Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MEMO TO MEN: The "ex" factor

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: The excellent ex.
DATE: September 20, 2011

Please note, boys: This is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken too seriously.
Are you over your ex or not? Because I sort of don't want to hear about her. How kind she was. How funny she was.

You know very well, boys, that I don't have an ex to speak of, but that doesn't mean I absolutely love the whole talking-about-your-ex trend. In fact, I'm not a huge fan of it at all. Maybe I'll never understand the power of an ex, boys, until I get my first scar from one. A person holds such a large part of your heart for so long, and for them to just suddenly be out of your life is unimaginable. Of course you'd want to relive those happy memories. I'm just not sure we need to relive them in the bread aisle of Wal-Mart, as we're arguing over white or wheat and your entire testimony is based on the fact that, "[Insert ex's name] liked white." I often wonder, too, if there's a magical moment when you'll suddenly stop referring to your ex, a time when her name will no longer roll off your tongue so easily. Maybe it's sort of like food. There's an expiration date, and once that date has passed, you just have to throw it out and move on.
And I'm sure it works the same way for you. You probably get really tired of hearing about your girlfriend's ex-boyfriend really fast. Maybe she even compares you to him without even realizing it. How smart he was. How considerate he was. How he always knew just what to say to make you smile. But when you think about it, chances are that you're probably someone's ex too, so somewhere, someone is probably talking about you and comparing all your good qualities to someone else. Maybe that's just the cyclical Karmic nature of relationships.
So, the bottom line, boys: I'm not your ex. I'm never going to be your ex. So how about we turn over a new leaf and build some memories of our own? Memories that you can take with you and share with a future girlfriend later. Because I'm going to look spectacular... :)

[Photos via Le Love]


  1. my boyfriend has had several serious relationships before me, and we've barely talked about them. their names never causally roll off this tongue and they never come up in conversation, because they aren't a part of our lives whatsoever. if a guy is referring to his ex as much as you write about, then he's not over her. i would never even think of comparing my boyfriend and exes, let alone vocalizing those thoughts to him.
    as for your last line, men (and women, as far as i'm concerned) don't "take memories to share with a future girlfriend". just something to think about...

  2. There are times when I and my husband talk about our exes, the stories, the characters, even the sex life, and the pain of break up. But we discuss them the mature way. We talk about what we learnt from those experiences and at the end of each conversation, we realize how thankful we are that none of those relationships ended up in marriage, or we´ll never be together.

    I think that talking about your ex can be done if both parties are into it. And of course, it doesn´t have to be your daily conversation.

    However, like the first commenter has mentioned, he´s talking about the ex all the same and he clearly has a lot of good things to say about heer, then he´s over her yet.

  3. ...and he clearly has a lot of good things to say about her, then he´s NOT over her yet.

  4. A-MEN! I went through this with my last boyfriend... Listening to him talk about "Lena" all of the time (literally) ruined any chance we had for a decent relationship. I've been with my boyfrusband (we may as well be married) for 3.5 years - neither of us feels the need to discuss past relationships (unless I bring them up when I'm being nosey). Great entry, Melissa!

  5. It's just rude for a man (or woman) to talk about their ex in front of their present partner.

  6. I think it is also important to add that we don't want to hear our current bf/gf's dis their ex either. You don't need to insult them or put them down to convince us you are over them. It just makes you look like a jerk.

  7. I kind of use my ex as an excuse not to do something, or watch a movie or tv show...oh, I really don't want to watch Star Wars as the ex was a huge fan. It usually works.

  8. good point, anon, about not dissing your ex! :)

  9. isn't it ridiculous how everyone, at one point, really does want to talk about their ex though?
    and on a side note - i adore this blog! i've been browsing for longer than I should...i can't help it :)

  10. My husband was married once before, and he does not talk about his ex. I never feel like he compares the two of us, and even if he did, I'm confident I'd win. She's kind of a loser, and I think she makes me look quite good! ;-) But yeah, when peeps talk too much about their exes...it's lame. And insulting.

