Monday, August 29, 2011

Letting go of the past



Life is not perfect but I have very few complaints. I am in a happy place. Got three people hired last week. I started working on a new book, I wrote four articles for an online magazine. I went to an amazing concert (Jill Scott/Mint Condition). I went to an author & artist festival. I read two new good reviews on Sweet Little Lies on Amazon. It was a good week. Except...

I caught up with two friends of mine. The conversations both went the same way. How have you been, well and you. Catch up, catch up, so what's new. And then at a certain point in both conversations, they each brought up the ex-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and asked if I'd spoken with him. When the first friend asked, I just frowned and said "No." and moved on.

When the second friend asked, I got a little ticked off. I said I hadn't spoken with him and had no plans to. And then I stewed over the whole thing for a minute (or fifteen). I haven't dated that guy in over two years. I've dated since him, I've fallen in and out of (and back in) love since him, I'm in a relationship right now. A freaking good one at that. So what's with the bringing up of ex-dude as if we were together yesterday?

I called both of them back and they both gave me bullshiggity versions of  "always thought you two would get back together some day"- really? I was forced to give a little speech. Something along the lines of - I don't mind a little reminiscing but I'm living in the here and now. Either join me or fall back.

BougieLand, do you have people who still bring up your exes from years ago? Still ask you about things you were interested in years ago? Why is is so hard for others to let go of your past when you've moved on? Thoughts, comments, insights?

53 comments:

michaeldavis said...

not anymore, but for years My Mom and family were obsessed with the girl I went to the prom with...this went on until after college.  

Brneyed1 said...

I don't bring up exes.  They're exes for a reason!

Michele said...

I know what you mean.   My ex and I have been apart for a year and a half and everytime I see a certain friend she always says, "So, you haven't heard from him?"  Geez, what part of "we broke up" do you not get?

Jc Wooten said...

Yes!  Friends and family constantly bring up my exes.  And I am not just talking about recent ones.... I don't get it.  Why keep throwing their names in my face when we both moved on for whatever reason. Leave it be!  SMH

Sarah said...

I'm glad you are in a happy place :-) And I'm sure .... will be happy to read that as well.

Who knows. Sometimes people are just making conversation and not having talked in a while the ex(s) and old interests are all they have to ask about. Others don't necessarily understand what our sensitive spots are. I'm gathering that what's-his-name is still a sensitive spot otherwise the mention of his name would be a phft brushed off the shoulder like a piece of lint. Last week, I was talking to my sister and the last boyfriend entered the conversation. I wasn't bothered by it like I would have been last year. He seems to have truly enter the "past" in my mind. I have collected my thoughts about him and the relationship in a tidy bundle and put them away. I still don't ever want to see him again and plan on making sure that doesn't happen, but that is mostly because I don't trust him not to turn it into a calamity of one sort or another.

Penny said...

Ah, happiness.  Some people just don't get it.  You say you are happy now (and from this blog, you are-wonderful for you!!) so what else can you say to people who don't understand?   Whatever you had to do to get from where you were to where you are now, you did-why on earth would you want to go back?   You may have been happy at one point with Ex-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but you didn't stay that way (for whatever reason.)  Folk either get on happiness train with you, or they get left at the station.  The point is you can't go back, and why would you want to? 

TypeALady said...

Hmmm...two girlfriends acted like Gestapos this weekend when inquiring about a former flame. When I asked about the renewed interest on a dead subject, they said it was entertainment. O__o Oh really now? I'm not your cable provider and we have since changed channels! Ask me again and I guarantee you I won't be as polite...

sol_dier said...

I think its cruel.  It has nothing to do with the ex, more to do with the 'me' at time I was with the ex.

I'm over that me, I 'deaded', (need to say it in slang), buried and mourned her. If I can do that, then other people need to get on with their lives and do it to. 

A friend who keeps asking is getting some vicarious pleasure by reminding you of a time they know you didn't enjoy. I never underestimate the appetite for cruelty that some 'friends' have. Its time to review some of them and let em go. 

'No country for fake ass, cruel friends'.

MsJamie14 said...

I think one runs the risk of the ex being brought up if the relationship was very long and/or you broke up and got back together, broke up and got back together..etc. Or have a history of never quite being out of touch with the ex.

