Leither in London – The Ex Factor


Posted by in September's Magazine

Out of the blue the other night, I was doing my usual drunk 2am facebook stalking when who should pop up on chat but my old friend Rob. Some of you may remember this character but for those of you who don’t, I’ll break it down briefly. Technically speaking, Rob and I were never actually a couple but our relationship was complicated to say the least. In simple (and embarrassingly honest) terms, Rob spent months trying to get close to me, convinced we were meant to be together and I…well I probably took advantage of the situation. I liked spending time with him, he made me laugh and of course I was flattered by all the attention so I let it go on way longer than I should have – talking to him every day, hanging out all the time, letting him stay over, but never actually allowing it to get romantic. Rather than being friends with benefits, we were like boyfriend and girlfriend without benefits!

The Bottom Line

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Despite spending an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the nature of our relationship back then, I haven’t actually seen or heard from Rob in over a year. A year in which I’ve become perfectly used to his absence from my life and he’s fallen for an American girl and ventured into the world of cohabitation (I know this from the aforementioned facebook stalking). Given all this, I was pretty surprised that he suddenly wanted to talk but, being a bit pissed, I thought well why the hell not and after a brief exchange online, we ended up talking on the phone for hours. I even found myself agreeing to have lunch with him a few days later – a prospect I didn’t feel quite so good about the next day.
Was I about to walk back into a huge mess? I know some people who claim it’s perfectly possible to be friends with an ex, but I’m just not convinced it ever works. The bottom line is that no matter how many times people tell you a break-up is ‘mutual’, when a relationship ends there is always one person with the upper hand. The dumper might be perfectly fine being friends with the poor schmuck whose heart they just stomped on, but it might not be quite so easy for the dumpee. In my case, I’m not even sure which was which. Considering Rob had been the pursuer and I was the one spurning his advances, you’d think I might be okay with his newfound coupledom but I’m ashamed to admit I really wasn’t. I can’t imagine being completely comfortable listening to him wax lyrical about his wonderful new girlfriend. Particularly when I’m still single myself. And the thought of him trying to buck me up or deigning to give me relationship advice makes me fume. I’d want to punch the smug git in the face.

Reader, she killed him

Plus, a few things Rob said during our chat made me think he might not be going into it issue-free either. A few choice sound bites: “I often wish I could go back and do our first date again.” “You’d like me so much better now, I’m even better-looking!” I’m not arrogant enough to assume he’d take one look at me and decide he was with the wrong girl but I also don’t want to be the cause of any doubts or drama. And let’s be honest, none of this would really be fair on his girlfriend. I’m not sure there are many of us who’d be happy to hear that our live-in boyfriend had spent the early hours of the morning catching up with a girl he’d once professed to love. And I’m damned sure, they would be even less amused to hear they’d since been meeting up for cosy lunches.
And in the end, this is the main reason I decided not to accept Rob’s lunch invitation. Not because of what it might do to either of us but because of what it could do to some girl I don’t even know. Putting myself in her place was enough to make me realise that seeing Rob again was wrong so I put any old fond feelings aside and emailed over some lame excuse. And after all my inner turmoil, you know what his response was? Nada. He didn’t even bother to reply. I can only assume for one of three reasons:
a) He woke up on Sunday morning with a terrible hangover and an unshakeable feeling of guilt about our late-night catch up and realised it would be wrong to meet up.
b) He was glad we’d put the past behind us, was looking forward to catching up in person and introducing me to the American – and my cancellation had spoiled his rose-tinted vision so he was sulking.
c) His girlfriend got back, he told her about our chat and she killed him.
I guess we’ll never know…

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