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Tuesday, February 28, 2006The Ex Factor
In the mornings, as part of my usual routine, I watch NBC's "The Today Show." I listen to it as I shower, put on the makeup, get dressed, make breakfast, and do the hair. Sometimes, if there's a good story or if I want to check the 7-day weather, I'll sit down and watch. This morning, I sat and watched a segment called "The Ex Factor."
Do you ever really get over your ex? Matt Lauer asked to his two special guests, one of whom is the author of "My Boyfriend's Back." Both said no. Then they took it to the streets where they asked normal every-day people. Most of them said no. ...Minus the one woman who suggested having a fling to get over the ex... Surveys show that 72% of people who reunite stay together. And apparently, this happens with a great deal of frequency.
It got me thinking... The ex factor is definitely something that I've carried with me for more than ten years. While we are good friends now, there's always that question of 'what would have been?' Maybe the curiosity is what is so appealing about the friendship.
For me, it was really hard to be single and still have feelings for a special someone. When things don't end badly or in dramatic fashion, it's easy to go back to the good old days. I found myself wondering why - a lot. Why wasn't I the one he wanted? Why are we such good friends that we can't go back? Why do we love the people that we love? Why is it hard to let go? ...But the truth is often not simple and often what we don't want to hear. We can't live behind a world of rose-tinted glasses. Sometimes, things just end. Or sometimes "he just isn't in to you."
I desperately wanted to find a replacement - The NEXT Factor. And, in some ways, I did. I found a few of them, in fact. But "he" was always there -- like a ghostly memory that haunts you at night when you're lonely. And sometimes he would show up - I could smell his cologne at the mall; I heard his voice in a crowd; I would see his face in the stranger walking past... or sometimes... he would call. How do you find the NEXT when you're still tied to the EX?
You put one foot in front of the other. You keep yourself busy. You keep living life and you keep your eyes focused on the future.
In order to move on, I had to do something. I started writing letters to my future husband. I would tell him how much I loved him, already, and would curse at him for taking so long to find me. Somehow, that seemed to help. It made me start thinking of a life with a new person... A new person who I could create new and lasting memories with...
As we all know, my ex is married now and lives in a different part of world. Still... there are days when I wonder what he's doing - how he's doing - and what "we" could have been doing. Maybe it's best that I'll never know.
And now, I've got that new person. Part of appreciating each other is the recognition that we both have people from our past. The experiences we have had helped shape the person we are today; and for that, you never take those exes for granted. But you do move on. You thank your lucky stars for your time together and you wish them well. And then you thank your lucky stars for a bright future without them.