Posted by: foodtalker | January 30, 2011

yesterday’s greens

There are some definite advantages to going out with an ex-boyfriend.  The best thing is the feeling of having made progress.  Even though not much might have happened in my life since breaking up, the simple fact that we’re no longer together is enough to make me feel a sense of accomplishment.

A few nights ago I went out with an ex.  When I got to the restaurant, he was smiling.  “It’s so good to see you,” he said.  And I could tell he meant it.  If only he’d looked at me like that when we’d been dating.

When we were seeing each other things would have been so much better if only I could have ignored the sense that it wouldn’t last.  I asked him what he was looking for.  His response?  “I’m not looking.”  It was hard to engage after that.

But now there’s nothing at stake.  I can be the girlfriend he always wanted.  For instance, at four o’clock in the afternoon he called to let me know he might need to cancel dinner that evening.  “That’s fine,” I said.  “Just let me know either way.”  He was astonished.  “Why couldn’t you have been this easy-going when we were dating?”

Here’s why.  Because now it doesn’t matter.  Why is that so hard to figure out?  As long as I’m not emotionally invested, I don’t feel rejected.

And when I’m not looking forward to something, there’s no disappointment when it doesn’t happen.  It doesn’t matter if he cancels – because I haven’t planned for a week ahead of time what I am going to wear. 

Not caring also means there’s no jealousy.  He can talk to me about his sex life with his new girlfriend as much as he wants.  He might as well be talking about the stock exchange.  I can listen intently to what he is saying, even offer suggestions, because instead of wondering what he really means, all I feel is a huge relief that I no longer have to second-guess him.  Instead of angst there is concern.

Spending time with an ex-boyfriend is easy because there’s a familiarity without the complications.  Things don’t have the significance they once had.  For example, he can look at his watch, and it’s nothing I take personally.  He can say certain things that I don’t mind him saying.  An ex-boyfriend saying “You’re such a special person, how come you haven’t found someone?” is sweet.  But if he had said it when we were dating I would have been crushed.  

For some reason – when you’re the ex – everything that was the problem in the first place becomes affectionate nostalgia.  Over dinner he was talking about his current girlfriend and mentioned that what he liked about her was that she needed him.  “That’s the opposite of you!” He roared.  “You were always so independent!”  Ah, the memories.

I came to a realisation.  I’m so much better as an ex-girlfriend than I am as a girlfriend.  From now on when I meet someone new, I should give them the heads-up and suggest we skip over the dating part and move straight into a break-up.  “You’ll hate me as a girlfriend but, trust me, you’ll love me as an ex.”


  1. Why does it take so long to develop wisdom…..

  2. i can totally relate to this. hooray kate.

  3. Oh my goodness, Kate! Why do relationships have to be so hard? And why is it so easy to get along with exes????? I’m honestly baffled that we can’t translate some of this stuff into something we can really get some mileage out of.

  4. Kate, this reminds me of the quote from Willie Nelson. He said when he feels like he has met the woman who could be a wife he just buys her a house, a car, and gives her some money. It is cheaper than alimony. I am sure it also clears their time together from any expectations.

  5. I always believed there is a thin line between love and hate when it comes to relationships because both are emotions. Both mean you care, one way or the other. But, when you get to indifference, the relationship is over.

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