The wonders of ex loving friendship

Garry Harper: The lookouts

When visiting an ex lover that you haven't seen in a while, it is hard not to imagine what if. What if you stayed together? What if that thing that broke you up, didn't happen? I'm looking at the teenage daughter of my ex in Scotland and I am thinking: that could have been my daughter. Could have, should have, would have – whatever. It didn't happen. That daughter is not mine, I have my own daughter.
The second phase of the oh so instructive reacquaintace with the significant ex is the recognition, or the realization, of the reason why it probably wasn't that good an idea to couple back then. Yes, you are very fond of each other, you know each other very well, you even remember the tiniest things of way back then, a thing you said, a certain behavioral particularity, you seemed to be a combination made in heaven, but then: maybe not. Perhaps it was a healthy thing, for both of you, to end the relationship.
Then again, a lot of it is happenstance, contingency, blind fate. In most cases, there is no reason why we do things, or at best, the reason is a story we tell ourselves (and the other, if interested) afterward, to maintain the illusion that we lead a meaningful life.
The third and last phase of going back to the ex is the most comforting part: the mutual allowance of friendship. Who could be a better friend than an ex-lover from long ago, if that ex-lover is not vindictive, resentful, acrimonious or spiteful – synonyms that I found in an online dictionary?
What a relief, when there is no need for sex and you can interact honestly and freely. There is no need to do anything. Just being together, without an agenda, feeling deeply connected just the same.

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