Relationship sins: sex with the ex
If you’re going through a dry spell, feeling particularly lonely or vulnerable, or you simply still have feelings for them, it can be very tempting to resort to sex with the ex. Here’s how to ignore the urge:
The path to ex-sex
If you hurt yourself on an electric fence, chances are you won’t go near it again. So why is it that this principle doesn’t seem to apply to human relationships? Nine times out of ten there’s a very good reason why a relationship ended, and therefore a very good reason why it shouldn’t be rekindled. Yet most people have a tale, or know someone who has a tale, of a disastrous reunion with an ex.
The fact is that while things may seem very black and white on paper, in reality human relationships are far more complex – and it’s all too easy to forget the bad parts of a relationship. Human nature is to see the past through rose-tinted glasses. With a little distance from an ex, you may find yourself wondering why you broke up, why they seemed so bad a few months ago.
After those initial post-break-up feelings of ‘I’ll never trust another man/woman again’, the more mediocre feelings of loneliness and boredom set in. And that’s when the idea of sleeping with your ex suddenly seems more attractive. Whilst we’d all hope to meet someone new in the wake of a relationship break-up, real life doesn’t work like that. It can take months to meet someone you even want to go on a date with.
That’s the point you find yourself dialling the number you should have deleted months ago…what’s the worst that can happen?
The case for the prosecution
Here’s what you’ve got to remember – however blasé you think you feel about your ex when you’re asking them over to share a bottle of wine, things will seem very different when you’ve slept together. Primarily, you’re kicking off a potential cycle of reconciliations and break-ups, which will not only erode your confidence, but will be a huge barrier to you meeting anyone new.
You may justify it to yourself by saying that it’s a quick fix to your feelings of loneliness, and who better to sleep with than an ex that you know. But this is someone you’ve been through the wringer with, someone who you a once had very deep feelings for – suddenly sounds more complicated, doesn’t it?
We don’t need to tell you that sex is a very intimate thing, and being that intimate with an ex is bound to raise some issues. It might remind you why you once loved them, or it could give you false hope for the future, especially if you were the person who was dumped in the first place. Alternatively, you might be alright with it, but they might not be able to cope, leaving you with someone else’s broken heart on your conscience.
Moreover, if your ex’s bad behaviour led to the end of your relationship – perhaps they cheated on you, for example – then what does your willingness to have sex with them say? That you’re ok with being messed around? That you’re a pushover?
Avoiding the ex-sex trap
The simplest thing you can do is give yourselves some breathing space. Time after time we’ve heard stories of someone who’s tried, and failed, the stay friends with their ex straight after the break-up. A cooling off period usually allows you to gain perspective and should reduce those urges to hop back into bed. If you think you’ll find it tough, give yourself a set amount of time when you definitely can’t contact your ex – it’ll be tough at first, but after a few months things will get easier.
Additionally, avoid things that remind you of your ex – whether they’re places, films, activities, whatever. Don’t let yourself wallow. It’s important you create a new routine to help you break out of the cycle of constantly thinking about your relationship.
Finally, don’t assume that when you meet someone new things will feel like they did with your ex. Love takes many different forms, and just because you don’t go for long walks in the park on a Sunday with your new partner that doesn’t mean your relationship doesn’t have promise. Work at things, create new memories, and you’ll find those urges slowly subsiding. It won’t be an overnight transformation, but you’ll get there. And in the long run you’ll have made the right choice.
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