I loved the board game as a kid. According to the rules, “If the pawn lands on a picture square at the bottom of a ladder, children climb up with a good deed! Naughty deeds slide you back when you land on a picture square at the top of a chute!”

The other day I was driving down Glenwood Avenue on my way home and I saw my buddy Pete, licking an ice cream cone and meandering down the sidewalk with a girl.

Not just any girl – a girl he’d dumped a few weeks ago.090526_slide

I sent him a text message: “Both the girl and the ice cream look delish.”

His response: “WTF? Are you high?”

Ha – no, are you? I posed that query a few days later over drinks and tapas at Oliver Twist.

He starts by asking me a question, “When you and Frank broke up, did you stay in contact?”

“No,” I said. “I have not seen or heard from him since we broke up. Is that what this is about? You’re still in touch with her?”

Affirmative. She was in town for Artplosure and they agreed to get together. So when I saw him strolling along, he was actually taking a backslide.

“Pete – what is this, an easy piece?” I asked. “Getting laid without increasing your number?”

Yes, but no, he said. It’s not so much that as an attachment, a compulsion. This is the third relationship he’s had that ended, but later slid back into something resembling its former self.

I’ve known several people who stay in touch with exes and sometimes fall back into old routines, mostly involving sex. As Pete says, it’s an attachment, a habit — you both know your roles, and you’re comfortable.

“It’s easy,” he said.

Is compulsion, habit, an excuse for this behavior? It seems greedy in a way to keep doing something just because you can, doesn’t it? I guess you play a longer game if you keep sliding backward.

“Easy?” I asked. “But does that make it easier when you break up again? Or harder?”

Is this girl going to get screwed over by his lack of gumption?

I say rip off the Band-Aid, turn around and start moving climbing ladders.

090526_slide_signFinding the one isn’t an easy slide to the end, but how are you going to meet someone really special if you’re hanging out with someone mediocre just because it’s easy?

Have you ever gotten back together with an ex? Why? Did it work out?