Your Ex Isn’t A Bad Person, You Are


I called him every name in the book. I pointed out every one of his flaws to whoever would listen. “Did you know that he didn’t wish me happy birthday until NOON on my 16th birthday? Ugh.” I dramatically threw all of his things in the dumpster in my dorm and I dramatically had my friends film the whole thing. I furiously texted my mom about him constantly, knowing she was obligated to be on my side. I ripped up all of his pictures and deleted all of his texts. I screamed and cried and subtweeted him endlessly. I swear I tortured complete strangers by forcing them to listen to my stories about how awful he was.

I was your typical girl going through the classic high school relationship break up. We had miraculously made it through the summer before going our separate ways for school and had gotten past the infamous Dumpsgiving. But when the second semester of our freshman year started, it all came crashing down. It was probably inevitable from the start, as most high school breakups are. But despite the pain, here I am months later, happier than ever.

How? How could I be happy even though my heart was literally shattered less than six months ago? It’s simple. I’ll let you in on the little secret that I have discovered: My ex is not a bad person. At all. He’s actually a really good person. I know, I know. How crazy of me to say, right? Nowadays we’re expected to hate the person who was once our everything, and if you don’t hate them with all of your being, that must mean you’re not completely over them.

Honestly, it doesn’t make any sense. In most cases (there are obvious exceptions of course), the relationship fails simply because feelings change and people change. Or maybe you meet someone else. You meet someone who changes your world and makes you see everything a little bit brighter. Someone you click with better than a guy you dated because you happened to grow up in the same area. We are supposed to grow and change. Those who grow and change with their high school sweetheart are the ones who end up getting married. But as it usually occurs, the two people shift and move and change at different paces and in different directions. That’s just life.

But why are we expected to hate our ex? Why are we instantly inclined to call them names? Why do we try to convince ourselves that they are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad people? Because it makes us feel better, obviously. And this method works for a little while. You convince yourself that your loss wasn’t really a loss. That it doesn’t matter because he was a jerk. An asshole. Someone not worth your time. But that’s not true, is it? You lost someone who used to mean the world to you. And at the time, it’s the worst thing. It hurts like hell, but you shouldn’t feel the need to downplay it and blame it on the other person for being an awful human being. Instead, realize that they are (most likely) a good person, just like you are. You two just weren’t good people for each other. There’s a huge difference, and it feels so refreshing once you realize that.

Knowing the difference between “He’s a bad person” and “He was just a bad person for me” is ESSENTIAL in getting over him. I spent far too long replaying all of the nasty things that he said to me after the break up (purely because he was hurt) and thinking about how much of a jerk he was being. Toxic thoughts linger so much longer than positive ones. And even though I moved on quickly after the breakup, the angry texts my ex and I had exchanged replayed over and over in my head. I became obsessed with the idea that I had wasted so much of my life on an awful person. That’s what hurt me more than the actual breakup. The idea of wasted time that I can’t get back.

But it wasn’t wasted, was it? One day I stepped back and thought over everything we had had. Everything we had been. Everything our relationship was and I realized, we had some amazing times together. We laughed, and we grew, and we played, and we loved. God, did we love. And no matter what happens or what kind of relationship we have now, those moments can’t be erased. At the end of the day, he is actually a pretty good person. He’s just not the person for me.

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