In my junior year of college, I was hooking up with someone who had the same name as my ex. I lost a lot of sleep thinking about what to call them and how to save their number in my phone (#millennials). When you start to associate a name with a person — especially a person that isn't your person anymore — readjusting your mindset can be difficult. I'll be the first to tell you that if your new partner has the same name as your ex, it's natural to feel a little uneasy about it. Heck, according to experts, it's natural to feel full-on #shook.
"I think it's common to think of an ex, or any person, if your new partner has the same name as them," Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching, tells Elite Daily. "Honestly, I know plenty of people who would swipe left on someone who has the same name as their ex."
According to Martinez, a new boo having the same name as an old boo can be uncomfortable for a lot of reasons. "The level of discomfort with them sharing a name directly correlates to how your ex made you feel," Martinez says. "It's especially triggering if things ended badly. It's also possible to be uncomfortable if you had a great relationship with your ex and your new partner doesn't quite measure up. Regardless of whether it was a negative or positive experience, there would be things that you associate with that person."
If your last relationship ended with you crying in the shower and wearing sweatpants for three months (me), hearing your ex's name may be a little too close for comfort. Moreover, if your ex was the best partner ever and it was super hard to let them go, their name may make you think of all the good times you shared. While all of these emotions are natural, Martinez says that when you start to date someone new with the same name, it's important to adjust what the name means to you when you hear it.
Of course, moving on from a breakup looks different for everyone. Maybe you take the long way home from work for a while so you never have to walk by the park where you and your ex first kissed. Or perhaps you start doing your laundry at your cousin's apartment because you and your ex first said "I love you" at that laundromat under the Thai place. Healing can mean literally separating yourself from the things that remind you of your past. Yet, if you're really starting to fall for someone that happens to have the same name as your ex, rather than trying to never say or hear the name again, it's important to attempt to change your thinking.
"To begin disassociating your ex from their name or anything else, you have to make new memories with those things," Martinez says. "That bar you always liked going to with them is now your Thursday night spot with your bestie. That song you both use to jam to is now the song that was playing when your dad danced at your cousin's wedding. You have to create new memories."
Do you wear the silver ring that your ex got you six years ago just because it's cute and you like it (@ me)? Do you take your sister to the ice cream place you and your boo used to go to every summer? Moving forward means making new memories and new associations with things from the past. Though holding space for nostalgia can be important, Martinez shares that as you make new memories with your new boo, eventually their name won't make you think about your history. It will just make you feel about your current partner and how amazing they are.
In the meantime, if you have no idea how to address your boo, Martinez suggests using pet names or nicknames specific to both of you. "I think the best pet names come from shared experiences, which make them unique to that particular relationship," Martinez says. "If your partner already has a nickname that is used by their family or friends that they're comfortable with, I suggest getting your family and friends to call them that as well. It may even help them feel more welcomed."
It's important to address people how they like to be addressed. However, if saying your partner's name makes your super uncomfortable, try talking to them about how you're feeling. Then, discuss a potential nickname that you can both feel good about. Whether you go for a classic like "Babe" or something totally sappy, like Ashley Benson calling Cara Delevingne "Sprinkles," you and your boo get to decide what name feels right for you. Additionally, using a sentimental nickname for your partner, or calling them what their childhood friends used to call them may make them feel really cared for.
If your current partner has the same name as your ex and it's unsettling, fear not. With enough time and space, you may start to let go of everyone you dated before your current boo, let alone anyone with the same name. Of course, if you're feeling super uneasy about it, try finding a sweet name that feels good for both of you. Whether they're your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, love bug, snookums, or a novelty ice cream topping, you and your boo make the call on what to call each other.