Virgin's Guide to Burning Man

A Virgin's Guide to Burning Man can be found here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Never Go Back

You've seen it before. Chances are, you've even done it. And despite all good intentions, all self-admonishments, all promises to the contrary, it will happen again. Why do we always have so much trouble saying goodbye to our exes? And I don't mean the slam-the-door-in-your-face kind of goodbye. I mean the really-I-have-moved-on-and-truly-wish-you-happiness goodbye.

The pattern is so well-established it could be cookie cutter. You break up, you weep backslash get bitter backslash party like you're 19 again, you may or may not find someone else for a time, but then like the inevitable repeal of the boomerang you discover you miss your ex and have to see them just one more time. Just talk to them that once. Or if the ex caved first, you get that call and decide it's a good idea. No. Not. Stop. Before one or both of you gets hurt, yet again.

So you put your frock on, do up your hair, and put on that scent you know will ram nostalgia like a wrecking ball in your ex's gut. You look fresh, new, vibrant...yet still seductively comfortable familiar.

Let me skip ahead. It ends badly. One of you might actually have moved on, and begging to change their mind will only cause you both grief. But even worse, if one or the other of you hasn't had the good sense to say no, you will have gotten back together for the simple, inane reason that you miss each other and still love each other. It is inane because it is a lie you tell yourself in your weakened emotional state, when caring is too easily mistaken for loving, and loneliness is too often more powerful than self-preservation.

Missing each other and thinking you still love each other is NEVER enough to save a failed relationship. It might be the first of a mountain full of steps, but it is never enough. In time, the giddiness at your reunion will wear off and the stupid fights, the outrageous arguments, and the infuriating habits will resurface and drive you just as insane as they did the first time. Remember? There was a reason you broke up in the first place.

The only thing, I repeat, the only thing that can save a failed relationship is some seriously deep soul searching and a commitment to both partners changing. No matter the circumstances, both of you did at least something to contribute to the relationship's demise. I'm not trying to place blame or say it's your fault your ex was a lying, cheating slut/bastard (so wait...why are you going back?). I'm merely saying that from every experience there is an opportunity to learn how to be a better person and a stronger couple. It is only until the two of you sit down and really evaluate what fears, insecurities, poor habits, and line of thinking led to the break up that you can figure out what you need to know and do to prevent it from happening again. And that is just the beginning. It's not enough to say you will change. You actually have to do it, and have the courage to help each other do it.

So the next time you consider going back, I challenge you to ask yourself two questions. One, are you strong enough to do what it takes to make it work? And two, is your ex really worth it?

If you can honestly answer yes to both questions, then good luck and best wishes to you. I say you can get past old hurts, you can learn to trust again after infidelity, and you can make something strong, beautiful and wonderful out of something that was once failure. But you must first change the ways and thinking which brought you there in the first place.

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