The pink elephant stood there, just in my line of sight. He didn’t make eye contact with me, or I with him. But we each knew the other was there.

The pink elephant, also known as The Ex. Not the douchey one from late last year, but Frank, the one I dated for one year shortly after moving to Raleigh.

Gary at Landmark Tavern

Gary at Landmark Tavern

I’ve seen him now twice 0n two of my frequent recent visits to Landmark. The first of those marked the first I’d seen him since our September breakup.

That time, I was smurfin’ it with my buds in the back booth. That is, I was the only girl in a group of guys. I was sitting in the middle among them, which is a good way to be when your ex sees you at a bar. Not to be snobby, but hey, we all want to look good in front of the men who dumped us.

The awareness and awkwardness gave me a high feeling, like I had taken too many No-Doz, but otherwise, I was fine. I’m with a great guy now, and I’m happy. No repressed anger burbled to the surface. I bear no ill will toward Frank, but I didn’t feel compelled to walk up and start and friendly conversation.

The second time was the same thing. I knew he was there. He probably knew I was there, especially considering I had a conversation with his friend before he arrived. His friend even gave me the name of someone who could help me out professionally. Maybe I should just suck it up and talk to him? It’s not as if he was a total tool during our breakup. He was direct and honest about what he wanted (no marriage, no kids).

The only thing I could really think to say during a hypothetical stop-n-chat was, “I thought I got custody of this place.”

What are the breakup rules? 

I don’t have many exes. Aside from my two here in town, I only have two men that might fall into the “boyfriend” category. They, along with any other old flames or dates, have been left behind in other cities and states. Running into them is not an issue.

So why do I feel like maybe I SHOULD go chat with this man? Does it really matter after this time? Does some social grace require me to acknowledge that I once cared for this person even though now I feel absolutely blank about him?

I suppose it depends on the manner of your breakup. You could offer me $1,000 and I still wouldn’t walk up to my ex douche,  Darren, in a bar and say hello. (Here’s how running into him went.)

Generally, I”m fond of the cut-all-ties and rip off the Band-Aid. I favor this approach because relationships are messy and feelings are ooey gooey sticky. I’ve seen it happen: Person A dumps his girlfriend B and they remain friends. A few months later finds a new girlfriend C. Suddenly B shows up at his door, still in love with him, begging him to take her back. Blech. If I’m ever THAT girl, please yell at me.

*shrugs* In the end, I know it doesn’t really matter if I talk to Frank. If I do a stop-n-chat next time at Landmark, we’ll say hello and move on. “Frank”ly, I don’t care if he thinks I’m a bitch for ignoring him.

It’s just weird to have that pink elephant there. I don’t suppose if you talk to an elephant it’ll go away?

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