Being Single

Dating Diaries: When Your Ex Drags You Back to Hell

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Against the (good) advice of all my friends, I met my ex for a drink. (To recap, we broke up in August because he wanted to check things off his life’s to-do list before turning 30, and he didn’t think he could do them while in a relationship. I was in dark mourning and missing him terribly for about six months but I have since mostly recovered, I think.)

When he told me over email that he was moving to Bishkek (you know, that Bishkek. The one in Kyrgyzstan) in early 2012 to “press the reset button on his life,” I suggested we get a beer or something before he disappeared forever. His plans morphed to Vietnam in May, and we put off meeting up for about two months, both a little hesitant, but we finally did it. It was actually a lot of fun.

Related: Getting Back Together With Your Ex Is A Bad Idea, Says Science

We still have great chemistry. He was everything I wanted in a boyfriend — cute, laugh out loud funny, super smart and he loved to read and talk about books with me — plus a few extras, like moody and reclusive. That all came back the night we met up. First there was laughing and light flirting and even some deep conversation about family, feminism and city planning.

Then, he drove up to my house to drop me off around midnight and asked, “So, do you want to go someplace else? Or hang out some more? Or just go home?” There it was: the possibility of Ex Sex. I didn’t know what I wanted, so we just sat in the car for a few minutes while I mumbled, “Uuuh.” I hate being the one in the relationship to always suggest a “talk,” so I put it off as long as I could. But the car was idling and my ex is really good at what I call the Ryan Gosling Method of Negotiation, which is just sitting silently until the other person is so uncomfortable that he shows his hand (see: Drive). So I finally broke down and said, “Do we need to talk?”

Related: 4 Signs You’re Doing the Crazy Girl Thing

We agreed that we had two options. The healthy one was for me to just go inside and for us to not try hanging out again. The more attractive one was to maybe have sex this time and continue hanging out in the future. I pointed out that having fun spending time together plus sex is really just… dating. We could not fake date. Neither of us was prepared to actually date (well, maybe I was a little), but when I pointed out that I didn’t trust him, he got really upset. Yes, it went there. We rehashed every reason why we broke up. I definitely cried and we also made out a little.

At some point, I took a stand and said, “I don’t think this is a good idea. I don’t think we should try to be friends.” He got sad and said he didn’t want that and we ended up in an emotionally heavy hug. It embarrasses me to say that we made out again. Then, mid-kiss, he stopped me and said, “This isn’t healthy. I’m going to leave.” If it was possible, little anger lines would have come floating out of my head. I accused him of emotionally manipulating me and always having to have the upper hand. He accused me of initiating physical contact and “being sh*tty,” and stormed out of my apartment. I sobbed for a solid 10 minutes before it hit me. That guy sucks.

That’s when I stopped crying. I don’t really care if I’m being fair or if it’s my fault. I know that I suggested meeting up in the first place, but he definitely did his part to make it happen. Sometimes you have to go to that place with your ex, where you know that it’s stupid to revisit things but you do it anyway. And nothing has changed and it won’t work out but you had to learn the hard way. The good news is, I think the lesson did finally stick. I’m two weeks sober from my ex! Though in the words of a friend, “He’ll be back.”

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