Stay Single, Stay Happy: Why Your Ex Doesn't Deserve A Second Chance

by Sydni Lewin-Epstein

There comes a point in everyone’s life when their exes show up out of the blue, uninvited.

They beg you to take them back and claim -- in the hopeless words of Adele -- that they couldn’t stay away; they couldn’t fight it. Your ex knows just the right words to pique your curiosity.

They persuade you that having just a “causal” dinner to talk about things, which probably don't matter anymore, seems appropriate. Deep down, this seems unsettling.

Yet, there you are, checking your schedule and fitting them in. The nostalgia is kicking in at this point, and somehow you have forgotten all of the sh*tty things this person has done to you in the past.

Instead, you’re feeling sorry for yourself. The thought of being single for the rest of your life gives you an overwhelming sense of anxiety.

Your ex is like that pair of jeans you wore every day for a good two years because they were slimming, but now they don’t fit anymore and are sitting in a pile of old clothes you plan on selling at Buffalo Exchange.

At times, you want to go back and try them on; after all, they were your favorite. Yet, you quickly realize there is no use squeezing your way back into a size two. They don’t fit and you're wasting your time trying.

When an ex first reappears, proclaiming his or her undying love for you, it seems like your lonely life is taking a turn for the better. Love is in the air, and you find yourself smiling more than usual.

Oh, how foolish we are when it comes to love, or -- what I should really call it -- lust. Lust is a dangerous feeling; it’s the fool's gold of love. It looks like love, it feels like love and it sounds like love, but in actuality, it is just that feeling we're looking for to fill that empty, lonely void we have in our hearts.

We start believing that the reason it didn’t work out with this person was simply because it was poor timing. However, the chemistry -- oh, the chemistry -- was undeniable! We start convincing ourselves that our ex is clearly our soul mate and has been all of this time; we just didn’t know it yet.

It is funny how an ex shows up the moment you are finally accepting that being single is not so bad, but are still secretly feeling vulnerable deep down. It is almost as if our exes want to screw us over one last time.

Unfortunately, our brains have already decided for us that it is easier to try again than to go through the hassle of getting to know someone new. So, we give our ex that second chance and waste our precious time in the process.

Your ex is an ex for a reason. The further you go down the road to rekindling your long lost love, you begin to realize this. It starts off small, like recognizing that the little things he or she did that bothered you in the past haven’t disappeared. And yes, your ex is still just as annoying as he or she used to be.

Yet, we ignore these subtle red flags and tell ourselves that this person must have matured in the time he or she was absent from our lives. We may know full well he or she hasn't, but we use it as an excuse in order to keep the fire burning, anyway.

We keep on trekking, patiently waiting for some sort of sign that this person has changed into the boyfriend or girlfriend of our dreams. Unfortunately, as time passes, these unrealistic hopes wither away, and we begin to see the depressing light at the end of the tunnel.

Those slight annoyances turn into huge problems, and next thing you know, you and your alleged soul mate are fighting about things that happened seven years ago. The realization that time does not heal all wounds starts to fill your brain with unpleasant memories of the past.

Problems that broke up the relationship in the first place remain stagnant and are, yet again, too difficult to resolve. To top it off, this time around brings about new, fresh issues -- issues you didn’t even think you were capable of having.

Nevertheless, as you begin to recognize the stupidity behind taking your ex back, it is as if he or she feels more connected to you than ever before. To this person, all of the fighting you’ve been doing is apparently good for the soul, creating a deeper level of closeness between the two of you.

However, the ability to see this person through rose-colored glasses has sufficiently faded away. Now, all you can think about is resisting the urge to choke him or her into unconsciousness. The sound of your ex's voice makes your ears bleed, and the thought of this person actually touching you literally creeps you out.

You now find yourself zoning out every time he or she tries to start a conversation with you, daydreaming of a life spent happily alone. Yet, despite all of the fighting and uneasy feelings you have been experiencing, your ex continues to fight to make the already dead relationship work.

For some reason, the more you pull away, the more your ex wants to be around you, making you loathe him or her on so many other levels you weren’t even aware existed.

Thoughts of regret consume you and irrational excuses to terminate the unwanted relationship play over and over in your mind. Until, finally, the relationship ends once again, and you are both left with a sour taste in your mouths for the second time.

Taking an ex back never leads to the fairytale ending we all wish would happen in our lives. In reality, this person is still the same lover, with the same baggage from the first time around. Only now, new issues pile up with the old ones.

An ex only comes crawling back when he or she fully realizes that no one else is going to put up with his or her bullsh*t, either. An ex comes back to you in hopes that you will believe he or she has changed, and that “this time will be different.”

It won’t be different, and we have to come to terms with this.

The truth is, your relationship didn’t work out for a reason. At one point, you both did not see eye-to-eye and decided that it was best to move forward in your lives without one another.

So, what makes you think getting back with your ex isn’t like taking a step backward? If it didn’t last then, it sure as hell won’t last for the long haul. When you are truly ready to find love, that person will come into your life and never leave.

For now, we must accept that being single is not a death sentence. You will not be alone for the rest of eternity. Honestly, it is a breath of fresh air. It gives us the freedom to learn to love ourselves first.

Once we are able to see how incredible we are as independent human beings, we can accept the love that we know we deserve.

Photo via We Heart It