Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sticky Fingers: Dipping into the EX Files


I'm in post-vacation-depression. The kind where you just want to wake up and drink a cocktail at noon instead of doing work and even though it's snowing I'm still wearing a sundress. I want to eat dessert after every meal and turn off my alarm clock, maybe even throw out an occasional "WOO HOO!!" It's denial and depression all at once. It hasn't helped that this week I've been back on the job-hunt grind; constantly refreshing my inbox, frantically scouring the pages of MediaBistro and five million other like sites, interspersed with a recurring and irritating habit of mine; Dipping into the EX-Files.

Technology makes it too easy not to do. It's the same equivalent of having an important document sitting on a table with a big "CONFIDENTIAL" sign stamped on it, you're naturally going to want to peek. The EX Files: Any information pertaining to a previous relationship, that's floating around the Internet whether that be your previous relationship or his.

It's the mystery that makes it tempting. I ask questions and I'm always curious about the relationships my boyfriends have had, because every relationship makes them who they are....so when you find that their EX Files are like comparing Jennifer Aniston to Bjork, or Bacon to a Veggie Dog (or any other random pairing of opposites) you naturally want to dig a little deeper to figure out, "what was it exactly...."

I've dipped into the pages of my EXes lady that he left me for, not because I'm still wounded, but because there's still times when I'm feeling nostalgic or I trip over a pillow he made me with his face plastered on it, that I haven't gotten rid of and I think, "What the fuck?" I'm curious because she seems alien to me, so different from everything I was...and hey, maybe there's my answer. There's times I still care because I never got to make him cry and simply saying "goodbye" to someone when you were royally fucked up isn't the kind of end that makes you gleam with relief, making him cry would. As catty up as that sounds, I catch myself in Mean Girl moments and Cheshire cat grins...I can't help it.

I've dipped into the pages of my current Love's ex girlfriend, whom I find very interesting and talented but cold and distant unlike me. Like you may need a frostbite warning being in the same room. But yet, I'm intrigued. How a person can love such opposites???

There's a natural curiosity and if I'm not the only one that has it, then I'm sure they're reading this right now. Though the past is an illusion now, it still left a fingerprint that remains in the present.

"You should really get rid of that" My naked boyfriend hovers over a pillow with my face and my exes plastered across his, smiling and in love- so distant from me now that it's like looking at a picture of another person.

"Yeah, I should. I don't know why I haven't. It's like people who keep concert stubs, who don't scrapbook. What's the point I guess."

"HA. If only when he made this he could've flashed to this moment, years down the road, of a naked man, after just making love to you saying, 'throw that out'" My Love gloats, yes baby- you are the winner.

....and then I can't help but think, what pieces of My Love do his exes have, what pieces does my Ex have that his new love looks and scoffs at....

Part of loving is believing in the MOMENT of what you're sharing is timeless. You give pieces of things and even more pieces that are invisible and you believe in the act that it's safe. It's exactly what makes love recklessly beautiful, vulnerable and terrifying. Knowing that someday another person may hold a piece of what you gave in indifferent and unwelcoming hands and ask that it be "thrown out." Even with that awareness, I can't help but emblazoning My Love with every mark of my adoration and bottomless affection, hoping that it is in fact the one that lasts.



WHAT'S IN YOUR EX FILES???

34 comments:

Angela said...

Wait, wait, wait. You don't normally eat dessert after every meal? No wonder you're feeling depressed!

Hope you can snap out of it soon! Hang in there!

kwərk said...

It's more about what's in his ex-files for me. I don't have much other than some pictures that I forget are hidden behind others in frames. My guy has stuff from the house they had together and some clothes, even, in boxes in the attic. I'm the one on the end saying he should probably sell it...I mean, we can buy our own things when we get our own place, seriously. And what would we ever do with her old clothes? I'm not wearing it...wouldn't fit me anyway...yeesh.

xoxo

theoddduckling said...

Me and the girlfriend have most definitely dipped into each other's EX Files. I guess the best way you can explain it is that it's helped us to understand each other.

Sarah said...

this is a great post. i'm fresh out of a relationship and doing my best to stay away from anything having to do with him and his new love interest. it's really difficult though - the internet makes it way to easy. so when ever i find myself wondering, i get away from the computer because i know whatever i find isn't going to make me feel any better.

L.L. said...

