What kind of person would say that? On the surface, and at first glace, I can’t think of many. But I can think of many reasons why other people out there should date my ex-girlfriends. For a variety of reasons.
I’ve dated a wide list of women over the years, some for a few weeks or months, others for years. Some were batshit insane, one was wildly abusive, and one was fucking her friend behind my back for months. Pretty cool, eh? One, I cheated on. I was 21, and I wasn’t proud of it. Some we just didn’t have the same life goals in the end, and others that “spark” just died over time. I’m talking about people I actually connected with and spent real time with, not some random Tinder date who insisted we go to Jack Astors.
I love these women, at least most of them. Don’t mistake that as being in love with them, but I love them. Each in a specific and individual way. They, just like me, are humans. They’re people searching for someone to love them back the way they love. I am too. That’s what this whole thing is about, right? But with these women, every single one of them, it didn’t line up. Sometimes I determined that, other times they did. Even in some cases I was going to break it off but they beat me to the punch. But that too isn’t what this is about.
The thing is most people talk shit about their ex’s. I don’t.
Why? This was a person who was a massive part of my life, even for a short time. They shaped me, and I hope I had a similar impact on them. We shared unbelievable times together. I may have even been in LOVE with this person. I knew their most intimate secrets, and they mine. True love is walking in on someone in the middle of laying pipe and then bringing them a beer. What’s not to love about that?! And you know what, I’d do the same for them. Even to this day. (Well, in all fairness, the moment you walk in on your partner mid-deuce, all bets are basically null and void).
I vividly remember a “romantic” getaway and partner and I took up in Northern Ontario between Christmas and New Years. I picked her up complete with luggage for 2 nights, and off we sped across the highway. As we began our trek north in this particularly cold holiday season, she gasped and said she’d forgotten her birth control pills. Suffice to say she was incredibly sensitive to such changes and usually gets her period within 24hrs. We debated turning back but decided not.
We get to our resort and it’s this winter oasis. I think there was only one other couple in the entire place. We had amazing winter walks, great dinners, and a lot of R&R. Booking a room with a fireplace was a great idea. So naturally in the moment while our minds are on intimacy, her body decides it’s a perfect time to call an audible, right on cue (we’ll come back to this). We share a jacuzzi bath, romantically lit with a few candles. Cute right? Well, she leans back in the tub and her hair catches fire. I lunge towards her and pulled her entire head into the water. The look on her face as I pulled her back up was one of sheer shock as she didn’t realize her head was ablaze. Ya, this is going well. So, romance is at an all-time low, hilarity is at an all time high, and I’m in the middle of nowhere with a girlfriend who just got her period unexpectedly, and she didn’t pack a single tampon.
I set off to a gas station, or anything that’d have ’em. Finding one that’s open at 11pm on whatever-day-it-was in that purgatory period (no pun intended) between Christmas and NYE was a task I fully underestimated; even more so as it was a super small town, possibly a “hamlet” if you may. I found something resembling a convenience store that probably hadn’t seen a customer in 3 hours, opted for a variety pack and rushed back. I can’t even make this shit up.
That was a moment I’ll never forget. Maybe she forgot a few weeks later or it crosses her mind every year or so as it does for me. The point is, I hold it fondly in my mind. A little slice of whatever. Something that makes me laugh and giggle on the inside. Me and that partner haven’t been together for a long time, and we haven’t talked in probably 6 or 7 years now, but I sure as hell hope she’s had moments like that where you just laugh uncontrollably about the hilarity of the situation with people since me. She deserves it, and those people (hopefully) deserve to experience those moments with her. She’s an amazing woman.
That relationship was a long time ago. But, before all of that were some other wonderful people. One I broke up with because she was simply “too happy”. Everything was wonderful. She was cheery as anyone could be, and me – the miserable bastard, just couldn’t understand. Another, I can’t even remember why I ended it, but it was a high school crush type of thing and I heard many years later from someone who knew her father, that I’d really broken her heart. I felt horrible when I heard that, and to this day that memory comes up and I still wonder what the hell was on my mind, even 20 years later. I’ve wanted to look her up and say I was sorry, but at this point that’s not only creepy, but I sure as hell hope she forgot me if I broke her heart. I wouldn’t find her if I tried however – her name was the equivalent to “Amanda Smith”. Facebook search results : 9,400,284 people found.
There was the woman who was my first love. A person who gave me so many amazing life skills, taught me more than I’d ever known about what it was to care about and love someone, but also an incredibly toxic relationship as it got near the end, with me certainly not being devoid of fault in that. It took a few years apart to realize we just loved one another, but should never be partners. I still talk to her to this day, and she’ll always be a woman I can go to for honest advice or just to know I’m loved. And, you know – I love her back just as much.
But in all of those instances I was a stupid young teenage boy trying desperately to not just to find a caring person to date me, but to find myself. I didn’t have a damn clue at the time, and it took me a good decade more before I even got close to figuring it out. Thankfully those women gave me a lot of guidance, without even knowing it. I am grateful for it all the time.
