[disclaimer: this stream of thoughts was not brought on by any of my exes. i swear.]
a few weeks ago, i got a text from a friend. "[insert ex's names] just proposed to [ex's new squeeze]. why do i care?" i tried to make her feel better, but i'm not so sure if i did. the short conversation came back to life in my brain when i happened to run into [ex's new squeeze] at christmas mass. she's someone that i went to middle school, high school, and college with, but it's been more than a few years since we'd spoken.
so the rambling in my brain began anew. why do we care so much about our exes' love lives? is it that sense of lost hope, even though the feelings for that person have long since faded? i went through my brain last night as i struggled to fall asleep.
i was talking to my favorite brunette about this last night, relaying the story of [friend with the ex]. we came up with a few theories. first and foremost, we are genuinely happy that they've found love anew, albeit with a twinge of regret because of our extinguished hope for it to be us. however, our happiness for that ex isn't free. it comes with conditions. that regret grows into other emotions when we know the new flame, either because it's someone he/she knew while dating us or a mutual friend of ours. another condition is when it's the next one. becoming the last one sometimes hurts, but it balances out when we stop looking into the past.
by staying in our present and looking towards the future, our past can no longer haunt us inexplicably. being happy with ourselves makes hearing about exes' love successes heavy on the good, light on the bad. that wave of romantic nostalgia is fleeting. there's a reason it didn't work out, and besides, you've gotta love the one you're with. if you're any good at this dating game, you get closer and closer to your target with each missed shot. consider each new flame as an upgrade of the snuffed ones.
as leda puts it, "your ex already had a shot. it didn't work out. no sense in worrying about it."