Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s time to talk all things love. Shops are soon going to be filled with over-the-top products that are meant to profess your love for that special person in your life. From those who have just found it, to those who have settled into the companionship that a long-lasting romance brings, everyone is expected to demonstrate how much their partner means to them on the 14th of February. I initially wanted to talk about the history of Valentine’s Day and the commercialisation of this day. But then again, that’s old news isn’t it? Capitalism has taken over every aspect of our lives and whether there is any point fighting it is a discussion for another day.

This time when I was brainstorming for what to write about for the Valentine’s Day issue, I decided to just look around me. My own cynical self would just have yielded a long-winded article on how love is pointless and futile (and I hope many of you would have agreed with it); however, I thought that was going to be too morbid. Last year I wrote about how love and relationships have become quite complicated due to the digital world we live in. I talked about how we’re constantly chasing the next best thing, which hinders us from staying put in one place for too long, ultimately leading us to be dissatisfied with whatever relationship we find ourselves in. It was a reflection of what I noticed around me and perhaps that’s why it resonated with so many of our readers.

Looking around me this time, I began to observe how a lot of people weren’t only hung up on their exes, but in many cases were in active communication with them as well. Ranging from the toxic to the amicable, there were various degrees of ‘staying in touch with your ex’ going around me. So I did what any millennial does best and put it up as a poll on social media.

On my Instagram, I inquired after people’s opinions on staying in touch with their former partners. From the ninety two responses that I received on the poll, sixty five people chose for ‘no’ and the remaining twenty seven went for ‘yes.’ That’s a 71% response rate for not being in touch with your ex at all. Understanding the delicacy of this question and the varied nuances that it accompanies, I encouraged people to send in their views through DMs as well. Naturally, identities of all people involved will have to be kept secret.

I was mostly interested in those who were keeping in touch with their exes or felt that it was harmless to do so. In this regard, I would like to state that I was mostly looking at pre-marital and pre-children relationships. Divorced couples often have to stay in touch when there are children involved and therefore, they weren’t really the subject of this article.

Those who don’t stay in touch cited reasons such as “they’re you’re ex for a reason” and “the past is the past.” A number of people voted no in the poll, but reached out to me via DM to state that if the break up was amicable, they don’t see any harm in being in touch. Others, said they don’t stay in touch, but occasionally keep tabs on their exes. To these people I recommend counselling, as this is very unhealthy behaviour. Obsessing over an ex isn’t healthy at all and certainly doesn’t qualify as staying in touch with them.

Interestingly enough, those that voted ‘yes’ to staying in touch with their exes referenced to this decision as a ‘mature, adult’ one. Unless there was any toxicity and violence involved, this small minority believes that their exes were essentially a major part of their lives and were good friends once. Ending the romantic and intimate part of their relationship was hurtful, but they chose to move on in a healthier way and not let it affect the understanding they had built up with each other.

Sitting down to write this article, I’m as confused as when I began my research for it. Clearly, this is a complex, quite nuanced debate and a simple poll on social media doesn’t yield much. Human emotions and relationships are ever-evolving and intense. How they form and how they progress are unique to every relationship, thus it makes sense that the aftermath of a broken relationship would be equally confusing and not lending itself to generalisation.

However, there are a few stray observations that I believe are pertinent to this topic. Staying in touch with an ex isn’t wrong, as long as you can confidently say it doesn’t impinge upon your ability to move on and form new relationships. The moment it becomes an obstacle, is the moment you need to learn to distance yourself. Staying in touch with an ex, while in another relationship comes with its own problems — taking your current partner in confidence is the only key to success here. Running back to a toxic ex is not equal to staying in touch with them. Learn to empower yourself and get rid of such negativity from your life.

Your ex is essentially just another relationship, but a dormant one. How you choose to deal with it depends on a number of factors that you should be willing to look at before making this decision. I will leave you with this one thought that in my opinion should be irrefutable: calling your ex because you’re lonely on Valentine’s Day is not something you should do.


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