Once bitten, twice shy?

Once again, on request of Ace Livingston.

What do you do if your ex comes back into your life and asks if you can “try again”? I’m sure you’ve had this once in a blue moon, or thought that you should be the one to call him/her and try to reconcile, because maybe it should’ve worked, but it needs more time/another chance/whatever.

Oh, honey,no. Just HELL no.

I’m always fond of the saying that an ex is such for a good reason, and should remain as such. There are circumstances where your ex can remain as your friend, and sometimes, that is a good thing. Sometimes, two people separate and know fully why they separate, and don’t think ill of one another – in fact, they think well enough of each other to want them to remain in their lives, just not in the capacity of Significant Other.

However, that takes a very special set of circumstances, and knowing – genuinely knowing – the other person. That doesn’t always work. In fact, it works very rarely.

When your relationship runs its course, it runs its course to a predictable conclusion. You’re already aware of why it’s not working. You’re already looking at your way out. You’re already looking at how to tell the other person you’re not happy. Or you’re the one who gets the drop. Either way you slice it, you also find out why you got the drop – whether directly or from other people, you always find out why you got dumped – and you’re likely to tell people why you’re single again as well.

So could you, reasonably, imagine having your ex become your significant other again? What happens when that guy you dumped is suddenly back in your life begging to give him another chance?

I’m sure you’ve been tempted by the thought. I’m sure you thought, “Maybe it’ll be different” – oh, please, I beg you, wake up. It’s not like you’re Carrie and he’s Mr. Big. It doesn’t work like that. In real life, the reason why that guy is still an ex, or why you never bring up that one girlfriend you had, is still there. They’re still the same person, and the reason why you broke up with them the first time will be the reason that you’ll break up with them a second time.

I have a friend who had an on-off relationship like that, and it dragged on for years. It collapsed, finally and for good, in a spectacular fashion, and because his ex just could not accept reality and also had no concept of boundaries, that breakup almost cost me my friendship with him. I am glad for one thing: my friends have enough faith in my judgment that they know that I won’t believe just anything from anyone, and that they have enough faith in my judgment to know what’s what and how two plus two adds up, so to speak. The friendship survived, fortunately, but I asked my friend: “You knew what she was like. You knew what sort of a thing it was. Why in the HELL did you keep coming back to her when you knew it was doomed?!”

He paused for a second and said, “I thought we would work it out.”

Funnily enough, when I asked her the same question at the time of breakup, she said, “But I thought I’d change him!”

People, let me be clear: love makes fools of people before giving them their due. You’re not required to be a fool for love. If it didn’t work the first time, it won’t work the second, or the third, or the fourth.

The fact of the matter is this: whether you like it or not, that relationship will be moved to the past. What do you gain by revising and reworking the past for a different outcome? It’s not worth the effort. If you were the one dumped, then it is that much more beneficial for you to lick your wounds and move forward. Don’t demean yourself by chasing after someone who made it abundantly clear that you’re not welcome; you’re making a fool of yourself for months to come. Don’t think so little of yourself if you feel like no one has ever loved you like that one person you were with and walked away from. By coming back, you’re doing no favors, and reviving old wounds on the opposite end is just plain cruel.

You have a brain, folks. Please use it to think about your actions before taking any, and you will find that some just aren’t worth taking.

However, if it is the sort of a thing where both parties feel like the business has not been finished, then please just don’t step on the same rakes twice.