XXX

“Actually, from what I know of her, I think I’d probably like her — if she wasn’t his ex-girlfriend.”

I said that a few months ago to a person who is a friend of both the ex-girlfriend and mine. The statement rang in my ears for days, because, what an asshole thing to say. This is a person who I’ve never met but because of her history with the man I’m dating, I’ve decided that disliking her is required. We do this as women, it’s sort of our thing to hate the ex. The more logical thing would be to assume that because he likes me, I like myself, and he liked her, I would probably also like her.

Not long after the aforementioned asshole statement, in a separate conversation, my ex’s ex came up, and I realized how long I had been consumed with their past and the fear that he wasn’t over her. It wasn’t a baseless fear, stemming from a history of being with men who strung along their exes as plan B, or sometimes kept us both around, alternating who was plan A and who was B. The ex is often the easiest option, and something almost always remains: love, attraction, nostalgia if nothing else.

I spent hours of my life, in each of my past relationships, consumed by fear. What I should’ve recognized was that it didn’t matter how much time I wasted worrying about and disliking that ex, it wasn’t her who was going to bring down our relationship, it was us. I didn’t trust those men, for good reason, and the exes weren’t to blame for that.

So I’m trying this new, novel thing where I don’t spend my time hating exes (his, not mine, I’m no saint for chrissake), because there’s enough needless hate and judgement among women already. The least I can do is trust that he liked them for the same reasons he likes me, which means I just found a few more intelligent, beautiful, charming women to hang out with.

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