My friends and family had a hard time letting go of the last one I dated because not only did they love him, but they could tell even I thought he was different than the rest. They even convinced me I should reach out to him and see if we could make it work (bad idea). After that failed, I just basically told all interested parties to never bring his name up again. That worked. LOL

bashowell said...

Sometimes people bring up exes.  Usually to laugh hysterically, which I don't mind.  I do have one friend who always brings up this one dude and I keep having to reiterate no how no way. Oh but you're single.  Yes and I intend to keep it that way.  Well I always thought... Keep your thoughts to yourself.  Damn!

William Martin said...

Until very recently, my mother kept bringing up my college girlfriend. "Whatever happened to ... she was such a nice girl" Now that nice girl met a nice guy, married him and moved to the other side of the planet, we can stop discussing it. I found it quite irritating but in her mind, that was the person she saw me with and she wasn't letting go of that vision unless she absolutely had to.

GrownAzzMan said...

Some people (not all, but often way too many) don't genuinely enjoy those around them being happy. When someone is (you) it makes them feel less then by comparison. Hence the need to remind you of something that didn't go well. To 'take you down a peg' like folks used to say. It is probably the quickest way not to hear from me for a long while.

CaliGirlED said...

I don't get that so much as people being surprised that I know of his new daughter and about when she was born, that she's a cutie pie and it doesn't bother me.

I.am.over.him! But I still keep in touch with his sisters and the news of their new niece and pictures on facebook keeps me in the know. I am happy for him, even if he's not happy himself. *shrugs*

BlackButterfly said...

Yes I have friends and family that still ask about my last ex (I ended it 5 years ago).  They do it because we all grew up together and they always thought...  So, because I am still single (by choice) they think that I am in need and should be in a relationship by now.  *laughs*  Usually I just give the blank "really???" stare and they usually drop it and move on to "Well is there anyone new?".  I say nope, they sigh and we part ways until the next time they catch up with me because I forget to check my caller id.

blackprofessor said...

I think it is a boundaries issue! A lot of people don't have healthy emotional boundaries and don't understand not to tread in emotional situations.  You drew the line in the sand for your friends so now it is up to them to observe it. 

GrownAzzMan said...

"we part ways until the next time they catch up with me because I forgot to check my caller id"

This!

Jubilance said...

I generally don't have people ask me about my ex's, mostly because they know that I'm the type of person that when I'm done with a person, I'm DONE. No go-backs, no need to rehash the past.

I have noticed tho that when I talk to or run into someone that I haven't seen me in years, they interact with me as the person I knew before. That's been a big indicator to me as to how much I've changed & grown as a person.

As for why some folks can't let go of other peoples' pasts...well I suppose it boils down to some folks being way too invested in other ppl's lives. Its easier to be worried about what someone else is doing than to actually get your own life in order.

Sasha Iman said...

They haven't moved on.

Assuming the person in question isn't on some slick mission to drudge up a sore spot in order to minimize or diminish your current level of happiness, for whatever reason, they've latched on to this idea of what ought to be and are invested in seeing it through. It could be 5 days or 15 years ago and they're still gonna be asking questions as if it were yesterday and keeping tabs on the other person is your part time gig... never mind the fact that you're over the situation and living in the present. 

daisy said...

There are two friends that I rarely deal with because they are constantly asking about my first husband. No matter we've been divorced and both of us are remarried to different people. I don't think they are deliberately malicious but definitely thoughtless.

Earthangel172 said...

I use to have someone in my life like that. As @Jubilance:disqus  said, she was way too invested in my life and the lives of others. When we reconnected via FB, she made it her mission to know e'rthing that was going on in my past, present and future. There were times she would pry so much that she would say things that were offensive. Needless to say, we had a heart to heart about boundaries but to no avail. Some people love to live in the past because they are uncertain of their own future. As for me, I couldn't care less about any of my friend's exes because they are an ex for a reason.

Earthangel172 said...

Well said!

Mocha said...

Hahaha!  I remember as a kid my cousin's mom had pictures of him and all the girlfriends she liked going down the hallway to the right of the front door.  Each girl he brought home was given a speech from his mom about what made each girl special and there were a couple she cried over.  His mom kept in touch with those girls too and invited them over to family functions.  I think some of them ended up becoming friends; bonding over their love for my cousin's mom and their hate for him.

It embarrassed him at first, but then he started to enjoy bringing girls over cause they each tried to out do the other by wining and dining him and trying to make good impressions on his parents...smh...needless to say he's a player now and I blame his mom.

sol_dier said...

co-sign. 
Friend, family whatever...  if you can't stand seeing me happy, its goodbye and good luck.

maureen said...

