if he’s cleverly hiding them behind a more mature age, smoother talk or sudden eagerness to commit. A friend of mine once tried to date a guy when she was 20, then again when she was about 26, then again when she was 31, and he was sketchier and shadier every time she gave him another chance. It’s like this guy went out of his way to get in his lifetime quota of weird dating behavior with my friend, leaving her to sometimes wonder if she was in the middle of an episode of Candid Camera, his behavior was so bizarre. For months afterwards when out on a date with a new guy, she would glance over his shoulder to see if a cameraman was lurking in the bushes or hiding behind the dessert cart – that’s how much this ex of hers scarred her. Take it from my friend - constantly waiting for the sound of canned laughter and the “big reveal” is no way to live.
Exes are, by definition alone, bad news. Exile, excommunicate, exclude, extradite, exhume, exhausted…do any of these words give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? There’s a reason that “ex” comes before “boyfriend” – and it’s best to leave that relationship in the ground where it belongs and not try and recreate a moment that probably wasn’t all that great to begin with. Besides – if you’re filling up your calendar with X’s, you’re leaving no room for O’s – as in “Oh, he’s so wonderful!” - so the only “ex” you should be headed for is the exit, lady, and quickly!
At the end of the day, recycling exes might not be bad for the environment, but it’s bad for YOUR environment. If he didn’t make it past your past, he’s certainly not worthy of your future, so quit wasting time on “what might have been” and look ahead to what might be! Just because “ex” didn’t mark the spot doesn’t mean there’s not still buried treasure to be found…most likely where you’re least expecting it. So here’s a shovel. Start diggin’.