There are so many things in my ex-files that still bother me. SO MANY! I can never let things go. I wish I got to make some people cry. I wish I never had "maybe we could give it another try" sex with most of them. I'm glad to know someone else feels it too.

Je (20-Something) said...

I wish I wouldn't have found what was in my BFs ex files. Literally files. Naked pic files.
They're deleted now, but kinda emblazoned forever.
EWWWW.

Sebastian said...

For me, it's the naughty photos that I have of almost every ex-girlfriend of mine.

Naughty ones of her, of me, and us together.

It's not like I keep them in a visible location, but occasionally I will sidle over to them and open up the directory and be instantly lost in a sea of (happy) reminiscence.

The Passionate Book Worm said...

My boyfriend jokingly calls me The Purger. I don't keep anything from past relationships. In a way, I'm cold hearted I guess. No longer than three days post break up, everything finds it's way into the trash. I guess it's my way of coping. But it does make me inwardly gloat a little to hear about my ex's keeping little reminders of me.

just me said...

MY Ex-Files is scarier than the show.

Seriously.

Lily said...

That is beautiful and so true! What's in my ex files? Well, the most recent guy I dated wasn't serious and we're still friends.. but - I still have a Rolling Stones t-shirt and a thrift shop sweater. And a wine holder he bought me from a metal-working shop in Texas. And dirty letters he wrote me from across the country... There's no one new yet so no one's asking me to throw anything out, at least not know :)

And now I'm going to want to wake up and start drinking tomorrow. Well, that's what Vegas will be for, right?!

Meeks said...

This is so in the air right now!! I've been discussing the ex-files with a few friends lately. Scary shit. My ex files are a disaster. Too much to even think about.
PS? I'm SO HAPPY for you and your love. Big hugs! M

Ellegant said...

My ex-files are filled with some crazies, some love, and a whole lot of heartbreak. But more so, I'm way too curious about a guy's ex-files. And you know what they say, curiosity killed the cat.

The Smarter Princess said...

When my Ex and I were together I made him throw out everything from his past relationships. I’m talking stuffed animals, cards, books, even any pajama pants that she’d ever slept in. Poor guy.

I still sleep with the teddy bear my Ex got me. I don’t keep it because it reminds me of The Ex, more just because I got so used to cuddling with the bear. He’s been in my bed for four years now so he’s practically a person. But maybe the fact that I think my bear has feelings and a personality is more of a problem than anything else?

God, I am such a nutter.

Magchunk said...

For me it's almost weirder when a boyfriend's ex files are deja vu. Like, all blond, or all curly hair, or all biology majors in college (when he's a psych major...). Not real examples, but I've had it happen and it's unsettling. Is he just filling a "spot" and ticking off attribute boxes somewhere? Weird.

d said...

Ugh, I am totally the person that keeps concert tix. AND the person that stalks my ex and wonders why he is dating such sub-par women when he could have still had me.

The guy I dated last summer had an insane, drug addled ex. The only thing in common we had was blond hair. It ended up falling apart because he wasn't completely over her which pissed me off because of how reasonably functional I am.

Ugh men.

laurwilk said...

I am obsessed with Ex Files. Some days, I spend hours looking through things. Most of it is rather inconsequential. Sometimes it makes my stomach hurt.

I'm so intrigued by now's her and then's her. But then is probably my favorite.(And thanks to facebook, I can really take peeks into all of their lives!)

Great post!

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

now naked photos are something I havent stumbled upon, thank GOD! I would vomit.

meeks! HUGS HUGS!

rachel elizabeth said...

i have WAY too much in my EX files. i've always been such a sentimental sap... both in the tangible things and the not so tangible things. i hold on to everything far too tightly and i'm realizing now that maybe that's not the best thing in the world to do.

i'm currently in the process of spring cleaning that little section of my life and i've never felt better about it.

Rachel Caprice said...

Ex files has become almost a weekly routine for me. I still know people's passwords to facebook and myspace and email.

I figured out the password to my son's father's wife's myspace and saw messages from her to another man. I soon found myself printing out and mailing the notes to someone I hate based on the fact that he married my roommate and his come-uppens was that she's cheating on him.

I felt good. I would have felt better if I'd done damage to their relationship. Maybe it's a Scorpio thing. Might just be me.

Lucy said...

Oh, the dreaded ex-files...my man is divorced with a child, so his ex is very present in our life. Definitely a challenge for me at times. I believe that jealousy is evil and is rooted in insecurity...so I am doing my best to keep loving myself!!

