h2>Dating : Will You Ever Get Back With Your Ex?
I get that question asked to me all the time. The break up was intense. It involved families, friends, credit cards, and cars. Ten years was a long time. It seemed like people assumed that I was waiting for him to come back and tell me that he made a huge mistake, and I was everything he ever wanted.
The answer wasn’t so simple. The relationship wasn’t just about what didn’t work. It was also about how we didn’t want to let go even though we knew we were growing apart. We couldn’t differentiate between what we wanted individually and what we wanted for each other. Our identities were too intertwined, but our priorities were different. No matter how much we communicated or compromised, it still left an emptiness inside. It seemed like we just became numb and settled. We didn’t want to work on our relationship anymore. We started going to therapy separately. We started doing social activities separately. We started going on vacation separately.
It was easy for me to blame the downfall of the relationship on him entirely. It was easy to point at one specific incident and let that be the reason why the relationship didn’t work out.
So what happened? The breakup happened. The breakup where he officially called the quits, but we still slept in the same bed for months. It was hard. I left the country to make it official for myself. I left with just one suitcase, my dog, and my laptop. I donated some stuff and threw everything else away. I then made a dramatic exit on social media like the ending of Macbeth. Except for this time, the poison wasn’t instantly fatal; it was gradual. It was heartbreak. I left and drowned in a spiral of haunting questions. Questions that ranged from existential like, ‘Who Am I?’ to questions that were so mundane like, ‘Did I even like chocolate ice cream? Did I like it because he liked it?’
I didn’t know who I was anymore outside of my identity with my ex.
I moved back to San Francisco a few months later. I found myself ready to jump back in and start a new chapter. I got a new job, new apartment, new wardrobe, and a new attitude. I wanted to get back into what I was doing again — taking dance class, playing video games with friends, eating a $20 salad because I added grilled chicken and avocado.
In retrospect, I felt stupid for leaving a city I loved because of a guy.
I remember going to my first dance class being back, and it felt like everyone was staring at me as I was walking to the back of the studio. Some dance friends came to me and gave me a huge hug and asked:
“Are you back? You look so skinny!”
“Yes, I am back! I call it the break-up diet. You don’t eat and cry a lot. You should try it!”
It was so easy for me to be self-deprecating. It was an excuse to talk about the break up so that I could, for that second, gasp for air and not taste the brand of poison: Heartbreak. Then in comes my ex. I thought the staring was terrible, but now the room went silent, and that was worse. I could see everyone’s eyes darting from him to me and back to him again.
I knew this was going to happen. My ex also took dance classes, played video games with friends, and also loved eating $20 salads. I could not avoid him even if I tried.
I don’t know what happened, but we started talking again. Not on that superficial ‘The weather seems nice today!’ level but on a more profound ‘What’s on your mind?’ level. Maybe it was because we have the same circle of friends, or we happened to audition for and made it on the same dance team, or even seeing each other’s profile come up on all the dating apps. The conversations were just like old times. We excitedly talked about work, gossip, upcoming games, hilarious memes, and educational YouTube videos. We talked about life after the break-up. We even talked about the new people we were dating. It wasn’t until that point I realized that I had moved on. I realized the person who I fell in love with wasn’t that guy sitting in front of me. Even though our romantic relationship didn’t work out, our friendship did. We have so much in common, but we are in different places. We were holding each other back.
What made this friendship work was perhaps the time together. We now support each other. We know exactly how to motivate each other. We also know what to precisely do or say to get on each other’s nerves. We would now say things that we would be so afraid it would hurt the other person before. Maybe it was because we confided in each other when we were uncomfortable with our identity. We trusted and supported each other through the self-discovery.
Thinking back, I would often go to bed angry from an argument, and he would immediately fall asleep. I would be simultaneously rolling in bed thinking how he could be snoring while we were still in the middle of a fight and then thinking about every single thing I could have said or emphasized better because of his immature and witty remarks. I would end up sobbing and then crying myself to sleep. No matter how many tears shed on both sides, it still brought us closer together.
At the end of the day, we were always best friends. We just complicated it.
So the answer to that question I get asked all the time? No, I’m not getting back with my ex.