It's inevitable that as humans, we grow and evolve over time.
When it comes to relationships, sometimes people change for the other person, or perhaps the other person changes for him or her.
Maybe it's eating more healthily, dressing better or a starting a new gym routine, but whatever it is, that change sticks, even post-breakup.
I feel like people seldom talk about the changes that happen when a relationship ends, beyond the whole initial “post-breakup” sequence.
For girls, we are associated with eating ice cream or drowning ourselves in wine for weeks on end. For guys, a routine of hitting the gym, going to bars and trolling for women is a standard routine.
It's rinse and repeat daily for both.
But what about the bigger picture here? What about changes we make that have nothing to do with our significant exes?
After a certain amount of time and space, have you ever looked at exes' posts, photos and hell, maybe even read their blogs, and thought, “Wow, they have really changed”?
Somehow, this person you once knew intimately seems completely changed.
While we might gloss over the “evidence” of these changes with our girlfriends and our favorite bottle of pinot noir, do we ever sit back and think how we have changed?
This earth-shattering realization came to me while discussing an ex of mine with my sister. For whatever reason, we were discussing our favorite dates with exes, and when I stumbled across my favorite memory, I didn't recognize myself.
I didn't see “me” in my outfit, shoes and all the way down to my food order. And all of those things were “typical” of me at the time.
I then realized if I went to dinner with him right now, he might not even recognize me. He wouldn't recognize my palate or anything else.
When we were dating, and even for a long while after broke up, I ate meat, hated red wine, never worked out, didn't like sweets or chocolate and lived in a different state.
Now I am a pescetarian, I love red wine and chocolate and I work out six or more times per week. Basically, the only thing that has stayed the same about me is my affinity for Starbucks.
Although the ex in question on this particular day is one I still think of and have written several articles about, I can't help but wonder if we did rekindle our relationship, would he even know me anymore?
Although most of the changes I've made are somewhat superficial, I'm sure they'd change the way he views me.
Further, if I have changed so much over the past few years, how much has he changed?
Does he still love "Call Of Duty," chocolate ice cream and skinny ties? Does he still snore and talk in his sleep? If I were to spend an extended period of time with him, would I even know him anymore?
Although food and drink preferences, extracurricular activities and sleeping nuances do not necessarily make or break a relationship, or make us fall in love with someone, they do form your perception of whom you are dating.
There is so much more to people beyond their day jobs, where they live and what they do in their spare time.
It's these little tendencies and habits that make us who we are beyond the high level areas of our personalities. These little things are the bits and pieces of another person that you get to know and adore over time.
The culmination of knowing these little things comprise one of the best parts of a healthy relationship, and that is truly knowing the person in and out.
What I mean is, you don't just know what they will likely order at a restaurant. It's deeper.
It's knowing how to recognize sadness buried below their eyes, even though they “seem” fine. It's how you know which arguments to pick, and it's knowing how to stop them from snoring without waking them.
It's accepting the little things and using that information to love them how they want to be loved.
So, I can't help but ask myself, if my ex and I were to rekindle, how many of those little things would be different? Would I like who he has become? And the question we never think to ask is, would he like who I have become?
As I said, these things do not make or break a relationship. However, they do all add up together to make up the man I loved.
If he has changed, or if we would like who we have become, are questions I will never know the answers to.
Perhaps it is better to think of who we were and what made us “us,” and then leave that to be the beautiful thing it was in the past.