“I think we’re headed in different directions.”
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
No matter what line you use to end a relationship, break-ups suck, but they’re part of life. Some break-ups suck worse than others. You might choose to suggest, “Let’s be friends,” at the end of a relationship… or a statement like that might make you cringe and head for the hills. Whether you loved your ex or not, things are certainly going to be awkward between the two of you from now on. Before you embark on your single life – whether that’s with a few tears or a sigh of relief – let’s talk about what behavior you can expect from a scorned lover.
1. The Mutual Ex
When you broke up, things were mutual. You were over him and he was over you. Now that you’ve gone your separate ways, you’ve done just that – gone your separate ways. If you bump into him, things are friendly, albeit a little awkward. But hey, that’s okay! You’re over him and he’s over you. You can look back on your time together with a smile, and your relationship was probably pretty good, but now it’s in the past. The Mutual Ex is probably the best, least awkward ex to have. I’d say go out and buy him a drink to celebrate the fact that you don’t totally hate one another and probably even feel comfortable and safe dating one another’s friends, but I’m sure you don’t actually care enough to do that.
2. The One That Got Away
Things probably ended well enough with this particular ex that you don’t feel an ounce of anger towards them. Maybe they weren’t even your official S.O. Perhaps you just briefly dated, had a mutual crush on one another, or hooked up a few times. Whatever happened, you’re not together now, and there’s no chance in the foreseeable future that you’ll ever become an item. You deeply, completely regret that every time this person crosses your mind, and probably spend a lot of time mooning over them. This is that guy that you’re always composing drunk Facebook messages to that you delete before pressing “send.” Maybe he got a girlfriend, maybe he moved across the country… Whatever the case, now he’s just a beautiful, unobtainable dream.
3 The Stalker
Onto the first of the exes, you definitely don’t want to have: the Stalker. If you’ve lived through a number of break-ups stalker-free, you’re one of the lucky ones. There are two types of stalkers:
- The one you have to file a restraining order against
- The one who thinks you were dating when you weren’t
Let’s start off with the second “stalker” since they are far less sinister. Sometimes you meet a really cool dude, go out on a date with him… and then decide that you’re totally not interested. This is totally fine and within your right, but some people just can’t handle or don’t understand the rejection.
Next thing you know, he’s calling you asking where things went wrong or texting you saying that your song just came on the radio and made you cry. (And you’re just like, “What? We had a song? I met you for five minutes when I was drunk and gave you my number at the bar!”) The situation with this guy is just so absurd. The worst part is he wasn’t even your ex. He just thinks he was.
If your stalker ex is exactly that – an actual stalker – then please take the steps necessary to protect yourself, from contacting authorities to reaching out to your loved ones. If you’re unsure what to do or need someone to talk to, there are a number of hotlines that are just a quick Google search away, such as 866-689-HELP.
4. The Clinger
The Clinger is a less scary, more understandable version of the Stalker. This ex-partner actually had a relationship with you. In fact, you were probably mutually in love for a number of months or years. You spent a lot of time together and forged a relationship that had so many great, special moments. Unfortunately, it had to come to an end. Now, your ex is still crazy in love with you. Whether you feel the same way or not, the relationship is over and you don’t have any intention of going back to it. Your ex, however, just won’t accept that that’s true and will do anything and everything to win you back, including sending you pathetic drunk text messages.
If the Clinger was someone you really cared about, it’s tempting to go back to them. They really care about you, so if you feel the same way, that might be a good decision. However, there are a lot of cases where the Clinger was the one in the wrong who completely trashed your relationship. Maybe they cheated or said some hurtful things. In this case, it’s important to stay strong and continue to ignore Mr. Clingy and maybe even block him on social media.
