Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Do You Keep Tabs on Your Exes?

When you break up with someone, how much do you still follow their lives? Personally, I fall in the camp of “Google once a year or so when I’m bored.” A few years ago, my sister saw one of my exes on Facebook and told me he was engaged, which prompted me to Google him and I found his wedding website. We’d lived together for a few years and ended things amicably, but just hadn’t kept in touch in the years since our breakup. He got married a few weeks before I did and it was nice seeing him look so happy in his pictures with his then-fiancée. Another time, I Googled a different ex and discovered he’d married the woman he’d dated before me and swore up and down he was over. Guess he wasn’t so over her after all. Other than that, I haven’t found anything juicy on an ex and don’t really care what they’re up to one way or another. But, what about you? Do you keep tabs on your exes, and if so, to what extent?

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46 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Desiree June 2, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Most of my exes are pretty horrid, and about three years ago I unfacebook-friended, deleted numbers, etc. The exception was my ex-fiancee, who I split with amicably. He and I stayed in (non-romantic) touch for about a year after the relationship ended. After one particular conversation where I got closure, though, I thought it was time to move on. We haven’t spoken since, but I feel good knowing that he is happy and on a good life-path.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay June 2, 2011, 12:09 pm

    Most of my exes are guys who I don’t ever talk to but would say hello to if I ran into them somewhere. One ex is one of my roommates, but it’s not all that weird. There is an ex who I looked up on Facebook a year or so later, and that’s when I figured out that his own ex’s baby was actually his, even though he claimed it was her new guy’s. Oops. It was something I probably should have caught on to at the time, but these professional-style photos of mommy, daddy and baby really tipped me off.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey June 2, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Is it bad that I casually keep tab on my last ex to confirm that everything I thought about him was right? In the heat of our break up, I told him that he’d never find someone as smart, attractive, and all-around-awesome as me. It may have been the height of bitchy…but the dude was breaking up with me! That’s kind of bitchier, if you ask me. Throughout our relationship I had been bothered by the fact that he seemed to need to ALWAYS be around other people…he loved to be the center of attention, life of the party, etc., but vehemently denied that he need validation from a large number of people to feel accepted, popular, what have you.

    He hasn’t had a girlfriend in the 2.5 years since we broke up, he continues to drink to the point of sickness, and is constantly posting things like, “Can’t wait to rage with you this weekend, bro.” I guess you can throw me into a different category: “Women who keep tabs on their exes to get a satisfying, evil laugh when you realize he still sucks as much as you once told him he sucked.”

    And by the way, I’m SO glad that I no longer date someone who uses the verb “rage” on a regular basis.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph June 2, 2011, 12:24 pm

      Haha I think I may fall into this category occasionally; although usually the things I hear are from mutual friends, not stalking. When my ex broke up with me I accused him of wanting to date this other girl (then a mutual friend). He responded “What?! No. She is just like my sister, I would never date a girl like that.” (What he was referring to is that his sister was very materialistic and took hours to get ready every morning, he claimed to want a girl who didn’t think Coach purses and hair straighteners were the most important things in life)
      P.S. He was “in a relationship” with her on fb 2 weeks later (I defriended him at that point, because I didn’t want to know) and they’re still together.

      I do get a satisfied chuckle because a) I was right and I like when that happens; and b) I hear that they’re basically late for everything now, which I know is one of his pet peeves, and I hope its because getting one’s hair perfect is a very long process.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey June 2, 2011, 12:35 pm

        Haha! I love that her hair has to be perfect or else she can’t bear to go outside.

        I used to stalk him a lot more on Facebook…it’s been so long now that I only click over to his page very occasionally, but it’s enough to confirm that he hasn’t changed at all. It’s fine to enjoy drinking. But when your most-used words on your facebook and blog are: drinking, rage, beer, wine, vodka, party…it leads one to wonder what other hobbies you have now. I looked at his page a week or so ago, and all I needed to see was the following quote to tell me everything: “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” I believe Winston Churchill said that, and I believe he was an alcoholic.

