What Makes an Ex?

The question of what qualifies a boy as an “ex” has come up in my mind lately. For me, it’s easy to choose which four boys from my past are exes and which of the rest of them were flirtations or flings or nothing at all, really.

But to the outside world, I don’t think it would make any sense at all. The relationships I had with them ranged from ten months to three years. The physical aspects differed from literally nothing to… well, practically everything. I barely talked to some of them. I rarely was in the same room with some of them (which is probably a good thing, in some cases). I spent every waking moment with a couple of them. I poured my heart and my soul and my everything out to some… but not all.

All of them, though, are exes, and none a “more important” ex than the others. Why?

I was fourteen when I dated Joe, and I had no idea what dating was about. Most of the time, I sort of didn’t really believe any of it was happening anyway, and one day I’d wake up and this beautiful Adonis-boy would be gone, like a dream you can’t quite remember. I don’t think I ever really let myself get close to him, because I didn’t believe he was real.

Shane is the obvious example of what doesn’t make sense. My friends referred to him as my “internet lover,” and it wasn’t that far off, I guess. We never made out. We never cuddled. We never held hands. But we wrote each other long emails every day. When I went to summer camp, we wrote long letters by hand every day. We shared our secrets and our passions and our stories (real and fiction). In many ways, he seems more real to me than any of the other exes. But then, so do characters from romance novels, sometimes, so…

I don’t even know what to say about Luke. I guess you can’t spend three years of your life “with” someone and not include them on your exes list. And we were certainly more than friends. But all the moments I love and cherish about Luke are moments when we were friends doing friend things.

Matt qualifies by default because he utterly destroyed me, and you can’t do that without attaining ex status, I think.

So why? Why have these four made the cut?

Maybe it was longevity. If ten months is the magic number to make you boyfriend/girlfriend, all of them qualify. Maybe it was warm, squishy feelings, because I had the feels for all of them at some point. Maybe it’s the amount of heartbreak, because even the smallest heartbreak still hurts.

Maybe it’s just that I’m still thinking of them, all these years later.

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