why do i have this weird desire for my ex to try to get back with me so that i can turn her down?
l’esprit de l'escalier. “the spirit of the staircase” (sometimes referred to as staircase wit). it describes the feeling of—upon the passage of time—having the perfect rebuke or rebuttal to a cutting remark. it seems to me that the end of this relationship may have been cutting in its own way. at minimum, it has left you unresolved.
relationships make us into different people. sometimes that’s for the better and other times it isn’t. either way, the duration of your absence from this relationship has acted as your staircase in this regard. you now know that this relationship is a bad idea and perhaps you also feel equipped to articulate just why that is.
the underlying reason behind this desire could be as simple as you wanting some kind of resolution to the feelings left over from this relationship. or it might be motivated by a kind of transactional desire to boost your self-esteem at the cost of your ex’s (possibly upgrading your status from the dumped to the executioner of the relationship).
or maybe there just aren’t enough new people or things in your life for you to hold these internal changes up to, causing you to keep looking toward the past to validate them.
to resolve this feeling, i’d recommend making sure that the changes brought on by the end of this relationship are changes that benefit and please you as a solo entity—not you in the context of the old relationship. think about why this person’s opinion still matters to you and ask if there’s anyone else in your life who’s opinion might matter more. and finally, spend time around new people. maybe that means dating or maybe it just means going out a little bit more. when you meet someone that doesn’t know you—and didn’t know you as your ex’s partner—you can observe how they see you (and how you present yourself). and that’s a much better lens to observe these changes from than that of your ex.
my girlfriend recently moved her cats in with me. i hate them. they pee on everything. they meow constantly when they don't get their way. it's impossible to sleep with them, as well as without them. and don't even get me started on the fucking licking.
asking her to get rid of them will likely result in a break up. i love her but i just want to go back to the days of coming home and not stepping on cat litter. what do i do?
ah, yes, the tiring antics of the recently misplaced cat. when my ex and i moved—and our two cats had to move with us, obviously—our two sweet little cats turned into absolute monsters. they ruined all of the new furniture we bought by peeing on it or clawing it and they fought constantly.
your girlfriend’s cats are now in a new environment with new smells—likely smells of other cats if other cats live in your neighborhood. it is also highly likely that they can tell you don’t like them. all of this means the cats don’t feel safe and are very anxious, resulting in the bad behavior. so the question then becomes, could you live with two reasonably well-behaved cats?
if not for the litter, the peeing, the meowing, the “fucking licking”, would this still be an issue? because if that’s the case, then your partner has a right to know. some people are pet people—some aren’t. for a pet person to be happy in life, they need a pet. if you can’t accommodate that, you owe it to your partner—and yourself, realistically—to let them know so they can make an informed decision about living with you.
but if it is the bad behavior of these cats—which I suspect it is, because who doesn’t love cats!?—then there are a few things you can do. first of all, just washing the spots they pee isn’t going to cut it. you’ll need to buy (or maybe your girlfriend will need to buy) a spray designed to eliminate the odor completely or else the cats will continue to pee in that spot. you have two cats so—at least for now—you need at least 3 litter boxes. these two things should at least help with the peeing.
for the actual behavior, you could consider trying a CBD-based medicine. these medicines can be a little pricy but i have heard a lot of success stories and you don’t need to go to a vet or anything to get them so they’re at least cheaper in that regard. i also recommend—again, just for the time being—keeping all of the doors inside of your house open so the cats are free to go wherever they want. this will make them considerably less territorial which, again, will cut down on the peeing and the acting out. as for getting them to leave you alone, you could look into getting some solo-play toys, such a door hanging toy or a motorized one.
finally, if you have in it in you, try to find a way to love the little monsters. i found Jeff, believe it or not, in the bad cage at the shelter. his chart said he had been surrendered for peeing on furniture and he wouldn’t even let me pick him up! well, i’ve had him for a year and a half now and he’s never once had an accident and he’s probably the sweetest cat i know. living things are a product of their environment, after all—good, loving environment = good, loving cats/girlfriend(s).
“i’m addicted to checking my ex boyfriend’s social media. i do it daily. every time i think about it, i can’t resist the urge; but afterwards, i always feel guilty and creepy. how do i stop this weirdness?”
there are two places in which i think most people really really try to make their lives seems glamorous. those two places are: on a first date and on social media. as a relationship unfolds and people become more comfortable with each other—sometimes even taking each other for granted—that “best self” we present on first dates and on social media gets washed away.
after we end things with the ugly, flawed human we discover our now ex to have been, sometimes we end up longing for the person we built them up to be in our heads. and that fictional person that captivated us, the one we actually miss, still exists—just not in real life.
so what should you do to end the weirdness? one of two things: reconnect with the actual person. demystify the collection of photos, videos, and words that this person is using to channel that “best self”. you’ll either remember why things ended between you two or you’ll find that they’ve changed—either way, you’ll be interacting with a real human being with depth and flaws as opposed to the carefully curated stream of content that this person is using to build themselves up.
two: block them on all social media. police yourself from checking their social media when you get the urge. eventually—hopefully—the urge will go away or at least diminish a bit.
these two options are both harsh, i get that. on the one hand, reconnecting is scary because they might hurt you again (or maybe they’re unwilling to reconnect with you and so social media is all you have). on the other, cutting them out completely makes you feel like you might be missing out on something good.
recently a friend of mine was swinging on a rope swing with the intention of jumping out into a lake. when the time came to jump, he second guessed the drop and kept holding onto the rope. he swung right back into a tree and broke his rib. get it?