there was a point where i stopped referring to n as my ex boyfriend, and instead as my friend. i realized that i was mostly calling him an ex so that i could signify to other people that at one point, (one very brief and strange point) he was mine. because during that time i really still wanted to be with him. and i knew that we had truly crossed over into friendville when i no longer felt the need to claim prior ownership.
and some people never cross over into post-ex friendville. they stay ex forever. as with b, i refer to him as my ex because of the shame i associate with having dated him, he remains ex forever as a reminder of my folly. there's also a twisted joy in telling people he's my ex. then their faces go '...really?' and i go '... i know.. i know
i was at a party with my most recent ex, this was very shortly after we had broken up, and were both trying very hard to maintain our mutual friends, and would show up at the same parties and overall have a nice time. in a lot of ways it was quite the same as when we were dating, we just didn't go home together. then one guy asked me:
guy: how do you know [the host of the party]?
me: oh, i met him through my ex boyfriend over there.ex boyfriend sees that i've referred to him and he comes over.
guy: (to ex) oh. so you're joe's ex boyfriend.ex boyfriend is taken aback. it's the first time the words have been spoken aloud.
ex: um. yeah. uh. i am.and i get horrible guilty chills thorugh my body. why didn't i just say he was my friend?? why did i have to call him my ex? did i need to tell everyone? and then the guy, assuming that we were long broken up, makes it worse.
guy: so you guys used to date?pause
me/ex: um yeah./yeah.
guy: and now you're friends?pause
me/ex: yeah. uh huh./um. yeah.
gay: that's so great. that's really great. it's just the best, isn't it? so you guys dating other people now?pause
me/ex: um.. no./no. um.
guy: wait. when did you guys break up?pause
ex/me: about a month ago./yeah.pause
guy: oh. wow. sorry.pause
guy: so you guys are still in that, like, weird place, huh?pause
guy: yeah, that weird place where you like don't know if you're gonna end up fighting or going home together at the end of the night? hahahah!pause