congratulations, I think… (coping with your ex's new life)

25 June 2009

With all our ways of keeping connected, you can generally find out all sort of interesting bits about people’s lives through facebook and twitter.  Recently, facebook decided to share an interesting bit of information with me.  My ex is engaged.

Yep.  This would be the ex.  It seems everyone has one.  Sean’s mine.  We dated for two years, a bit off and on, during college.  It was my first two years and his last two.  And though I’ve had a lot of boyfriends, I think Sean was number 13, he was really the first truly serious relationship.  I was only 19 when we started dating.  I was smitten immediately.  Something about this quirky guy with the blue mohawk and awesome chops.

Sean was my first for a few other things as well.  First college relationship.  First serious relationship.  First love.  And first *ahem*… yeah.  (I did make him wait over a year… and I was his first as well…)

It was young love.  Training wheels as one friend put it.  It was.  They say hindsight is 20/20, and I agree.  Our relationship wasn’t perfect.  But I couldn’t see that.  I was in love.  Or well, what I thought was love.  Sean was really all that mattered to me in those two years.  My needs came second to what I saw as his needs.  Sean noticed this, and he didn’t like it.  He wanted me to take care of myself.  A lot of my friends didn’t see all the amazing quality that I did in Sean.  A handful of them really wanted me to break up with him.  My late stepmom really wanted me to break up with him.  I wouldn’t have it.  Yeah, we had a few breaks… but we ended back together.

Sean ultimately could never return my love.  Shortly after my 21st birthday, just before I was due to leave for China, Sean ended our relationship.  I was destroyed.  Being able to go to China and leave the country, leave all of my problems behind — that helped in more ways that I could know.  I wasn’t avoiding my issues, but it was good to be removed from them.  When I came home, Sean was already in the Netherlands (where he’d be living for a year).  I called on Thanksgiving, seeing if there was any way we could get back together.  However, it was over.  It hurt, but not as badly as I thought it would.

It’s been four years now, and Sean and I have actually been able to stay friends.  We’re no where near as close as we once were — he was my best friend those two years.  I do miss him some; I miss that companionship — but I’m no where near the same person I was when we were dating.  I think the one thing that’s been surprising is that he’s been dating a lot.  I haven’t had a boyfriend since.  Sean was definitely surprised by that.  He just assumed I’d be in a relationship right away.  Now I find that Sean is getting married.  I won’t say it doesn’t sting.  I am indeed happy for him, but yeah, it does make me think about my situation.  I honestly thought that I was going to be marrying him.  But here I am, 25, single, yet still enjoying my life pretty damn well.

It’s hard to swallow the news, but I know there’s something great out there for me.  Be it a person to share my life with, or just an amazing journey (or yes, both)…  Anyway, congrats Sean & Ashley.  I do wish you the best.  But I also wish myself the best as I continue on my way.

I’m also going to add this for recommended additional reading from DShan: Forward Steps.  There have been a lot of great bloggers openly discussing their relationships and here’s to us all as we persevere through the search and through our commitments.

  • I definitely understand that finding out that information would sting, but it sounds like you have a good perspective on the whole situation. Plus, you may not feel like it, but you’re so young! The twenties are for figuring this stuff out anyways 😉

    • So far, I like being 25. I can still act stupid and people accept it as crazy 20-something behavior, yet I’m adult enough for people to take me serious. No need to rush anything!

      Having 4 years to deal with his relationships and my being single has helped a lot. And I definitely feel that I’ve grown a lot since then.

      … Will I be seeing you tonight for pizza?

  • That has to be tough, I’m sure. It was weird seeing that my most recent ex – we dated for three years and even lived together – had a new girlfriend, even though I had a boyfriend by then. It’s just odd seeing the other move on, no matter what our situation might be.

    • Seeing Sean for the first time after we had broken up was crazy… of course, he was massively drunk and I had just returned from my stepmom’s funeral… bad scene for us all.

      I saw him again last year… he and Ashley visited for an evening. She’s cool.. but I could tell it was awkward for her too ’cause Sean and I still had our little jokes and shared memories. A good number of people think I was crazy for agreeing to hang out with them, but meh. We’d both moved on, right?

  • I had the pleasure of spending a weekend with my group of friends from college which of course included my ex-gf of 5 years. It was awkward the whole time because we have the same friends who all associated with us as a couple. Now I’m married, she’s seeing someone – the weirdness between us is exponentially higher than it should be since we last dated 5-6 years ago.

    I remember always trying to keep track of exs and who they were dating, rationalizing how I am better than them. In the end, I’ve just abandoned that because the feelings I had for them then were for a different person than they are now. I was a different person then. So if we’ve both moved on then why is there this tension?

    None of my exs have been engaged yet, so I guess I was the one to do that first. Katie knew I was getting engaged before my wife did. Word travels fast… Ann stopped responding to me altogether. She’s still bitter about the breakup from 5 years ago. I saw her once after the breakup – mostly to pay her dad for an amp I was buying from him – and it was brutal. We dated for about a year.

    I guess getting news of engagements or even dating status changes of exs can range from ‘eh’ to devastating. It’s just how you make it. Sounds like you are at about the right place – somewhere in between. For real: Congratulations, or something like that… whatever.

    Why are my responses so long today?

  • My first real love, whom I’d dated for three years, recently got engaged, too. Though, in my case, we’d only been broken-up for a year, and she’d been dating her new boyfriend for maybe nine months. The entire time we were dating, we never really talked about marriage. I guess I assumed neither of us were at that point in our lives, yet. But apparently she was just chomping at the bit.

    We do talk occasionally, and I am happy for her. It like you said, though, it stings a little and made me to wonder if maybe I was doing something wrong.

    • Oats – I only have a few ex’s I’ve gotten updates about… I think I talk to some of my dates and hook ups more. I think the bigger or harder issue for me is that both Sean and I thought I’d be the one to get into a serious relationship first… so him getting married before me, well, I don’t know.

      McBastard – Sean ended up dating again a little less than a year after we broke up. And during our not-so-happy reunion I mention above (him being really drunk and me being sort of depressed), he mentioned something about how much he love(d) that girl (not Ashley) and wanted to marry her… yeah, thanks buddy. I was definitely going through the whole “what did I do wrong” thing then. I think now, since I know that Sean and I aren’t right for each other, I’m not thinking that really.

  • Ouch that is tough. Hearing that they’ve moved on before you is always hard, especially when it’s serious enough for marriage. I had a similar situation with a guy and I went into a little funk about it, but remembering why we weren’t together definitely helped keep me from going insane.

    • I think one thing that’s helping a lot is the fact that in the past few months I’ve gone on a number of dates… and recently — very recently — there seems to be some potential with a pretty awesome guy.

      Also what helps: Spending a whole weekend with bloggers. yep. 🙂

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