Should I text my ex?
Dear Alison and Tony: I am wondering — should I text my ex? I broke up with my ex a couple of months ago after five years together and it was a bad breakup, very painful. Then, the other day, I learned that a friend of ours had gotten married and she was going on her honeymoon to the same hotel we went to when we got married. In a weak moment, I texted my ex about it and he (almost immediately) texted me back that he hadn’t heard about our friend, and then he added: ” “I was just thinking about the good time we had there–do you remember it too?” I guess I should have ignored his text, but I responded that I did remember. Then, the next day, he sent a photo of the two of us on the day we moved in together. And then he said something about the fact that he was at one of our favorite restaurants, sitting by himself. I wasn’t sure if that was an invitation or not, even though it was close to where I live, so I didn’t respond. But then he sent me another text about a a new wine bar he wanted to try in town (we both love good wine). I was fairly sure that had to be a sort of an invitation to join him. As lonely as I am, I didn’t respond, but I’m not seeing anyone and I really had a hard time not texting back. I know we broke up for good reasons, but we had a lot of good things going for us as well. I am confused and wondering what I should do. Was he trying to see if I wanted to get back with him, or just wondering if I was doing that since I was the one who initiated the conversation.? I don’t want to get hurt but maybe we are both wondering if we should give this another try. Should I move on, or test the waters with another text?
Tony’s Take: One of the great problems in life is settling for what is there as opposed to waiting for what could be and what you may actually need.
Many if not most of us end up with someone who is good enough for that time period and that place in life. We end up with friends and roommates but never experience the depth of passion and intimacy we would have with a person who is a real soulmate. The problem with these “friendship” relationships is they always end up interfering with the natural growth and possibility of a real relationship.
You left this relationship because it didn’t work on some primary level. It is not what you need. Your regrets are now that you have no one and that this person is at least marginally acceptable. You look at the relationship and wonder: “Are my standards too high? Am I waiting for someone who might never come?” And indeed there are persons like that. But for the most part, we end up with what we need not what we desire or want. If that happens the greatest thing you can do is make the relationship you have into the best relationship it can be by really trying to understand and be with the person you have decided to settle on.
We spend our twenties looking at a number of people trying to decide who we are and what we need. We spend our thirties trying to be the person we want to be in life. In our forties we start asking ourself the question: “What is enough of a relationship to last the rest of our lives?” and it becomes clear to us by that point what expectations we have that are unreasonable and may never be fulfilled. It is at this point that most of us commit to the one we are with as opposed to what we originally wanted.
My question to you, is: why did you stay in this relationship for five years when it was clear to you that there was something intrinsically incompatible between the two of you and with the passage of time, would it have ever gotten better? There is no one right or good answer for this person because every decision she will make has implications about her entire future and only each of us can know how much more frightful being alone is than being with the wrong person.
Alison’s Take: Tony paints a rather dim and hopeless picture of what one might expect from relationships. I say, that’s ridiculous! You don’t have to settle or stay with someone who isn’t right for you. And, when people are together five years and then break up, there are usually good reasons. Getting back together because you feel that this person might be your only chance to connect or that s/he is “the best you can do” is not the way to make life satisfying, it is a way to make the rest of your life unhappy or at best, marginally bearable.
So my quick answer is NO, do not contact your ex, no matter how lonely you feel at the moment. Yes, it feels tempting when the breakup is new and you are alone, but remember why pulled you apart. For if you get back together, those things that you found unable to live with will still be there. Those issues or character traits or problems will either pull you apart again, or cause you the kind of deep distress and unhappiness that caused you to split– only now you will share a lifetime of it. And, should you cling together anyway to make the best of it as Tony suggests, you will have missed your opportunity to find someone who truly is your soul-mate, or at least, a much better match for you. In other words, you will miss the opportunity to find true happiness with someone else. No, it is not unreasonable to have expectations that you can and will find someone who is really good for you and with whom you can never imagine breaking up.
Loneliness is hard to bear, especially when you have been part of a couple for any length of time. It seems like the entire world is coupled up, holding hands, smiling at one another, and you are the odd person out, all alone. But if you stick it out, that feeling of loss and loneliness will dissipate. You will find ways to cope with it and also will go out to seek others….and one of those others may and probably will be the person you really want, the person who is right for you in all the ways that count. That person is out there right now, just waiting for you. When you find that person and you look back years later, you may be very glad that you didn’t respond to that text from your ex and that you didn’t get back together with him. Because you didn’t settle as Tony suggests may do, you can be with someone who makes life wonderful and makes you feel good, in all the ways that this person never could, or would.
Tony’s comment on Alison: The key here is why these two split in the first place, because some things are fixable, some things are not. If the reason was a primary character flaw such as alcoholism, narcotics, anger issues, etc. these problems can be ameliorated or fixed if the person really wants to fix them. If, however, the trait that broke you up is intrinsic to the person’s character, then it is very unlikely that you will be happy, things like stinginess, being self-centered, profligate, etc. Also, if the person doesn’t appreciate you or bores you, that cannot be easily remedied. The biggest issue is that by returning to this life you block future relations since it is a thousand times harder to become involved with someone when you are currently involved and thus, you will eliminate a possible happy future,
Alison and Tony aka. Leather and Lace are starting a new book project ! The working title is: Road Gypsies: the Unsung Lives & Untold Stories of Rock and Roll Roadies. We are just getting started, and we’re really excited, but we’d love your support. We have a Facebook Page and a Twitter Handle. We’ll be posting our progress as we travel, interview roadies, bands, and more. Fithout the roadies, the show couldnt’ go on. Find out what really goes on behind the scenes, LIKE THE ROAD GYPSIES BOOK PROJECT ON FACEBOOK, FOLLOW ROAD GYPSIES BOOK PROJECT ON TWITTER @RoadGypsiesBook