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    • avatar

      thyme June 2, 2011, 1:37 pm

      Ha ha, I’ve done something like that. One of my exes broke up with me when he was 23 because he needed to be married by 27 and have two (already-named!) kids by the time he turns 30, and I wasn’t interested in getting married anytime soon or having kids at all. 3 weeks after he dumped me, he came over to tell me that he’d met somebody new, and that he was falling in love with her. I was crushed.

      That girl turned out not to be as “divorced” as she said she was.

      Fast forward 7 years later. He’s going to turn 30 next week. He still lives with his parents and he doesn’t even have a girlfriend. Ha!

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    • avatar

      AnitaBath June 2, 2011, 1:39 pm

      Ha, well I’m kind of the opposite. When I broke up with MY ex, he wrote me this big long email (oh hell, I’ll just find it and copy and paste) saying, “If you find somebody who will treat you anywhere remotely as good as I treated you, then I suggest you keep them,” and, “If you find anything of mine just get rid of it. Or give it to the next poor fellow you get in a relationship with,” and a bunch of other stuff basically implying that I was a heartless bitch and I was going to be sooooo sorry breaking up with him.

      But I broke up with him because I was eighteen and he was jumping the gun to get married, and I didn’t want to get married anytime soon. It’s now three years later and he got married last summer, so I’m happy for him. I’ve been in an awesome relationship for the past two years, and I can’t help but think that he still thinks that he had the last laugh because *gasp* I’m not married and the guy isn’t him. We’re on decent terms, but don’t really talk, even though we’ve ran into each other a couple times.

      Mostly I just look at his Facebook to see whether or not he got fat 😉

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey June 2, 2011, 2:17 pm

        Haha oh yeah, I love seeing if exes are fat! My ex has gained a beer belly from all of the alcohol he so regularly partakes of, and a fat neck.

        It’s funny to read the situation from the reverse…I’m actually sure that my ex is GLAD he broke up with me, just as I’m very glad that we’re no longer together. I’m sure every breakup-ee likes to think that the breakup-er will be “sooo sorry,” like you said, but I doubt it happens that way. While I’m sure my ex is glad we’re not together, it doesn’t change the fact that deep down, he probably knows that he’s doing exactly what I said he would, all while I’m doing quite well in life. After all, the best revenge is a good life.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph June 2, 2011, 3:25 pm

        AnitaBath, your story reminded me of something…
        Soon after my ex broke my heart, he texted me to ask what I wanted him to do with the stuff I left at his place. It wasn’t really my stuff though… it was conditioner and a pack of disposable razors that I bought to keep at his place because I lived in another state and always flew to visit him.
        I was really angry at that point, though, so I texted back to say “Save it for your next victim. I mean girlfriend.”

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      • avatar

        AnitaBath June 2, 2011, 3:47 pm

        Ha! It always amazes me the things people think are important enough that they NEED to get it back to their ex. I think it’s usually just an excuse to keep in contact and sink their clutches in one last time. I had another ex who I was DONE with. Every time he tried to talk to me he ended up cussing me out and/or shoving me. I basically told him I was not seeing him again for any reason, and then he made this big deal because Noooooooo! I left some hair twisties and bobby pins in his car and he just NEEDED to give them back to me.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph June 3, 2011, 2:37 pm

        I’m sure you’re right. Its not about the crap at all, just about the contact.
        I’m sure those bobby pins are something special,though, you may want to reconsider!
        Meanwhile I had left a piece of jewelry at his place the last time I visited (accidentally, packing quickly) and I did email him to ask for it back because it had sentimental and actual value. This he claimed he could not find, though when I had left it (and we were still dating) he said he had it and would give it to me next time he saw me. I hope to hell the new girl isn’t wearing my necklace. That would be odd.

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      • avatar

        justpeachy June 2, 2011, 3:34 pm

        Or balding. And not the sexy kind of Jason-Stathom-embracing-his-baldness balding, but the Nicolas-Cage-crazy-in-denial balding.

