There are so many beautiful stages to falling in love. There is the meet cute; there is the crazy infatuation; there is the first time you see each other naked and love all the little lumps and bumps they hate; there is the time you think “They might be the one;” and then there is the time you start hating the living hell of their ex-girlfriend, sight unseen.
And there are so many beautiful stages to that, too. There is the masochistically asking questions about her, because you don’t want to know but you really kind of do; there is the stalking her Facebook/ Googling her and ridiculing everything you see; there is the sharing pictures of her with your friends and being like, “Am I right!?” And then, if you’re really lucky, there’s the moment where you actually encounter her in real life and have to let out the most utterly false, “Heyyy, how are you?” of your life.
It happens to all of us. As we troll the pictures and the Facebook wall of this girl that has done so much to wrong us without even realizing it, we take umbrage with and utterly detest such strange, innocuous things: “Marine Biology? What the hell kind of major is that? I like Shark Week, too, but I’m not about to dedicate my academic career to it.” We become obsessed with what she is doing now, what stake she had in our boyfriend’s life, and why she wears her hair in that awful updo. (I think she was going for Amy Winehouse, but she ended up with Snooki.)
But why do we hate her so? Is it just because she once had sex with him, once kissed him, once rested her head on his chest the way we do? That can’t be it. Is it because she gave once him hickies all over his neck like some kind of white trash suckerfish? Is it because she forced him to wear that sweater that made him look like a pretentious, hipster Mr. Rogers? Maybe, but that still isn’t all of it. No, if we are really being honest, it’s because he loved her. At one point, those incredible things he’s feeling about you and can’t wait to tell you as you lie in bed, staring into each others’ eyes, were things he told her — and meant just as much. And we feel, on some primitive level, that there’s only so much love to go around. Somehow, having experienced it with her makes us less special. And we can’t hate him — he’s wooonderful — so we hate her instead.
But think back to one of your ex-boyfriends, one you may very well have loved at some point, one who now conjures in you this vague feeling of “Yikes, dodged that bullet.” You know, when you see him out and get that brief, nauseated feeling in the pit of your stomach as you think, “That was inside me at one point.” Shudder. But that feeling, and the true happiness for him that you feel when he finds someone else who is a billion times better for him — the ex you hate so much probably feels that way, too. There was a reason they didn’t work out, and she’s probably happy to see him with someone who can stand the way he bites his nails or leaves his dirty dishes to “soak” for days on end.
There is no reason to hate her, no reason to take this absurd “Me vs. Her” stance on something so benign. So I propose, for the mental health of girlfriends everywhere, the Ex-Girlfriends Club.
We would meet once every three months, have tea and crustless sandwiches (hell, you can even wear those big, floppy, Easter egg-colored hats if you want), and talk about that man who is no longer with us. And current girlfriends will be invited, too — it is important, in fact, that they come. We can trade tips, share stories, and complain about that awful way he rolls himself like a taquito in the sheets until you’re left shivering in the corner of the bed with a handkercheif-sized piece of blanket over you. And, most importantly, we can reallize that we’re all just human beings. We all may have shared sentiments and fluids with the same guy, but that doesn’t mean we’re in competition with each other — on the contrary, it should give us something to laugh over. We can all revel in how hapy we are to be rid of that douchebag — except current girlfriend, for whom we are sooooooo happy, she is perfect for him.
So put down the laptop, stop asking the evil questions, and let the gossip go. There’s no reason to fear the ex-girlfriend, just come to the Ex Club and get to know her as a person. We’re all good, intelligent, strong women and there’s no reason to get catty over a man who likely couldn’t care less about the stupid rivalry.
That is, of course, unless she’s trying to get him behind your back now that he’s all shiny and desirable again. Then that hot mess is not invited to any club, and her butt isn’t even that cute anyway.