Why Do We Hook Up With Our Exes?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Regina George hooked up with an ex.

That’s probably almost everyone, right?

Okay. Raise your hand if you’ve ever hooked up with an ex on a totally sporadic basis but nonetheless repeatedly since breaking up four years ago and you almost don’t know why the fuck you do it but you’re also fairly certain that it’s because you’re so automatically comfortable in his presence and he’s your least laborious booty call option when it’s a quarter after one and you’re a little drunk and YOU NEED HIM NOW, and also maybe you still care about him a little but you’re not sure if it’s just because you miss “the idea of him” or because you actually miss him, and now you’re really questioning your life choices because you’ve managed to quote both Lady Antebellum and When Harry Met Sally in one longwinded run-on sentence about what is ostensibly your real-world love life but is clearly nothing more than a series of personal decisions you’ve made based off messages that pop culture has fed you over the years of what your love life should look like, and fuck – when did everything become so meta?

First of all, I understand if your arm got tired at some point during the above soliloquy and you’ve put your hand down by now. It exhausted me too; it’s fine. I also understand if you need HIM NOW a glass of water.

Secondly, who the hell knows why we hook up with our exes? Do we have our reasons, or are there no reasons at all? Maybe it’s healthy. Maybe (usually?) it’s not.

In my case, I’m going to go ahead and assume that it’s a mixed bag but mostly the latter, because my actual relationship with Lionel (dude on which the above is based) was kind of a schizophrenic shit-show that more or less inspired a literal book.

But of course mixed bags are mixed.

Lionel and I love each other. Yeah. Lionel loved me before I ever wrote about love on the Internet.

Are we in love? Well. We live far enough away from each other to forget that the other exists within 72 hours of most of our hookups. Moving on with our everyday lives without each other is an easy enough process for me to reasonably conclude that the answer is no. Or at least: not nearly enough.

Normally I don’t lose sleep over Lionel, but I recently got drunk at a barbeque my brother and his wife were throwing. I requested Lionel’s presence at the last minute, he showed up, and it was like fucking Homecoming Dance 2014 as my various friends and family members giddily caught up with him while declaring, “WE’VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH!!!” in tones that were totally riddled with a Nic-has-devolved-into-a-tragically-hot-mess-of-a-psychotic-gay-man-since-you-guys-broke-up-and-he-moved-to-New-York subtext.

So that’s been a thing on my mind.

Whenever Lionel and I get together, though, I end up emerging from the experience in a peculiar, emotionless haze. His tattooed arms are a time machine back to 2009 when I was 21 years old and blissfully callow; it’s the easiest thing ever to drunkenly fall asleep in them.

But then I’ll wake up the next morning and it will be 2011 or 2012 or 2013 or, as of late, 2014. And it will be different, because I am. And he’ll drive us to grab iced coffees before we officially go back to our everyday lives that have nothing to do with each other, and I’ll speak in micro-sentences with a Lana Del Rey monotone and he’ll have to talk nonstop to keep the car from descending into a vacuum of awkward silence.

He won’t say anything about my coldness, though I’m almost certain it’s weird for him. How could it not be? Back when we were together, I was a high-strung emotional wreck totally incapable of reaching a middle ground between “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” and “LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.” Now my general attitude is just “thanks for the coffee, bye.”

“What are we doing and why?” is what I probably should be saying.

I’m about as sure that we both have our reasons as I am sure that there are no reasons at all.

Geese1

I couldn’t think of a good picture to accompany this post, so I had to improvise with this shot of some geese I encountered on my way home from the gym recently. Frankly, I’m impressed at just how well this all worked out for me.

 

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Comments

  1. My favorite part of this post (besides all of it) is the slick reference to Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” Thank you as always for another riveting look into my own life, since we are the same.

    • Haha, that song truly is a gem and a classic.

      I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one suffers the occasional Case of the Ex! #Mya (Side note: why we allow ourselves to think we’re the “only one” when it comes to anything ever is always so funny, isn’t it?)

  2. “Goslings.” I know.
    And that’s all the help I can offer you.

    • Someone just told me that on Facebook and my GOD I feel like such a dim bulb!!! (That’s a phrase, right?) HOW COULD I FORGET GOSLING?!?! Insanity, and I blame Ryan. (Gosling.)

  3. OH MY GOD.

    These words are everything. You seemed to have captured this cyclical habit so eloquently, so bittersweetly, so brilliantly, that I’m at a loss for words. Just…ugh. Brillz. My day has been forever changed by this melancholic fucking piece that makes me want to dive head first back into your book.

    Welcome back, Nic. WELCOME THE FUCK BACK.

    • Haha OMG you knew exactly the words I needed in a WP comment to keep me going on this crazy journey called “writing-confessional-tales-about-matters-of-the-heart-even-if-it-makes-me-look-like-a-crazy-person” on more day! So, THANK YOU!!!

      Also “cyclical habit” is so accurate. #SisterAct2 #BackInTheHabit

  4. Great, great, great post. But I wish it had gone on longer, longer, lo … First-class writing. jbm

  5. Wow, I thought I had relationships all worked out. You’ve just totally confused me. I think I need to leave my husband and go hook up with my ex……

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