For any one of us who has ever been envious of our husband's ex-girlfriend or wondered if he still had feelings for her, there is an easy answer: He does. But before you go crazy and try to find lipstick stains on his collar, think about your own past boyfriends. Whether they ended horribly or well, you probably have some residual fire left, no? Something in the old tank left for them?
This week Scarlett Johansson and Sean Penn ended their short-lived romance, but she says she still cares for him. And I am sure she does.
Any time a person is in a real relationship, it makes an impression. I'm not talking about the kind where you're only using the person for sex or you don't really love each other, I'm talking about the kind where you really fell deep, but it just doesn't work out. And we all know the difference.
It doesn't really take much time to fall in love. There are men whom I only knew for a handful of days who made a bigger impression on me than men I dated for months. It's all in where you were and what they were.
My friend once called them "stoplight romances," referring to the kind of romance you have that may only be the length of time it takes for a light to turn from red to green, but in that time, they mark you.
I have been with my husband for a decade now, almost all of my 20s and now into my 30s, and there are still men I dated in college who cross my mind from time to time. I know he still has some lingering feelings for his high school girlfriend who was the only girl he loved before me.
I'm OK with that. It's normal and human and kind of sexy. It tells me he is the kind of person who feels things deeply enough that they never just end. My first serious boyfriend and I ended horribly, but there is a part of me that always will care just a little.
People often ask after a breakup: Where does the love go? I say it stays and changes and becomes part of the story of who you are, and that is a good thing. It makes you a well rounded person.
Do you still love your exes?
Image via sheksays/Flickr