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle June 2, 2011, 2:20 pm

      there you are! I missed your comments on letters lately…

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey June 2, 2011, 2:23 pm

        Haha! Aw, thanks Sarolabelle! In fact, I’ve been at the beach since late last week! I have to say, I missed Dear Wendy while I was relaxing on the sand 🙂

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray June 2, 2011, 2:39 pm

      RR – where have you been? don’t disappear on us again.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 2, 2011, 2:39 pm

        If I had scrolled down I would have received my answer: at the beach. Welcome back.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose June 2, 2011, 12:15 pm

    I wish I could pick the “once a year Google” choice, but alas, my ex is also the father of my child. So I get plenty of stiled, awkward conversations and vaguely accusatory emails. It’s great fun!

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  • avatar

    Pam June 2, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I only keep tabs on one ex — my ex husband, and that is only becuase we share children and so I will never really be free from the details of his life.
    Other ex’s I have absolutely NO desire to talk to, see, or “catch up” with. The boyfriend after I left my husband stalked me — on facebook, on my blog, coming by my house when I wasn’t there (leaving gifts and notes),etc etc — and I have no desire to allow him to have any details of my life as it is now… even though mutual friends have told me he has inquired about me many times…
    I figure once you have broken up there is no reason to really be bothered about the other person’s life…

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    • avatar

      MsMisery June 2, 2011, 1:52 pm

      I agree with your last sentence. I am not the kind of person who can be friends with an ex. I personally prentend they died when we break up (not in the “plotting their death under the full moon” kind of way, but in the “you no longer exist” kind of way), with the except of ONE ex-boyfriend. I think the only reason we are still friends is because we didn’t go out very long so there wasn’t enough time for us to hurt each other.

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  • avatar

    Fairhaired Child June 2, 2011, 12:30 pm

    I’m a little of all of those options – depending on the boyfriend. Most of them I don’t keep tabs on but there are a few that still randomly talk back and forth with me about random things (such as how the family is doing, or congrats on this or that.. etc).

    I have one Ex that I am still friends with on FB that we don’t really talk but I’ll peek at his fb every now and then. I’m actually still friends with one of his (old) best friends and talk weekly with the friend, but he also never hears from my Ex (the friend moved to a different town a few hours away).

    There is another one who I almost had to take a restraining order on, who will text me every 6 months like clockwork and who I have received several “you looked good” or “nice performance” text messages when he isn’t even supposed to be in the same town as I am. Each time it sends me into a freak out and I feel very gross. Which is ubber creepy and stalkerish, so I google him randomly every now and then to make sure “where” he is to make sure I stay away. So I stalk to stay ahead of his stalking?

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  • avatar

    Bethany June 2, 2011, 12:35 pm

    I am FB friends with one ex, and am still in communication with another via email. I randomly ran into him in the hall at my office–even though we live and work in different states. It was really weird, to say the least. We hadn’t seen eachother in 5+ years, but we talked and both of us got a lot of closure out of it, I think. Every now and then we exchange a few emails because we have a common interest (a band) and we like to talk about that with eachother. He’s married with kids now, and I’m getting married soon. It makes me happy to know that his life turned out well, and I think he thinks the same for me.

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka June 2, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I guess I could have voted for Google him once a year out of sheer boredom, but I googled him this morning, which would probably mark the 10th time this year. Maybe next year it will go down to one.

    The exes prior, yeah, I really don’t care about them, so they don’t even get a passing thought.

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  • avatar

    AKchic June 2, 2011, 12:42 pm

    1st ex-husband – I keep tabs through the jail system. Thanks to my position, I know when he’s entered prison and when he leaves. One of the mothers of his kid is actually a friend of his on facebook, but that’s only because she is terrified that if she cuts off all contact that he will get vindictive and start calling her now-husband’s commanding officer with a BS story like he did my 2nd husband and get her husband disciplined and/or kicked out of the military like he did mine. She keeps track of the facebook death threats he makes about me and the kids, keeps the I/Ms, emails, etc and then gives them to me so I can use them for my case to have his parental rights terminated. His mother does the same thing (right now, he’s “punishing” her for talking to me by trying to get his sisters to stop talking to her too).

