The Ex Boyfriend: What if?

I was hoping to hold this post off a little while longer, preferably until a day in winter where things between the boyfriend and I are more settled in our new home city.

Everyone remembers their first love, and I sure did remember mine. I don’t go into any relationship still harbouring feelings for an ex, so don’t expect anything shocking in this post. I am of the belief though that you never stop loving someone. Once you give a part of your heart away, you can’t take it back. You can’t un-feel what you’ve felt, just like how you can never possibly erase memories from your brain. Yes, you can forget details of things but you always remember the big picture.

The thing is, I’ve always believed that the ex-boyfriend and I are soulmates. Heck, I still do believe in that now. The level and way in which we connected is unrivalled in anyone I’ve ever dated – not even the current boyfriend and I had that raw chemistry, that real connection. I’d even venture to say that there was real static. I knew, during the course of our relationship and some time after that, that he was the real deal. If anyone was to be *the* one in my life, it has got to be him. To be honest, our story is all about wrong timing. We just never are in the same city long enough for a relationship to function properly. As we live in very far apart cities, the last I saw him was last year, when he was moving again to another city. At the end of our day together, I felt like we have always spoken, every day, for the past two years, when in fact we haven’t.

He told me about his ex-girlfriend; the one he dated after me for a couple of months. Beautiful relationship with rollercoasters, he said. That was after he asked me if I was seeing anyone, and I said no. I was frank with him and told him that I dated around but I could never get into anything serious.

At the end of our meeting, he said he knew I would be alright. He knew, of course, that I was not over him. That I was still in love with him. I happen to have a really bad record on getting over someone. It takes me forever to let go of memories that have long faded. But he said he was sure that I’d be okay. He said with the same certainty earlier that day that I would find a job and I didn’t have to do what I didn’t want to do (ie where I interned that summer). This is one thing he has over my current boyfriend; he read me a lot better than anyone else I dated. I didn’t have to say anything; it’s all etched on my face and he notices it. He also happens to give great advice; whether that is because he’s older than both my boyfriend and I, I have no idea.

I told him it would be impossible to forget him (true) and I doubt I’d recover soon (false: I met the boyfriend five months later and got attached three months after). So on all accounts, he was right. Right about me getting over him, and right about me getting a better job.

When I told him that though – that I couldn’t forget him – he said something, possibly to patronise me. He said something about London. But given his track record, I’m not putting a lot of stock into it. I would still like to keep him in my life, as I hope he would in his, and I would love to see him again in London. I know this raises some flags for people, but the boyfriend and I have a policy of being honest. And we would end all contact with our ex-es if the other isn’t comfortable with it.

Still, for some inexplicable reason, I thought of my ex today and wondered the age old question: “What if?” We both knew that we couldn’t be together, but what if we did? What if we stuck it out, or what if we both went to London, single? I’m pretty sure he hasn’t thought about me since that evening we hung out together and these questions probably bother him a lot less if ever at all.

I am still happy and glad that I’m with the boyfriend now, and my whole experience with the ex made me a lot more appreciative of this wonderful man who has stuck out with me in this relationship. I used to go to the abbey at the town where the ex and I lived, asking God why on earth did He put me through that much pain with the whole ex thing. I went again last year. (No, I’m not religious, but as I was overseas this was the only way I could get any form of therapy.) After meeting my boyfriend, I knew why all those things happened.

I was with my ex so that I can appreciate a man who loves me more and not write him off. And even though the boyfriend and I can never connect on the same level as the ex and I, we have our own goofy moments, we joke around and tease each other and our communication regarding issues and problems is better. I won’t trade that for heartbreak, uncertainty and a seemingly fairytale romance.

I received this email as a kid that there are three people in the world that you will meet; a person whom you love the most, a person who loves you the most and a person whom you’d ultimately marry. The email then ends on a note, saying that these three people might not always be the same person. I used to be afraid and the 11 year old me believed that I would choose the first option – I would want to be with the person I loved the most. Well, that proved to be a disaster. I guess what’s better for me is the second option – someone who loves me more, and I’d like to keep it that way.

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