I’m sure they all wondered why they stayed so long. Then they read the poop jokes.

Do you ever look up your exes on Facebook? I certainly do. From time to time my mind will wander and my fingers will follow suit. Usually following an old “On This Day” post, I’ll get curious. What are they up to? Where do they live? Can I somehow contrive to have “won the breakup”? I’m petty like that occasionally. Most of the time when this trope comes up in movies, TV shows, it’s accompanied by strong pangs of longing. Pining for days long past when you were last happy. In moments of relationship strife, it seems easier to romanticise what you left behind. Yeah nah bro. I can’t think of a single ex I’d want to get back together with. Communication, empathy and sex with my girlfriend are leagues better than they had been. So many of my past relationships fit the period of my life when they occurred. I’m not sure that they could’ve withstood the person I am. Then again, who would I be if I were still with them?

To be honest, I primarily hope to see that they’re doing well. I’m lucky, in that none of my past relationships were spectacular tire fires. One came close, but with the benefit of hindsight it’s easy not to hold a grudge. In the end, things just failed to work out. They weren’t bad people. I don’t think I was. I don’t doubt that we all said or did stupid things, but I was fortunate enough not to have left the encounters with deep scars (he says, until he’s ten gins deep). I’ve moved on and I assume they have. Still, what’s better than assuming? Knowing.

There are all these loose threads left when a relationship bites the dust. Did they finish their degree? Are they working in the fields that they sought? Did they travel like they wanted to? Have they found someone who complements them in ways I never could? Have they maintained a good support network? Those friends of theirs I grew close to, are they still kicking around? What about their families? After they were so welcoming, it was kind of shitty to flat out never see them again.

I’m happy to report, most everyone I’ve snooped on is doing fine. Some have ended up in places I never expected. Others followed their plan to the letter. It may just be the way that people use Facebook, to showcase the rose tinted view of their lives. It could be that internally they’re struggling, but don’t want to subject their friends and family to their hidden torment. The messy ones are probably still messy, but from the outside, it looks like I didn’t leave any wrecks in my wake. Does this leave me pining? Is it possible to triple underline NOPE?

The thing is, I’ve played the “what if” game and the results are never satisfying. I follow the threads and I’m disappointed, then remember why we broke up in the first place. Perhaps it’s symptomatic of how I date. I rarely go looking for drama or intrigue, because I’m kinda boring. I tend to end up with nice people who rarely fuck me around and I try to return the favour. I haven’t maintained many exes as friends, barring one notable exception. It’d be easy to make the argument that being in different countries makes it tricky. More often though, it’s that behind the attraction, there wasn’t much of a friendship to fall back on.

Thanks for the memories, I guess.

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