Tag Archives: Suzi Parker

Coping With Exes In Adulthood

Breaking up is hard to do. So said Neil Sedaka in that 1962 Billboard classic.

It was as true then as it is now, whether you’re in your teens or in your forties. So how do you actually move on after a broken heart?

Sometimes, time really does heal all wounds, and you’re capable – over time – of becoming friends with a former lover. I’m still close with one of my exes. So is my husband with one of his. These are people we exchange holiday cards with, make a point of visiting when we’re back in the States and even count their spouses as friends. In both cases, these exes form part of a larger social circle that helped to reinforce the transition to “friend.”

In another case, an old boyfriend contacted me out of the blue last year to give him some marital advice. Miraculously, it worked. He now credits me with playing a key role in keeping his marriage together. Somehow the act of helping him out in an impartial way enabled us – many years after the fact – to reunite as friends.

Of course, it’s not always that easy to make the jump to being friends. One friend of mine has solved this problem by continuing to sleep with his ex-girlfriend of 20 years ago well into his forties. In keeping with that old college adage that “It doesn’t count if it’s an ex” (Oh, to be 21 again!), he simply hasn’t moved on. For what it’s worth, this is also the strategy employed by business partners/sometime lovers Mikhael Blomkvist and Erika Berger of Dragon Tattoo fame. In the Stieg Larsson trilogy, Berger’s husband knows all about it and doesn’t mind either. (It is Sweden, after all.)

Alternatively, you can go the route of writing a letter to your ex. By expressing – longhand – all the things you still feel towards him or her, you can sometimes expunge any last traces of desire or remorse still swirling around inside your belly. This was the tactic adopted by my Politics Daily colleague Andrew Cohen, in a much-trafficked love letter to his ex earlier this week entitled “On Her Wedding Day: Saying Things Left Unsaid.” Whether you should go public with such a letter – or, as my colleague Suzi Parker suggests, “put it in a box and set it afire in the bathtub” – is ultimately your call. (If you want a quick primer on why you might want to think twice before publishing said missive, click here, here and here in that order, and then run for cover.)

You can also cyber-stalk your ex by “friending” them on Facebook to keep tabs on them from a safe distance.  My colleague Sarah Wildman has a terrific piece on why that’s quite possibly not the best idea either, despite the appeal on some emotional level. It’s not just because casual On-line relationships can easily lead to the real thing. Rather, it’s because, as Sarah concludes, “some doors, however easily unlocked, are meant to remain closed.”

So where does that leave us?

I’ve often found that music works well if you want to “go there” without really “going there,” if you get my drift. At different points in my life, I’ve listened to Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me, The Grateful Dead’s Looks Like Rain and Silvio Rodriguez’ Mi Unicornio Azul when I wanted to cry into my beer.

At the end of the day, as I’ve written before, acknowledging the road not taken is just one of those bitter truths of adulthood. Sometimes you end up loving the wrong person. Or maybe – to quote that curl-up-in-a-fetal-position Dire Straits classic, Romeo and Juliet –  “it was just that the time was wrong.”

Either way, life goes on.

How have you coped with a love that wasn’t meant to be?

Image: Love Letter by Wolfsoul via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. One of the first blogs I ever subscribed to was Deb Ng’s Freelance Writing Jobs. I initially went there for all the terrific freelance job listings, but soon learned that Deb and her colleagues also offered a wealth of information, inspiration and tips for freelancers, bloggers and writers of all sorts. Deb sold Freelance Writing Gigs this week, but continues to blog about social media over at Kommein. Here’s a great post on what civilians (i.e. “normal” people) can get out of Twitter.

2. My cousin’s daughter spent the month of June living in Palestine and blogging about it. It isn’t often that you get a window into a 21 year-old college student’s thinking *and* sophisticated political commentary at the same time. Regardless of how you feel about the whole Palestinian question, Rachel’s blog demonstrates the power of blogging and the power of youth: Summer in Palestine.

3. A friend sent me this brilliant “six degrees of separation” chart of famous literati from Lapham’s Quarterly. Who knew that Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the Kevin Bacon of his day?

4. In a less esoteric vein, I also loved this preview of the latest in the Focker franchise – Little Fockers – over in the Film Blog at The Guardian.

5. If, like me, you are quietly obsessed with Iceland, you will love my colleague Suzi Parker’s take on the new Mayor of Reykjavic, Jon Gnarr, over on www.PoliticsDaily.com. (Note: Video of his campaign anthem is an absolute must.)

6. Finally, speaking of videos, a friend posted this You’ve Got To Love London video on her Facebook page. Made me nostalgic and I’m not even leaving the city!

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