The ABC’s of Exes: Do’s, don’ts, and You Better Nots Evers

By Jillian Mason, Arizona State University

You don’t tell them what lacy underwear you bought from Victoria’s Secret last weekend. You don’t tell them that you know Victoria’s secret. You don’t tell them anything. Absolutely nothing about your life shall enter their minds now that they are a part of a club where sad, slow music plays when pictures of you pop up on their camera roll.

Exes, are at the end of the alphabet for a reason. They are not your “A”, “B” or “C”, however they are not “Z”. “Z” is reserved for a special person who does the unthinkable, such as, running over your dog. Sometimes, an ex-boyfriend may be such a horrible person, that they may deserve X,Y, and Z in the list of people on your totem pole. Maybe your totem pole chooses to only include several people. Maybe your totem pole has no people, only the happy faces of furry creatures. Or there is the other side of things, where your Ex is horrible at being your Ex, and you went as far as assigning their existence to a number.

That is the left and right brain at work, people.

You shouldn’t tell your Ex about your new boyfriends or girlfriends. You shouldn’t tell your Ex about your desire to switch roles in your sexual orientation. Although that sounds like you could be friends if you are playing for the same field, they are still be your Ex, and that is weird. Your Ex, let’s call him Tim, may go one of two ways. He may high five you, or ignore your existence. He may want to get together and compare notes because it would be something he could cross of his bucket list. Maybe not.

You really should pretend your ex doesn’t exist. You should get rid of the teddy bear he gave to you for your birthday, and bury the “selfies” you took making out with him so far beneath the earth’s surface that when you die, no one has to live through that nightmare. You should die a martyr. Making out selfies ruin martyrdom. You should, while you are at it, change your life a bit. Don’t go to the same bars and hang around the same people. You should earn a new hobby, change things up. Don’t go to McDonalds and order a coke, enjoy a Whopper from Burger King with a Pepsi. Start somewhere. It’s the little things that will really help you from detaching from your ex, and beginning a new life.

However, before you begin this new life, there are things you must do beforehand to avoid it destroying your new glamourous life. Regardless of who broke up with who when, how or even why, you need to strategically delete them off of social media.

Social media is the devil. It is the enemy just as much as it is your friend. It is the enabler to keep your friends close, but your enemies so close that they can stalk your every move as your check in to “Sally’s Kick Back”, and “Sushi with mom”. You do not want to give your ex any ammunition. When you break up, you end any ability to socially mingle, and that includes throughout cyberspace.

However, that does not mean your best friend has to delete your ex off of her friend’s list. You use her to stalk your ex and to update you on his new ugly girlfriends. That will become a good tool to continue to remind yourself that you made a good choice in leaving or not going back.

To maintain the break up, you need to keep a good distance. We aren’t saying you should move to Mars, however, if that is an option, take it. We aren’t telling you to go into the witness protection program, but if you were dating a wanted hit man, that may be your best choice. Just keep enough distance to avoid the inevitable: the first run in.

Some people are very fortunate to not have to deal with this monstrosity. Some people get to live right on top of one other, crossing paths multiple times a day and yet they never have to see their ex. Others, which due to Murphy’s Law will be you, are not so lucky. You will run into your ex and that moment will be just as painfully awkward as the break up was. You won’t know what to do, because you turn into a deer in headlights. You freeze, and suddenly in the background you are caught between wanting to raise your hands and wave the white flag and commit a heinous crime,

In the event you run into your ex, you shouldn’t sleep with him. You better not be under an influence, walking around slowly with your eyes attempting to focus so hard that you don’t know exactly who or what real life is. You really should entertain the thought about never drinking again to avoid making horrible decisions, however, we are more than human. Humans make decisions. Sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are okay, but decisions are never great. They always end up bad for somebody because in a world full of exes, somebody loses.

Say you have this new life, assuming you dodge the previous bullets of dealing with an ex. You have a husband, significant other type thing, or a wife, and a minivan. That minivan is filled with cherub like children, some of them ones that are magnetically attracted to the mess makers that call you their parent. You go to an Oprah sponsored book club on Saturday mornings, and PTA meetings every other Friday. Your life is nothing like it was during your yester years, because you are tired, worn out, and you work 24/7 with no salary other than the lint and change you might find if you dig through the laundry. Even at your weakest point, your most exhausted and stressed, you will not under any circumstances contact your ex.

Do not contact them for a blast from the past, to talk about your kids, to complain about your lackluster marriage, or to be naughty. Do not give in to this bridge you have successfully crossed over many years prior, because it will end nowhere.

You will end in a place where your husband may now be you most current ex. The cycle repeats itself, and doesn’t care who it takes into its whirlpool of collectible lovers. People that have loved, given into love, and escaped from its suffocating grasp.

Perhaps one day despite our advice to you, you give into your ex. Just keep in mind that there are two different kinds of people in this world. Those that know the ABCs, and those that lie about it.