THE BLOG
10/14/2014 11:24 am ET Updated Dec 14, 2014

Pretending to Be Happy for Your Ex

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Everyone has hard breakups. The term itself denotes the end of a relationship. And after you've spent so much time and mental emotion devoted to cultivating and sculpting this, your beautiful clay pillar of love, it's over. You realize that you've been the only one sitting at the spinning table making the damn thing while he's been too busy with other things like hitting and ruining the sculpture (and your heart) with his bat and jaded heart.

So whatever. You move on. And by move on, I mean secretly wish for them to choke on a Mentos, only to be saved right at the last minute. Cause let's be honest. You don't wish death upon them. You just want them to suffer so hard until they're saved at the last minute just so they can suffer like that again in the future. I know you all secretly wish this. (Unless you're 14. In which case, stop reading this. You're too young to experience spite.) But eventually, you get on with your life and nearly forget about how much they suck.

Until you see them again. And you're reminded about how much they suck.

I've had my very long share of exes. As in one, kind of two. So I'm no expert on the relationship aftermath and repairing them to places of friendship. What I am really good at is pretending to be happy for them while choosing at which temperature I'd like for them to burn in hell.

I recently saw an ex after several months of little and sporadic communication. I was reluctant to do it, but I knew he'd offer to pay for a drink. So I thought: at least there's a drunken stupor in store for me where I'll probably relay to him how much better off I am! So fine, I'll go. And I imagine this is how most post-breakup meets go:

You see him. Dammit, he looks good. He finally got a haircut. God, that old haircut looked stupid. But he didn't shave. Dammit, scruff looks good on him too. Did that old hair just travel and conveniently place itself on his chin and lower cheeks? Ugh, Alex who cares??? (Crap. I do.) You greet him, you do the half-hug-whatever thing, and then the real judgment begins. He starts to tell you all about his life that include things like his new job, the state of his condo, grad school, and other things you don't give a shit about. And while you're thinking about how few shits you give, you smile and nod because you want him to think you're on his side. You say things like:

"Wow. That's great!"
"Sounds like a cool opportunity."
"Glad to hear you're doing well."
"So happy for you!"

When what you really want to say is:

"Please stop talking."
"I wish you'd get a non-fatal case of Ebola."
"I hope for increasing sadness on your part, which, in turn, will bring me increasing joy."
"Can you just tell me you're gay so I can not feel guilty about still being attracted to you?"

But you don't say any of those because you don't actually want him to think that he has any effect on your everyday life. Even though last week you remembered it was his mom's birthday and thought about that time when you guys made out in his parents' bed and it was really coy and fun and OH MY GOD GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

So a simple nod and an occasional smile is all you give to let him know you're in SUCH a good place now. And when he asks about you, you say that your life is constantly filled with new adventures and you feel so blessed to be meeting all these wonderful new people and it's so refreshing to be on your own and all those other things that aren't true.

The night ends with an awkward walk out to the intersection where you split ways (finally). And you suddenly have that thought: "So what if we make out just a little?" You have the sudden impulse to act on it until he says: "Wow. You seem like you're doing so great. I was just telling my girlfriend all about you today. You know, I should introduce you to her!"

Wow! You know what you should do? Not that. And suddenly, his façade of attraction is broken and you remember all his terrible/awful/horrible qualities and walk away from him with ease. And you're right back to where you were before you saw him! Spiteful, judgmental, and glad to have him out of your life! You're a much stronger person now! You don't need him!

But... what if I just texted him tonight? I'll blame it on being drunk. He'll never know. God I hate him.