It’s been 8 years, 7 months and 22 days he told me. I asked him how he could possibly remember the exact date. His smile was sad, but it illuminated his tired face. It was on a Friday evening, a couple of months ago, at a bar, enjoying some burgers and talking. I couldn’t help but tell myself; almost a decade. His ex hadn’t left his mind in nearly a decade. I had so many questions, there was so much I didn’t and couldn’t understand, so much I wanted to unpack and run by him to get a grasp of what was going on in his mind. I was sure I wouldn’t get any answers that would satisfy my endless thirst for understanding human nature.
Yes, you guessed it. I am talking about exes today, not my exes, God bless them! I want to touch this difficult subject. It seems toxicity always surrounds this subject and I have never understood why. So, is this a good time to talk about this? Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. If we don’t talk about a subject, how will we ever demystify it and move on with our precious lives? Plus, whatever I say here will be held against me in a court of law and especially in the court of public opinion, but I am not here to play or appear innocent so…
I will not say who this friend is, for confidentiality reasons. Yet, I do feel sorry for him and I told him so. I am not afraid to say I feel sorry for him and it doesn’t make me a better person compared to him. Perhaps dealing with love and exes is his Achilles heel. I believe it is unfortunately. We spoke for about an hour and I kept asking myself “How can one not get over a person in 8 years? How can some people do it and others not?”. It is a fascinating subject, one that intrigues me and always has. I asked him all the questions I could and apologized in advance before, hoping by doing so, it might attenuate the impact of the shots I was about to land on him.
Well, I did upset him at some point, I admit it. He told me off and accused me of being condescending and arrogant. Frankly, I was. My apology didn’t do anything to ease the pain and for that, I apologized in the end. We are still friends, thank the Gods but I still do not get it. He isn’t an obsessive guy, he is affable, nice, charming and has a lot going for him. Women like him to be sure yet, he still hasn’t been in a relationship in a decade. Well, he does have the occasional “girlfriend” but he can’t bring himself to get serious with a woman and the ex’s presence still lingers in his speech and actions.
I know we all have our healing time, and our way of getting over things. That is a fact. We are all different, stronger and/or weaker in various subjects. But 8 and a half years…That is an awfully long time. What is going on here? How can one not forget a person in nearly a decade? It makes no sense whatsoever to me. I am not saying this to judge people or tell them they are weak or inadequate. That isn’t the case. I know what it feels like. I have been in love, I have broken up, people have broken up with me, I have been heartbroken. I have been lied to, betrayed, cheated on, I have cheated myself, but in the end, once it is over, it just is. What else is there to do? I am not a man who possesses superhuman abilities when it comes to break ups. Hell no! When that happens, I am as devastated as any person. I can’t think straight or be fully functional. However, that doesn’t last a long time. I simply realize that once we have broken up, life MUST GO ON WITHOUT the said ex, the same way life WAS JUST FINE BEFORE I MET THE EX. I do realize how simple it sounds yet how hard it is to do.
Is it hard though? Is it really? Once again, if you are married or if you have kids or if you are married and you have kids, and then you decide to break up, that is a whole other level of “getting over” that I am not familiar with. Therapists are there for that, I got no magic formula that fixes anything. Yet…if you think about it, and if we are talking about people who didn’t get married or didn’t have kids together, what happened? Well, two people got together, it didn’t work out, they decide to break up, and 8,5 years later, for some baffling and unknown reason, you are still talking about that person. I have come to realize that it happens with people got hurt and/or betrayed by an ex they fully loved and trusted. When that happens, the feeling that is left in one’s mouth is the bitterest taste of all. We all know how much it hurts and for a moment, we only have thoughts of vengeance and evil in our minds. Thankfully, most people move on without doing anything stupid.
So, why can’t my friend move on? Why is he still stuck on her? I asked him that very question and, as expected, he didn’t have an answer. However, I believe he did and just wouldn’t want to admit it. He doesn’t want to get over her. She is in a relationship now and I know he follows her on social media. He still hopes they will get back together, he told me so but I am sure they will not. She has moved on I believe, and he hasn’t. It hurts to see.
In the end, it is up to him to get over her. No one will do the job for him. She will not come back, and she shouldn’t for one simple reason: to quote my dad “EVERY BREAK UP IS A BLESSING. IT SIMPLY MEANS THINGS WEREN’T GOING WELL, BECAUSE IF THEY WERE, YOU WOULDN’T BREAK UP, WOULD YOU?”. How right he is. Moreover, this isn’t about demonizing the ex or any ex for that matter. They are people, with flaws and qualities. Unless they killed someone, you loved dearly, aint nothing an ex can do that would push you to not let go. Sometimes, people make mistakes, they lie, they hurt others. As an eternal optimist, I believe that people mess up by mistake and rarely plan to hurt others. Yet, does it really matter? You are not with her/him anymore. Whatever wrong they did, they are gone, and you are safe!!! They cannot hurt you anymore but if you keep them in your mind, well, there is a chance they might hurt you again. So, forgetting her is about self-preservation, really.
It is up to him to get over her. He must forget her in order to move on with his life. He tells him she hurt him, and I answered, “who hasn’t been hurt bro?” His pain isn’t any more special than anyone else’s out there. He just got to let go and move on. Simple as that. He just got to unfollow her on Instagram and Facebook to begin with, how about that. He could also delete her number from his phone, think positively, get busy, and ACKNOWLEDGE he must move on, forget her, forgive her, let go, think about his own well being, and live his life. This isn’t about her, it is about him. She could be living her best life while he is thinking about her. How is that productive for him? How will he ever move on when she still lives rent-free in his goddamn mind? I don’t have all the answers but how about he starts by admitting he should forget her and move on?
He reminds me of a young, inexperienced, still trying to understand the world Freeman. Perhaps I am talking to my younger self through my friend because I know what he is going through. Perhaps I am psychoanalyzing myself. Perhaps not. I just know one thing: I have no unfinished business in that department, thank the Gods. The past belongs to the past.
But 8 and a half years is a lifetime. I told him that. I also told what I always did when I broke up with someone. I am sure other people will tell him different things. He just got to figure it out for himself anyway. No one has all the answers, especially not me! Admitting that one has a problem is step one of recovery if I am not mistaken. Let’s hope he sees that.
Just one man’s opinion…
Now smile, forget your ex whoever they are, and go on with your day.