A note to my readers: Please know none of the events relayed in this post (or any other) are ever invented or distorted for the sake of literary license. Any issues you might have with plausibility and/or believability, please direct to The Universe and its Complaint Department. The window you need is FACT IS STRANGER THAN FICTION. Take a number. (And a lunch.) BTW, I’ll be the short, older brunette waaay ahead of you in line. The one in dark lipstick and high heels—with a long list of grievances. Now on to today’s post . . .
You are an idiot.
No, not the techno-idiot you freely admit to being (but yes, you are that, too.) No. You are something far worse. Unfamiliar with the unknown is one thing. Unintended mistakes are understandable—and certainly forgivable. But first-hand (and lots of other body parts’) familiarity, aka prior knowledge and past experience—and still you err on the side of NO caution? Girlfriend! Just where in Hades’ closet were you standing when they handed out brains??
Well, ladies, here’s a newsflash! As it turns out, my brain may just be the reason . . . (Yes, I know. That wasn’t the body part I was blaming either . . .) If you are not a regular reader, you might be a mite confused right about now. So here’s a quick get-you-up-to-speed synopsis . . .
Seven months ago, a FWB (who had become more) pretty much Caspered out of my life. Insert: six months, next to no contact & zero sex. Upon my flippantly telling a girlfriend I needed to get laid (given my lengthy bout of unwanted celibacy), The Universe saw fit to recycle a former FB. Insert: one (ok, two) “Wam-bam, thank you ma’am” sessions & one resultant and illuminating realization that inspired a 2-part post (with an accompanying—and very much experimental!—video.) Entitled “Sex vs Intimacy,” its moral is ironically simple . . . sex is not intimacy. And alas! Intimacy is what I realized I want. Naturally, this revelation occurred nearly simultaneously with The Universe deciding it was time to screw with me again. (Pun intended) Insert: laugh track. Because one month (to the freaking day!!) after aforementioned ex-FB reappeared for his one-time (ok, 2-time) purpose, aforementioned former FWB unCaspered himself with a phone call:
“Say, listen, I was driving through the neighborhood, hadn’t seen you in a while, had some free time, I miss talking to you . . .”
(Oh, is talking what we’re calling it now?)
”I didn’t want to just show up.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m home. Did you want to come over?”
“I’m out front.”
And you know what happened. Here’s what you don’t . . . . Five days later, another phone call:
“Hello, Judith. I was around the corner . . .”
And you know what happened. I just wish I did. More specifically, I wish I knew WHY? Which inspired me to find out. And write this . . . Why do women reconnect with an ex?
So-called relationship experts have come up with a baker’s dozen reasons. Feel free to check off any boxes that might apply. (I did.)
- Time invested – there’s a history and maybe the relationship does deserve a 2nd chance?
- Better the Devil you know—especially considering the decidedly lousy dating options out there
- Rose-colored glasses—time and distance have caused you to remember better than it was
- Comfort—it’s what you know (always easier than the unknown) and it wasn’t all bad (or so you convince yourself . . . see above)
- Fear—yeah, that unknown thing again, PLUS the fear there’s nothing better out there
- Hope—you think it will be better or you can change him this time. Or you want to believe one or both of you have grown and learned how to better deal with the issues that broke you apart (see circumstances below)
- Validation—he wants you back
- Unfinished business—it didn’t run its course and it needs to. Or the break-up was his idea. (Note: when men leave, they VERY OFTEN don’t truly leave. They come back. When a woman leaves, on the other hand, she’s usually DONE. And FYI, if a couple reunites after he broke it off, chances are quite good the next time they break up, it will be she making the decision.)
- Loneliness—aka horniness
- Lack of self-confidence and/or self-love—you don’t have enough of both or either to move on (see fear, validation and loneliness)
- Circumstances which caused the break-up have changed. Or improved.
- Belief, realization or acceptance you are better/happier with than without (see hope above)
- You still care for/about him—BTW, the more you profess to HATE an ex? The better are the chances that you LOVED him. And probably STILL do. (Been there.) FYI, the emotion that signifies truly O.V.E.R. is apathy. (Just saying . . . ‘cause I’ve been there, too.)
Now let’s talk actual science with a trio of actual experts. According to Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, the brain develops pathways based on learned patterns. Ergo, if you have laid (no pun intended) down “a powerful pattern that this person was your life partner,” Helen says your brain “can retain traces of that circuity, even if you’ve bonded with someone new.” (F**k) Now to stir the old relationship pot further . . .
As previously discussed in prior posts, sexual connection unleashes the hormones vasopressin and oxytocin, both of which create a sense of closeness—which in turn creates neurological attachment. In other words, the psyche is marked. BTW, if that person was the first, best or most intimate you’ve had BINGO! The mark is more indelible. (Double f**k) Larry Young, a psychiatry professor at Emory University, gets more scientific specific: “Oxytocin unleashes a network of brain activity that amplifies visual clues, odors and sounds—hence they become soft-wired into your reward system and pleasure sensors.” The way Larry puts it, because seeing an ex “reignites prior encoding,” your brain will “light up the same way a cocaine addict’s does before a hit. [Therefore] it is psychologically intoxicating to reunite with an ex love/former flame.” However, there is hope . . .
According to Justin Garcia, associate director of research and education at Kinsey, all this neither means you still want to be with your ex, nor that there’s something wrong with you. (Whew!) “It means,” Justin says, “there’s a complex physiology associated with romantic attachments that probably stays with us for most of our lives.” (Triple f**k) BTW, here’s a couple not so fun facts:
- Research has shown that an unrewarding rebound relationship can actually cause a person to feel more attached to their ex. (Ragu, anyone?)
- A rebound lasts only if it is better than the relationship it replaced. (Yep. Definitely. Ragu.)
So here’s my take-away from all of this . . . If you have taken up again with an ex . . . oh, well. And so what? No judgment here. (I can hardly recommend “do as I say—not as I did!”) But here is a recommendation: (Lists . . . it’s what I do.)
- Take a look again at that list of 13 reasons.
- Be as honest as you can with yourself.
- Then take what is to be taken.
- Learn what is to be learned. Both positive and negative!
Now here’s the part no one usually tells you. UNTIL you are ready, NOTHING is going to change your behavior, how you feel or enable you to move on. Not telling yourself how stupid you are. Not logic, not guilt. Not friends’ admonitions and concerns. Not all the cutesy, clever memes on Facebook that tell you Be a priority—not an option, an after-thought or a backup plan. The simple, ugly truth is, UNTIL YOU ARE READY, moving on is not going to happen.
But when that time does come . . .
- Want what he showed you you do.
- Avoid what he showed you you must.
- Then, eventually, you will love as he showed you you could. The Universe willing.*
*Or at least too busy with some expletive-spouting broad with a laundry list of complaints who’s demanding to see the Being in charge . . .