There was also a time, I am told, when staying in touch was difficult. All my exes live online, and so do their exes, and so do their exes, too.Exes were characters from a foreclosed past, symbols from former and forgone lives. I carry the population of a metaphorical Texas in a cell phone on my person at all times.It went like this: “Milan Kundera once wrote, ‘Love is a constant interrogation.’ That was the marriage I shared with Joe: a constant interrogation that to the very end was animated by a mutual sense of discovery.” , it should be amazing that I remember Kundera’s words — accurately! Given my befogged state of mind at the time, it should be even more amazing that I was able to latch onto those words to encapsulate our 24-year marriage.Far from experiencing my interest as love, she regards it as a disrespect for and violation of her personhood. For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt that the best expression of my love is to convey a keen and sustained interest in my loved one’s life, pursuits and concerns.They can jump into your pants whenever they want by sending text messages that land in your pocket.Online, you watch your exes’ lives unfold parallel to yours—living, shifting digital portraits of roads not taken with partners you did not keep.
As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine. I admire the way Barack Obama has raised a dog in the White House without ever putting it on the roof of the car for a vacation drive.I have 700 friends on Facebook, 36 of whom I consider exes. Alarmists fret that casual sex discourages intimacy. When you share your bed, your toothbrush, your sexual hang-ups, and the topography of the cellulite on your butt with a stranger, the intimacy is real. You are privy to information his family and friends are not; you know what he sounds like when he orgasms and when he snores.Not all are ex-boyfriends—in the eleven years that “boyfriend” has been a name for men in my life, I have referred to nine as “boyfriends.” The rest are men I dated casually, guys I dated disastrously, make-out buddies, one-night stands, vacation flings, and a few boys I never touched but flirted with so heavily they can no longer be categorized as “just friends.” These people aren’t ex-boyfriends but they’re ex-something, weighted with enough personal history to make my stomach drop when they message me or pop up in social-media feeds. There was a time, I am told, when exes lived in Texas and you could avoid them by moving to Tennessee. You may never see this person again, but he will always be your ex. Like “dialing” a cell phone or “filming” a digital video, “one-night stand” is an anachronism.She offered several helpful observations: The transitional moment into the adult world is “terrifying” for a lot of college kids.A parent’s offer of help, large or small, is often heard as a “vote of no confidence” in her child’s ability to figure it out for herself.
To do that, I ask questions, try to give the responses my full attention and ask more questions. My beautiful 22-year-old daughter has recently arrived home, college diploma in hand (yay!