And yes, that is a unicorn horn I’m wearing. The party was wild animal themed and so of course I finally had an excuse to wear it.
Unfortunately, one of them things isn’t how to deal with the baggage that comes along with a new relationship, or, most notably, ‘ex girlfriend’ baggage.
Not all relationships are plain sailing. I’ve had my fair share of complicated relationships in the past, but up until recently, I never had the trouble of an ex girlfriend who just wouldn’t let go – at least not to this extent.
I don’t think many people do, nor do many people go into a relationship expecting to deal with that type of baggage or even knowing how to minimize it. Still, I learned that it can happen and I also learned how to deal with it, so hopefully, if you’re ever in a similar situation, this might help you.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO DROP THE ‘COOL GIRL’ FACADE
Similarly, don’t downplay your own feelings either. If something is really bothering you, voice your concern. I know it sucks to be *that* girl who doesn’t like who their boyfriend talks to or gets a say in who he should have in his life – but being uncomfortable with an overbearing ex doesn’t make you that girl at all. Drop the cool girl facade: you can’t always be happy and easygoing and if you don’t tell him/your other half that it bothers you, it’s only going to niggle away at you and make things worse. Don’t downplay it either. An ex messaging and trying to move in on your man is not okay, even if he rejects her or ignores her messages! Plus, what’s better in a new relationship than getting to the point where you can let your guard down a little and show your vulnerable side? It’s tough, but it’s a necessary step to take to really feel comfortable around each other.
TRY AND GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Unfortunately, some ex’s just can’t let go, and often that’s all there is to it. There are always going to be people in this world who don’t have standards, who set their sights on something and try their hardest to get it – without caring about who they hurt on the way. But, sometimes, there’s a reason for this type of thing. Is your other half accidentally sending off the wrong vibes whilst trying to stay friends with an ex? Are they not quite as over the ex as they claim to be? Try and get to the bottom of the problem, as it’s always super easy to paint an ex as someone who can’t move on (and often, this is true), but sometimes they’re getting mixed signals or might even be entirely innocent with your other half leading them on (this has happened to me before, and it’s not unusual for guys to pair ‘psycho ex girlfriends’ against ‘current girlfriends’ when in reality they just want to have their cake and eat it too – unfortunately it’s a fail safe way to have an excuse for their actions should any issues arise).
BLOCK THEM FROM YOUR LIFE
I’d never condone anyone to try and choose who can and cannot be in their other halves life, but if it’s really bothering you, it can’t hurt to ask them to do the honours. This may be an unpopular opinion but at the end of the day, and ex is an ex for a reason. They might still have them on Facebook because they want to be friends or maybe they haven’t deleted their number because they don’t want things to be awkward if they bump into each other on a night out, but none of that is as important as how it’s affecting you. Any boyfriend would be more than happy to delete an ex (if they’re acting out of order) from their life to reassure you. And let’s face it, they probably have a lot of friends anyway. Why would they need another in the form of an ex?
Likewise, block them yourselves, even if they’ve never made contact with you directly. It’ll stop them watching what you’re both up to and it’ll mean you don’t have to put up with vague-but-obviously-aimed-at-you Facebook statuses. My favourite was that I should learn the difference between being loved and being a rebound, even though my boyfriend had been single since before Christmas and had dated other girls between breaking up with his ex and meeting me. You just don’t need that in your life, especially if the ex is prone to playing games = don’t let stuff like that play on your mind and make the situation worse.
TRUST IN YOUR OTHER HALF
Trust is super important in a relationship, but it’s really only in times like these that you realize how important it is and how vital it is. Some ex’s will go as far as trying to get into your head; whether that’s claiming you can’t make your other half happy, insisting he’s not actually over his ex or even creating lies that he may have cheated on you. Even if it’s just one person’s word against the other’s, it’s really important to put your trust in your other half; no matter what.
