Imagine the following awkward situation (or more likely, you don't even have to imagine it, because it's real): You're walking along, minding your own business, maybe late for your latest group project, running to dinner or meeting a new date for a mid-afternoon rendezvous when you see it - - the person you used to make out with getting all sorts of cozy with someone else.
Wait a moment. It used to be you who cuddled up with them in public places, you who used to hold their hand, you who used to share whispers in corridors of future meetings. They shouldn't be with anyone else! It's just down right weird imagining them making out, or even sleeping with a new person.
Quickly you are thrown into a vortex of emotion - - jealousy first and most prominent of these emotions. Why are they not still in love with you? What nerve do they have dating other people? They should be lonely forever!
And why does the new person have to be so darn cute? Why does she have to have such great hair? Why does he have to be so built? Why is it that you would want to be friends with them if they were not snuggling with your ex? Why are they not hideous? OMG, are they more attractive than me?
Your rational mind says stop. You are no longer together. You should be happy that they have found someone new. You may have even found someone new, or at least developed a new crush. So what's the big deal?
What do you say to the ex as these things run through your mind, and getting closer to an awkward encounter with each step. Your steps can't be diverted to a different direction. Do you make eye contact and walk away? Do you say hello, and stop to make small talk?
So I see you're getting cozy with someone in public, tell me about it. No not quite. How about, I see you're getting cozy with someone, DID I OBVIOUSLY MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?
The moment passes, but you are haunted by it. You check your ex's Facebook profile. Is he Facebook flirting with this cute girl?
You ask your friends. Is this new person better looking than me? Do they know anything about her?
Now you see them together everywhere. You begin to change your routine to avoid possibly seeing them together.
What has happened to me? I am like Anne Heche after she left Ellen DeGeneres - - lost, confused, unemployed, a possible candidate for the temporary insanity plea.
Alright, I know I may seem like a crazed lunatic. And yes, if you can't tell, this just happened to me. But I'd be delusional if I thought I was the only person on campus who had ever experienced such a situation. Sometimes, when dating someone, things don't work out particularly well, and then you break up. This is really only to be expected.
I may sound like a bitter woman, but I don't suffer from bitter woman's disease. I have moved on, and up until now, I really wanted the ex-beau to move on too. I just didn't want him to move on in front of me.
The truth is that we cannot control these emotions; as much as we would like to think that we have moved on, it sometimes is hard to let go. Some may never completely let go, particularly when feelings were strong, or the relationship was very long.
The key to dealing with these sorts of situations is not eating your feelings, drinking your feelings, or even finding the one night hook-up. Rather, acknowledge the feelings, but remember to remain rational. Just as they occupy a small, but apparently steadfast place in your heart, you also, most likely, also have a treasured part in theirs.
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