Sex with the Ex: A Case Study (Part 1)

ex

The Set Up

Ryan:

I didn’t date her for very long. We started hanging out a couple weeks after meeting in a club and I thought she was really cool. She was just confident, you know? The way she stood, the way she dressed, the way she carried herself; it was all very sexy. It was like she could conquer the world; be anything, have anyone, and she wanted me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good looking guy myself, but it was special. I hadn’t been in a relationship in a long time and to have someone so cool just run into my life out of nowhere was exciting! 

Jessica:

I didn’t even want to talk to him at first. I was actually just doing a friend a favor. I think that’s what made it so much fun when we actually clicked. I couldn’t help but think to myself “this would be a fun story to tell our kids someday”. He was nice. I needed nice. I hadn’t dated anyone seriously for a long while and I was so so ready; maybe too ready. It just seemed like all of the “right” things fell into place at the right time. He was just sweet, the kind of guy you want to do things for and hold hands with and text “goodnight” every night; a “bro” with a heart of gold. 

Ryan:

I don’t know the exact moment that things fell off for me, but it made me feel bad. She was such a warm and giving person, but I just felt like we didn’t have a lot in common, like we couldn’t talk. You know? I am the kind of guy who likes to do my own thing and be my own person. After a few weeks, being in a relationship reminded me of why I avoided one for so long. All she wanted was my time… and I know she deserved it but, I just couldn’t give it to her. Soon, it began to irritate me. A person who I care for and respect became a burden and a source of disappointment for the ways I couldn’t measure up. I ended it. It wasn’t easy and honestly, it still isn’t, but it seemed like the only logical thing to do. She couldn’t be the kind of girlfriend I needed and I couldn’t be the kind of boyfriend she deserved. 

Jessica:

I can tell you the exact moment it fell apart. It was in the middle of the summer and I hadn’t heard from him in 4 days. I kept texting and calling and trying to make plans but he never would answer me. I got a phone call at the end of the week from him saying that he didn’t think it would work out. It was all pretty vague. I tried to convince him that he was making a mistake, but he seemed pretty sure. I wasn’t even upset. For some reason, things just didn’t feel final for me. I guess I should have listened and responded differently, but at the time, all I could think about was fixing things. I wanted him around. I loved him. 

Wifeys & Gentlemen,

Today, we begin with a little case study, providing the context for a classic break up situation. There was no messy cheating scandals or secrets or lies; just two normal people who dated for awhile and couldn’t seem to work things out. Typical, no?

Still, while the story is (mostly) fictional (being loosely based off of a collection of personal experiences and the experiences of others), it can be used to apply to any one of us. No matter the who we are, I am sure we have all felt either the guilt of having to break someone’s heart or the sting of having our heart broken (or both).

When it comes to an “ex”, problems begin to arise when we deal with these feelings of guilt and heartbreak by running back into a sexual relationship with the very person with whom we’ve severed ties.

In my opinion,  this situation can be (and often is) approached from two general perspectives: I underline the word general because I know that things are complicated and there is never a “one size fits all” when discussing why we decide to start sleeping with an ex. However, I do believe that the primary motivations can fall into these two basic categories/ schools of thought and then branch off from there. For the purposes of this discussion, these two categories are as follows: are you a Ryan or a Jessica?

The Cause 

Ryan:

We stopped talking for a really long time. I needed some space. It’s easier to get over someone when you don’t have to see them anymore.  People always think it’s cool or admirable to be friends with an ex, but I have yet to do it! It’s hard. Still, she was really cool, we had great chemistry, she’s attractive, and I’m busy, too busy to go out and find other people to sleep with when I’m feeling lonely. One night I had a few too many drinks & she was on my mind, so I took a chance and sent her a text. The next evening we decided to hang out and watch a movie. It was chill, but I could tell she was kind of nervous. We drank a bit to take the edge off and then, after a nice conversation about her pitbull (whom I’d really been missing since the break up) we ended up having really great sex. I won’t pretend it was an accident. She knew what I wanted when I texted her. I think I made that clear. She let me crash at her place the whole night and we even got breakfast the next day. I did the right thing and I made sure I told her that I wanted to be friends only. I mean, I respect her and her time. Then…I went home. We didn’t talk for another 2 months after that. 

Jessica:

The distance was hard. I know you can’t just start immediately being friends with an ex after a break up, but I really liked him. How could he just dump me and then act as if we never had any kind of connection? I tried for a little while to get him to see me again, but he made himself scarce. I took the hint. It was tough. Some days I was fine, other days I was a mess, but my friends took great care of me! I even went on a few dates and got myself onto Tinder. One night,  He randomly sent me a drunk text. It was a totally booty call, but I didn’t mind. I was glad he was thinking of me & I wanted to talk. He said he missed me and finally, after all that time, he wanted to see me. We had a great little date watching movies, eating pizza, and drinking beers. He even asked me about my dog. I was nervous so I probably had a beer too many, but we were having so much fun. I knew that if we slept together, he’d feel that connection again. He’d remember why we were so good together. He stayed with me all night and we woke up the next morning like nothing had changed. Then…after everything, he just left. He didn’t call me for 2 months after that. Like it was just…nothing. 

I want to point out that neither of these people are heroes or villains. Neither of them are pathetic. Neither deserves blame. Here are two vulnerable people who are using each other to fulfill one primary objective: connection. In the interim between this week and the next, take some time think “Am I usually the Ryan or the Jessica?” In doing so, it’s important to understand what type of connection you are looking for when you seek out your ex: Physical or emotional. More importantly, ask yourself “what is the reason why I am engaging with my ex in this way? Are my goals temporary? Are they long term? When it is over, what do I want to happen next? How will I feel if I do not get what I want? How will I feel if I do?

Feel free to leave your comments or, if you’re more private, take a moment to write down some thoughtful answers to these questions. Next week, I will take a closer look at the lingering effects of this type of situation and the ways in which we all can recover from our latest mistakes and avoid some future pitfalls.

Until Then,

Carry on, Wifeys!

Love,

Ms. Renai 🙂 ❤

Ps. If ever some of you are wondering why I break these posts into two parts, it’s simple courtesy. I have a lot to say (cough) 😉 and, out of respect for your time, I aim to keep each post at around 1500 words or less.

*Note: gender is not a factor here. Some wifeys are Ryans and some Gentlemen are Jessicas.

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