    My 2nd ex-husband – we parted on semi-decent terms and we’re still friends. Facebook, phone, skype, etc. He has the password to my amazon and borders accounts so he can get my discounts and order stuff for the kids using our joint bank account (we use it for child support).

    Other exes – some I’m friends with, some I’m not. I don’t actively go looking for them.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster June 2, 2011, 12:17 pm

    One of my best friends is married to my ex’s older brother so I hear about what he’s up to from time to time, but we don’t talk. If I never heard from him again I wouldn’t bat an eye. Things got pretty nasty between us. And when my friend got married I was treated to a nightmare of a bridesmaid situation with the mother-in-law bullet I dodged. My god that woman is a horror!

    It’s so different from my current boyfriend’s mother. She’s awesome. And as far as other ex’s go, I think I’ve Googled one of them with no results, and haven’t spoken to him in years. I do wonder what he’s up to sometimes, but that’s mainly because I’m not used to Google failing me. Lol.

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  • avatar

    j.walker June 2, 2011, 1:25 pm

    I lurk my exes and ex-friends all the time but only because I get a twisted pleasure from lurking on people I hate. It’s my worst habit. But in the case of my exes, I would never do it unless I was 100,000% over them.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery June 2, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I am only friends with one of my exes.

    Regarding the one that broke my heart until I died, I snoop on his Facebook *maybe* every three months or so, though only because I’ve come across a comment he left on a mutual friend’s page, not because I sought him out (we aren’t FB friends, but his page is public). Not sure why I do it. I’m not looking for anything in particular (that I know of). I have no desire to get back together. We ended years ago. I guess there’s always one that gets stuck in your teeth like a bad popcorn seed.

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  • avatar

    sweetleaf June 2, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I purposely don’t look because I never got over my ex (that was almost 2 years ago, sad, I know) Anyway, if I saw him with another girl it would KILL me.

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  • avatar

    heidikins June 2, 2011, 1:13 pm

    I have had a pretty amicable break with most of my x-boyfriends. I see them at some social functions, am still good friends with two or three and we chat a few times a month, I catch up with them at weddings or go out to dinner once or twice a year with a few, one is my dentist (I put him through his last year of dental school, so it’s the least he could do). It’s not awkward at all.

    That being said, I have also filed a restraining order against one and prefer to think another never existed in the first place. 😉

    xox

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  • avatar

    kdog June 2, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Most of my old relationships were never labelled and they live across the country one direction or the other (and I’m not on FB), so it’s pretty easy to speak to them every now and then and now really worry about it.

    But, I am in the midst of breaking it off with my bf of 5 years and I am worried about how that will go afterward. We have many mutual friends and will be living in the same (relatively small) city. I want him to be happy and healthy and he has been a very important part of my life, so I would love to be on good terms after things settle, but I know it may not go that way. Any advice on keeping things amicable while also giving the other person their necessary space?

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  • avatar

    francesk June 2, 2011, 2:50 pm

    All of my serious relationships, count 3, have ended on friendly terms. We keep in touch, whether it’s through e-mail, phone calls or facebook. When I’m back in Florida, one I’ll even have drinks with.

    My less serious relationships are completely different. I no longer have phone numbers or e-mail addresses and I’m not facebook friends with any of them. I might here about them from mutual friends, or if I’m super bored, maybe google them every few years. I’m ambivalent.

    Anyway, I believe there is a reason for my different behaviors with different relationships. With the long-term relationships, we loved one another. However, we eventually realized we didn’t have what it takes to sustain a lasting relationship, so we ended things amicably. I have nothing but respect for these fellows. With the few-months boyfriends, we weren’t together long enough to develop a strong friendship and so, one of us called things off and the other was hurt. It happens, life goes on.

    I know I don’t regret any of the decisions made by me or for me thus far.

