How do you feel when you started dating a fellow and he takes you to all the places he and his ex used to visit. At first, it might ick you out, but only if he told you. Couldn’t he be more imaginative than that? Keep in mind, men are different than women in that they don’t place emotional significance on places. He likes to go to a particular steak house because they serve good steaks. Sometimes, if you explain that you don’t want to hang out at the same places he and his ex used to go, he may not understand, but will humor you.
Where does it end though? If you are reading this blog, then you’re probably over thirty and been out to more than a dozen or so places with different people. This means there are a multitude of restaurants, venues, vacation resorts, and even cities you might not visit because they are associated with the exes. For a while, I was of the opinion to avoid these places as if they were radioactive.
This was especially important to me when I had the same name as my ex-husband’s first wife. I felt I had no identity on my own. It was important to me not to be mistaken for her. We already shared a husband I didn’t want to share anything else. I even changed my name. There came a point when I realized I quit doing what I wanted to do in fear that I might bump into the ex. (If you’re wondering, I never did.)
Shouldn’t we do what we want to do, go where we want to go, eat at the restaurants we like? With that in mind, I am for taking back my favorite travel spots, or places I wanted to go to, but never did. Maybe your sweetie or mate declares he doesn’t want to go on a cruise because he went on one with his ex. Guess what, you didn’t get to go on a cruise, and you want to. You should go on the cruise. Perhaps, your sweetie might be leery, but assure him that the company will be better this time. Then let it go, don’t ask him about the previous cruise. Allow this to be your special event. This is part of you taking ground for you.
Often when you tiptoe around not doing something your sweetie and his ex did together, you shortchange yourself. Think about it, if they went to Hawaii on vacation, does that mean you never will? If you have this rationale, you will resent your own sweetie because you will feel the ex got to do things you wanted to do, but didn’t get to.
I caught myself in this trap when planning my own wedding. When I mentioned perhaps a seaside wedding, I found out my sweetie’s psychotic ex insisted on a beach wedding. My entire sweetie’s family would remember the wedding, perhaps compare me to his ex. I gave that desire up, not because I didn’t want it, I just didn’t want the comparisons. Maybe that wasn’t a bad thing to do, but it pushed me into avoiding anything that might be associated with any of his exes.
Then it hit me one day that I was not doing what I wanted to do. I gave my power of decision to his exes inadvertently. Ironically, I resented them for taking choices and places from me. They didn’t. I made that decision. Then I decided to take back what I wanted. Reclaim some of my old haunts because they were places I liked. I also decided to not ask if a previous girlfriend had ever been there.
My former reluctance was based on my theory that the places would bring back romantic memories of the ex. It is more likely if they brought back any memories. It would bring back arguments or being ignored. There is a reason an ex is an ex.
With this in mind, I am out to brand all places with memories of us. Any associations will be of us. I am amazed I was willing to give up so much. I understand the resentment I felt against the previous exes was tied to feeling they stole not only my sweetie’s past, but also chunks of my present. Why should I hide in the shadows and carefully watch my step not to encounter the ex? I’ve done nothing wrong. Reclaim your haunts; go where you want, you’ll be much happier.