An article recently published in New York Magazine boldly implies that we will never be able to truly break up with our exes. Due to the fact that they have left ornery traces in our phones and social media accounts, no longer are we able to say we can “leave our exes in Texas,” when they’re available to us at the touch of a button. Or keyboard. It’s just too easy to look up an ex online and see who they’re dating or if they’ve gained weight since you broke up with them. Have they gotten more attractive? And if so, should you re-friend them? Re-kiss them? Reconsider?
It’s hard to banish an ex forever. I’ve had friends and acquaintances who have bounced between ex-boyfriends for years before they found someone new. There’s something excruciatingly wonderful and comfortable about getting with someone you used to date, especially if it’s temporary. They know how you “work”. They know you solely chew Orbit’s sweet mint gum. They’ve seen your pre-beach bod and don’t care. You fully understand that you shouldn’t do it; your friends, family and pile of women’s magazines tell you so. So why do it? You know your ex hasn’t changed.
Because the ingenuity of technology allows you to with little to no consequences. Before the internet existed, did we just write our old flames letters? Look them up in the Yellow Pages and give them a call? Throw lavish parties and pray they’ll show up and be so impressed by our newly acquired wealth and success they’ll fall back in love with you? Okay, that last one didn’t work, as we all know.
That’s all so personal. The beauty of Facebook messaging or texting an ex requires almost no effort. Behind a screen, they can’t see our panicked faces; we’re able to put up a tough front. If they don’t respond, we don’t care. They can’t see us scowling and digging a spoon into a pint of Phish Food. They will never know you turned your phone’s volume all the way up and even carried it with you to the bathroom just in case. But the thing is, we do care. And these are the messages we definitely shouldn’t be sending in these times of easy accessibility.
1. “I miss you.”
“I miss you” is bad things waiting to happen. By admitting this, you are emotionally putting yourself out there. And it’s usually a lie anyway, you don’t miss him, you miss the way he made you feel on good days.
2. “Remember when we went to that art museum but ended up making out instead of appreciating art?”
Throwing an old memory out there is the perfect bait. You expect warm, vivid images to come flooding back into his brain: you, in that skirt, that really good coffee you made that morning, making people uncomfortable with your PDA and laughing about it. It might work, but it might not. Either way, you can’t repeat the past. This is seriously my second Gatsby reference, what is wrong with me?
3. “I’m really sorry.”
Apologizing is okay when you mean it. Apologizing is also okay when you do it in person with the intentions of mending something. But apologizing for the sake of contact is kind of desperate. Are you really sorry? In fact, should you even be sorry? Saying sorry when you really mean, “let’s forget about the horrible things we did to each other and go make out on my couch because my room-mate’s not home” is a horrible plan. Things went wrong for a reason. Remember that.
4. “Let’s get drunk, because that’s a good plan!”
Lowering your inhibitions and allowing alcohol to skew your logic and cause bad decisions is the worst thing you can do with an ex. Also, they will also be drinking and probably make decisions they didn’t mean to make as well. Don’t do something that you or your ex-beau will regret later. Plus, a hangover in the mix is seriously not cool.
5. Song lyrics.
Don’t text them “your song” even if it was just on the radio on like, three different stations AT THE SAME TIME and you are convinced it’s a sign. It’s not. It’s just a coincidence. Keep calm. Carry on.
6. “I’m at a concert in your neighborhood!”
Informing your ex that you’re nearby might prompt them to invite you over to their apartment, but don’t do it. Don’t even tell them that you’re nearby. Because you’ll end up walking five blocks to their place, getting drinks like I warned you not to (see: #4) and then realizing your car and emotions got towed when you wake up with a bad hangover.
7. “Are you engaged?”
Have you been browsing through their pictures lately? Did you spot those glossy, professional photos taken by the meadow that definitely scream “MARRIAGE! INCOMING!” If so, leave them alone. Move on. Don’t hope you’re invited to their wedding so you can drunkenly make a toast like Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project because that stuff is only funny on television.
8. “How are you doing?”
You expect them to say, “Oh you know, good, just missin’ you…,” but this probably won’t happen. In reality, they’ll respond with: “Good. You?” or nothing at all. Because your ex knows you most likely don’t care about their well being, and is a conversation about their life without you something you really want? You shouldn’t care at this point. Move forward.
9. “I’m moving and want to say good-bye.”
Sometimes it really is natural to seek closure, especially when you’re leaving for good. But trust me, part(y)ing with your ex one last time before you start a new life just means you’ve already allowed them into that new life. Once you leave, you’ll be thinking about them constantly. Maybe they’ll be game to start a long-distance thing. Maybe you should text them right now and let them know your plane landed safely. No. No. STOP IT.
10. “Your kids are so cute.”
If your ex has kids, that probably means he has a wife. Or a girlfriend. Or even an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend that he’s pro-created with. Don’t even start. Because if you succeed, it will be evil, and if you don’t succeed, it will be embarrassing. Don’t be the overly-cocky ex-girlfriend who thinks they can win back a married man like in Young Adult, which was super painful to watch, by the way. I love you, Charlize Theron.
Be Strong. Don’t let your phone or laptop suck you into thinking you need the past to make you feel something. Guard your feelings, and don’t let anyone take them for granted. Even though the internet is full of them, your exes should still stay in Texas.