Have you ever received a random email, text message or phone call from someone you used to date?

The conversation usually starts off with something along the lines of: “So how are you doing? I’m well. By the way, there’s something that has been heavily weighing on my conscience. I’m sorry for (insert wrongdoing here).”

It’s the kind of thing that makes your heart drop into your stomach out of surprise. Just what are they doing contacting you after so long?

There are common symptoms to this unexpected case of irony: First, you experience shock, then maybe a little bit of anger as past feelings resurface. Next, you feel a flourishing sense of resolution as that unfinished business from the past ends as it should have: with them apologizing.

But, once the initial emotions ebb, the nagging question remains: Why is this person contacting me? Does he or she want to get back together?

My theory on this is usually the ex has recently broken up with a partner and is suffering from, what I have dubbed for lack of a better term, “High Fidelity Syndrome.” Remember in the movie High Fidelity when John Cusac breaks up with his girlfriend and tries to contact all his ex-girlfriends to find out what he did wrong in their relationships? If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, you really should. It will explain a lot.

So, case-in-point: do not fall into this trap, this web of desperation.  For, their reason for contacting you is not so much that they miss you, but more that they want someone, anyone, to explain relationships to them. An old lover is perfect to fill that void.

If your ex ever contacts you desperate to fulfil some sort of self discovery mission, you may as well humour them – as long as you call a spade a spade. After all, now’s your chance to really tell them exactly what they did wrong during your relationship. Redemption is sweet, even if it comes in disguise.


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