November 15 2016 —
Ring, ring. It’s your ex, motherf-r. Maybe it’s your high school ex you dated for six months or the one you dated for three long, hellish years. Or maybe it’s your ex from that first-year biology class who switched into business, became a bank teller and is now the reason you can’t use the BMO in Market Mall.
Maybe it’s the guy from the Den that you hooked up with, like, three times and then the conversation became “Read at 3:15 a.m”. Maybe it’s your long-distance ex you met on Tumblr when you were, like, 15. But no matter what, do not text them back.
If the other half of your ex-partnership summons up the courage to hit that “send” button with their beer-smeared thumb on a Friday night at Commonwealth, then it’s up to you to uphold the sanctity of your now ex-relationship.
Your ex is not okay. They’re thinking about you. They’re thinking about grad. They’re thinking about that one time you guys made out in the staircase by Science A. Your ex is down. You’ve got the power — but dude, are you serious? You miss them, too?
Your ex is a person that you loved, or at least liked. I get it. “But it’s complicated.” I know. “I just want to know why they cheated on me.” I know. “I just want to know if they still care.” I know, I know. “They must, if they’re texting me, right?” Honey, no.
Research on cycling — or as we know it, ‘on and off relationships’ and ‘sex with an ex’— shows that our relationships in emerging adulthood are becoming more and more uncertain.
Studies show that one third of young couples living together and one fifth of young couples who have made it to marriage have experienced at least one breakup and renewal in their relationships. Well, if it’s so common, then it must not be so bad, right? Wrong.
Research shows partners who experience cycling are at much greater risk for further cycling and are faced with considerable difficulty and constraint when they end the often unhealthy relationship for good. “For good” means permanently, by the way. As in, not texting your ex back.
Cycling also predicts greater uncertainty and lower satisfaction in our relationships.
So if our exes are so bad for us, why do they feel so good? Our exes are familiar — we already know them. They feed into our need for intimacy. We might also feel that there is unfinished business.
But don’t give into the cycle. You might have been looking for a sign — this is it. Don’t text them back.
Remind yourself that you are good enough. Know that you deserve better and that they probably do, too. Go out for drinks with your friends, work on that term paper or send me an e-mail to rant about your ex. But for god’s sake, do not text them back.
In all seriousness, some people might find that they are having difficulty leaving an unhealthy relationship. If you or someone you know suspect that your relationship might be hurting you, I encourage you to visit www.loveisrespect.org. Their quizzes are fun and beneficial for anyone in any type of relationship.
Never hesitate to reach out — relationships should always be a positive and enriching experience.
Jennifer K is a third year Psychology Major. She loves hearing your first date stories and writes a monthly column on relationship health called Love You A Latte.