If you’re talking about separating your garbage so that the paper, cans, and glass can be reconstituted into something else for the good of the planet, then yes, I’m all for it. However, that is NOT the type of recycling I’m talking about. No, I’m talking about recycling exes. My friend, the one who actually taught me the term “recycling” as it applies to exes, says that she recycles in order to keep her number down…her number of sex partners, in case you didn’t know. In this case, though, I’m just talking about getting back together with someone from your past.
My mother is the ultimate recycler. She married – and divorced – the same man TWICE.
When it comes to giving other people advice, I generally advocate against recycling. As time passes, people tend to idealize the positive aspects of their time with an ex and forget about all the negatives. But there was a reason it didn’t work out the first time! Why waste your time with an ex when there is surely someone who is better suited for you out there?
Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to give advice than it is to take it. Tonight I will be doing a little recycling of my own. I’ll call him “John.”
I don’t know if John classifies as an ex per se, since we were never boyfriend and girlfriend. We only dated for around 4 months, but emotionally things moved pretty quickly…on my part, anyway. We were having extended conversations over email every day while working (which is a LOT of emailing – 7.5 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 4 months), and he introduced me to his ENTIRE family after only one month. We’d go out after work and sometimes on weekends. He was the first guy I had hooked up with since I got separated that I could actually imagine getting into a relationship with.
I should have known from the start that it wouldn’t go anywhere. For one thing, there was the age difference. I was 32, he was 27. Not a huge gap, but not a small one either. But what can I say? I liked him. And he wasn’t like most 27-year-olds I know – or most guys, period. He had his shit together (education, job, house), loved spending time with his family, and could not be classified as a player in ANY sense of that word.
There was also my “baggage.” When we first started talking I was living with my mom and her boyfriend. I had moved out from my husband a year earlier, but our lives were still very much entwined, and I would see him about once a week and speak to him almost daily as we dealt with property and other issues that needed to be wrapped up before we could get divorced. Sometimes it would get heated. What guy wants to get wrapped up in that drama?
On top of that, he’s kind of religious. Okay, more than kind of. He goes to church every single week. I, on the other hand, don’t believe in anything. At all. Talk about incompatible! That fact alone should have told me there was no long-term potential. But I still hoped it could work out.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Eventually we reached a point where I wanted to put a label on things and move forward, and he, well, didn’t. He was content to take it slowwww. So he pulled away, in an immature, passive aggressive way – meaning, he would disappear over the weekend or whatever, and then act like I was crazy for getting mad about it. Technically you could say that I was the one who ended things, since in the end I’m the one who said “this isn’t what I’m looking for,” but it was his actions that drove me to it. It’s an age-old story. The relationship ended in January 2011, but we talked a little bit after that and went out to dinner once or twice. The last time we hung out was in May 2011.
I saw him at an event last week. I knew he would be there, so I made sure I looked extra good. We ended up talking for at least an hour. The attraction is still there on both our parts. Probably more so for him, since thanks to my diet I’m even hotter than I was when we dated! He even said to me “You look amazing. I mean, I thought you were beautiful before, but now…you’re absolutely gorgeous.” (Looking good IS the best revenge!) He asked me if I wanted to go to dinner, and over email this week we settled on tonight.
I have no expectations that anything will come from this. Shoot, I don’t even know what I want to come from it, if anything. I’m annoyed with myself for still being interested in him, considering how long it has been. Unfortunately, in the past year I haven’t met anyone I’ve liked as much as I liked John, and until I do, I will continue to idealize the time we spent together and forget all the negatives.
As for tonight, I plan to just enjoy dinner and his company while trying to remember that there were reasons it didn’t work out the first time. Wish me luck.