When you are dumped, left for the next, discarded, not texted back, your friends will offer up words of encouragement with the intent to make you feel better. Invariably, you will hear from somebody that the best way to get over somebody is to get under someone else. This person is usually jaded about relationships, but analyzing the type of person that says something like this is a topic for another time.
So you decide to move on. You resolve to get under somebody else.
You probably feel unsexy, undesirable, unwanted, un-a lot of things. Your self-esteem has been totaled by somebody that you trusted, and you feel an acute, crushing sense of panic that nobody will find you attractive ever again. But, inevitably, somebody does. Whether you meet this new somebody while inebriated at a big party or casually, accidentally in line at the closest coffee shop, this somebody finds you attractive, and sooner (three drinks) or later (three dates) you find yourself under this person.
Your first reaction is probably triumph. Look at me! I’m moving on! You have successfully expanded your repertoire of sex stories, your most recent is now no longer your most tragic, and you have somebody new to think and obsess about. You can occupy your brain with this new person, analyzing all of his or her movements, words, music choices, weekend activities, texts, Facebook post, tweets and so on. Your friends are relieved to hear about somebody else, and life is great. Ex who?
But in swoops hostile reminiscence. You will be analyzing a sweet thing that your new mattress partner did for you, only to realize with an unpleasant jolt that your previous lover did no such thing. Everything your new beau does is more thoughtful, considerate, charming, and attentive than what your old ex used to do. Your ex never let you hog the blankets, never woke you up with a kiss on the forehead, never asked you if you preferred your water fizzy or flat or with ice. That jerk would roll over with all the sheets and leave you freezing cold, and he would get a glass of water without considering that you might want one too. Is this what’s normal? Courtesy and concern? You begin to see that your ex was a self-centered and lazy and complacent. So this is what it’s really like to be treated well!
But slowly, surely, you’ll begin to feel the twinges of a fonder, kinder, gentler reminiscence. This is where the whole thing starts to fall apart. Because soon, your new suitor won’t be new anymore. Whether the novelty wears off after a few hours of a few weeks or months or years, soon, this new partner is complacent too, and you will begin to miss how it was with the one who came before. Your ex might have been a jerk that treated you poorly, but at least with them you were comfortable and used to each other, and you didn’t have to explain yourself or your friends or your family all over again. You’ll remember that your ex would switch the channel to Comedy Central before switching it off so it would be the first channel you’d see when you turned the TV back on, and you’ll resent this new love for refusing to share the remote control. The weird skin blemish on their thigh will bother you and gnaw at you until one day you’ll wake up and it’ll seem to you like it covers their entire leg. It will be the only thing you can see. They’ll shed their dark hair all over the bathroom and you’ll miss your blond ex. You’ll miss the old inside jokes, even though you can’t recall a single one, and you’ll miss the way your ex thought swearing toddlers were hilarious when it sends your new lover into a patronizing rage.
Suddenly, you can’t take this new person sleeping beside you anymore and you can’t remember why you liked them in the first place. You antagonize them until they break up with you or you gently let them down yourself, but in the end, you still feel alone and unwanted. Maybe there’s something critical missing in your genetic makeup that prevents people from treating you well and caring for you and there’s no such thing as a soul mate for you and why can’t you just be happy with who you are in the moment you’re in?
And inevitably, during your grieving, somebody will tell you that the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody else.