TALK TO THEM
This would also be a good way to get to the bottom of things, but generally, men are really crap with this type of thing. In their mind, they’re with you, not them, so that should be that. In your/a girls mind, you know that forthcoming behaviour from an ex isn’t right, the Facebook statuses are throwing shade and generally, until you know that they know what they’re doing isn’t right/they’ve been told to back off, it’s going to worry you. You don’t have to be a b*tch about it, but if things get really bad, there’s nothing wrong with just asking why they’re still chasing after your other half and if there is a particular reason, like him not making it obvious enough that he’s moved on or her still believing there’s a chance etc.
Finally, don’t feel ashamed that it’s got to you; most of the time, they’re doing what they’re doing for the simple fact of getting to you so that the issues will arise in your relationship and you’ll break up and let them win. But just because it bothers you and plays on your mind, it doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t strong or secure. I had my boyfriend’s ex messaging me things like ‘he’s only with you to fill the void I left’ and ‘I will always love him and put up with the fact that he’s with you because I understand him and he knows that’, which, of course, hurt and kind of tapped into my insecure side that every girl has. But when I thought about it further, I made the choice to not listen and not let her win. Sometimes it’s not when they harass your other half but more what they say to you; if they play on your insecurities, it’s very easy to cause arguments between you and cause a break up. If it gets to you, don’t be ashamed, but just speak to your boyfriend or other half about it and let him reassure you it’s not true.
I’d just like to add that despite what I’ve said above, it’s always important to be sure that what you’re fighting for is worth it. In my case, it was, because I genuinely see a future with my boyfriend, but sometimes, the drama can get too much. Your other half has to meet you halfway, but there’s always the possibility of it not going away completely. If your boyfriend isn’t taking the correct measures to remove the issue from his life, sometimes it’s just not worth staying for the drama = there’s only so much you can take.
In the wise words of a creepy porno director from the film The Girl Next Door, “Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze.”
To sum up briefly, the reasons were:
– I was feeling a little overwhelmed with Tinder and, admittedly, social media. It seemed I’d got to the point where if I wasn’t swiping right on Tinder, I was trying to arrange a date on What’sapp, flirting on Facebook or generally just chatting with boys. I couldn’t remember the last time I was genuinely 100% single and not interested in or flirting with someone.
– I was also feeling a bit fed up of not just the dating scene, but dating in general as a generation. I wrote about this in more detail in the original blog post, but let’s just say it was doing my head in a bit.
– And, finally, I wanted to take some time to myself to work out what I wanted. At the end of the day, taking a step back and a brief break from things can always be refreshing and eye opening.
HOW I GOT ON
My dating ban got off to a good start, partly because I was a few hundred miles away from home on the first day of my ban, enjoying the sights and wonders of Blackpool and far too busy to think about dating or lack thereof.
Anyway, in this dream, not only were we ‘on’ again, but we were a couple! It was weird as I’d never seen him as boyfriend material, yet in my dream I was genuinely really happy.
How odd. I think this is mostly to do with seeing his name pop up so me thinking about him properly for the first time in years, but I also wondered if deep down it’s because I really am over the whole idea of casual dating and am perhaps ready for something a bit more serious.
Who knows, but it certainly was a blast from the past that made me feel quite weird when I woke up!
On Friday, I went out to dinner with some friends and mentioned how I had deleted my Tinder profile. On the way home, one friend asked me if I’d deleted it completely and was I talking to anyone. I paused and then admitted ‘no, not really’.
I can’t remember the last time my answer to that question hadn’t been something like ‘well yes, there’s this one guy’ or ‘this guy I used to date popped up’. It was just a simple answer of no and for once, I felt really happy about that.
The rest of the month went by without much to write home about, although I did end up kissing a friend, oops.
I also ended up having so many dreams about past flings and interests! Nothing really notable happened in them, usually just us reuniting, and it didn’t make me feel any different, but I just found it interesting. To me, it also seems like I must have been dating the ban really seriously if my subconscious picked up on it and decided to throw in a bunch of dreams about blasts from the past!
