The other day, my ex of almost six years posted on Instagram for his girlfriend’s birthday. She’s a relatively new girlfriend, although I’ve been aware of her for a while. It’s only been a recent thing that my ex has actually posted anything with her. I’ve done some creeping and some stalking (I think we can all officially agree that we do this, mostly out of boredom), and she genuinely seems like a sweet person, and I really am happy for him. But the birthday post bothered me for just a minute.
I stopped for a second, reading his post about her birthday and calling her his “Partner in crime”, and realized he never once posted for my birthday. There was one year he posted on my birthday, but it was about the uniform he received in the mail for the Boston Marathon. I had that moment of weakness where I thought, “Why did he post for her and not for me?” And then I slapped myself in the face. My friend Helen sent me a text message and I brought up the birthday post. She wrote, “Isn’t it interesting to see what your exes are willing to do for other people and what they didn’t do for you?”
Now, I realize the Instagram post is a petty and fairly small thing to complain about. It really isn’t all that important. But when you break up, you tend to go over in your head not just the big things, but the small things that matter too. Like how every year, I posted on our anniversary and he didn’t. Or that one year I threw him a surprise birthday party. Or how every gift he gave me was so impersonal and lacked interest, which in a way showed how much he didn’t know me. The little things matter because those are the things that show the other person you care.
My response to Helen was simple: It’s a good thing that I’m seeing these changes because it tells me he learned something from all of this. You’re supposed to see changes in your ex, so rather than being mad and upset because what they’re doing now is something they didn’t ever do for you is ridiculous. You should be happy that they’re changing their ways, otherwise the next girl doesn’t stand a chance. Both my ex and I were too selfish to be considerate to one another, which is why he’s my ex. We were young, so we were supposed to be selfish.
This, I believe, is how every person should view their ex. Unless they tried to stab you or steal from you, you shouldn’t look at them with hatred simply because it didn’t work out. Especially once your ex has moved onto someone else and is treating them the way they are supposed to be treated, you should be happy about this because it means they actually listened to you.
I don’t hate any of my exes, even the shady, cheating ones. I’m not buddy-buddy with any of them, but if I were to run into them walking down the street, I’d offer to grab a coffee and catch up. I’ve grown a lot when it comes to relationships. No matter what I experienced, bad or good, or what I’ve been through, I am who I am. I will never be the jealous girlfriend, or the controlling girlfriend, or the clingy girlfriend. I have my own life and so do they. If they screw up, I will always give them a chance to properly explain themselves, but if they need to explain themselves every single week, then it’s time to call it quits. I’ve learned my time is precious, and I’m no longer going to waste it with anyone who can’t reciprocate those feelings.
So the next time you see your ex, whether it’s in-person or through social media, be the bigger person. No longer sit and stew over what you see, and walk along.