A romantic relationship can end for many reasons: distance, differing values, outside interference, and in extreme instances, legal mandates. With the exception of the latter, the two people may attempt to maintain a friendship, however, I’ve rarely ever met ex’s that can successfully transition into friends. Even if a relationship ends on amicable terms, each person generally wishes the other well in all areas except romance.
In my experience, hearing my ex talk about his love life is painful. Seeing him with another woman is like being punched in the belly button, unexpected and cripling. Even after you’ve physically seperated from a person the emotional attachment is so hard to eradicate.
The closest comparison I can make is my relationship with clothing. For instance, when you’ve outgrown or worn out a favorite piece of clothing you either discard it in the trash or to the Goodwill. Either way, you feel confident that no one else will enjoy it as much as you and if they do, you won’t ever know about it. But if serendipity allows you to witness someone else wearing your clothes, you instantly want it back. All the memories you created in the clothing rush back as well as the way you felt in them. Even if you can’t fit the clothing or it’s out of style, you wanna get it back and keep it on reserve just in case. You may realize how unreasonable it is to selfishly hoard the clothing for yourself while you continue to fall in love with new threads that suit you more appropriately but you feel helpless against it.
This behavior can be witnessed in children. When presented with a bright new toy, he or she will quickly abandon the old. But let another child pick up their used goods and all hell will break loose. This reaction is inate and as American as Neil Armstrong staking claim to the moon with the American flag. We are stating “I was here first and that’s all that matters.”
But when it comes to other humans we have to be better than that, we must grow up. People aren’t like those jeans from high school that you have hanging in your closet. While you may dream of shrinking down to fit them, why would you ever resort to shrinking down to fit a relationship you’ve outgrown? Besides, who wants to be the bag lady Erykah Badu alludes to, carrying out-dated clothes and out-dated relationships?