Confession: I Still Care About My Exes, Even the Terrible Ones

Confession: I Still Care About My Exes, Even the Terrible Ones ©iStock/svetikd

I seriously care about my exes, even the terrible ones. This doesn’t mean that I involve myself in any situations I shouldn’t be in, nor does it mean I’m blind to the things that went wrong in those relationships. It just means that I can see past some of their behavior and recognize the core person who I saw and grew to care about, and that part of them still exists. I’m not advocating that my way of thinking is correct, but here’s why I not only don’t hate any of them, I really still care about them:

  1. I respect what we had, even though it didn’t work. Think about babies learning to walk — it’s a total disaster, but everyone’s cheering them on anyway. Once you learn, you don’t even have to think about it, but that doesn’t mean you should feel bad about the fact that you were once literally falling on your face trying to do it. You can apply that to relationships, too. Would you make the same mistakes? Never! But we’re you doing what you could at the time? Probably.
  2. I can care about them and not want to be with them. I’m friends with some of my exes, and then some I’m not because we still want to sleep together but know it’s a terrible idea. I care about both versions. Just because a guy isn’t right for me doesn’t mean he’s not a great person, and just because I can’t be alone in a room with someone doesn’t mean I can’t stand them.
  3. I’m not perfect, and I hope they care about me anyway. If a relationship is over, then obviously something wasn’t right, and to be fair, half of that probably has to do with me. How could it not? If it’s not right, it’s not right. But if you ever cared about someone, surely some of that remains out of respect towards what you shared. What the two of you had can never be repeated, not even close. The concept of that is intimate, whether or not the relationship was.
  4. You can care about people without wasting your energy. Important note: disengaging is key. You can hold someone in your heart but not be hooked into them anymore. Caring about someone doesn’t mean that you’re holding out hope, or still have romantic yearnings, or stalk them everyday on Instagram. It’s more like how you fondly think about your kindergarten bestie. Different times.
  5. I choose not to keep blaming them. Technically, I could still be pissed. I’ve been hurt, lied to, underappreciated, taken advantage of, put down. I’ve also done some of those things. I’m not going to hang out with anyone who’s doing any of those not nice things on the regular, but part of moving on for me is not blaming them for doing it, since that only lends a charge to the situation. Moving on is moving on. We don’t need to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and tons of baggage. Life is tiring enough.
  6. I acknowledge that I chose to be there. You can hate a past relationship all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that you were in it. Sometimes I think people push their hate and anger towards someone as a validating distancing method, as a way to say, “Oh, that mess? That is not my mess.” But it kind of is, and that’s fine. We just have to take advantage of the opportunities to not repeat the same mistakes, which we can only really do by taking some responsibility. You made it out alive, so consider how you did.
  7. I want them to be happy. Sure, I think my exes have made some dumb decisions, but those aren’t mine to trip over and truly I hope they’re all happy. I hope they give up any cheating and lying they do and actually want to treat a girl right, because they’ll be extra cool when they do. I hope they learn whatever they need to learn in this life, that they let their walls down, and that they grow to be happier and healthier all the time. And because I believe it’s possible for everyone, so I really hope they find love.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog