Are You Still in Love with Me?

I’ve never been able to sever all ties with an ex-girlfriend. After all, if I was able to convince myself that this woman might be a possible mate, there has to be something redeeming about her that would make her worthy as a friend, right? I know a lot of people who don’t see this the same way as I do, and I’ve never really tried to explain it. So here is my attempt at an explanation.
I am a tried and true introvert, and I don’t let people into my close-knit circle of friends very readily. I don’t really have acquaintances. I have my Inner Circle, and I have everyone else in the world. Yes, there are people that I know through my friends, but I don’t really know them. If we get to the point of hanging out or talking regularly, then they come into the Inner Circle.
Because the requirements for getting into the Inner Circle are pretty high, people don’t leave once they’re in. It’s like the ultimate, exclusive nightclub with a standing list of members. Or maybe it’s like a top-secret military cover-up. Once people know the Real Me, they can’t be trusted on the Outside with that knowledge. (Of course, I sit here on a blog and expose the Real Me regularly, but I don’t think that counts. So, you random people out there, don’t go thinking on you’re on the A-List until you get your formal invitation!)
Anyways, the same is true of ex-girlfriends. I can’t let them out of the Inner Circle. Some of these women have seen me cry, for fuck’s sake! (Okay, two of them have. And I can tell you which two and exactly what it was over. I’m not a big fan of crying in front of people.) Once I’ve bared your soul to someone like that, I guess they get to keep a small part of it.
Now I’m not, by any means, saying that I’m carrying a torch for any of these women, or that I’m pining away, wishing they’d come back to me. After all, with 90% of them, it was me who ended the relationship. I’m just saying that I care for them, and that I’m inclined to keep in touch… I want them to be happy in whatever they do.
This has caused some trouble in the past, of course. Someone who was holding the Girlfriend title belt was jealous of the women who had previously held the belt. To be very honest, and I’m rarely anything but very honest, that inability to understand my caring about the previous Girlfriends is a big indicator that it’s not going to work out with the current one. I can’t share my life with someone and then turn around and hate them.
I would love to tell people that The Temptress is an exception to this, but I can’t. Despite the fact that no one has ever told me that they liked her, and most people who met her told me they didn’t, I still hope she has a happy life. I don’t, however, keep in touch with her anymore. In fact, I didn’t even reply to the last email she sent me. (Some people are cheering after reading that, but I don’t take pride in saying it. For those who don’t know anything about The Temptress, I’ll just say that my mother actually danced in the kitchen when I told her we’d broken up.)
The other night, after a fairly lengthy IM conversation with one of my ex-girlfriends, I got a text message from her. “Are you still in love with me?” I looked at it for a long time, thinking about the answer to that question, before I sent my reply.
To me, being “in love” means hoping to have a meaningful, romantic relationship with that person. I threw the word romantic in there because I have meaningful relationships with my friends. Romantic, for lack of a better explanation, means sexual. (And that’s about the most UN-romantic way to say it. Sometimes my little brain-vomits don’t help clear anything up, do they?) The point is, I can love and have a meaningful relationship with Koondog, who has been my best friend for almost two decades. And, for the record, I do not want to sleep with him. Ever. (Besides, thanks to think walls when we were roommates, I know that he laughs like Scooby Doo during sex, and I could never be aroused by that.)
So my reply to that text message was about as lengthy as the last paragraph, but more to the point. I don’t have an exact quote, but it was something like “I will always love you, but I’m not sitting around waiting for you to change your mind.” Looking back, I probably should have said “care for” instead of “love,” but that’s what I said. I don’t think she was asking because she’s interested in trying again. I think she was asking because she wanted to know if I was trying to talk her into it. I could be wrong, though. I don’t have an instruction manual or anything…
But the real dilemma I’m facing isn’t whether or not she wants to date me again, but whether my philosophy of keeping these women, these previous holder’s of the Girlfriend Title Belt, inside the Inner Circle is a good idea. I have friends who sever all ties as cleanly as they would remove a malignant tumor. (Well, that’s a bad idea, since cancer can sometimes come back…) As cleanly as amputating a gangrenous leg. (But infection can spread…) In order to avoid further comparing of ex-girlfriends to malign medical conditions, I will assume you get my point, which is they don’t keep in touch with their exes.
So am I doing something wrong? Am I actually supposed to take this woman with whom I’ve shared myself and remove her access? Am I supposed to make myself look only at their faults until I can see them as bad people, maybe even hate them? I honestly don’t think I’m capable of it…
Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you
Hate me in ways, in ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you
– Hate Me, by Blue October

12 thoughts on “Are You Still in Love with Me?”

