Here’s something I’m unafraid to admit. Every once in a while, I miss some of my ex-girlfriends. Sometimes I miss the person, sometimes I miss how they made me feel, and sometimes I miss little things like the way their hair smelled, or their obsession with making the bed a certain way. Whether it’s the totality of them as a person, or their little quirks I found endearing, I miss my exes from time to time. I miss my high-school girlfriend’s smile, I miss the creativity and vibrancy of my college girlfriend, I miss the joy and humor with which the only girlfriend I ever lived with approaches life, and I miss all the little things my last ex did to make me feel special, of which there were many.
But yeah, we’re not together today for a reason. This isn’t me looking back fondly without acknowledging the fact that they were all complex people with wants and needs, or me blaming them for relationships that didn’t last, it’s me being honest and saying hey, sometimes I miss some of my exes, but we’re not together for a reason. There’s a few more former partners I could list, people I wouldn’t really call an ex-girlfriend per se, who I also miss. Still, there’s a reason that I’m not with any of them. Those reasons are different for each person, whether it’s growing apart, different life goals, or just plain incompatibility. Whatever the reason, a reason is there.
I think that culturally, we look at our former partners either in a mostly negative light, or nostalgia-hued positive light. You either hate your ex, or long for them, and nothing in-between. That probably says more about the human nature to view the world in dichotomies than anything else. We, as a culture, tend to view missing an ex in a way that implies that we miss them and want them back. I for one tend to disagree with that notion. I think we should view missing an ex the way we view missing anyone we have cared for who is no longer involved in our lives. I miss my exes from time to time, but that doesn’t mean I want to resume some sort of dalliance with them. That’s not to say that you can’t get back with an ex after splitting up, but I don’t think that missing someone means you have to try to reunite with them. When we miss someone, sometimes we miss the person, and sometimes we miss what the person was in a larger context. We focus on the worst parts of our past relationships, or the best parts, but you know what I rarely hear anyone say? That you can miss your ex, and that’s okay, and it’s also okay if you’re no longer together.
It is okay to miss people who have had an impact on your life. I read the other day, I can’t remember from where, but it said that you can still miss a friend who you no longer want in your life, and I think that sentiment especially holds true for former lovers. We’re friends, reader and writer, and I feel like I can be completely honest with you, so let’s get real with each other. You know what I miss about my last relationship? Getting good morning texts, getting tasteful butt-selfie sexts, being told “I love you” romantically, using pet names, bickering, streaming trashy television series together, getting drunk and doing bedroom karaoke, having someone to complain to, and countless other things, big and small. I say this all, not with melancholy or longing, but with an acknowledgement that I miss my ex sometimes, I miss what our relationship was during it’s best times, but there’s a reason that I don’t have those things anymore. I miss them, but I don’t want to turn back time and go back to get them, or try to get them from that very same ex again. I miss those things and more, and I miss having her in my life, and that’s that.
Lots of people come into your life, sometimes they stay, and sometimes they don’t. I miss a lot of people, not just my exes, and I know that if I can’t see them again, or get back what we had, there’s a reason for that. Sometimes that reason is as final and severe as death, or as simple as distance or diverging life paths, but a reason remains. It’s okay to miss your ex, it’s even okay if you neither hate your ex or want them back. You do not need to hate or long for an ex, you can miss them and that can be it. If you’re lucky in life and love, you’ll meet someone amazing, and it will work out, and you’ll have no exes to ever miss until you both die together in your sleep. If you’re a little less lucky, you’ll meet someone amazing, things wont work out, but you’ll still remember them fondly and miss them from time to time.
I’m sure that if you’re reading it, odds are good that you have at least one ex. It’s okay if you miss them, it’s natural to miss someone who isn’t in your life who you cared for. There’s nothing wrong with missing them. It’s also okay if you don’t miss them. It’s okay if you hate your ex, and it’s okay if you don’t. It’s okay if you want to get back with them, and it’s okay if you don’t. It’s okay to just miss an ex sometimes.
Good Luck Out There.