Dear Red: What If My Ex Comes Back?

Dear Red,

I recently read your post about how dudes don't hit their "I'm ready to settle down" phase until their mid to late twenties. As I was reading your post, I got to wondering...

...while I'm by no means sitting around and waiting for my ex of two and a half years to come crawling back (I've dated here and there since we broke up, but no butterfiles and nothing sticks), what happens when/if he does have his, "OMG, I'm ready to settle down" moment. If he does come back apologizing how should I react? Or if he doesn't, should I approach him?


What If?


Dear What If,

So. Tough love? I'll give you my advice in a nutshell, then explain:

Get off the "what if" train, and be done with this dude.

Oh my. SO much easier said than done, right?

If you've read enough TNR lately, you know I'm big on us all learning our lessons on our own...meaning, people can give you advice until they're blue in the face, but until YOU are ready to really listen and internalize and change, well yeah. It's YOUR thing to learn.

And how you get there is your business.

But! I'd be remiss if I didn't talk to you about some of the lessons I've learned, and maybe those lessons will help you in your learning.

So, I've seen a lot of girls pine after the "one who got away." They waste time and tears and end up missing out on a whole lotta life because of some dude who broke their hearts and whom they hope is coming back (he might, for a quick lay when he's lonely...and then the cycle starts alllll over again).

There are a few problems with this:

1. It's not REAL.

 It's a memory, in the past, but it's no longer something tangible. It's the idea or memory of a person and relationship (often with the bad parts conveniently forgotten), and not the person itself.

2. You've both--hopefully--grown to be different people.

Again, this means you're holding on to an idea of the person he once was to you, and the hope that he's gotten better...neither things are real reflections of who he actually may be in this present moment. (And you may not be the kind of person who needs that person anymore).

3. The scenario you're describing is the exception, not the rule.

You can wish and hope for the fairytale ending (he'll realize the error of his ways, miss you so much and beg and plead for you to come back), but the reality is, there is probably a much better story waiting for you...but you're blocking it from happening because you refuse to finish to the end of this particular book.

So friend, I say it's time to move on. Don't think about the what ifs...just go. Do your thing. Dream bigger and better. And don't worry...there may not be butterflies or sticking points for you with other dudes yet because you just haven't met the right person to have those with.

Don't approach the ex...he's moved on, and you should, too. Because you deserve better. You really do!

Anyway, I hope this helps a little bit. The "what if" train isn't any easy one to get off of, but it's well worth it if you can!


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