Ask A Woman: It’s over. So can we please get over it?
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I have a question concerning my ex. When we broke up (she most likely cheated on me), she said she wanted to stay friends and was worried if I would still care about her as a person. We remained friends for a while, but we slowly stopped talking mainly because I needed my distance. She ended up deleting me from social media. Later on, I tried reaching out to her to try to make things amicable but she didn’t want any of it.
It’s been over a year, and I’ve gone on dates with other women, and she’s gone on dates with other men. We have mutual friends, and the animosity she feels towards me is getting cumbersome socially. If I come up in conversation with our mutual friends, she reacts poorly, and then they tell me about this. It’s like our circle is doing this dance around keeping us at a reasonable distance. And I’m done with this. It’s ridiculous.
I’ve moved on. Is it possible for me to get her, and our friends to move on, too?
Raw deal. I’ve been in a similar situation. But I’m embarrassed to say…I’ve also been the ex who was behaving poorly. Sometimes being mature and reasonable just doesn’t feel quite as good as being petty and snide. Ah, my misspent youth.
You have a couple of options. You could try reaching out to your ex again and try to square things away. This wouldn’t be my first choice, though, and I’ll tell you why. She sounds immature, and perhaps like she’s not over whatever happened between you two. Sometimes it’s just hard to be nice to an ex. If, a year later, she’s still being catty, I doubt she’ll react well to you asking her to be civil. She’ll likely be defensive and angry which may ramp up a new cycle of drama.
Another option is communicating your frustration to your mutual friends. At this point, they’re as guilty as your ex of perpetuating the drama. First, they bring you up to her–that’s not necessary. I don’t think people should have to walk on eggshells, but if they know she’s likely to be spiteful about even hearing your name, they can just not talk about you. Second, when they do talk about you and she reacts badly, they report it back to you. Come on, dudes. It’s not 11th grade here, we’re not gossiping under the bleachers after a football game. The old adage, what other people think of me is none of my business, could not be more true than it is in this situation. Your ex despises you? Thinks you’ve gotten fat? Feels sorry for the next woman you bed? That’s none of your affair. So the next time they bring it up, tell them you’re not interested in hearing about her, even if she’s saying nasty stuff behind your back. No need to be catty, just explain that it feels like this has gone on long enough and you’re ready to move past it.
Your social life starting to feel like Norman Rockwell’s classic The Gossips?
The first two options are viable…but they’re limited because they require that you depend on the actions of other people, in order to be effective. Unfortunately, people often pursue their own agendas instead of what would make our lives easier. It’s terribly inconvenient. Your ex may continue to be petty, no matter what you say to her. And your friends are obviously taking some kind of satisfaction from contributing to this juicy drama, so they may have little incentive to stop as well. So the third and final option is the only one entirely in your control, and thus the one I recommend, regardless of whether or not you try the first two as well.
Don’t play into any of this mess. If you see your ex, be pleasant, but not overly interested in her or her life. If she tries to bring up old issues, politely excuse yourself. There is no way to win with her, so just cut the conversation. If your friends bring up the latest insult from behind your back, wave it off. Don’t engage. “Ah well, whatever.” Change the subject. Sadly, you can only control how you react, but I do hope that’s enough to nip this in the bud for you.
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