Back From the Dead: When a Zombie (aka, a ‘Reappearing Ex’) Attacks
Hello again friends, and welcome back to another edition of Dear Dating Bitch – my millennial agony aunt column for dating, relationship, and breakup advice.
Given that it’s Fall (and apparently everyone aside from me is already prepping for Halloween) I decided to be cute and use the Zombie theme for today’s segment.
Technically, millennials consider a “zombie” to be someone who comes back into your life after initially ghosting, but I’ll be using it to refer to any kind of reappearing ex. And today, I’ll be answering several questions pertaining to these kinds of “zombie attacks.”
So, let’s get to it, shall we?
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Q: My ex – who put me through a love triangle, took my virginity, and broke up with me after his prom – has recently reached out to me. For more context, he was also my childhood best friend. Is this a good idea? We have so much history, but I don’t want him to become attached to me since I’m happily engaged.
– Unsure about Reappearing Ex
Dear Unsure about Reappearing Ex:
I had to re-read your letter a couple of times before I felt ready to give my input. You asked “is this a good idea,” and my gut reaction was to say No, probably not. Before I go any further with my explanation, though, go ahead and re-read your letter for yourself.
Right off the bat you describe this ex as someone that caused you a great deal of heartache and drama. The fact that you phrase this love triangle as something he “put you through,” makes me think you were heavily invested in him (possibly after the loss of your virginity) when he blindsided you with his interest in another woman. Of course, I could be misunderstanding the situation, but it would appear that your memories of him aren’t necessarily that great.
So… why would you want to let someone who hurt you so deeply back into your life?
Now, with that said, I’ll go ahead and assume that you have your own reasons for considering this potential
zombie apocalypse re-connection (you do mention an extensive history.) I’ll also assume you’re only interested in reconnecting platonically.
Still, there’s one part of your letter that continues to give me pause: you saying that you don’t want your ex to get too attached and end up getting hurt.
Why do you think this? Has your ex said something to imply that he wants to pursue you romantically? Presumably, if that were true, you’d have immediately shut him down. Or, maybe that’s something you’re only vaguely worried about. In that case, it appears that you’re still putting his feelings above your own.
Also, I can’t help but notice that you didn’t mention how your fiance feels about this. Does he think it’s a good idea? Does he know that your ex has recently tried to get in touch? I’d hate for you to jeopardize your current happy engagement over keeping unnecessary secrets, so if you haven’t already, I think you should talk with your fiance about all of this.
And if after all of this you still want to give this reappearing ex another chance, make sure you set clear boundaries from the start. You’re engaged, you’re happy, and you’re only interested in a platonic friendship.
Q: My ex says she loves me, just not romantically. Should I try to reconnect in six months?
– Hopeful for Second Chance
Oh, honey. I would love nothing more than to tell you, “sure! go for it! people change their minds all the time!” Unfortunately, I’d be a terrible advice columnist if I did that.
She’s told you pretty directly that she doesn’t want a romantic relationship with you. Unless she comes back to you in six months saying she’d like to get back together, trying to reconnect is probably just going to do more harm than good.
And, while we’re at it, you should stop talking to her if you haven’t already. Staying friends while secretly hoping for a relationship is a pretty solid recipe for heartbreak.
Q: I want to try reconnect with a guy that I dated almost a year ago. I haven’t seen or talked to him since I broke up with him.
How should I contact him and what do I say?
– I am the Reappearing Ex
Dear Reappearing Ex:
Why is it that you suddenly want to get back in contact with this guy? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t, but before you do, make sure you know your own intentions so that you don’t cause someone else pain.
After that, reach out to him with kindness and clarity:
Hey Joe, I know we haven’t talked for a while but I wanted to reach out and see how you are. I’d love to [be friends/get lunch sometime/explain the breakup.]
Alternatively, if you’re interested in a relationship, say that upfront:
Hey Joe, I realized I made a mistake in ending our relationship and I’d like to pursue a possible reconciliation if you’re open to that.
Oh, and only reach out once. If he doesn’t answer, it’s a clear indication that he’s not interested in hearing from you.
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Conclusion: Dealing with Romantic Zombies
That’s it for this week everyone. I’d love to know your thoughts.
Do you agree with my advice? Have you ever had – or been – a reappearing ex? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading!
P.S. – Don’t forget to send in your own questions here!
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