Last weekend I went out for dinner with an ex. It wasn't a friendly catch-up and it wasn't a let-try-again type invitation. It was somewhere in the middle. At some point we'll all probably find ourselves giving it another go or just testing the water. How are we supposed to deal with this minefield of a situation?
Obviously it depends on what the chat's been before hand. Me and this guy have been on and off since our break-up for other a year now. That sounds disgusting now I've read that back. Over a year. It's been over a year. We've given things another try. We've promised each other we'll stay away. We even tried to just sleep with each other and not speak at all. You might not have such a dramatic (and partially pathetic) back story but once you've been with someone and it comes to an end. You shouldn't presume you know what's going to happen.
Avoid the past
It was equally as tempting to say "remember when we hired scooters and drove around Croatia?" as it was to say "remember when you met up with those Latvian girls on the day of my Grandad's funeral?" Hopefully a bit of time has passed since the break up so you'll have new past stories, new future hopes and dreams. You'll want to show you're as interesting and exciting as the first day you met even if nothing comes of it. If you were to leave a job would you want your old employer see you lie on the floor next to the copier? No. Everyone wants people from their past to be impressed at what you've become. However...
I don't just mean behave normally like limit yourself to one hat normal. I mean don't try and put on an act at all. He'll know who you are as much as you know him. I used to live with this person, I know everything about him. He knows everything about me so there was no point in me pretending I like to listen to classical music when I wake up or that I love cooking (I once cooked a chicken in a microwave). You might still want to come across as new and exciting but the old version of you, personality wise, was good enough. I did sneak into conversation "I make the bed sometimes now".
Sleep with them if you want
I did. It was great.
Remember you're still single
It was really easy for me to slip into 'girlfriend mode'. We had a way of talking to each other and common ground that as easy to fall back into. Of course it's alright to date more than one person at the same time if it's all super casual. Your ex hasn't earned the right to exclusivity. So when I went out for a drink with my friends and the hot guy from my accountants office (believe me, it's possible) asked what I was doing Saturday. What's the harm?
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