I may believe in ghosts, but I don’t believe that the real-life ghosts of our pasts—our exes—should be something to fear.
In the past the thought of an ex has left me in shivers, but now, I really do believe that thinking of an ex solely as a bad thing is just a myth. The thing about our exes is that they will only haunt us if we let them. Maybe our past scares us, whether it’s filled with spooky stories or ghosts that left us broken-hearted. If that’s so, then it’s time to bury everything we dread under a tomb to rest in peace.
An ex may represent a relationship that has run its course and met its end. An ex may be a ghost who is dead to us now, but maybe at one point they were the one person who was most alive in our hearts. Those are the spirits that are worth holding onto—not the memories that left us in horror.
However, I do not believe holding onto the “good” in “goodbye” should be candy in our trick-or-treating baskets, either. While we move on with our lives, I think it’s completely OK and fair to carry whatever happiness we felt before our ex became our ex, but let’s not hold onto our exes and keep them alive forever.
As I previously mentioned, defining an ex as a bad thing is a myth I am going to stop preaching to others and myself. Likewise, I will also try to never allow my past relationships to fully define me, although I can’t pretend that they aren’t a part of me. Like Halloween, which occurs at a certain time of the year, so did those relationships—they’re practically calendar marks of my life. So rather than avoid what has been, let’s just cross the date off of those dates and keep moving on.
Maybe we wear our previous relationships like costumes. The relationships that come in and out of our lives may play a major role during a particular time, but they may not be something we want to wear or identify ourselves with forever. But that’s OK, because whether that costume played the role of a puppy love, a first true love, or a messy mistake, no one wants to repeat the same costume year after year—possibly because we sometimes find that something we once thought was such a right fit suddenly became something we wore out and got over, turning it into a costume masking a relationship that was wearing out.
You see, the more I think about my past relationships, the more I realize that dating is kind of like trick-or-treating. You could say a date is like an open door in the neighborhood to someone, maybe even a stranger, who we dress up for in the hopes of that door leading to something inviting. But we just don’t know what and who’s in store until we get ourselves out there and find out.
But like trick or treating, I think dating will be a stepping stone of the past once we meet someone that gives us something we no longer need to dress up for—something that may have scary moments, but will never terrorize us, something that won’t leave us haunted, and something that could never read as a myth, but rather something real and worth believing in.
Photo taken by Colleen Scobie
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