There’s a popular thought in the dating world that we should not talk about our ex and I don’t entirely agree with it. Here’s what we shouldn’t do:
- Bash our ex.
- Pine after our ex.
- Compare our date to our ex.
Here’s what I believe we should do, because it helps us to get to know each other:
- Instead of bashing our ex, we should discuss what worked and what didn’t work in the relationship. It is difficult to do this without mentioning the former partner.
- We should accept, especially at my age, that someone may have spent DECADES with their ex. I’ve known mine for 25 years and was married to him for 21 years. He’s had a huge impact on my life, both good and bad. And he is the father of my two wonderful boys. So his name is going to come up.
- We should focus on the message our date is trying to convey, not the fact that he or she is talking about their ex. To me, I’m not talking about my ex when I mention him (at least not most of the time and especially not in the beginning stages of a new relationship). I’m really talking about my feelings and reactions to events that occurred with him.
I have found a couple of men who understand these concepts and one who didn’t quite get it. He talked about his ex wife, but when I talked about my ex he quickly started accusing me of still being in love with my ex. Heck, even my massage therapist can tell I’m not in love with my ex (sorry dear ex – if you happen across this).
In my head I am screaming at Neo (click the link to find out who Neo is), “you suck at returning texts.” But what good would it do to say that to him?
Embed from Getty Images
It would do NO good. It is an accusation and will put him on the defensive. Ultimately, it will not convey to him how I feel when he goes silent. It will not bring understanding or intimacy between us. It may make him run for the hills.
I do need to talk to him about it though, because it is disconcerting to receive silence. I know WHY he goes silent and I’m OK with that. I also understand that this issue may go away or be diminished once he gets a medical problem taken care of later this month. But for now, the silence is killing me. I want to let him know how I feel about it and request that he not go completely silent.
So instead of flinging “you suck at returning texts” at him (which my amygdala wants me to do); I will instead use my pre-frontal cortex to tell him:
- When I don’t receive a return text until Tuesday morning for the four texts I send on Monday, I feel like there is a lack of interest.
- I feel like maybe you are playing cat and mouse with me.
- I feel like I’m being tricked.
- I feel like I’m failing at a mind game where the winner sends the fewest texts, but just enough to make the other person want to keep texting.
- I feel like I should just wait until I receive a response from my last text before I send another, but that feels like playing a mind game. And that is NOT my style.
Neo, instead of going completely silent on me, could you send me a quick text to let me know you are not feeling good and can’t text or talk just now? I will respect that and not be upset. Getting a brief text or call like that will alleviate my fears and help me to look forward to communicating with you when you ARE feeling better.
WARNING, if you know me personally and don’t want to know ANYthing about my views on sex, then please skip this post. I use my writing as a method of thinking through who I was, who I am, and who I want to be and this time it happens to be about sex.
I was thinking about this last night, as I was trying to sleep. I move fast in relationships and always have. When the ex and I first started having serious relationship issues and divorce was a possibility, I was worried that I would revert to my old ways. My old ways were to have sex as soon as possible – not because I really wanted to, but because it was my disillusioned way of hooking the guy. Sometimes it worked, as was the case with my ex.
In other words, I was having sex for all the wrong reasons and sometimes I didn’t feel good about myself because of it. I didn’t work through those feelings until 2012, while the ex and I were going through our most difficult time.
I am very happy that I was able to work through it. Now that I am dating, I know that when I decide to have sex with someone it will be for the right reasons for ME. It may not match someone else’s idea of the right reasons, which is their problem, not mine. It will be right for me!
I am a much stronger woman now than I was in my teens and early adulthood. I am more confident. I know what I’m worth. I don’t need to hook him or anyone. I know when I am ready for more intimacy. This is incredibly freeing for me, more so than I could ever describe with words. It is allowing me to be who I really am with my new guy: intellectually, emotionally, and sexually. It is allowing me to be free with him and enjoy our experiences more than I ever imagined.
Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?
Honesty is the best policy for most matters. The degree of importance for the given situation determines the degree of honesty required. Higher importance means higher honesty. The difficult part is that this can vary between people and vary based on the current mood of a relationship. One always needs to be aware of where their relationship is at a given moment so that the level of honesty can be adjusted accordingly.
Low Degree of Honesty
A low degree of honesty is only for trivial matters, matters that have no impact on the quality of the relationship. For example, if you are getting ready to go to dinner with your partner and they are wearing one of their favorite shirts that you don’t particularly like – suck it up and don’t tell the truth. It serves no purpose. It is not important and will only add negativity to the evening.
High Degree of Honesty
A high degree of honesty is for anything that is NOT trivial to you or to the person you are in the relationship with. These matters will have a higher degree of impact on the relationship. An example, a coworker begins to flirt with you. You are not entirely sure you are being flirted with, but it feels like it. No matter how the flirting makes you feel (you may like it, or you may be uncomfortable), tell your partner IMMEDIATELY. Even if you are not sure that it is flirting. Also, tell your partner everything about the situation, including how it made you feel. Don’t leave any gray areas that will come back and bite you in the butt.
In response to Daily Prompt Truth or Dare.
I feel like a young woman again, with stolen moments spent with a new potential love! Have a very brief meeting with him this afternoon, when we will take a walk if the weather permits. Exhilarating, but exhausting.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”
It was a period of a few months in early to mid 2013. Soon to be Ex and I had rekindled our relationship and were in a period of limerence, that periods where we were infatuated with each other. In that brief period of time, he paid more attention to me than he had in our previous 19 years of marriage. He’d watch me exercise. He’d tell me how sexy I am. He’d listen to me and talk to me. He’d make sweet, sweet love to me – sometimes twice a day.
My GOD, it was intoxicating.
Alas, it wasn’t real. Or at least not real enough to withstand the test of time.
You ask, what was it that had such a positive effect on me. Attention. I was starved for his attention.
I let someone down at work a little over a year ago and never had the opportunity to let her know how sorry I was (she retired before I was ready). I would think about her periodically and feel regret that I added to her stress overload. And I secretly believed that I was part of the reason she retired.
Anyway, someone on my team still keeps in contact with her and was asked to share her personal email with everyone she worked with. So I took the opportunity to write a letter telling her how sorry I was.
It is such a relief to get that off my chest – even though she probably hasn’t even read her email yet.
My 10 yr old son told me recently that he hates to say sorry because he feels stupid. Maybe I have a little bit of that problem at first, but after some time has passed I just really want to tell the person that I am sorry.
Embed from Getty Images