January 12, 2007

How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore

Prince yet again. A simple tune in instrumentation but damn if the kid can't make ya feel what he's talkin' 'bout. The dynamics of the piano coupled with the inflections of his voice & the backing vocals - you have to hear it. Here's a vid (set to some soap opera scenes - the tune starts ten seconds into the video). Here's Alicia Keyes trying to do the tune (she ain't bad but it's hard to improve on what Prince did let alone equal it). Here are the lyrics.

I've had some odd hits in search results before but this one kinda surprised me. I'm the number 9 hit on Google for "do ex boyfriends ever call?". The hit points to a post of mine from 2004 called Trying To Be A Good Ex-Boyfriend. & even more odd it came from someone in a city chamber of commerce office. Ya know I'd have expected something like this after National Break Up Day - well if I expected something like this at all that is.

Since I always try to help my readers I'll go ahead & directly answer the question: yes. & no. It depends upon A: the ex in question & B: the nature of the break up. & it's more complex than that. Just call me Dr. Pub if you open the extended entry as I'll try to delve into this a bit.

I have at times called ex-g/f's. But that's because most of my ex-g/f's I've been on speaking terms with after the break up. There's been one lady in the past few years that I've called with any kind of more-than-platonic intent but that was an odd situation (& technically she wasn't ever an ex-g/f - more an ex-lover). For the most part when a relationship is over I've usually treated it as such. There are exceptions - I dated an ex for some time after she & I split up - but in general I assume when there's a disassociation that it's because the other person is no longer interested in me. I tend to take "no" real quick & real permanent (perhaps too much so) & though there are ladies from my past I think are still compatible I just don't think they care enough to give things another try.

I wasn't always like that though & other guys are different. Usually when a guy becomes single he'll be tempted to call an ex or two & try to resurrect something, anything to make him feel wanted or cared for. Rejection is a terrible thing for guys to go through (not that it's pleasant for women) & sometimes trying to get past that will inspire a fellow to pick up the phone in order to soothe the wound.

But I think the person searching wasn't wondering about a random ex but a recent one. & that's just as complex. It's possible for an ex to call & want to work things out but it's not something I've ever looked to or counted on. It's much easier to move on to something new than repair something that's damaged. I'm fool enough to try to make necessary repairs but most other people aren't.

What anyone has to look at is the amount of damage done to the relationship, the extent of effort necessary to make the repair & whether or not the end result would be worth said effort. Sometimes the conclusion is that there's simply too much damage. But the tricky part is that there no amount of damage that will make a relationship irreparable if the parties involved want to repair it. Capability is not the most important factor - desire is. If it's something easy (like a perceived slight caused by a misunderstanding) it could be irreparable if one of the parties involved doesn't want to take the time to fix things. If it's something more deeply rooted, such as insecurity/abandonment/engulfment/fidelity issues then it's possible to fix things if both parties wish to.

So if there's a desire to repair the damage done then it's assessed whether or not there'll be too much effort in comparison to the gain. If for instance someone is working full time, going to school full time & raising kids on their own they might not want to invest in calling someone twice a day & seeing them 4 times a week to reassure them that they're committed to the relationship. Conversely someone might not want to make a phone call once every two weeks & see someone once a month to show them they care. It just depends on what the other person views as too much effort compared to what they gain.

& it may sound cold but that's what will go through most people's minds in one form or another - do I care enough about the other person to put X amount of effort into making things work?

That's what it boils down to - how much the person cares. I won't be glib enough to tell you that if they don't care that you didn't need them anyway. Whether true or not that seldom gives comfort. In fact nothing gives comfort until they either call or you get past them. The latter can take years. Or days. It depends on how much you cared about that person versus the relationship. Some folks care more about the relationship than the person involved & it's difficult to assess yourself to figure out which is which.

But more important than wondering whether an ex is going to call or not you should think about whether you really want that ex to call or not. If so then why? & most importantly are you willing to put the effort into making whatever repairs are necessary to have a relationship with that person again?

I won't go into how many relationships I've had (let's just say more than a few) but therea are only a few (as in 3, maybe 4) women who I'd have tried to work things out with after we severed our ties. Those were all women I cared greatly for & realistically thought I could spend the rest of my life with & be happy about things & (most importantly) that it could be mutually cool. Each one was different enough (as were the circumstances) that my feelings were different but they all had either the same intensity or the same potential for intensity. I'd say that I'd still try to work things out with any one of them if I could but at least 2, maybe 3 are permanently out of the running & the 4th I don't think gives a damn about me one way or the other so I'm not exactly holding my breath (though it still gets to me when I'm talking to a lady & something reminds me of her - which is probably why I'm still single).

In each case there'd have to be repairs made on my part as well as hers. I'd be willing to do most of what I can see needing to be done on my part but that doesn't mean they'd be willing to do what I'd need them to do to feel comfy about things.

So take a few days, a week - however long it takes - & figure out what you think the problems were & what would need to be done by both parties to straighten things out. Then if you think it's worth the effort to you & that he might think it's worth the effort then call him. Don't sit around waiting to see if he'll give you a ring; take the initiative. It could be that he's "done" with the relationship y'all had. Or it could be that he's wanting to call but can't overcome the fear of being rejected.

& if you wonder if I followed my own advice - nope. I won't call my ex's, even the ones I think I might have a chance of working things out with. They all know I cared & if they wished to talk about things they all know my number. Since my phone ain't ringing I assume it's still them not giving a damn & I won't give up what little of my pride I have left. But your situation is probably different. In fact I'd bet that it is; you simply never made the same mistakes I did & hopefully you never will. I've either burned my own bridges or they think they've burned their bridges with me or simply enough they just never really cared. I could be wrong but unless they get in touch I have no proof that I'm not.

Think about things then if you still want something with the guy call him.

Posted by Publicola at January 12, 2007 02:59 PM | TrackBack
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