The Exes Gap

Not everyone is aware of this about me, but I used to be married. I was with my ex for seven years in total before we split up, living together for five of them. 

Unsurprisingly, during the time that we were together, I would have listed him as the person that I was closest to, who knew me better than anyone else. Also unsurprisingly, many years later, I wouldn’t. 

It’s a strange phenomenon of the human condition that people who were once the closest people to us can, for reasons unrelated to death, simply stop having any importance in your life. We think these relationships, be them romantic or otherwise, will last forever. Or we at least hope they will. But more often than not, they don’t. 

Familial relationships, however, tend to preserve precisely because of that blood connection. There is something about genetic similarity which precludes us from ending those relationships. I could never speak to one of my siblings again, for the rest of my life, and on my deathbed, they would still be my brother or sister. 

The same isn’t true for husbands, though I suppose you can’t rid yourself of them ever being your ex-husband. 

I realise that most things are fleeting. The place you call home might be someone else’s home in a few years. Or gone altogether. Your job won’t be your job forever, your favorite shirt will change. Those things seem less impactful than the relationships we have with other people, however. 

I also realise that I sound like I am high here.

It’s weird too how we mostly adjust to this. You have someone who you spend a considerable amount of time with, who you rely on, who you talk to frequently, who you co-exist within a way that you don’t with anyone else and then that tremendous part of your life is just no longer there. 

What I’ve been thinking about lately is how easily we adjust to this. Sure, breakups are frequently terrible and traumatic and some people don’t ever adjust, but most people eventually move one and develop new relationships. If you’re anything like me, after a while, you forget what life was even like before. What you’re existing in is the new normal and you eventually stop comparing the experiences. 

And all those years later, that person who knew you best in the world no longer knows you at all. Sure they still remember the basic outline of your personality but people grow and change and who you were five or ten or even more years ago, or even who you were before your break up, isn’t the person that you are now. 

It makes me wonder who in my life, who is deeply important to me now, will be irrelevant in a few years.