How Much Do You Really Owe Your Ex?
I can say this with utmost certainty: I owe my exes a big fat nothing. And they owe me nothing. We either didn’t remain friends, or we didn’t date long enough to need to keep each other in our lives. We moved on.
If these exes need something, emergency or not, they have at least a couple of hundred people they can call before they think of me. The same goes for me.
Obviously, not all exes are equal. If you were good friends before you started dating, you had an amicable break-up or if you have kids, then sure. You would expect them to be there for you, and vice versa.
But what if the break-up happened a while ago, you didn’t stay friends, and you suddenly called your ex for a ride to the hospital?
A short while ago, I was sitting behind a young woman on the bus, and she was complaining to her friend about how her ex was such a jerk. She declared that she was finished with him for good, and she’d not even move a muscle for him in the future.
But then she explained why she deemed her ex to be so unworthy: she had recently suffered from excruciating pain in her kidneys. The pain had started a couple of days ago, but since it was only sporadic, she had ignored it. However, when it had become unbearable, she was alone in the house and she didn’t have a car. So she texted her ex saying she needed him. Mind you, she didn’t specify. She didn’t type Beauty SOS.
Still getting over the break-up, the ex said he didn’t want to talk to her. And again, instead of spelling it out, she went on to emphasize she really needed him, and that she wouldn’t have reached out if she hadn’t absolutely had to. The ex’s answer remained a “no.” She was later able to locate her parents, and they drove her to the hospital.
Now, had she said the actual problem, the ex would probably have helped out or at least offered to call an ambulance for her. But then again, even though being sick and alone is scary, it happens. You either call a cab, or you call 911 and make it to the hospital. You can call your parents, friends, emergency contacts after that. The last thing you should do when you are squirming in agony, however, is to leave messages full of subtext to your ex.
Now, the subtext is a useful tool when you are writing a fictional story, and you want to increase tension and suspense through dialogue. But when it’s real life, and you’re running out of time, it’s just easier (and safer) to be direct and succinct.
But it still doesn’t make sense to call an ex, unless you live in a tiny village and your ex is the only one with a car.
I’m generally a sensitive and understanding person, but I wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to help out an ex (I wasn’t on good terms with) after a cryptic message either.
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The moral of the story is simple: be realistic about what you expect from people you are no longer in contact with. And call your friends; it’s part of their job description to be there for you. Also, take any pain in your kidneys seriously!
So what do you think you owe your exes? What do your exes owe you? Do you think her expectation or reaction was reasonable?
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