Friday, March 13, 2009
Lunch With The Ex?
In the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother, the crew was discussing what happens when you have lunch with your ex. Barney, as he is the authority on the subject of dating, states there are only four reasons to meet an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend for lunch: 1. He/She wants to get back together, 2: He/she wants to kill you, 3: He/she wants to return your stuff, and 4: He/She wants to rub your face in the fact that they are better off without you. Being that Barney has not had a relationship that has lasted more than a few hours, it’s understandable why he wouldn’t consider a fifth reason to have lunch. May I propose Lunch Date Reason #5: He/she wants to simply catch up?
When you are in a serious relationship, that person is the first person you think of in the morning and the one you call first when you want to share good or bad news. You know their friends, their family, their coworkers and their pets. And when you break up, you can’t help but miss the friendship part of the relationship. There is no “But we can still be friends…” not that I know of, anyway. Even when a break-up is for the best, there are pieces of that other person that you will miss. It’s a simple fact.
My first real boyfriend and I dated for three years. We were a part of each other’s families calling each other’s parents “Mom” and “Dad.” Together we attended many weddings (seven in one summer), family dinners, vacations and school reunions. We made dreams and plans. We chose the names of our future children and where we would live when we retired. Our lives were intertwined. Opting to end the relationship meant having to let go of all of that and while I knew it was the right decision, it was a huge loss just the same.
I don’t often ponder what might have been if we had stayed together. I just know what wouldn’t have been – life as I know it now with all my boys and their joyful chaos. I chose to go with the unknown over the already decided. I chose passion over familiarity. I followed my heart and am so glad I did. I have no regrets but I do think of him – the same way I wonder about What If Marty and those other friends that I haven’t found on FaceBook.
But if I did find myself in New York and invited my ex out to lunch, #5 would be my reason. I’d want to hear about his work, his wife and child. I’d ask about his parents, his nieces and nephews who are all adults by now, his friends that used to be my friends. I’d get caught up on all that I’ve missed these last seventeen years. And in the process, I’ll be reassured that he is doing well and that breaking up was truly best for both of us, not just me. Perhaps that is the 6th reason to have lunch, but this I knew already.
Now it’s your turn. Pretend you have set up a date with your Ex. Which reason would it be? What would you and your ex talk about over lunch?