August 31, 2016

Should I Reconnect With My Epic Ex?

Hey, Bonita...

Hi Bonita,

I'm in my last semester of grad school here, and this one's already proving to be the toughest ever. Not because of schoolwork or practicum or my assistantship—of course, it's always guys!

Basically, I feel like I'm being haunted by two of my most epic exes. I split up with both of these guys years ago, but it's like I can't escape their new lives. Social media is a real bummer, because I can see our old friends hanging out with them and their new loves, and having the times of their lives. One is married now, but what really stinks is finding out that the other one works in the building where I'm doing my assistantship. I knew he started working on campus, but I didn't think I'd end up seeing him four times a week.

It's SO HARD having to see him so often. We don't work on the same floor or anything, but I occasionally get a peek of him around the building and the grounds. I've also been known to go to the coffee stand nearby, because I know he stops there every morning before work, and it's just torture. I've done some snooping, and I know he's got an active dating life, but I'm pretty sure he's single right now. The years have been kind to him, he's on a career path, and it all just feels like the perfect storm.

I'm very eager to reach out and see if we can reconnect, but our breakup was terrible. So bad that I'm pretty sure it's the reason he hasn't said much more than “hello” to me in the past week. So I'm thinking I should reach out to him and ask for closure, with the intention of trying to spin it into a second chance. Is that dirty? Is it all so far in the past that I shouldn't even bother? Sure, the breakup was bad, but we had some really good times, and I seriously thought I'd never see this guy again. I feel like this is my chance, but I'm nervous to take the risk.

Second Time's a Charm

Second Time,

Most of the time, I feel that moving on is the best thing we can do. It saves us tons of heartache and dignity when we decide to let a ship sail and catch a better one instead. But you've already done that, hopefully, if you broke up with this guy years ago. I'm tempted to tell you to give it another shot with this guy—to reach out and make your amends, and then see where it can go—but there are a few things in your email that kinda worry me.

First, you say you feel “haunted” by the memory of your exes, and this ex in particular, but what you describe are situations where you purposely seek out information about people you've broken up with. Stumbling across a photo on Facebook is one thing, but “snooping” to see whom someone is dating is another. I think you can work harder to really let go of those old relationships and live your own life. Trust me, it's much better for you than staring at your ex's wedding photos and wondering what could have been.

Second, you should go get coffee whenever you want coffee. You shouldn't loiter near a campus coffee kiosk while your ex gets his macchiato. It's innocent, but it feels creepy, and you should think about that behavior more critically. And lastly, curt conversation with an old friend or lover is indicative of hard feelings, so tread lightly.

In the end, I'd still recommend that you reach out to this guy, but to actually get closure. The breakup was messy, and he's barely talking to you years later, so signs point to him not remembering you very fondly. You clearly still have feelings for this guy, so it's evident to me that you both have stuff you need to say to each other.

Let him speak first, and be forthcoming with any apologies you believe he's owed. Demand the same respect from him, and see where it goes from there. I don't get the sense that we'll see a great love rekindled, but this might be a step towards you letting go of these old flames and not doing innocent-but-creepy stuff.