Ask Nicci: Time to extinguish the ex torch?

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From the November 24, 2011 edition

I recently slept with my ex-boyfriend. He has a girlfriend, so this was clearly a one-time thing. However, we were together for two years, and I think I still have feelings for him. Should I tell him? —Sara

The better question for me is: Why are you sleeping with your ex? With the reunions bound to take place this week with the Thanksgiving holiday, this is a great question.

Chances are you are going to run into a lot of old flames or what-ifs, especially if things aren’t exactly perfect in your current love life. Something about an old familiar face gives us the delusion that the grass is greener. I imagine most of us can relate and think of a time when we have randomly encountered an ex, wondered “what if” about an ex, and like you, even slept with an ex. You aren’t alone.

The reality of it is he is your ex-boyfriend for a reason. Open your eyes. He has a new girlfriend, so odds are your recent fling was a mistake. In fact, he is probably sitting at home with his girlfriend right now not giving you a second thought. Whether or not you still have feelings for him, he is not an option. He is taken.

Maybe you didn’t get the closure you needed, or maybe you’re feeling lonely and grasping at something that feels comfortable. It’s easy to go back to what we know, something that feels secure. However, questioning your feelings and considering confronting him about them after a spontaneous fling isn’t rational.

Think back, remind yourself what things were like before, then ask yourself: Is this truly worth another try? Was he really the wonderful, thoughtful, caring, considerate, respectful, loving guy you are imagining now? I can’t imagine the relationship was perfect. If it had been, you would probably still be together. Before you decide to take a second chance, make sure you recall the reality of what it was — including the bad times, not just the good.

Make sure the so-called love you think you want to profess isn’t just a moment of weakness. Perhaps your ex is unhappy in his relationship and has the same feelings for you. Again, make sure your head is clear and this is a road you’re interested in traveling down once more. Sometimes the road less traveled is the direction you should go.

∙ Nicci Sprouse runs a dating service and is developing a television show for Jane.TV. Follow her on Twitter at @AskNicci. And send your questions about love and relationships to infoasknicci@gmail.com.