In the end, I was actually a little naughty, and gave in and re-installed Tinder two days early – oops. I’d been feeling glum over the past few days and I guess that’s just another example of what our generation is like – giving in and hoping to find some sort of comfort or at least being cheered up a bit with a little flirt with someone cute or some attention.
DID I STICK TO MY BAN?
For the most part, yes. I completely deleted Tinder (well for 29 days, anyway), and I definitely didn’t sleep with anyone or go on dates. However, is this just because the opportunities never arose? I can’t say I was actually invited on a date during my ban, but there were chances I could have got laid, so to speak.
I did kiss someone, but this said someone promptly noted afterwards that they were just after something casual and I promptly mentioned I definitely was not. So that was entirely short lived, but I’m kind of glad it happened because it gave me a chance to not give in.
I didn’t last very long with the flirting or using no flirty emojis though – so sue me! Do you know how hard it is to actively avoid using a kiss or wink emoji? It’s impossible! Maybe I was a bit harsh on myself there with that rule. But I will say, for the most part, I didn’t initiate any flirting. So that’s something.
WHAT IT TAUGHT ME
This month break has taught me what I want and how I should always stick to my guns. Many times in the past I’ve often ‘gone with the flow’ with guys who I knew deep down didn’t want relationships when deep down I wanted more.
But when presented with the idea this month, I knew as much as it would have been fun to see someone casually, it would only be a quick fix and that it wasn’t really what I wanted. I stuck to my guns because I knew deep down in the long run it wouldn’t work or would be harder on me, and I’m glad I did.
So I’ve definitely learned to turn around and stick to my guns about what I want, and to not feel so ashamed for being the one who wants more.
That’s not to say the next person I see is going to go on to become my future boyfriend, because despite what I’ve said above, I do still believe that you can meet some people who you simply don’t see as boyfriend material and can still feel content taking it casual and slow with. But if there is someone I meet (there may have been…) that I do see myself wanting a relationship with, I’m not going to forgo my own feelings to keep things casual because it’s what he wants.
I’m getting too old for those games!
I’ve also learned to be a bit more picky on Tinder and to not waste anyone’s time. When I used to use Tinder before, I used to someones swipe on guys who I didn’t find that attractive but liked their bios, but most of the time I’d find our conversations boring and never going anywhere. Now, I’m only going to swipe right on people I genuinely 100% believe I would go on a date with if they asked. This is tough because, of course, there’s only so much you can tell from a photo and a small bio, but I suppose that’s the whole point of Tinder really.
Finally, I also learned that I’ve definitely been neglecting my friends lately. My life is all over the place right now and I always seem to be skint, but I know in the past the reasons why I’ve enjoyed being single is because I’ve always been out and about doing things with friends. This I haven’t done so much lately, hence why some evenings I’ve just been sat at home feeling pretty, well, lonely if I’m honest.
I know first hand that you should never get in a relationship just because you’re lonely and that is not the answer to fixing that, so I know for sure it’s a case of me making a bit more effort with my friends again. Sometimes it is just life through, for example with the H&M girls, it’s always really hard to find a time where we’re all free and can all afford going out to dinner or for a few drinks and such.
I don’t think much will change. I’ve re-installed Tinder but I’m not bothering with any other dating apps. I just feel although it’s a bad thing for our generation, everyone is on it, so if you can’t beat them = join them. It is just a bit of fun at the end of the day though, however I won’t be expecting much from it.
I’m still taking a step back of sorts, and not actively looking (not that I did anyway) but I suppose with guys I’d been speaking to for a while before my ban – I’ll talk to them, if they pop up, but I likely won’t initiate things.
And I’m going to try and see my friends a bit more.
That’s about it, really. I am proud I managed the full month and even if there were a few slip ups here and there, I do genuinely feel it’s had a positive effect on me and given me some food for thought – which is the outcome I wanted.
Have you ever been on a dating ban? Do you think it can be refreshing to take a step back sometimes and take a break? Let me know!