What do you do?
I investigate two things when this happens to me:
- Has she become more or less attractive since we parted?
- How does Mr. Next compare to me?
As far as the new guy goes, I’m guessing that this is different from each gender’s viewpoint. If my ex is with a man I rate as more attractive than I am, it’s easier to relent. If he’s a balding tool who is older, wearing faded Levi’s and a sheepish grin, I’m troubled. Why is she with him?
Various scenarios run through my mind:
- She’s just trying to make me jealous.
- I kicked a dent into her self-esteem.
- The guy is fucking loaded.
- He has a debilitating disease and she feels sorry for him.
- I was there first.
What does my ex think when she sees Ms. Next? Is she tempted to follow her to the restroom and pee all over my résumé? Will she become slightly jealous and open up the possibility of rebound sex? Will she even care?
If Ms. Next is younger than the ex, there’s definitely going to be cat fur flying (ladies, cover your chardonnay). If Ms. Next had any kind of enhancement, the ex will pull a Nancy Grace by staring at it and angrily pointing it out to every friend of hers who ever met me. If Ms. Next and I get into any sort of PDA, she’ll probably insert herself between us and prompt an uncomfortable introduction. (When that happens, I retaliate by acting as though I forgot the ex’s name. All is fair in love.)
Ideally, the one who was last to arrive should leave, to avoid unnecessary conflict. That won’t happen. What will happen includes smirks, sighs, and slurs. As the bucket of exes fills, some animosity is bound to spill. Fortunately, time and alcohol heals all.