Wifeys & Gentlemen,
Last week, we ended our introductory conversation about the complications of having sex with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. As previously mentioned, our “case study” pals Ryan and Jessica both viewed their hook up from entirely different perspectives and I challenged you all to think about the perspective you take when (if ever) you have engaged in this behavior.
So which is it? And more importantly, who is to blame? When we engage in ex-intimacy is this something that can help us get over our relationship, or are we just torturing ourselves?
In real-life versions of Jessica & Ryan’s situation, I have heard countless numbers of friends and acquaintances claim that being intimate in an “ex” relationship inevitably ends in disaster! How the story ends is irrelevant because it is yours, mine, and anyone else’s who has faced this dilemma. We already know how it ends.
But…why? Doesn’t it stand to reason that if we are having sex with someone familiar that it can lead to some kind of resolve? Maybe the intimacy can help us transition into a new relationship? Maybe it can help us recover a friendship with our former lover? Or, (for some) maybe it can be a positive step in rekindling the flame we previously thought was dead?
Forgive me wifeys, but to that I must say: YOU ARE WRONG! So, so, so very wrong!
Now before I get bombarded with stories about how great this behavior can be, hear me out: I have never been one to reach for the most “popular” opinion, but I do consider myself to be a progressive thinker. Working out our failed relationship problems with sex is NOT exactly a bad thing (depending on who you are and what your situation is, of course). Sex releases great endorphins, can make us feel connected to others, and can be a great emotional reprieve when trying to recover from the aftermath of a bad (or even a good) break up.
Still, engaging in this behavior is, in my humble (or maybe not so much humble) opinion, a HUGE mistake that more often than not, we live to regret. This applies to BOTH sides of the argument, regardless of your feelings or emotional attachment level to the person you’re trying to get over. Inevitably, you are manipulating the power-balance that once existed in your relationship, either trying to force a connection, boost your self-esteem, or fulfill sexual needs without putting in the effort to meet someone new.
As I implied last week, perhaps the question we really should be asking ourselves is “why do I want this now”? Ignoring everything else for a second, forgetting about the repercussions or possible setbacks, do everything in your power to be very clear about your intentions; and I mean you should be clear with YOURSELF first. Critically think for a moment wifeys, are any of your excuses really good enough to justify what is, for lack of a better way of putting it, an act of self-harm?
Time for a Q&A:
- Q: But Ms. Renai, I want to feel connected to someone. What’s wrong with that?
- Hit up your local bar, call a friend or family member, take a yoga class, go to a singles’ event, meditate, do some journal writing, be connected to yourself.
- Q: It’s not manipulation! I miss him so much. Maybe this will help us get back together?
- LIAR! You’re emotionally manipulating yourself into thinking that this can happen. News flash, you broke up! Either he left, or you decided it wasn’t working out! Did you magically fix what was wrong between the break up and now? No? Didn’t think so! Tough love but, you are NOT the exception, you are the rule, and the rule says that odds are you two were not meant to be. Work on getting yourself back together, not getting back with him.
- Q: Okay, fine, what if I am manipulating her a little? So? I just want to teach her a lesson!
- Yeah, I had a “friend” who had this mentality once. He is now paying child support for a son he never actually wanted with a lady who was crazy enough to sabotage her birth control methods. You’re not fooling anyone except yourself with that line, and the risks are pretty high for something so childish! Not to mention, what lesson are you teaching someone by getting them off? I’ll wait…
- Q: I hear you, but its hard meeting new people, why go out to the club or bar for a hook up if he is willing to come right to my door?
- Seriously? To me this sounds more like you’re giving up on yourself than being an asshole to your ex! I know things are bleak right now, but you are sexy, fun, and a good catch! Someone else will (likely) be willing to sleep with you…just get on Tinder and start swiping. Or stop being so focused on getting laid and get focused on doing things that make you happy (no, not sex 😉 )
- Q: What if you’re wrong? What if no one else wants me? What if I don’t fall in love or date ever again?
- I promise you, as someone who has said this exact thing to herself out loud many many times, if you have sex with an ex (unless you are the exception, and trust me, there is a 99% chance you’re not) you will still feel this way after the sex, if not worse. Your ex has already rejected you or has endured being rejected by you. They can’t validate for you what you don’t feel about yourself. Work on you!
If I haven’t made it clear, I am an advocate for using a break up as a means of leaning more about ourselves. The reality is, it’s hard to stay friends with someone even after a great break up! Again, there are exceptions to this (and they are wonderful) but this is NOT the norm and you can’t count on that one extraneous outlier to be your focal point.
Try this: think about all of the good things about your relationship (even if it was a bad break up). Focus on them. Let them make you smile and then let them make you cry if you need to. Now think about why it ended. What wasn’t working? What made you unhappy? Why did you decide to leave (or why did they?). Are 15-45 minutes of familiar passion really worth jeopardizing the good memories? Are they worth opening up the fresh wounds that you will feel when you have to miss them again?
Ultimately, if you guys aren’t good enough to date, sex is only going to compound and complicate this fact. Instead, try doing things to take steps forward and build yourself up again. Work on ways to improve the person you are and avoid falling into a similar pattern with someone else.
Or…you know…don’t? 🙂
Ha! For those of you who STILL think that this choice is a good one, I am attaching a helpful article (click the word “article”). In it, author Rachel Khona details acceptable conditions for having sex with an ex that can help you avoid some of the nasty pitfalls we saw in our case study last week! It is geared toward straight men, but I think much of it can be applied to any gender or any type of former-couple that is considering taking this path.
In conclusion wifeys, life is full of sticky complicated situations. Break ups are a special hell that make even the sticky situations seem tolerable. My opinions aside, if you do think having sex with your ex is a good idea, just do me a favor and TRY to take care of yourself too. Find some time to reconnect with the person you were before the relationship. Find some time to connect with new people. Find some time to breathe and be yourself again. You know?
And if you are struggling with a break up now, do read this great book by Greg Behrendt
It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Break-Up Buddy
It is funny and really really helped me gain some perspective (there is even a section on ex sex)!
Until next week,
Carry on Wifeys.