I could tell you about the woman who showed me the most unconditional love I’ve ever seen, and cared for me in a way I only truly saw once we’d parted ways. I underestimated that relationship in a way that has left me with deep regret because I was an idiot, blinded by my own stupidity. I learned one of my most important lessons, that I can be a fool.
I’ve learned that I can find the best of friends when looking for love.
There’s the woman I met after I strolled into a bar for last call and ended up having a wonderful casual relationship with for a few years. That ended when she met a guy, a guy who went on to become her husband and father of her child. That guy is bloody amazing, and the kind of person I’d argue many men should aspire to be. And that woman, well – she’s nothing short of an amazing friend. We don’t talk every week, but for the past 7 years we’ve damn well had one another’s backs at every turn.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the dog girl. That may sound insensitive, but it’ll make sense soon. She’s a woman who’s dating profile I came across and was blown away. I bookmarked it, and swore I’d write her the next day when I could send a properly thought out message. But, before I returned to send her a message, she sent one to me which read something along the lines of “You’re fucking awesome, I feel like we could spend hours talking about nothing, and if you don’t think I have an ugly dog face, let’s get a drink”. Turns out I thought she was gorgeous and we met.. for a single drink.. of which half way through she says
“you know we’ll never date, right?”…
“you’re not the type of guy I date”…
“I’ll bite, what’s the type of guy you date?”…
“Not entirely sure, but it’s not you”…
“So, what are we doing here”…
“Well, I’ll totally nail you for a few months until we get tired of one another”…
We had 4 more drinks, and while I was taking a wizz she paid the bill. I returned to “alright, bill is paid, let’s get outta here”. We stepped out onto the sidewalk and she says “oh… are you the mushy wienie who does the hug thing?”.. I began to mutter, but before I could answer she says “listen bud, I’ll kiss you when I fuck you, so take it easy”. I stood there in a moderate state of shock as it’s basically unheard of for a woman to be that direct, and before I snapped back to reality she was already in a cab and bombing away westbound on Queen.
We met a week later where I came to realize that kissing her was akin to kissing my sister. Even thought I don’t have one, but if I did, I can only imagine this is the kind of “this is NOT right” feeling it would generate. She swore I was the antichrist for leaving her with blue-box and then walked out of my house and got a hot-dog from a street vendor at 1am, then proceeded to end up at a Somali bar with her cab driver talking about West-African politics until 4am. She called me the next day and we’ve been buds ever since. She knows some real shit about me, and I hold a few of her secrets in the vault. I fucking love her.
The point is, you should date these women. Well, maybe not the married one, but if she ever becomes single, she’s going to be a massive catch – just like the others. They all have amazing qualities. They’re all great people and doing great things. It’s why I was attracted to them, and it’s why I can only imagine many others should be too.
Isn’t it weird that I wouldn’t want them to? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly want the play-by-play, but shouldn’t they be happy? I’ve been asked before if I’m polyamorous or have open relationships and the answer is a pretty firm “no”. It’s not for me for a variety of reasons, and I didn’t particularly understand how someone could be OK with their partner being intimate with someone else when I first heard about those types of relationships.
How could someone want their partner to sleep with someone else, then come home and be with them. How could you want your partner to also be in love with someone else at the same time they’re in love with you? Doesn’t that sound horrible? At first, yes. But, it turns out I have a few friends who are in such relationships and I get to see them interact with one another, and with others. They’re happy. Like, truly happy. Their relationships are some of the better ones I know of. But I didn’t understand it. I asked questions, and I began to see why they feel the way they do. That there’s a long list of reasons why people would have an open or poly relationship – and those reasons vary far beyond what I would have ever thought.
It’s still not for me, and that’s cool. But, I realized that a lot of my perception of relationships comes from a very ingrained thought of that you MUST only have one person in your intimate life, and anything otherwise is wrong. It’s kind of like the thought that only a man and woman can be together otherwise it’s wrong. Well, I see no reason why any two consenting people (however each of them identifies) shouldn’t be allowed to partner, why shouldn’t people be able to partner with others (you know, still with consent). I’m not gay, but that doesn’t mean two gay men shouldn’t be allowed to be together – just as I’m not poly, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be able to be in poly relationships.
And just as I’m not poly, or have interests in open relationships, that doesn’t mean that someone I once was with shouldn’t be allowed to, or I should take issue with, them being with others. Hell, I sure as heck have since. Isn’t that just selfish? Even possessive? Or outright controlling & abusive, if you’re no longer with them? I’d argue it is. Shouldn’t I be happy for them, just in the way I would hope they’re happy for me when I find someone I want to be with? One would hope.
