In continuation of my perfectly contradictory way of being, the happier my relationship is, the more I think about my exes. For possibly the first time ever, everything is functional. There's no communication issues, no co-dependence, no unequal states of affection or distance that tests commitment. What this proves to me is that my sadness over past loves is unrelated to my current relationship. It's not that I am "not over" my exes: it's that I will always be sad about the way things ended.
I think part of the reason we can become so bitter to our exes is that, for a time, they were so important to us. The gap remains between what they were and what they are now. Once, they were close to us. They slept next to us, spoke to us over every little thing, held our hands and occupied our heads. But after you break up, they can become strangers.
While I've never had a shouting-till-dawn break-up, there's been a mix. The ones where you stop responding, the ones where you promise to stay friends, the ones that distance tempers into being not quite so harsh. My exes are all on my Facebook, but I wonder if they remember. When we pass by without making contact, do we both think back to the days we said we were happy? Were we really?
None of this can be verified against another's experience and we are all different. Even though it happened more than two years ago, I can still get sad about being broken up with over dessert after going to London aquarium together. I feel guilty for dumping a long-distance girlfriend over text when I was 16, and it makes me sad we don't talk any more. Clinging to the past is toxic, but there's a melancholy in realising these people that were so close once are now nothing.
Losing touch scares me, How easily we can be forgotten, If we are nothing but the sum of the relationships we make, what does it say when they can be forged and broken so quickly? We are all fragile. And I guess that goes for friends, too: the people I know who are graduating used to be so close to me, and are now gone. Yes, when we became friends they were sweet, and perhaps they became less so the better we knew each other, but that doesn't stop them from being close.
We forget too many people. Getting left behind is awful. This is all stuff we know, but don't want to consider. Maybe that's why I think so much about the people I had so much almost-happiness with. Things aren't meant to last: all things end. But it's not really so bad to think about the relationships that did. They had meaning too, and their status as passed doesn't negate the value they had at the time. That is not to say I react healthily: I bottled up my angst at someone who hurt me which ended in wanting to punch them. How are you meant to respond to that, when you also know their own ex had physically abused them? I compete with others on arbitrary scales to measure happiness, and I am aware of my bizarre jealousy over who moves on first and how easily exes seem to get over things. My best friend is technically my ex: he has moved on, and I think I'm losing him now to a girl the year below me. That hurts more than anything, as our friendship survived my multitude of inadvisable relationships and torrid flings: it's upsetting that one person can decide to curtail things and they just end.
Whatever. I think and write about this well-trodden ground far too much. Go stroke a puppy or something.