I’ve started encouraging friends to keep hooking up with their exes. Like when a friend comes to me and says, “ugh it’s such a disaster, and I don’t know what I want, but we just keep hooking up…” I say, “I think you should just keep doing it then.”
It’s a sharp right turn from my previous position that the only way to effectively break up is cold turkey – part of my “tough love is true love” philosophy. I maintain that position for people who can do it, but some people in some relationships absolutely cannot effect the cut ties break-up. They need to “stay friends” or “keep in contact” or “see where things go.” Is it really over? Maybe. Maybe not. Should it really be over? Probably. The point is, the person doesn’t have the will power for the cold turkey thing. When that’s the case I say, “okay, so keep hooking up.”
This tends to startle people.
- “You think we’ll get back together if we keep hooking up?” they often say.
- “I don’t know – maybe – but if what you’re saying is that you just can’t stop, then don’t and see where that leads.”
- Then they usually say something like, “But _______ says this will just go on and on until I really end it…”
- To which I say, “______ might be right, there’s only one way to find out.”
- “I mean, if neither of us care, and we’re just doing this because we’re used to it, then what’s the harm, right?” they’ll say 9 times out of 10.
- “I don’t know the harm,” I’ll respond, “Nor do you. But I know you’ll find out the harm if you keep hooking up.”
- “Oh – that doesn’t sound good…”
- “It might not be. But does it sound worse than not seeing them anymore?”
- “Omg I caaaan’t not see ______ anymore…”
- “Right – exactly – so just keep hooking up then. I mean what do you think is going to happen if you do that?”
- “Ugh – I don’t knooow…”
- “Exactly – so just keeping doing it and then you’ll know what happens.”
- “This seems risky – why are you telling me to do the wrong thing…”
- “This is risky, and I’m telling you to do the thing you’re telling me you have zero ability to stop doing. You’re the one who said it’s wrong.”
The convo tends to end there because people realize I’m just going to keep saying what I’m saying.
If you keep hooking up with your ex something will happen. You’ll decide you should just be back together and will get back together. You’ll get furious that this is going on without a legit relationship, have a blow-up fight, and break up for good. You’ll meet someone else while it’s still going on, like that person better, and end it with the ex. The ex will get tired of the drama and break up with you, again… I don’t know which it will be, but something will happen. I tend to think whatever happens will result in something more awkward, sad, painful, destructive than if you had just quit cold-turkey, but that’s just me.
The crux of my new-found advice is this: you can stop hooking up with your ex. Anyone and everyone can. If you don’t want to stop hooking up with your ex that’s a different story. And if that’s the story I say keep doing it until something or someone makes you want to stop or just makes you stop – want unconsidered…
*it’s an old well – as in the thing you can’t stop dipping into.