Love in Limestone: Once bitten, twice shy?


Dirty Deeds Entry

Outside, the weather had snapped. The sound of snow crunching beneath our footsteps was all but muted as we rushed to a waiting cab. Laughter, giggles, making out like teenagers as we instructed the driver to my address.

Unlock the door. Unhook his belt. A tangle of clothes, and tongues, and two bodies of flesh trying desperately to find one another in the darkness.

The whiskey is as drunk as we are. His body familiar; an old flame reignited. On you back; on his. Against the wall. On your knees. His breath in your ear; his hands in your hair.

Collapse into gasps. Panting until your heart slows. A kiss goodnight. And a promise to split the cab fare in the morning.

They say finding your way back to an ex is similar to rereading a book and knowing how the story ends. They also say they’re your ex for a reason. And while both sentiments are true, why is it that we find ourselves deep in the depths of reconciliation, only to find out we’ve flunked the same exam again?

Dating is a construct that many of us fear for a multitude of reasons. It becomes easy to reconcile a past relationship simply to prevent having to ignite a new one. How do you prepare yourself for the monotonous task of explaining to a new partner how you snore, what your work schedule is like? How do you go through the rigorous routine of introducing this newcomer to your fold of friends, of family, of coworkers? And what number are they? How many times have you done this before?

On the surface, new relationships are exciting. They’re thrilling. They’re the gasp your insides make when you’re trying out a new dress, or applying the second coat of mascara before the first date. Your exhilaration is an adrenaline, pixie-stick coated high as you consider what it could mean if the pair of you really hit it off.

But when reality sets in, panic strikes. Does this person know how I like my eggs? How I take my coffee? What are their political views? Do I have to go through the motions all over again? What if the sex isn’t any good? What if they don’t understand…

Wait. Wait. You’re overthinking.

But are you?

And before you give yourself a second chance, you’re suddenly giving your past a second glance. Remember orbiting? Yeah, you’re definitely doing that. Suddenly the mourning of losing a relationship is replaced by jealousy, bitterness. And re-evaluation.

Do the problems of our past relationships outweigh the anxiety of starting something fresh and new? Was it really all that bad? Did we really give it a go? Did we end too quickly? Did we fight hard enough? Did we really give it our all?

I spoke to a friend recently who told me she has the toughest time remaining single during the summer. And that even a former flame will suffice if that means she doesn’t have to bear the rays of sunshine during July and August alone. Some ladies have also confessed they’ll be more likely to give their relationship a second go-around if they see their ex-partner seems to be better off now than before. Others suggest that finding out the ex is sniffing around the dating pool is exactly enough incentive to dig up the past and give it another try, just to prove to themselves they’d made the right decision in the first place – or that this time, it might actually last.

Of making up and breaking up, Psychology Today says, “Renewals are more likely when the on-off nature yields a new perspective of the relationship that offers the chance of improvement.” Fair enough. When you see enough of a change in either yourself or your former partner, reconciliation can potentially be tabled.

But what if you’re simply reconciling to avoid dating mayhem? That you’re treading familiar territory just to steer clear of any second attempt at heartbreak? Especially if you both, as a pair, agree to what Gwenyth coined as “conscious uncoupling”.

There is something to be said about that person ‘being an ex for a reason.’ And as Dua Lipa sang us this summer, “if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him.” (I’ll be the first to admit that a former partner is typically the best sex – no fumbling around explaining the rules of seven as Monica Gellar so thoroughly taught us in Friends.)

What I suppose this comes down to is why.

If you take a step back, examine from all angles why a reconciliation with an ex is warranted, you might actually surprise yourself. Familiarity, good sex, the comfort in consistency – these are all justifiable reasons to immerse yourself in a mulligan. But if they’re candy-coated excuses to avoid being alone – who are you being fair to? Certainly not to your partner. And definitely not to yourself. And while I truly believe that love is the greatest gift we can both receive and offer, I don’t believe that love is necessarily enough. You can love from a distance. Want joy for your ex from a distance. You don’t need to love them in 3D to prove that.

And to add – if you’re still hung up on an ex, are you being fair to a new, potential partner?

While no one can tell you how to grieve, how long to grieve, what grieving a past relationship will ultimately mean for you, go easy on yourself. You’re not alone. The grass will always appear greener on the other side – whether that be the side on which your partner is currently planted, or the side where you’ve begun to dig roots.

And when your head and your heart don’t agree on the potential resurrection of a former flame, follow your gut. She’s the one who knows the truth.


~ Lilly ~

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