The ex factor

don’t forget the reason.

The ex factor via @theMagunga

I presume that if you are reading this blog, then you are old enough to have loved someone and lost them. Not to death, but to other things. Everyone at this point in life should have an ex-girlfriend. There is no way someone could have lived through the innocent crushes of primary school, the randy adolescence of high school, the I-thought-I-knew-what-I-was-doing love dramas of college life and into the confused adulthood relationship comedy phase…and no have dated at all. Or worse, only dated one person their entire lives. In fact, as a rite of passage, everyone should have at least one ex in their lives.

If not, this blogpost is not for you, kindly proceed direct to GO, and remember to collect 200.

Having an ex is not a problem – the real conundrum always is what to do with them. Do you keep them as friends or do you drop them like an album and bounce? There is no easy answer to this question. Personally, there are exes who I doubt I ever want to see again. The ones I cut ties with entirely. I quit them like people quit taking sugar – went cold turkey. Wiped them clean from my memory the way we do to our internet browser history after we are done watching bad manners.

Then there are those who I am friendly with. We are not friends, do not get me wrong. We are just friendly. The relationship happened, and it sucked when it was over, but we still vibe. You know, if we ever find ourselves in a room with other people, there will be nobody being rushed to the Accidents and Emergency segment of Kenyatta Hospital. We are still friends on Facebook, and they still think I am funny, and when they post their new boyfriends, I genuinely wish them the very best. 

But that is just it with these ones. It all ends there. We will not go out for pints together, and there is no livestock that will lose its life in our honour. I will not call Karis from Wambugus to roast a goat leg for our demolition. And if they are ever getting married, I am not being added to a WhatsApp Group to contribute money.

Most of my exes fall in this category. I think.

Then there is this other category of ex-lovers. The ones that, after the break up, you still are actual friends with. I have only one of this kind.  She is someone I dated for almost four years, and if we hadn’t split up, then she would’ve been wearing a very big, expensive rock in one of her fingers for me. I would have involved the government to be part of this relationship. When things ended, it didn’t feel right that we threw everything away. 

The funny thing is, we did not quite sit down and talk about it. It just happened. We had been cohabiting for most of that relationship, and the night I moved out, she texted to ask “does it feel strange?” It did. And we never stopped talking since. Currently, there are very few people who are close to me like she is. It also helped that we had other things in common – like we had been running a book business together, and she is the editor for this blog, nothing goes up without her eyeballs. 

She will tell me about all the dudes she is seeing and she will know about the girls I am. That kind of friendship. And when she tells me about this new dude that is consistent in her life, the feeling I get is not so much jealousy, but curiosity. She is not like a sister to me. I know what her panties hide, no way she can be my sister. This is not Game of Thrones.

An ex who is your friend would be – I imagine – your ideal wingman. There is nobody better suited to help you sort through the assortment of potential dating partners in Nairobi, than the person who actually dated you. And if you get a girlfriend, your ex would be a resource for her. Think about it, if you are going to buy a Mercedes, you’d look for someone who has owned one to tell you what the experience has been like, no?

But then again, having an ex who is a friend gets tricky when you get into a relationship. It complicates things when you tell your girlfriend ati “My ex is my closest friend.” Some will think you can never open a new chapter in your life if you are still stuck in the previous one. They think dating someone new while still being too close with your ex is like browsing the internet with multiple tabs open. 

I do not think so. I think there is a lot that can be said about knowing a person for over half a decade and counting. And that there are friendship bits from that relationship that cannot be thrown away with the bath water. But I agree that there is a reason they are your ex. There is a reason you guys broke up, and you should never forget that reason. 

If you two were so great together, you’d still be together. But you are not, are you?

The ex factor via @theMagunga

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