At the same time, he gets very jealous if he has to even think about me with another guy. So I usually avoid the topic of my ex's - much better than cheering up a mopey guy ;)

Erin said...

The internet is a dangerous place. My friends and I tell each other that it's not stalking, it's investigating.
I have pictures, letters, etc... but no real feelings for the men that the items are attached to. I guess I just like the confirmation that someone loved me once upon a time.

R said...

Love this post. My bf doesn't think it's healthy to share this sort of information. That being said he also use to reference periods of time by his exes because he can't seem to remember the actual year. I know everyone for the most part has been in love with someone else but it drove me up the wall to hear his exes names every day. I had to ask him to stop doing it.

Another thing that I experience in relation to the ex was that she couldn't quit the relationship. She continued to email him for three years after their relationship ended. At first they were friendly emails but quickly escalated to all little too friendly emails. Since the last email, she has been ex-communicated.

It got to the point where I ripped up and burned his ex files aka phtos albums of them together. muhahahah!

Bernadette said...

I love this post. I don't keep stuff (I think I have a mix CD somewhere), and I just recently went through and deleted all the old ex-boyfriend emails. I've dated some beautiful writers, so it was tough, but I would search my gmail inbox for something harmless like "Saturday", and a hundred messages (and memories) would pop up--and always at the least appropriate time.

Of course, the facebook/internet is a dangerous thing for me (especially the new twitter-esque facebook... ugh!). I'm not close to any of my exs, and sometimes its just so weird to think how I went from knowing what someone had for breakfast every day to not knowing what city they're living in or what their job is, you know? But I have to stop myself, or the online "check-ups" can get out of hand...

ellabella said...

ex-files...here's a story for you:

GS is super technologically challenged...he said that his Ex made him get a texting plan, but he never used it before he started talking to me. once, he let me go through his phone so i could "see for myself" that all the texts in his inbox are from me.

too bad the first one i saw, that he had saved into the phone, was one from his Ex of like, seven years. who is the primary reason why he will not date me. i wanted so so badly to look and see what it said, and how old it was, etc. but i didn't. go me.

Kimberly said...

My hubs only had one Ex before me. He and I met in High school, he met her where he worked in high school. Which just so happen to be Taco Bell. Yay! I would go visit him there cause we were classmates (mostly to try to get free food) and his girlfriend was a super jealous type and would mean mug me if I said hi to him. I guess she was right cause when their relationship ended he and I started dating. To this day I swear that she probably spit in my burrito. He and I tried to find her on Facebook just cause were curious like everyone else but we figured that she was probably too ghetto to even know what it was.

JMW said...

Hey, Chelsea -
Thanks for stopping by my blog. And, yes, mimosas are fine for Easter. Heck, with the way my last couple of weeks have been, I may be breaking out the bourbon on Easter (I am a Kentucky girl after all!). BTW, your blog is super-cool!
Cheers!

Lady Jane said...

I don't know why but I can't throw things away. I still have my "Jason" box from when I was 16.

Valley Girl said...

Beautifully written, sweetie. Especially that last paragraph.

Serena said...

I can understand where you're coming from, I'm going through a bit of the 'ex files' at the moment...we never had a chance to find out what would have happened to us because he went back to an ex that is completely different to me. He's now single and I'm on the verge of jumping ship and I often wonder 'what if'...I feel quite nostalgic at the moment x

Couture Carrie said...

I totally understand how you feel!!

xoxox,
CC

Shley said...

I'm exactly the same! At the beginning of this year my ex sent me flowers at school for our anniversary with a note. I posted the note on the cork board on my desk. Even though we've been broken up for a few months now I just haven't thrown it away. Granted, it's usually hidden behind text books and papers, but still - I see it and think "Hm that should go in the recycling."

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

ellabella- that takes serious self control indeed.

valley girl- thank you!

jmw- cheers to mimosas!!


bernadette- they do get out of hand, i have to tell myself ot have some self control.


rachel caprice- yeah, probably would have felt good too...i'm a scorpio rising, so hey.

kikvberly-, ew burrito spit.

serena- we all do the "what if's?"

paginevuote said...

I am so guilty of all of the above - checking out exes, exes' exes, current loves exes, etc...

I feel so much more normal reading this and knowing I'm not alone. Thanks!!

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