Every last one of us knows we’ll engage in some sort of communication with an ex between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s like a fucked-up mid-20s version of Lent: four weeks of waiting and anticipation of a mystery unfolding by the day. I will testify that I’ve been the sender and the recipient of these texts throughout the years—although during hour two of texting, it’s hard to tell who’s bored, who’s thirsty, or who has genuinely nothing to lose.
My good friend and RTU guest-poster Daniela regularly has a pulse on her ex’s energies and often shouts through the phone, “You know those bitches always come back!”—and it’s true. Whether we’re single, dating, married, divorced, etc., there always seems to be a desire to know what a former love is doing with their lives around the holidays—a time of year known for quality time and emotional intimacy. We’ve spent years of our lives with these people celebrating Thanksgiving, religious holidays, and New Years with the assumption that the person next to us will always be in the figurative and literal picture.
I’m shocked at myself as I type these words: Talk to them if you want to. No, not your lunatic boyfriend who you’ve blocked from all forms of communication still years after your breakup (lol subtweet @ me), but your healthy, sane exes who might enjoy catching up with you. It’s sad and sweet in a way: if your connection was real, a piece of it will always remain. It doesn’t mean ya love ‘em, it doesn’t mean ya wanna have babies with ‘em, it doesn’t mean you want to catch ’em under the mistletoe. Maybe it means you were invested in their wellbeing for so long that you have a genuine interest in hearing about what came after your time together.
Be kind. Wish them well. Channel positive energy to them because you care about them, but my warning is this: Please, dear God, do not lead them into thinking there will be a round two (or three, or four as the case may be) of your relationship. You can catch up without making false promises. My second warning is this: Please, dear God, do not let your ex lead you into thinking there will be a round 2/3/4, etc. I’ve sat with friends after the New Year has begun as they ponder why their high school boyfriend hasn’t texted them back, and I have to say, “Gurrrrrrrrrlll, you haven’t seen him since you were 15. Do better!”
Sister Charise reminds us often to do whatever the fuck we want. I agree wholeheartedly. If a hometown hookup on December 28 is something you want, don’t let me stop you. HOWEVA, I would feel like an ethical fraud if I didn’t remind you that we’re messing with love here. It makes us illogical. It makes us romanticize a past that wasn’t all that great. The percentage of exes that were meant to reconnect and get married over the holiday season is like .1%, and if you’re gonna reach into the vault and pull out that dusty old book, you best be dayum sure you’re part of that .1%. Otherwise, you accept the many risks of a situation that could turn sour.
My final holiday t(ex)ting wishes for you:
1. May you not be so drunk that even autocorrect won’t help.
2. May you not crawl back into a dark romantic cave you spent so much time crawling out of.
3. May you not hesitate the opportunity to smile from an old friend if the time is right.