I dated a GOP and my family & some of my friends never  let live that down. THis is the  guy  that had me crying my eyes out on the bathroom floor.

rozb said...

I had a friend that liked to bring up stuff: "I know you are in a good relationship now, but what's up with So and So? Have you seen him? Does he know what is up with you? Are you really happy, or do you wish things turned out different?" Yes - sometimes some of these questions, sometimes all of these questions. Worse than someone always reminiscing about the Salt-N-Pepa doorknocker earring days. Never moving forward.

We are no longer friends. o_O

ASmith said...

I've found people bring up mess looking for entertainment.  Relationship drama is always an easy go-to, but I have people ask me about random things and I can tell they're just searching for something to amuse them, which is somewhat disturbing.  However, I'm beginning to gather that some of the people I know are a little intrigued by my life and experiences (even when THEY'RE the ones contributing to the craziness I go through each day) and so I can accept that it's not them trying to necessarily be messy.

I wish folks would support the whole living in the present idea, though.  It would really make the venture much easier.

ASmith said...

My ex's mom and I continued to have a relationship well after he and I quit speaking.  I think she secretly hoped we'd marry (impossible since he was not only gay, but in a serious relationship).  If you get a mama on your side, that's all you EVER need. :)  Too bad so sad for the next one.

MichelleG said...

This ALL day.

I could find the cure for cancer, facilitate world peace and clone Denzell for all and there are some that will immediately attempt to change the mood by asking  about my college idiot. We were never good together - drama from day 1. You didn't want us together then and while those 18 months seemed like forever then now over 15 years later its barely a footnote. So WHY do you keep bringing it up as if we were the Fat Boys & you can't get past the good times? 

Miss me with the fake BS. That girl that floundered in that mess is dead & buried. No soap opera back to life scenarios for your entertainment. The last person to "just ask" was summarily sliced as I proceded to publicly question her about the numerous men she was with during that same 18 month period. I mean I'm just asking right? The smirk quickly faded as she realized I have a long memory also. Difference is I have grown. I'm not ashamed of who I was the shame would be if I was still in that space you (the rehasher) is stuck in.

MichelleG said...

Michele: I have to tell ya - usually I enjoy your posts but this one made my blood run hot this am. I've had to cut off some folks because of this. Were either of the questioners your friend that was upset because she didn't know you were even dating 3n? If so it was definitely a passive aggressive move on her part. In my experience constant offenders need to be moved from friend zone. I refuse to live in the past & won't let anyone drag me back for their own comfort. If you can't be a part of my present then I'll leave you and my memories of our friendship to the past. I can't be more invested in your feelings then you are in mine. 

Congratulations on getting to your "happy place"!

Trey Charles said...

Hmm, perhaps this post will enlighten some of my boys who still wanna bring up the woman I dated in grad school. Which was oh... 7 -8 years ago? It's done. Stop asking.

MichelleG said...

Its the "but" that gets me. You know good and darn well that that is where you should have stopped. Not every thought needs to be uttered. And why with all that everyone has going on are you so focused on what wasn't?

If she was down with you then she should have said - "I know you are in a good relationship now and I'm happy for you." Toast to today! If she can't say and mean it then move on. Tired of folks thinking because we been friends for so long you have free reign to say any & everything to me. No mas. He's a footnote and you're about to become one also.

Grace said...

First of all, it was great meeting you and some BnBers at the Jill Scott concert, great time. My first time in Dallas, besides the heat that made it impossible to maintain a hairstyle - it was nice.

Second - this is one of my pet peeves. I have a friend who always brings up ancient history and trots it out like it's brand new. Hate that.

Natasha Hunter said...

I have people like that in my life and it can be irritating, but if someone's gotta go trudging around in your attic and basement to find something they can relate to, that's one hell of a compliment, isn't it? 

thinklikeRiley said...

*fist bump*

thinklikeRiley said...

She gone. I'm here. Waz really happenin?

Deb B said...

I had (notice the tense) some friends like this. No matter has far I stepped away from my past, they seemed to want to drag me back there time and again. Why? I don't know - their amusement, curiosity, whatever. Once I asked them to stop and they didn't, I moved on.

Mykeia said...

