When You Hear News about an Ex

Let It Be

Your sweet disposition and my wide-eyed gaze. We’re singing in the car, getting lost upstate. Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place, and I can picture it after all these days.
All Too Well, Taylor Swift

Earlier today I heard through the grapevine currently known as social media that my ex-boyfriend has just moved in with his new girlfriend (or what I assume is his girlfriend – we aren’t Facebook friends, so I don’t specifically know his relationship status, all I do know is that they were formerly friends with benefits). But that is completely beside the point. The point of this story is how I reacted when I heard the news.

It felt like a punch straight to my gut. And I have absolutely no idea why. I’m completely happy in my current relationship, so why the need to bum out about this? Maybe it’s a couple of things. Maybe it’s because every time I hear or see his name, I can’t help but recall certain memories, maybe it’s because of the way I was so devastatingly hurt when we ended (or more like the way we ended, I should say), or maybe it’s because of the way I used to love him. In a way that I’ve never loved anyone else. And probably never will. And it’s a shame I wasted that kind of free-spirited love on someone that ended up not fully reciprocating in the end. He was my first love, a man I shared tons and tons of history with. The kind of love Taylor Swift sings about.

But all in all, the news came as a bit of a shock to me. It threw me off my game and off my guard. Because if I really think about it, three years ago, we were still together. Blissfully unaware that we would end up parting ways in the month after. In the course of our lives, three years may seem like an eternity. But in reality, three years is such a short amount of time. And isn’t it strange that in that short amount of time, we are both leading completely separate lives with completely different people? For nearly two years (and nearly ten years of friendship before that), we moved forward together. And then suddenly, we were just moving forward. Moving on.

In a selfish and probably arrogant/pompous way, I had always thought the relationship I had built with him would be more special to him than anything he would build with her (like I said, these two were friends with benefits before him and I started our relationship). Like I said, I know that is probably extremely idiotic of me to say. I obviously expected him to move on and to settle down with someone and live out his life in a manner that suits him – I just didn’t think he would be doing it with her.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all jealous. What I’m feeling is incredibly difficult to put into words. I am not sitting here wishing it was me moving in with him. It took me awhile, but I finally accepted that he and I were never really meant for each other. The Beatles said it best: let it be.

What I’m feeling is maybe something more akin to realizing that a majority of people’s presence in our lives is fleeting. Even people we really love. There are no guarantees for a person sticking around – no matter how much we want them, too. And maybe what I’m realizing is that even though he couldn’t love me the way I wanted, he loved me the best way he knew how. And now I believe that love has transferred to someone else. And I wonder if his love with her is as free-spirited as the love we once had.

Whenever we hear news about someone we used to freefall in love with, it is difficult. I have found that it takes a genuine effort to be happy for those we once loved as they move on without us. We are no longer the ones they turn to for comfort or support. We are no longer the ones they would build gingerbread houses with at Christmas, we don’t get to sit on their couch and watch the Giants game with their family; at best, we can be labeled the one that got away.

Sometimes it is jealousy that we end up feeling, sometimes it’s resentment, sadness, or shock. But when we do hear about our exes, maybe it simply serves as a reminder as to why we aren’t with that individual anymore. Personally speaking, I tend to get caught up in nostalgia and romanticizing about the past, and many times, I end up causing my memories to be far more vivid and meaningful than those moments were in their reality. For the ones that want to stick around in our lives, we should learn to cherish them dearly. And for those that make a choice to walk away, we have to let them go. I heard the news, and while I want to react, I know better. Sometimes you have to just breathe in, breathe out, and let it be.

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