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    • avatar

      MissD June 2, 2011, 10:00 pm

      THIS. I wondered when someone would comment who had more of my past history! I am friends (not besties, but good friends) with the two long-term exes I have; I don’t really talk to the short-term exes. My reasons are the same as yours. However, I’m not sure what will happen with my (almost) ex-husband. I’m currently getting divorced and I’m guessing we won’t be friends for a long time, if ever. He kind of cheated in a long-term, still with her kind of way. But he also has a lot of issues, and we’ve been through a lot together. I’d like to think that in the future he’ll get his sh*t together, stop screwing up his life, and live up to the amazing potential he has. And besides, I don’t think I’ll ever not care about him, despite what he did. We’ve been together for 5 yrs and through a lot, like I said-a combat tour overseas (him), death of a family friend (me), cancer of a sibling (me), depression (both), PTSD (him), and school (me-finishing, him-starting), new career (me), and those are just the highlights. I’d hoped we’d make it through everything together, but I guess he just wasn’t strong enough. So I am hoping for the best for him, and will probably check in with him down the road after a good amount of time has passed.

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  • avatar

    Joanna June 2, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Most of my exes I don’t care enough about to keep up with them. The only one I keep in touch with (via facebook) is my first boyfriend, in the sense that I love to see him happy and doing what he’s always wanted to do (career-wise). But other than that I don’t keep tabs out of respect for my current relationship.

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  • avatar

    redessa June 2, 2011, 3:19 pm

    I’m facbook friends with the gu I consider my “highschool sweetheart.” I may chat with him once in a blue moon, but we’ve always remained friendly over the years. There were a few other boyfriends in highschool/college. Things most always ended amicably but I have no idea where any of them ended up. I wouldn’t be opposed to catching up, but have no great desire to either.

    But keep in mind that for me, old boyfriends are ancient history. I married young (19), have been married forever now (16 years) and have a house full of children. And my religious views are such that I did not have sex before marriage. So when we talk about old boyfriends, it’s not like I’ve had a recent breakup or some long live-in history with any of these guys. Catching up with them now would be more like seeing just an old friend.

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    • avatar

      redessa June 2, 2011, 3:20 pm

      guy, not gu LOL

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  • avatar

    SGMcG June 2, 2011, 3:30 pm

    I’m FB friends with a few of my exes. I sometimes comment on their pages during their big milestone events – weddings and new babies mainly or when they gush about the latest development in the geeky fandoms we have in common. Other exes I just don’t communicate with at all – there was too much drama while I was in those relationships, and it’s best that such drama gets left behind.

    My husband only keeps tabs with one of his exes, specifically his ex-fiance. Although they are FB friends (and I believe their myspaces are linked), he has yet to intentionally see /meet her after her first marriage occurred/broke down. She recently sent us a gift through my husband’s wish list and my husband feels guilty about it. I think he holds himself responsible for how things ended between them – but he really had no business being with her in the first place.

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  • avatar

    Michelle June 2, 2011, 3:45 pm

    I recently found out my ex from high school was engaged. After being apart two years we got back together over the summer bur were taking things pretty slow then did the fade out. He got engaged this weekend to a girl he met at the end of the summer. I’m happy for him but very surprised.

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  • avatar

    fearfulsymmetry June 2, 2011, 3:51 pm

    Just leave your ex or exes(plural of ex, I suppose?) alone. I don’t see why women(and I’m a woman, myself) feel the need to internet stalk their ex or interrogate friends about him(or her). It’s creepy and immature. Just let it go, and move on. Sheesh.

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  • avatar

    Britannia June 2, 2011, 3:28 pm

    I’m half and half between two of the options:

    We don’t talk, but we share a few mutual friends who sometimes tell me what they’re up to … whether I want to know or not.
    &
    Oh, hell no. That chapter is done and I have MOA, thank you very much.