People keep bringing up the fact that I am not doing what I went to school for.  
Sorry, I changed my mind.  You're are not paying back the school loans, leave me alone.
No, I was not as happy in that profession as I thought.  
Damn.
No one brings up my ex, thank god. That whole relationship was kind of a waste of time.  Yes I did learn something from it but that was many moons ago and I could have learned the same things from this blog.

Mykeia said...

"Tired of folks thinking because we been friends for so long you have free reign to say any & everything to me. " I am right here with you!!! RIGHT HERE!

Lady4Real said...

1st off as promised I am checking in with the BougieLand faithful to annouce that me and mine are safe and well. Irene cried alot, huffed and puffed but she didn't blow down anything in my area. On to the topic at hand, I hate people who live in the past and think they know what you shoulda, coulda, woulda did. I say the past is the past and leave it there or I will help you leave it there, aggressively if I have to.

Mick said...

I have "a friend" that did that.  She would always ask if such-and-such called.  Years after the breakup she would ask.  At first I thought that it was a dig at my failed relationship.  Then I realized that she missed hearing about the drama.   One day I asked and she said that she just wondered if he got a "wild hair" and called....*crickets*  Just like I said...Drama.

She never asks me about him because we don't speak.  LOL

Pure Choco said...

As you say - slapworthy.

GuessImJay said...

Man, please!

tiffanyinhouston said...

I don't get it from friends as much but my mama likes to ask about ERRYBODY from the past, not just exes but homegirls, associates, teachers etc. Half the time I don't remember the ppl, but she has the memory banks of an elephant it seems. It's annoying but I deal.

TheProdiva said...

I think its hard for people who are not constants in your life to dwell on the past. I usually get these types of questions from people I haven't seen in some time. The folks who are mainstays in your life tend to focus on current events...no need to catch up since they are already "caught up!"

Singlelif said...

I cant stand this.  I have a couple of people who are always asking about one particular ex (he was drama-ful).  I usually shut down the question with "I havent seen him, and if you do, dont tell him you saw me".  I already know why they ask..because he was straight up crazy...and everybody knew it.

Jasmin said...

My great-aunt is the same way! She remembers associates of associates and acts like you're the fool for not knowing who she's talking about. Hell, sometimes she asks about my dads relatives, and my parents have been divorced almost 20 years (this is my mom's aunt). How she remembers their names, let alone how old they are/that their first grandchild should be about 16 now, is beyond me.

Brenda Kay said...

I have a friend who I've put on ice because she continuously asked if my ex-husband and I were getting back together. As if, after spending a few thousand dollars on lawyers, plus the expenses involved in splitting up a house, moving back to the US and re-establishing myself here - he and I getting back together is even an option or a consideration.

People who constantly bring up the past, are a drain on the soul. 

GammasWorld said...

Lawds if you weren't talking about my brothers -- yes all 4 of them and my ex husband.  Marriage been over 25 dang years almost and they steady telling me how much he (ex) wishes things would have worked out.   I told them y'all be buddies if you want too but let it be known he abandoned your niece and I had to fight for minimal child support.    I have no interest in anything he has to say.  E.V.E.R.

Diana said...

Yesss! And it irks and annoys. I just had a big birthday bash and my cousin asked if my ex dude would be there. Ummmm...no? Hell no! Once the crying, cussing and heartbreak is over, I need for people to get on the 'move on' train with me.  Please and thanks...

GrownAzzMan said...

I am 25+ years into a very successful career in commercial banking but wouldn't you know that every now and then my father laments the fact that I decided not to finish law school? Let it go!

J B said...

When we get together and discuss my single status, certain friends have a habit of asking me "So what about___?  He likes you!"  Have you forgotten that despite my friendship with ___, I have no chemistry with him?  Why must I have to repeat this?

Annette Evans said...

People are by nature, resistant to change...

Lo said...

I tend to have people who, themselves, hold onto the past - their various and sundry "glory days", as it were - high school varsity team, college debate club, post-college club days.... They hold onto that stuff as if it were the highest form of gold, and allow it to inform their present lives (which is NOT a good look, given that each of them are living less-than-stellar existences, mostly of their own doing/choosing).

It's lovely to look back and remember; but I don't NEED or WANT to LIVE there. There are so many delicious things in the present (and even tastier futures to bring into play) that there's just no time to get lost there. 

And, honestly, I have little patience - or time - for those who do. Choices, people. Choices.

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