  1. lenfercestlesautres

    That’s fascinatingly written.
    I don’t know whether or not it’s good to “sever all ties”. I have done this with all of my exes but one, and I guess this only works because it was the only relationship where the end came from both sides. All other exes dumped ME, and my natural strategy to get over such things is to start hating the guy for some time, because yeah, it helps. I’m not proud of it, but well.
    I tried to be friends with another one, but really, I found myself just wanting him back and it took me a lot of time more to get over him.
    However, I somehow still care for all of them. Just as you said. I’m a kind person and I can’t resent somebody for long.
    Oh, and not replying to emails is the meanest thing ever.

  2. I know the way I feel about exes…

    it really depends on the ex, though… some, I could care less if they’re doing crack in a gutter somewhere… then there are the ones that I honestly loved and hope the best for them no matter what. I just wonder if they feel the same way, or if they don’t care if I’M doing crack in a gutter.

    It’s always easier to cut ties to get over someone. Honestly, I think it’s the only way for both people to really move on… otherwise, there’s false hope hanging over the ‘friendship.’

  3. I didn’t reply to her email because I knew where it would lead. The Temptress is a long, long story. She bounces from man to man (often overlapping them and sometimes juggling more than two) and preys on their weaknesses to hide her own insecurity. Her email came the week before my birthday, knowing that I would be somewhat depressed and “vulnerable,” and asked me if I didn’t have any plans maybe I could come down and visit her…

    It’s simply a road that I choose not to travel again. Since I can’t tell her to piss off, I chose not to tell her anything.

  4. lenfercestlesautres

    “Since I can’t tell her to piss off, I chose not to tell her anything.”

    I don’t know the story, but I’ve had many situations in which I’d have preferred an email telling me to piss off instead of just silence. I’m just saying. But I can’t judge here of course.

  5. The story was on my old MySpace blog, but I took it down when I moved here, and since I can’t figure out how to post an old entry and have it go to the bottom,where it belongs, I just figured I’d start fresh.

    I’ve still got all the old stories saved, though, and if I ever go to my own domain I’ll probably re-publish them. 😉

  6. hey, you’re doing better than i am. i just sleep with all my exes.

    i am giving you points for maturity, stuck. i do think it’s possible to still care for someone after you break up. the fact that you realize this and do something about it is a sign of a good person, i think.

    the occasional check-in is appropriate for someone who at one time, shared a big part of your life. like you said, just because you break up doesn’t mean you don’t have respect/caring feelings for that person.

    on the other hand, there’s something to be said for, “what’s the point?” because there’s being on good terms…and then there’s living in the past. this is a dangerous direction.

    A dangerous direction, VB!! (sorry. note to self.)

    some of my exes fall into the former category, some fall into the latter. it depends on the nature of the relationship/breakup. the amount of time since the breakup also plays a role. but if you were to stick me in a room where ALL my exes were, there would only be one i wouldn’t want to talk to.

    i would tell all my other exes what he did to me, and hopefully they would all get together and beat the snot out of him.

    i also agree w/MJ’s last paragraph.

    in sum, i don’t think you need to explain yourself. i think your feelings are normal, human and mature.

  7. lenfercestlesautres

    Damn, I just found your reply now. Still, what is it what made that girl so amazing in bed that it’s the only think you recall about her?

  8. It’s not the only thing I recall about her at all. But it’s probably the only thing I could post publicly without fear of a lawsuit if she ever read this thing. It’s really the only real positive thing I can say about her, aside from the fact that she cleaned my glasses once.

  9. I love this song and Blue October!

    You are not the average guy to say the least! Not many stick around or keep in contact with exes, or even concider them friends anymore. But I can see your point – especially if you are the one who broke it off with them. You basically have the upper hand. I personally would have liked to stay friends with alot of guys I rejected, especially the ones I concidered good friends before the “cross over into the more than friends” line. But they dont – probably cause they are the ones who were rejected and they rather have me as a gf or nothing at all. As for the guys that rejected me – well – there arent any (haha) – no really – I would rather not hang around them and as lenfercrestlesautres said – start hating them cause it helps.
    In the end it all depends on the relationship and the break up – I dont want guys I rejected hanging around and being led on to believe that I may one day change my mind – cause I wont. So its better not to lead anyone on if I know the answer. Even if it means being ‘mean’ and distancing myself from them. Its better for both parties to move on to better things that way.
    So its nice that you dont disappear off the face of the earth, and I guess if you arent keeping them around for your own ego (since they were the dumpees)or leading them on, then alls good.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *