Catching up with ex-boyfriends always makes me feel like stabbing a person. Usually myself, for not knowing any better, and sometimes the unsuspecting ex-boyfriend, for finally admitting that he was an asshole/committed a very assholey thing. You’d think that this admission of guilt would absolve him of all his sins and make us the best of friends, but when you’re a person who harbors grudges the way people collect stamps or old coins, such confessions only makes you kind of angrier. The anger is mostly directed at the errant former amour, but now that I think about it, I get angry at myself too. No one should ever have to put up with crap from another person in the name of love and relive these crappy moments way after the fact. But then again, isn’t that what relationships are about – loving the other person despite the crap they throw at you? And don’t conversations with ex-boyfriends inevitably go back to Where Did Things Go Wrong?
Anyway, the conversation that spurred this post was with an ex-boyfriend you probably don’t know, so don’t even bother trying to figure out who he is. He caught me online while I was checking something on Skype, and I replied to his message because we haven’t really spoken in years. After saying hi, hello, and “I thought you were moving to Japan to join your amoeba girlfriend?”, I found out that he finally got his MA in Linguistics and is now working three jobs – one at Apple, one at a language school, and one in porn. I did a double-take when I saw “porn” and I dropped the other Internet things I was doing. Holy shit my ex-boyfriend works in porn! I tried to extort more details. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE WORKING IN PORN?? LIKE ARE YOU BEHIND THE SCENES OR ARE YOU IN PORN?” I bugged him incessantly, but he was being very coy about the whole thing. He even left me hanging for a few minutes when he signed out of Skype, because he was apparently at work. At the Apple job, not the porn job.
Eventually, I manged to get him to admit what he does – just solo masturbation stuff, no actual sex. Apparently, it pays very well and times are hard, even with two other jobs. I consider myself a pretty open-minded person but I have to admit, I was being mildly scandalized by this revelation. I have an ex-boyfriend who works in porn! An ex-boyfriend who refused to have sex with me several times, no less!
We tried to move on to other topics from there (okay fine, he started asking about my sex life and it was awkward) but I just had to make a snipe at him. His seeming lack of libido was one of the reasons why
we ended the relationship I broke up with him. The other reason was his refusal to let me stay in his apartment when I visited him because his Korean roommate didn’t want me there.
Me: Can I just point out that it’s extremely ironic that you now work in porn when you were pretty much disinterested in sex then?
Him: Are u kidding? I always wanted to have sex. U re awesome in bed.
And then, the question that makes any conversation with an ex-boyfriend go sour. The kind that starts with “You can be honest with me now.”
Me: Okay, you can be honest with me now. Were you sleeping with your Korean roommate?
Him: Not slept, but made out.
Thankfully we had a weird open relationship thing going on (which I made sure to use when I got lonely) so I don’t actually hate him for getting intimate with the girl. But I was irritated to find out the truth this late, especially since he said no when I asked him if there was anything going on with the roommate then. Things would have been so much easier if he just admitted it. We could have broken up right then and there instead of letting the relationship drag on two more months. I could have spent the rest of my trip with the guy I met at the hostel, guilt-free. He could have had his Korean chick. Who, by the way, look nothing like the girls you see on Korean soap operas.
I abandoned the conversation shortly after because he started coming on to me and it felt so fucking weird and inappropriate. Not to mention he was two and a half years too late.
I’d like to think that I can maintain healthy friendships with my ex-boyfriends once we get over the butthurt we caused each other, but this is the third ex I’ve tried to have a friendly conversation with that left me feeling…weird. For a couple of weeks, I have been thinking about why it’s so difficult for me to carry a friendly conversation with any of my exes, let alone stay friends with them. Eventually, I narrowed it down to three reasons:
Some wrongs can’t be forgiven
My anal retentiveness prevents my own butthurt from healing as well as it should, even though it’s been years and I really should be over it by now. It’s not that I hate my exes for the people that they are. Rather, there are just certain wrongs that I can’t forgive, and it makes friendship almost impossible because I will keep bringing it up every now and then, in an attempt to find some sort of closure. I will never forgive this ex for essentially breaking my heart after I flew halfway across the world just to see him, all because of his ugly Korean roommate. We can never have a conflict-free friendship because of this.
Sex gets in the way
Some guys think that just because I found them fuckable once, I’ll probably keep on wanting to fuck for the rest of my life. It’s annoying to see an ex with the intention to hang out, only to end up fumbling for each other’s underwear later. (It’s hard to say no when you’re really turned on and haven’t gotten laid in months, okay?) I haven’t slept with an ex in years though, and it’s not happening anytime soon because I’m currently in a relationship. But whether or not I am interested in having sex, it feels frustrating when exes do make their sexual intentions clear, or when they assume you want to sleep with them when you call. Whatever happened to just plain old hanging out? Has it ever occurred to them that maybe I just want someone to talk to about nothing in particular? Do they pay attention to me because they care about what’s happening in my life, or do they just see me as an easy booty call? I’ll never know the answer to that last question, because I’d rather die than ask them.
We no longer have anything in common
At the end of the day, once you’re done exchanging how-are-you’s and what-do-you-do-now’s, I’ve come to realize that I don’t have anything more to say to my ex. Maybe that’s why some of my platonic social visits end up being sexual encounters or mini-confrontations. I mean, what else is there to discuss once you’ve gotten the social pleasantries out of the way? When you break up with someone and spend the next few years incommunicado, you’re practically strangers the next time you meet, because all the new people you’ve met and the experiences you’ve had turned you into different persons. And more often than not, the person you are now is so incompatible with the person your ex has become, maintaining a civilized friendship becomes almost impossible.
I’d like to show one more conversation to illustrate this final reason. Out of boredom one evening, I decided to poke a different ex-boyfriend, one whose misdeeds I also can’t forgive. I don’t know why I felt like talking to him in particular that night. Maybe it’s because earlier that day, I read a derisive article about the movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. This ex-boyfriend introduced me to Ayn Rand when we were in college and I became quite an arrogant asshole for it, then I went to grad school and realized that Marxist theory makes far more sense than Rand’s lofty praise of capitalism. I was curious to see if he was still a Rand-worshipper. I don’t know why I expected him to be otherwise.
I asked him if he had heard that there was going to be an Atlas Shrugged movie. He replied several minutes later saying that yes, it’s coming out in April and he is “cautiously excited” about it. I started typing something along the lines of, “Oh wow, I can’t believe you still believe in Ayn Rand after so many people have debunked Objectivism and pointed out her many hypocrisies,” but I quickly hit backspace and decided to end the conversation right there. Why bother? He’s still going to think that John Galt’s 20-page speech was the most brilliant thing ever written. I’m still going to think he’s a moron for it, and I’m still going to hate him for being the worst boyfriend I have ever had. Sometimes, it’s just better to hit the X button when an ex messages you, or when you feel the impulse to talk to one.Google+