Women are socialized to think that any other female who threatens our position as number one sexual object should be vanquished. We’re taught that the male gender’s ranking of us is absolute and godly and relevant to our lives and that we should be weary of our fellow ladies because they might affect our standing in the category of dude attention and testicle affection. Society makes it super clear that vaginas exist to charm, appease, and pleasure the all powerful penis (no matter our sexual orientation). The goal is to achieve complete domination over the hearts of their testosterone and anyone who stands in the way of that goal is the enemy.
THUS, in the eyes of the patriarchy, your ex’s new paramour is naturally the antagonist of your biography. They lower your dude attention and testicle affection ranking, they fill your previously held role of go-to sexual object, and they dominate all and every drop of testosterone in your once upon a time beau. So, naturally, you hate them. A LOT. There’s this awful systemic notion ingrained in us that if you have sex with an individual, anyone who previously had sex with them or who will potentially have sex with them is an ugly, slutty, butt turd bitch face dumb dumb. And it’s hard to steer clear of those thoughts when they have been, as mentioned, ingrained in you from birth. This is true for men as well, but it is especially true for women, and even more especially true for straight women, who the patriarchy permits to be competitive only in the areas of romance. Career competitiveness is futile. Sexual competitiveness is necessary.
I’m not going to lie, up until I was about 23-years-old I bought into this whole bullshit idea that women who had seen the same pair of balls as I had were not to be liked, trusted, or spoken to in a non-passive-aggressive manner. In elementary school I would glare at girls whose lips had kissed the lips I kissed one time in a game of spin the bottle. I prayed that they would period through their pants to the point that no one would want to kiss their lips again. In high school, I would plot against babes who dared to have conversations with boys I was interested in marrying or dating or casually butt-grabbing. In university, I would hope that particular women who I deemed having it all would flunk out so I could swoop in and capture every single ounce of heterosexual intercourse on campus. These malicious feelings were particularly ferocious when directed towards the girlfriends and ex-girlfriends of relationships past and future.
That is until my first, serious, long-term relationship came to an end and my malicious feelings towards exes’ exes changed significantly. In fact, they did a whole 180, although not in the beginning as the switch didn’t happen immediately. As soon as I discovered that my ex had a fresh GF I was, in typical early twenties, naive, still figuring out my hormones style, rather pissed and possessed above mentioned ferocious feelings. I was jealous. I was angry. I was in total shock. It happened relatively soon after our split and I was single at the time therefore I was in a more vulnerable state of mind than I would have been if I was, say, engaged to Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the ultimate fuck you to an ex, AM RIGHT?). I looked at pictures of the new me on Facebook and I glared and I plotted and I prayed for period-ing through the pants. I was confident that she was an ugly, slutty, butt turd bitch face dumb dumb and crossed my fingers that he would dump her soon and be lonely and miserable and missing me once more.
But then, one day, I met her, unexpectedly at a birthday pub soiree. Our mutual friend had gathered a medium group of pals together to share alcoholic beverages and they came, together. The couple, who I despised with every fibre of my being. Half-way through the night my ex sat beside me, politely asked how I was doing, and said he’d like to introduce me to someone. The someone being new me. Although I was consumed by rage at the thought of this, I smiled on the outside and replied Sure. I’d love to¦ meet¦ her. He signaled for her to come towards us, and as she approached, slowly, grinning from ear to ear I noticed that she was shorter than I had imagined. Her hair was much more red than it looked in the photos as well. She was different in person than she was in my mind. The greatest difference being that she was¦ great. As soon as she shook my hand I knew that I liked her, which was a feeling I had never experienced before when being confronted with an ex’s replacement lover.
We chatted for a few minutes longer until I had to depart for another event and when I went to shake her hand goodbye, she hugged me instead. I was taken aback by how warm she was with me. This wasn’t how she was supposed to behave. I was the enemy! DIDN’T SHE KNOW THAT? HADN’T THE PATRIARCHY TOLD HER WHAT HER ROLE WAS? HER TESTICLE AFFECTION RANK WAS DROPPING RAPIDLY. Apparently, she didn’t know, ˜cause her kindness towards me only grew each time we had an encounter. She remembered stuff about my life that I had told her about previously. She was genuinely curious about my job. She would jokingly poke fun of her boyfriend/my ex in front of me in a loving way. She was funny. She was smart. She was an amazing conversationalist. I was enamored with this girl and I didn’t know what to do about it. I had never been more confused about liking someone platonically. I felt as if I was ignorantly disregarding all of these valuable (sexist) lessons I had been taught, but hanging out with her was¦ fun, so I followed that instinct and hoped it wouldn’t lead to trouble.
I did worry every now and then that she was a magnificent con artist. That she was pretending to be this angelic creature but soon enough she would pull the rug out from under me and reveal herself as the wicked monster I knew she was all along. I wondered if she was collecting information about me and using it as fodder for her fire of evil. I panicked that she would eventually burn me to a crisp, so I guarded myself around her and allowed my paranoia to spiral. But, that never happened. No crisp burning went down. Our friendship simply continued to blossom. We got along swimmingly and why wouldn’t we? We were two people who got along swimmingly with another person close to us, so likely we would get along swimmingly with each other as well. We had similar interests and opinions and dare I say it¦ VIBES. WE WERE VIBING and we didn’t want to stop. The blossoming continued on and on and on.
Until, she and my ex¦ broke-up, which introduced the second wave of confusing platonic feelings within me. I wasn’t jumping for joy at the idea that my ex was single and lonely and missing me once more (which he for sure wasn’t for the record). I was sad, for her, for both of them really, and for¦ me? I had this wonderful friendship with a great woman who I liked a whole lot and I might not be seeing her anymore. We for the most part chatted at group events and although I did feel a closeness with her beyond that I was uncomfortable with the thought of asking her out¦ as a friend. I didn’t know if it was cool to request getting a drink together or even appropriate. I almost felt as if I was betraying my ex in a bizarre way. So, I held off putting out feelers. I was too conflicted to make a serious move and I hoped fate would make it happen.
Luckily, our mutual friends didn’t struggle with the thought as much as I did. Their friendship with her was also blossoming and they had no interest in ending it. So, I started to receive invites to LADIES NIGHTSSS which she attended as well. And you know what her and I talked about a lot at these LADIES NIGHTSSS? OUR MUTUAL EX! She was going through something eerily similar to what I had been going through a few years prior so I related to everything she said way more than anyone else could. I knew how she was feeling because I had felt it as well and we bonded even deeper over this special experience and shared understanding. It was pretty amazing. I highly recommend befriending your ex’s ex during a break-up. It helps big time.
And now, three years after their break-up and six years after my break-up, we’re still pals. In fact, I’ll be seeing her this week. She moved to Vancouver a while ago but she’s back in town for a short visit. When I heard she was going to be here I filled with joy. I actually yelled out Oh! Yay! I love her! ˜cause as mentioned above, she’s great and we get along swimmingly. Who knew that a visit from my ex’s ex could make me this happy? Elementary school/high school/university me surely didn’t know. I wish I could go back in time and say to my younger self You know those girls who you hate because they kissed a boy you kissed? Well, they’re not who you think they are. Try getting to know them and who knows, maybe you’ll find out that you really like them. And maybe that like will blossom into an awesome friendship.