By: Natascha Jones, Guest Blogger
Well, no mystery here. I know a lot of men and women, myself included, who have found themselves back in bed with an ex and then dealing with the emotional fallout for the next few days or weeks. Even when I thought I was cool and in control, I find myself in the midst of an emotionally confusing spiral wondering how I got here.
After dissecting the question with an extra-strength microscope I’m still asking myself: what does it mean to have sex with an ex?
Even though we only dated for very short amount of time, the stars had aligned for me in my relationship with Manuel and I found myself in a place I hadn’t been in years: love. Just the very beginning of it though; I was just starting to fall for him. But the fact that I had even found someone I could have those feelings for was almost miraculous so I went with it. And even though he pulled the plug on us soon thereafter the connection had already happened. The following months I would vacillate between not having any contact, to seeing him regularly at the gym, to pulling away completely and then having him reach out again just to have him send me mixed messages: lunch looked like a friendly thing we were doing, but there was so much energy between us even Ray Charles could have seen what was going on. Still I stood my ground and limited any sort of physical contact. Hugs were brief, I was nice but not flirtatious and even when he would hint on something intimate I would just laugh it off. Getting over him and staying away from him was hard enough, I didn’t want to put myself through that pain again.
Almost five months later with no sexual contact we’re still here, doing this crazy dance, with me trying to pretend it isn’t what it is. But what does this all mean? What is really happening when you have sex with an ex? I did some research to see what had already been covered on this subject and surprisingly most of the articles I found online were written by men, for a male audience, and almost completely inapplicable to females, yet incredibly insightful.
So if you’re a girl who is sleeping with her ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, here are some things to consider before you go “digging in your trash.”
Everyone says “there’s a reason you broke up, sex isn’t going to make it better.” But what if the breaking up was all on their part? What if you wanted this to work and you were left with your heart in your hand?
A lot of the articles I read claimed that “plenty of girls are ‘cool’ with just keeping it physical,” meaning they won’t get attached to that old flame if they decide to go down that road again. I’ve only met one of two of these kinds of girls and to be honest none of them loved themselves very much. That is a true statement for me, not an opinion. Even when I thought I would be cool with just being physical with Manuel and not having those feelings I did five months ago, I wasn’t. Two days later I’m a bit confused. Is he pursuing me because he’s attracted to me? Does he still have feelings for me but he’s just not ready? Or is he just physically attracted to me? He says he has to have a mental connection with someone in order to be intimate with them but how many other girls is he “being connected” with? Is someone getting “more” of him than I am?
Was I connecting with him just so I could feel something and if so, does that mean I don’t love myself as much as I should? Should I be focusing on self-love from within instead of physically connecting with someone from without? Unfortunately part of me says “yes. Right now you don’t love yourself enough or you would have asked those questions that protect you, such as ‘what do you want with me?’ ‘Why do you still reach out to me?’ ‘What do you want right now as far as relationships go?’” I was afraid to hear those answers so I didn’t ask those questions. And to be even more honest, I wonder if he would have been completely honest with me. Sometimes people will change their words in order to get what they want.
There are also some questions I should be asking myself and holding myself to those standards/answers. When you know what you want and then swim upstream from that thought/desire/want, the results are almost always not good. I know I want an honest, healthy, loving relationship yet here I am, having dinner with someone who couldn’t even break up with me to my face, couldn’t tell me when he was in a new relationship, and couldn’t communicate his insecurities even though I could feel them. And why was I doing this? Because we have a lot of fun when we’re together, we share the same interests in a lot of things, I can be myself around him and I’m physically attracted to him. But still…this does not equal a 50/50 relationship.
Sex with this ex did not honor my pursuit of true self-love, nor did it result in a healthy, honest loving relationship. It provided a TEMPORARY validation in that he wanted me, he wanted to be with me that day and on some level there was an intimacy that would not be there in some sort of “random” hookup. But in my eyes, I’ve committed a set back with myself. The reason we want to have sex with someone we’re in a relationship with is because we want to feel safe. On a primitive level it all has to do with survival and knowing that the mate you’ve chosen will keep you safe against lions, tigers, and other cavemen/cavewomen. When he or she sticks around, stays the night, y’all wake up and have brunch and then go to the beach together, you’re essentially saying to each other “I want to keep you safe because I care about you and our child” (remember, one of the main reasons for sex is procreation – to keep the species going so while that is a general and maybe inapplicable statement for some, I think primitively it’s true).
So when is it “ok” to have sex with an ex? I’d say never. If y’all are still connected, still feeling things and still drawn to each other, either have the respect to have an honest conversation and see what is really behind it (it could be a beautiful relationship once fear is out of the way), or have the respect to cut it completely so that each person can move on. As the song goes, “when a heart breaks, it don’t break even.”
Lastly, I’ll admit I did this to myself. I knew he was reaching out “in that way.” I knew at the very least he wanted me physically and I know myself enough to know that I don’t have the self-love to say no. I knew deep down that I’m not “cool” with just keeping it physical or sharing my partner. That just isn’t me. So it’s up to me to pick up the pieces, show myself forgiveness and compassion and start over.
Practice the self-love. I have to research it, learn it, recognize it, and give it to myself so I don’t go searching from without for something that should come from within.
Relationships can get complicated, no doubt about it! What's the best way to deal?
- One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is confiding in someone we trust. Relationships of all kinds can be really complicated: get with your bestie or someone you trust deeply and voice your concerns, issues, or questions freely. Give yourself utter permission to get it all out, don't judge yourself, don't make excuses, and don't sugar coat anything. Once it's all out on the table, trust your person to help you see things clearly and get healthy perspective so you can make a plan and move forward!
While she would have to inform you that her “day” job is in esthetics and makeup artistry, Natascha truly spends her days in sunny Venice Beach laughing with her friends, riding her bike, and telling grandiose stories encouraging others to laugh, cry or think. She is passionate about her efforts to live life fully and push her comfort zone, which is why she spills her guts to you and she hopes you’ll still love her.