I see these social media posts saying “if you saw your ex on fire, what would you do”, and the responses are gross. “Watch them burn and laugh”, “Give them a bottle of water and say ‘good luck'”, “I’d piss on them, even if there was a water hose beside me”. Holy shit. Who are these people, and who the hell are you dating?! The responses were equally men and women bashing ex’s. Hell, even the woman who was a pathological liar and cheated on me would never be given a second thought as to do anything to save them. Have you ever seen someone die from being on fire? It’s horrific. What kind of psycho are you?
OK, so your ex beat you, was an abusive POS, and stole your cat? I get it. There’s fringe cases. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Let’s be honest, most people just want to rag on their ex’s so others can comment “OHHH I’M SO SORRY”, and draw attention and sympathy to themselves. But, it’s a bad look. And, as I navigate the wonderful world of places like dating apps, this behavior in a dating profile is a quick way for you to leave my screen as quickly as you appeared on it. Bye Felicia. It’s a flag on the play.
I think back to someone I was talking to while ago who told me about her past relationships. There wasn’t one good thing to say, and each one was distilled down to comments about how everything was his fault. Of her past 4 relationships, each one was this disaster she couldn’t handle. There’s the person who described her past two relationships as “the guy who worked as a line cook and made no money to take me out”, and “the guy who had such bad teeth I was repulsed at the idea of kissing him”. As she told me more stories I asked “which one was that? The poor guy, or the one with bad teeth – because you haven’t said one nice thing about them”. Which was the same time I realized that would be a forever left swipe.
I disagree. I don’t care how much you loved that person, or that they cheated on you. Maybe you left them, maybe they left you. It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt, but take a look at why it hurts, and understand why that may make you feel the way you do. Let it go – which is something easier said than done (trust me, I know). They’re not your responsibility, nor your concern, and frankly, not your business anymore. If they want to run the town, let them. You’re free to do the same if you so shall choose. But realize that any commitments that you made together are no longer valid – and ya, that’s potentially going to sting for a while – which is totally acceptable.
What I’m saying is that at the end of the day hate & bitterness is never the answer. If it was that horrific, be happy it’s gone and be happy you’re moving on. If it was a tough one, someone you loved dearly, then shouldn’t you want the very best for them or is the very best for them only conditional on it being with you? And if that’s the case, was that true love, or just an obsession… or possession?
I’ll leave this with a little story told through rhyme by an MC who expressed himself deeply through his lyrics. An MC I used to work with, and admired the creativity in what he was saying… I’m sure I’ll get a few of these words wrong, and I’m sure I could probably just call him right now and get a photo of his lyric book he used to scribble in. But before you read these words he wrote some 10 years ago, know that he’s currently living his dream with a partner in one of the healthiest relationships I’ve ever seen in my life, with an absolutely amazing son, and another child on the way.
The sun breaks through over soft white sheets, broken by the shadow cast when two hearts meet
You take me, you strike me, I think you really like me, spend a half a day of laughter and the rest in ecstacy
The curve of your back, your tattooed hips, electric when you touch me with those soft little lips
Nobody could ever tell me love could feel like this, dizzy as I fall fast for you little miss
I don’t know how you get me on every level like you do, I love it when I feel it and I won’t listen to my crew
You can’t buy this rush from any dealer in the world, the heart meeting heart when boy meets girl
I step out and I’m caught by the city’s winter air, I’m haunted by the memories of nights that we shared
You know I’ll always love you, you felt it from the start, that’s why it’s important for our hearts to stay apart
You need to know there’s somethings that just can’t be, living a life of illusion we perceive for free
Every choice that we make is a million possibilities, I know how you love them, so how about these
It’s possible we’ll meet again on the winding road of life, it’s possible the next time you’ll be someone else’s wife
It’s possible I lost my chance at life’s true love, anything is possible, it’s what makes life tough.
I’m too fucking perfect to live life like that, second guessing choices we can never go back
What’s said is said, what’s done is done, replace me as your number one, it didn’t take you long for that I’m a little stunned
Everything that we shared meant the world to me, showed me all the things that the word love can be
I’m one of your many, you’re among so very few, but because of you I’m here again and for that I’m thanking you.
What I can’t transcribe is the follow-up to this, a rhyme he wrote about how life changes, how keeping your heart open and forgiving, will allow better things to fill your life beyond your understanding. The feeling of when you take the lessons from the past and allow them to guide you to the future, and the payoff of knowing you’re in a far better place you never thought possible. That’s a rhyme that was said publicly only once to my knowledge, and as far as I can remember, at the last show we ever did together as DJ/MC – as he put down the mic that night for the last time so he could move forward in his life.
I take the lessons I learned from past relationships and apply them to the best of my ability into future relationships. Lessons learned in the past can help prevent pitfalls going forward. Moving forward always, but allowing yourself to use the stepping stones of the past to get there. If you burn those steps, you’re only destined to make your journey harder. Embrace the things that didn’t work out, love them for what they were, and allow them to get you to a place you’ve never been before.