Familiar Pain: 11 Things That Happen When You Sleep With Your Ex

by Sonya Matejko

You swore to yourself that you’d never give in. You convinced yourself you were strong enough to resist temptation, yet sometimes, the love you have for someone is just too resilient.

That love still courses through your veins and you still breathe in the heartbreak, whether the smile you wear hides it or not.

Sometimes, all it takes is the text you said you’d never answer. Sometimes, it takes seeing his face in a crowded room. Sometimes, it takes nothing at all because that force that guided you to him in the first place takes you to him again.

So, you give in.

You walk into a familiar place — except it’s not familiar at all. For anyone else, it may seem like the furniture is the same, the pillows are just as they should be and the walls are silent to their ears, but not for you.

You notice the dirty dishes and wonder who's cooking for him if not you. You notice the towels you bought him because he was too lazy, and you wonder who has used.

You look at the TV and question whether he still has the same shows on DVR. You take in a completely different world in a couple footsteps.

But, it’s the bedroom that kills you. It kills you because you know there were others who have walked out of it since you did. It kills you because it’s exactly the same, but it doesn’t feel like home. It kills you because the sheets smell like the t-shirt you finally had the courage to throw away.

It kills you, but you keep walking in.

Sleeping with your ex is one of those things everyone warns you about. They warn you for good reason, but sometimes, love doesn’t listen.

So, we let down our walls of disappointment and we smile into the eyes of the ones who disappointed us. We smile, looking for something we used to see and then we let them fall into us as if nothing ever happened.

Here's what happens when you sleep with your ex:

1. The kiss is your favorite flavor, but something is missing. You kiss harder, like you’re trying to pour the memories of your lives into his heart.

2. You forget about your brokenness. All you can think about is the way his hands feel against your body.

3. Suddenly, it feels like you’ve gone back in time and everything is exactly as it should be. There are the same instincts to which you've grown accustomed and the same part of the bed frame for which you grab. You get lost in the sameness.

4. Memories filter through your heart and play behind your eyes. It feels right to hold onto him because in the past, you never thought you’d have to let go.

5. And then, it’s over.

6. Then, the silence begins. Of course, words can fill it, but you’ll never hear the words you want to hear. You're deaf to the small talk.

7. Things come to an end. You’ll do anything to stay; he’ll do anything to leave.

8. You convince yourself you saw a flicker in his eye, that this was more than winding sheets and long met needs.

9. Slowly, you start to put the wall back up as you notice the stranger before you. There's the recognizable body with the freckles on his shoulder, but a soul you can’t reach.

10. So, you get dressed. You put on clean clothes but feel the dirt of regret already sinking in. You try to act cool when all you want to do is have your picture back on the nightstand, where it belongs.

11. Then, you leave.

And so it goes. You replay each moment in your mind; you know it better than the lyrics of your favorite song. You look for a sign — any sign — that it meant something more. You think about it until you go crazy, but you replay it until you finally find the sign for which you were looking.

You find it when you go to sleep and there’s no need to share the covers. You find it when you wake and there’s no second cup of coffee to pour.

You find it when you laugh at work and he’s not there to text the joke to. You find it when you drive and don’t turn down his street. You find it in your own company.

The answer, to be blunt, is that he doesn't truly love you. It may hurt when you let it sink in, but oh, how lucky you are.

You’re lucky because you’re not stuck giving your heart to someone who didn’t deserve you, and if someone is ever willing to leave you, he most certainly does not deserve you.

There will be someone who will stay with you until the end of your days, fighting every day to keep a smile on your face. This person would never let you go. Instead, this person will spend every day giving you more reasons to love him more.

You can leave your heart on the mattress, but in the end, you have to see the truth. Those who can break you will never heal you. The ones who love you the most are the ones you find after you heal yourself.

Don’t mourn the act and don’t wallow in your shame, just give in. Feel it. Let it out. Move on. Love yourself as much as you loved him and eventually, you'll see everything in a different light.

And you won’t need him anymore.