    I have two exes who were on the fringes of my circle of friends, so information always ends up getting back to them about me and to me about them. I don’t really care, either way, as long as they aren’t having a life crisis or something — then, I would be concerned. As for the rest of them? We broke up for a reason, and usually that entails seeing an ugly side to them or having them be very angry with me. So I have zero interest in seeing them again. One time, I was working at the mall and my newest ex decided to make it his mission to parade through my store with as many different girls as possible over 3 or 4 weeks post-breakup, buying them a necklace or something and always introducing them to me. It was very immature.. he had plenty of other places to go to in order to buy the exact same thing, and the way he did it made it so obvious that he was doing it to try to mess with me. It just made me roll my eyes. What’s done is done, let’s leave it that way!!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie June 2, 2011, 7:06 pm

    I have way too many ex GFs and can’t even remember most of their names.

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  • avatar

    Brooklyn June 2, 2011, 9:37 pm

    I don’t date people I don’t already know on some level, so none of them have turned out to be evil, horrible people. I tend to believe some people aren’t compatible no matter what, so breaking up just means it isn’t working and not that the other person is horrible or a jerk or whatever. That being said, once the emotional turmoil is gone, I am always friends with my ex’s. We call/txt/email occasionally. See eachother once a month or so. We aren’t as close (of course), but I don’t harbor ill will or feel victimized.

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  • avatar

    MissD June 2, 2011, 10:09 pm

    “I tend to believe some people aren’t compatible no matter what, so breaking up just means it isn’t working and not that the other person is horrible or a jerk or whatever.” I feel the same way. I still socialize with my long-term exes; we are all part of a fairly convoluted and long-term group of friends. In fact, in our group of friends, we’ve mostly all dated someone else in the group, though not recently. None of us really have a problem with being friends with exes. In fact, my first serious boyfriend was a good friend before we dated and is still a good friend…and he’s friends with pretty much all his exes. We’re a pretty friendly, non-jealous bunch, I guess. I am not really the jealous, vindictive, vengeful type, so stalking exes just isn’t my style. Once I’m over it, I’m over it. I wasn’t as good about that when I was younger, but live and learn, I suppose.

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    Christina June 2, 2011, 11:42 pm

    I have an ex that was a boyfriend-hated him-friend-hookup-friend-hookup-I have got to get away! If I look over at the just the right time I can see his truck parked in front of his apartment when I am driving down the interstate to work or any place south of my house. I can’t not look – it drives me crazy. I even slow down if another car is blocking my view. My friends laugh when I tell them about it. My fiance never notices me looking when he’s driving. I’m not even interested in my ex but it’s like I just have to check to be sure he is still there.

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      Britannia June 3, 2011, 12:03 am

      I thumbed this up because it’s very honest — a lot of people are not willing to admit to being this way, but I think it’s something many people experience. Admittedly, reading it in print, it sounds a little crazy!!! — but, I understand where you’re coming from. It’s kinda like a morbid curiosity simply to see what they’re doing with their lives now that you’re gone.

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    • avatar

      fearfulsymmetry June 3, 2011, 1:09 am

      Girl, get a grip, get a life and stop being a creepy stalker.

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  • avatar

    moonflowers June 2, 2011, 11:57 pm

    I’d like to be on more amicable terms with my ex, but unfortunately I think he’s not the type who can do that. It’s been years since we’ve talked. He knows the ball’s in his court, and he can find me if he wants to, but even while we were dating, I saw that he went out of his way to ignore the girls who had rejected him previously, so he may not be able to be friendly with me yet.

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      Britannia June 3, 2011, 12:07 am

      There are many people who are like that, and it says a lot about them — I think it says that they either have very hurt feelings after break ups and hold on to grudges, or they simply no longer see someone’s virtues after going through a breakup.

      I have an ex-boyfriend like yours that you described here… I actually wanted to try to be friends with his particular one because I didn’t have any ill will with him, and still thought he was a really cool person and would have loved to have him as a friend to talk to and sometimes hang out with… but he won’t have any of that, he told me after my one letter of peace offering to buzz off. Well, it’s his loss! And it’s your ex’s loss, too. I’ve heard many stories about exes becoming the best of friends because though the love wasn’t there, they still know a lot about each other and enjoy each other’s company.

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