  11. it's common sense anyway not to talk about your exes especially in a postive light with your new bf/gf so it usually doesn't happen. besides once the relationship ends neither one has many nice things to say about the other person anyway.
    i had one date who told me all about his ex's drug history and what a mess she was. never went out with him again!

  12. While it's probably not a good sign if a guy is obsessively talking about his ex (whether he's being complementary or not), I don't think it's exactly healthy if she suddenly becomes 'she-who-must-not-be-named-or-mentioned' the moment things end. Presumably she was an important person in his life; I see no reason why two people who are secure in their relationship with each other stand to be hurt by mentioning or discussing the past, provided that it really has passed. Seems like I'm the odd one out on this, but I actually prefer it if a guy has some fondness left for the people he used to be closer with, whether they're old friends or old girlfriends. It's another thing if his ex was an awful person, but if he has a string of exes who were awful enough that he has to try to erase any reminder of the time spent with them, it calls his judgment of character into question for consistently choosing these women.

  13. When my boyfriend is talking about his ex girlfriends I don't get jealous, all that I'm doing is to listen and learn from their past.

    Grace | men tuxedos

  14. Hej Melissa,

    Interesting feature this with boy/girlfriend history/past.

    In a beginning of a relationship this could be a bit sensitive. But speaking for my self I'm or was very curious. Now I'm been married for sooo long it doesn't matter if we talk about before us. Or if we run in to some ex. The exes have become really, i mean really old ;) what happened with them. I'm still young, restless and lovely. Loveable anyways ;)

    I still haven't seen Spurlocks latest. It just came up here in Stockholm. Seen" supersize me" I kind of branding movie too. Though with the opposite effect for me that is.

    I'm impressed that your Swedish is so good ;) and that you took the time to drop by me. Thank you.

    I will defently pop in here. Very inspiring and very good for my English.

    Be safe and have I nice day.


  15. The opposite of love is indifference. If a guy (or girl) can't stop talking about his exes be it good things or bad things odds are he's not ready to make you his main focus, or needs time to move slowly and let the importance of the past relationship fade a little. I agree with one of the anons above that as we get comfortable with someone part of sharing who we are will involve talking about people and experiences from our past and that's healthy. But constantly comparing someone to your ex in any way is unhealthy. I don't talk a lot about my exes with my boyfriend cause to be honest they just weren't that significant, and for a lot of the really important moments in my life that made me who I am I was single. Some of his exes he'll talk about cause they make for funny stories or cause they were around for an important time in his life. One I know nothing about other than that she was very self-destructive and had a big effect on how he's viewed relationships in the past. I don't know her name and I don't know what she looks like or even why their relationship was so messed up and I respect that. When people decide to move past something, it's usually best to let them.

  16. hi, jen, it's SO nice to meet you!!!

  17. Second-to-last-Anon -- I totally agree with you. Talking about you ex, not ad-nauseum, though, shows that you had a great relationship...would make me feel pretty good.

  18. I don't think a guy would bother mentioning you to a new gf b/c it would be kind of embarrassing if he admitted he dated a chick in a wheelchair. I bet she would say the same thing I overheard a guy say to this chick on their first date and I quote "I heard you used to date a cripple. What's up with that?"

  19. If my boyfriend told me he had dated someone in the past who had been in a wheelchair it would tell me he was a mature person who didn't make decisions based on superficial factors, and that he was probably the kind of person who would stick by you through thick and thin. I believe they call those guys "the marrying type."

  20. "Yes!" to the last ANON! BOO to the one before that.

  21. Holy crap to the anonymous person 3 people up from me. Why be a troll, especially just to say something mean? Karma will get you, my friend. If you don't like her blog and can't either say something nice, shut up, or give constructive feedback, don't waste your time reading it.

  22. Ohh! you've hit the right one, Melissa. I'm starting to get really bored whenever I hear him talking about his ex(s). It's like he can even start a group with all of them. "I dated a girl that . . . " "There's this girl I like before, that . . ." "X loves to do this"

    He can stop already. Yeah I know that he mentioned them to say that I'm better in some ways..but enough talk about them already. It's making me wonder if I'm even on his mind.

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