If you’ve watched a rom-com in the past century, then you’re probably aware of the negative connotations that are attached to having sex with an ex in the modern world. It may seem like a good idea, but look where Gatsby ended up. Dead in his own pool.
Do we believe sex with an ex is bad just because that’s what we’re told to think?
I set out to see what others really thought about the topic. In a Facebook poll with 30 participants, 83% of responses showed they thought it was a bad idea, and the other 17% all agreed that it would depend on the circumstance. So why is it that the majority believe sex with an ex is a terrible idea? The main reason given is it could bring up negative feelings, after all you must have broken up for a reason, right? Other reasons may be lingering regret or you may feel used. Call me biased, but this reasoning appears weak. Maybe it can’t be reasoned and people are just answering based on their own experience.
I recently stumbled across a meme that read “getting back with an ex is like reheating McDonald’s fries”, and for anyone who has done this you would know they taste better left cold. The point is, this was just one person’s opinion and now that it’s all over social media it has the power to influence young minds into thinking the same thing. However, I didn’t let this popular opinion stop me from doing it.
I was at a time in my life when I was quite lonely so naturally my mind started recalling good memories when I was with my ex. This made me miss him and I conveniently neglected to remember the not so good memories. It was less than a year since the breakup when me and my ex decided to get together. We had been sending the odd message here and there over the course of a month, hinting at the idea of spending another night together. Finally, we reached an agreement, there was no question of the events that would later unfold, we both knew it was on the table.
Due to our prior lack of communication, I believed he was over me and perhaps even disliked me. I thought surely I didn’t stand a chance at getting back with him, but I missed his touch so it was an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass on. I missed our entire relationship – not just the physical part – but this seemed to be the only chance I would have to be with him. The thought of having sex with him again had been dancing around my head for months and I was over the moon to think it was finally going to happen.
We picked a night and drove to a lookout. As I pulled into the carpark and killed the engine we wasted no time getting started. He smelt so familiar, and for a moment it felt like nothing had changed. This was the moment I’d been waiting for, and then suddenly, it was over. We quietly sat in the car, small talk barely scraping by. I felt dirty, guilty even. Was this how I was supposed to feel? The act itself seemed clean but left the debris of my emotions to clean up. We remained seated for what felt like hours. It became clear that we were now no more than strangers. I dropped him off, and I will admit there was a sense of regret – regret that bloomed from the feeling of being used and treated as though I never meant anything to him. At first it hurt knowing I was unwanted, but I took time out to explore how I really felt.
A week later it became clear that this act was just what I needed to get over him. Reviewing the night over and over brought me to realise how much he had changed. How he just used me, disregarded me, and didn’t want to know a thing about me. He was no longer caring or kind, or made any conscious effort to engage with me. I finally realised the night we shared meant nothing, so I no longer had anything to latch onto. Discovering who he had become allowed me to move on with ease as I replaced my memories with reality. It wasn’t him who I missed, I missed the version of him I used to know. Nevertheless, I had closure and was able to move on. The initial regret quickly dissolved as the benefits proved to stand out and I focused on them.
Despite what you’re told, there is no right or wrong way to get over an ex. You don’t even have to get over them! It may be your normal to lose contact and never speak again or to stay in contact and remain friends. You’re allowed to miss them, hate them or love them. Society and our friends will try and influence us to stay away, but ultimately the choice is yours. It’s a sensitive topic but it doesn’t have to be. Break ups are personal and anyone outside of the relationship will not understand the extent of your feelings. Just as any other controversial subject, it all comes down to personal opinion. No one is in a position to judge others for their sexual partners, especially if it’s their ex-lover!
My experience has proven to have a positive impact on my life. I’m not saying “go out and have sex with your ex!” – I’m just suggesting you don’t rule the option out. Overall I feel relieved that it’s been done and is no longer hanging over my head. It may even be time for me to tell my friends that I did have sex with my ex, and guess what? I have no regrets!
Written by Bridget Harris