For the most part, I am still friends with most of the women I’ve dated. I say, for the most part, because I have one notable exception, with the woman who busted out the toxic Facebook sharing amongst friends tact, until I threatened her. She didn’t want anyone to see her arrest mugshot for “assault” of a previous partner. Blackmail? Or just practical social media defense. Yes, we can both post whatever we like on Facebook.
Heart Connections Remain Warm
Unless you cut off all interactions with a former lover, there will always be some warmth when associating with them. Even on social media, browsing a former partner’s pages is not stalking, it’s part connection, part misguided idea of “closure,” and mostly just curiosity. Many of us want to see who our formers ended up with. Voyeurism is addictive. That’s why people-watching in the real world is so popular.
In some way, I’m still fascinated by several of my former partners. The sex-positive partner who transformed herself into married small-town school teacher goodness. The first girlfriend post-divorce, who is “engaged” for the last six years. When I asked her about it, “We just don’t want to fk it up by getting married.”
And then there are the lovers who touched some deep emotion that remains somewhat uninspired since their departure. Deep love brings deep attachment. I find myself wondering about former “friends” and partners. I’m usually the one who reaches out for “lunch.” No agenda. Both men and women. I’m the connector. I suppose most people don’t care, or they’re just too busy.
Snapping Out of It
I have a memory of a sex position we invented called “the position without a name.” Years later, I still think of her and that inspiration. I don’t want to say “hello” to try and reenact or reignite our romance. I do think of her from time to time. No real agenda, no objectives, just “hey.”
And there’s another partner who traveled so deep into my dark recesses with me, that I still appreciate her care and support. Again, my desire to know a tidbit about their current lives is not about wanting to reconnect with them, it’s more about curiosity.
For me, breaking all contact is the only way to retract my emotional connections with a former lover. There’s always the chance (my dumb brain thinks) that we would be unable to control ourselves and find a hotel room and a quickie. But that’s not my path. Still, there’s a flirty dirtiness about getting together, in any form, with one of my former lovers. I’m not looking. I’m browsing. But I’m also staying connected. So, for me, I need to delete our FB connection, I need to block your phone number, and stop offering lunch, coffee, or a walk. Nope. Don’t do it.
How You Know
Here’s a short fable.
I had a woman with a kid who entered my life with a tornado of love. There was also an underpinning of an unhealthy toxic relationship that infected our partnership. As deep as we got, there was always an insecure attachment vibe going both ways between us. There was a toxic quality that I allowed. I fought against it. I broke up TWICE to try and adjust our love connection. It didn’t work.
I always assumed that I would stay close to this woman and her kid. She was also of that mindset, as far as I could tell. But most outreach looks a lot like this.
I was confused for a while. Was she interested in continuing a friendship? It appears not. The more appropriate response would be “I already have plans, sorry, what about tomorrow or next Tuesday afternoon?”
But the is no rejoinder. No matter my offer the response is “I am busy.”
I’m ready to let this one go, today. No more, reach outs for this former partner. She’s moving to a new state this summer, so maybe it’s for the best. Or maybe, she feels the same slippery slope… Maybe we would feel something. Perhaps we would experience regret, joy, sadness, and other deep feelings. It’s okay not to want to dip back into it.
As a gift to both of us, I’m giving up on her for the long term. She can depart unmolested by my requests and vanish into the ether of my past deep loves. Traveling mercies for you and your kid, forever.
Update 5/13/23: She’s always too busy. Maybe that’s been the answer all along. Even when we were in a relationship it was always about scheduling and more likely *not* scheduling time for us. The same toxic thing is going on now. She doesn’t care. Perhaps she’s hurting. Angry. Sad. Today, I unhook and delete our text connection. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Update 5/25/23: She texted me out of the blue. Complained about being so busy. Then invited me to a garage sale this weekend. I responded with a grey heart.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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More articles from The Whole Parent:
- Sexual Fulfillment: I Don’t Know The Answer, Let’s Find Out Together
- 5 Aspects of a Woman’s Desire for Sex: What Men Don’t Understand
- Becoming the Beloved
- How Are You Showing Up In *Your* Love Life?
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