Relationships Happen: An ex is an ex for a reason

People say I have a hard time letting things, especially people, go. I tend to hold onto them long past their expiration date and make excuses for why I do it.
I’ve kept every Barbie from my childhood. I still have the lipstick I wore when I had my first kiss and I have every ticket stub from the ‘N Sync concerts I went to.

Some say it’s good I have kept all these things because when I get older they’ll remind me of happy memories from a lifetime ago.

But what can I say about holding onto my ex-boyfriend for over a year now? Am I holding onto the happy memories that caused us to break up three times?

It’s completely ridiculous why I’ve continued having him in my life. I make excuses to myself that I can never let him go because he was my first love, my first everything, but at the end of the day isn’t an ex an ex for a reason?

If I really wanted to be with him, wouldn’t he be my current significant other instead of the former? These are questions that not only my friends have asked me, but that I’ve posed to friends who can’t seem to let go of that one boyfriend or girlfriend from the past that still continue to spark even the smallest of flames after all this time.

Now I can’t speak for you, or for my friends for that matter, but I can speak for myself. Deep down I know the true, outrageous reason as to why I kept going back to him after each break up and why I still have him in my life even after we made our relationship null and void.

My former significant other Eric (Yes that’s his real name.) and I met when we were young, idealic high school kids back in 2004. I was mesmerized from the moment I saw him and he told me on our first date he was going to marry me.

Looking back at the evolution of our relationship, I laugh when I think about that now.

Within a month I was fed up with his irrational way of thinking, over-dramatized attitude and high demands. I knew I deserved better so I cut him loose and blocked him on AIM.
A year later when I started college we rekindled our romance until he once again became too much for me to handle and I had to end things again.

A few months went by and I felt, being in a different place in my life, I was ready to give it another try. Six months went by until a couple days before Christmas 2006 I decided to go over to his place and have one last go of it to see if there were any feelings left. To spare you the sordid details (Wouldn’t you want to know), I quickly reached for my phone after it was over and texted my best friend that I had zoned out half way through it.

I quickly got my things and walked out of his place asking him to never call me again because we were over for good. He said I would be back. I told him to suck it.
I proved him wrong for a year and a half until one fateful day in June 2008 I got an instant message from a familiar screen name.

“No!” I exclaimed

Like a complete idiot, I responded to the message. Before I knew it I was promising to see him because he told me he was moving to Costa Rica. I thought there wouldn’t be anything wrong with hanging out with him his last weeks in the states, because after all, he would be leaving.

Once he left, I thought I was finally rid of his toxic vibes. Like my best friend predicted, only two months after he left, I received an instant message on my phone from the same familiar screen name.

“Are you freaking kidding me?”

Just like a bad dream, I found myself falling back into the same pattern. Truth be told, after our final break up in Christmas 2006 I never had the strong romantic feelings for him that I once possessed. What I did have was this desire to hold onto something familiar. The Jiminy Cricket in me likes to say I kept going back to him because I was scared to let go and pursue the unknown instead.

In between the times we were broken up I dated other men, but it would never develop into anything serious. It was easier for me to go back to Eric because I didn’t have to make an effort with him.

The fact is I’m not doing any good to myself by keeping my ex around and neither are you. Our exes aren’t the same people they were when we first got with them, so naturally that’s why we don’t want to be in a relationship with them.

Then why do we still keep them around? To torture ourselves? We need to remind ourselves that even though our ex is familiar territory, they should be blocked off from our hearts. They will never go back to being the person they were in the beginning. That person is gone. What you have before you is a product of the chaos, heartache, and of course, the break up.

I’ve said this a thousand times to others and I’m saying it to you now. Move on! There’s nothing worth holding onto! If there was wouldn’t you be with them? I ask myself that all the time, but obviously I haven’t completely convinced myself of the truth yet.

It’s all a work in progress. It took all the energy in the world to never let my heart fall for him again and it’s going to take the same to cut him out of my life. After all, he was once a major part of my life and my heart, just like your ex was for you. But the time has come to think about ourselves for a change and do what’s good for us, not what we want. Strange concept, but let’s embrace it.