5. The Clingee
The flipside to the Clinger is the Clingee – the one ex-partner that you’re completely obsessed with. You never got over this guy and might even have something off-and-on with him. Right now, however, things are most definitely off, whether you’re willing to admit that or not. You can’t stop yourself from stalking his social media and shooting him triple texts, whether he replies to them or not. It’s sad and embarrassing being the Clinger, but we’ve all been there. Moving on is hard to do, but if they’re over you (or using your love for them to get laid on occasion, regardless of your feelings) then you’ve got to work hard to get over them. Someone out there is far more deserving of your clearly passionate love, if only because they’re 100% willing to love you back!
6. The Ghost
Some exes just leave you wondering what in the hell you did wrong when they completely disappear without a trace. Things were going great, and then your lover just – *poof* – was gone. Either that happened, or your ex-boyfriend ended a long-term relationship with you before completely removing himself from your life, even going so far as to ignore you when your paths cross again.
Maybe you weren’t even friends on social media and they drop off the face of the planet one day and you’ll never know what happened to them. Maybe they randomly start ignoring your calls and then end up with a Facebook official girlfriend two weeks later. Whatever method this ex uses to disappear, he’s completely ghosted, leaving you wondering, “Why?!” Half of the time it’s not even that you care about him anymore. You’re just completely dumbfounded and confused. The best way to deal with a ghost? Ghost on him too and forget he even existed.
7. The Embarrassment
Can you believe you dated this guy?! No, you can’t, and your friends will never let you live it down, either. Every time he uploads a new profile picture, you want to throw up. Maybe he’s not that attractive or maybe he’s just a complete weirdo. Whatever the case, you have no idea what you saw in him way back when.
This ex-partner would be benevolent if not for inevitable run-ins. Unless one of you has moved to a different city, it’s likely you’ll bump into one another eventually. When you do, you pray that they don’t approach you and run to the other side of the street or promptly leave the party. There’s absolutely no way you’re having that, “Oh, yeah, I used to date him. Yup. Him” convo again.
8. The Asshole
He’s the one that screwed you over. You know, that guy that you either avoid mentioning or love talking shit about with your girlfriends. He deserves everything nasty you say about him and then some. Better yet, he deserves that you don’t spare him a second thought. Whatever he did to you, forget about that jerk and consider your relationship a good thing. At last, it taught you an important lesson about how to deal with bullshit. So let’s have a toast to the douchebags: Thanks for getting the hell out of my life!
9. The Fuckbuddy
We’ve all heard the saying: The best way to get over someone is to get under somebody else. But what about when you’re over someone romantically, but not exactly over their sex game? This is where the fuckbuddy ex comes in.
Maybe you were in love once, but now you’re just in love with the sex. As long as both of you remain open about your feelings, there’s no reason you can’t continue to have break-up sex long after the break-up is over. Sex with an ex can be the best thing ever. You know all about what the other likes in bed and the emotions attached can range from intense to meaningless. If you do it right, the two of you can continue to have casual hate sex with a side of fondness attached for years to come. In the meantime, you can move on and meet other dudes, all while keeping this former partner around for fun.
10. The Friend
Finally, it’s completely possible to remain friends with an ex, should the two of you choose to do so. Maybe no strong emotions were attached when you were together, making this possible. Perhaps your fondness for one another outweighs any negative feelings. It could even be that enough time has passed to heal all wounds. However, you’ve managed to remain, friends, kudos to both of you. It’s certainly a difficult feat!
Things can get rough if neither of you is romantically attached. That attraction might still be there, or there might be a smidgen of jealousy should you hook up with one another’s friends. If you manage to keep this friendship intact after your break-up, it’s definitely a strong one that you should treasure for as long as possible. And if things get awkward or fall apart, back off as quietly as possible to salvage what positive feelings the two of you have left.
We’ve all had an ex, but it’s important to remember that we’ve all been the ex, too. So next time an old boyfriend or former FWB calls you up late at night, you can still press the “ignore” button, but look upon him with a little pity. You’ve been that person too, and if you haven’t – well, there’s a future love interest out there just waiting for you to obsess over. Whether you intend to jump back into the dating pool any time soon or not, don’t be afraid to fall in love again, and just be glad that your time with certain shittier exes (looking at you, Asshole) is long gone.