It feels good to let go of some social obligations. It feels freeing to purge some relationships.
I have an ex-boyfriend (actually, several, but I’m going to talk about one in particular). We dated in high school. He was an exchange student at the time, and he returned to his home country. I visited him there once, for a month, the summer after my freshman year of college. To me, I was going to see him one last time. It was a good-bye, it was closure. To him, it was a continuation, a sign that we were meant to be together.
He continued sending me letters (that’s what we did back then, though email was becoming widely available in my country, it was more difficult to access in his. This was the mid-nineties). He called me occasionally, and we would chat. I dated other men. I moved. He moved. We both left our respective countries. We both went home again.
We lost touch. I was ok with that.
I met Will, dated Will, married Will. Had babies with Will. Found happiness with Will.
My ex found me on facebook soon after I joined the site. I accepted his friend request, and the first message I received from him was an expression of devastation He couldn’t believe that I had gotten married. He told me he thought I would wait for him. I was shocked. Wait for him? I absolutely guarantee he was not living a life of celibacy and pining for me. So why would I have done that for him? He was my first love, yes, but there had been other loves since then, including the one I had chosen to spend my life with. His feelings were hurt, he was jealous, he was upset to hear that I had only been married about six months at the time – he felt like he was just half a year too late to come for me, to get me back.
But we became facebook friends anyway, and he would occasionally send me melodramatic messages about the love we once had. I usually ignored them, but I would send him an annual message on his birthday to wish him well. I thought it was the nice thing to do. And I do like the guy.
But I’m done. His birthday was last week and I was too busy to send him the usual message. And I feel good about that. It’s time to move on. Obviously, in my love life and real life I have moved on. But I think it’s time to move on virtually as well. I don’t need to have this particular tie to my past.
I think past loves would be easier if the world weren’t so interconnected now. It’d be nice to occasionally think back to my high school boyfriend and wonder where he is and what he is doing and if he is happy. It takes away from the wistful nostalgia of such thoughts when I can just look at my computer and see what he ate for lunch and where he went on his most recent vacation. I’d rather live with the sweet memories than with the mundane and virtual connection.