When You Run Into Your Ex: Fantasy Vs. Reality


Fantasy: You’re “so surprised” to see them at this particular location! You “totally forgot” that they also knew this particular friend! Isn’t the world so small?!

Reality: You’ve been dreading/secretly prepping for this moment all week, as if you were getting ready to go on a date. “Isn’t it terrible about Chechnya?” you asked yourself in the mirror, while trying on seventeen different outfits. You kind of hoped you would be hit by a car on the way to said event.

Fantasy: The moment they see you, they will instantly confess that they are still in love with you and can’t live without you. You will roll your eyes and say, “No! No! Don’t speak!” as you assert how fine and evolved both of you are. It’s better this way, you’ll swear. You’ve grown. You’re different people now. You converted to being a Breaking Bad person, and you just don’t think they’ll get that.

Reality: They don’t even notice you’re there at first and you have to tap their shoulder to get their attention. It takes them a second to realize who you are. They blink a lot.

Fantasy: They haven’t moved on from you yet. It’s not that you want them to mourn or pine over you — except that you do, just a little bit. They can move on, but a month from now. When you’re both ready.

Reality: They already started dating someone and you didn’t know because you blocked them on Facebook, so you couldn’t Facebook stalk them anymore. They’re “Facebook official.” You’re officially becoming a cat lady.

Fantasy: They’ve magically grown ugly to you, as if a witch cast a magic spell on them that only you can see. They also got a very unflattering haircut and are suffering an acne outbreak from all the stress from losing you.

Reality: Their skin is doing just fine, and if they are stressed about being apart from you, you can’t tell from the surface. Maybe they miss you so much, who knows? (WHY CAN’T YOU JUST READ MINDS, DAMMIT?) Also, they’re still hot, and the breakup made them start going back to the gym, so they’re actually hotter.

Fantasy: Your ass looks amazing. It’s having a very good day, and you’re wearing sexy underwear.

Reality: All you had left in your house was Cheetos this morning, and you haven’t done laundry in weeks. You’re down to Fruit of the Loom and the underwear your grandmother bought you for Christmas, the ones she offered to write your name in.

Fantasy: You’re incredibly charming and cool, treating every new development in their life as if its absolutely wonderful. “That’s amazing!” you say, so glad they are happy and found love again.


Fantasy: You’re so fine and awesome and crazy sexy cool. You’re every TLC song, except for the one that means you get AIDS.

Reality: You don’t feel like TLC. You feel like those members of Destiny’s Child who weren’t allowed to be in the band anymore. You’re feeling very LaToya.

Fantasy: You’re involved in a hot rebound, who wants it to be more but you just don’t know yet. Everyone wants to date you! However, you’re enjoying the ride and the freedom of being single again. So many people, so little time, amirite?

Reality: You’re rebounding with your Hulu Plus account, and it’s getting pretty steamy. So you blurt out that you’re dating someone named George Glass, and it’s so hot, or talk up your new girlfriend who lives in Canada.

Fantasy: You’re able to catch up on life without it being awkward. They tell you about their mother’s new cat and the stupid new tattoo their sister got. You discuss your mutual friend and all the “crazy things!” she’s always doing. Friends!

Reality: You can’t hear anything they’re saying over the satanic jungle music and sounds of babies being murdered in your head. What’s does the death of happiness sound like? I imagine pots and pans and Bjork screaming.

Fantasy: You’re capacity to be witty and intelligent in a jam has not diminished. You’re still the same old Gilmore Girl, so rich and full of life. You’re a force of nature! You’re like Dorothy Parker but without the alcoholism and heart failure.

Reality: You can’t speak because your tongue weighs ten million fucking pounds.

Fantasy: You take the high road. You’re such an adult. You’re a Kelly Clarkson song!

Reality: You text your friend to say, “I think I’m dying inside. My skin is melting off.” Inside you feel like you’re being eaten alive by hyenas. Are your hands on fire? You politely excuse yourself, not sure if you’re crying or not. You can’t be sure. Is this what hell is? Is hell other people’s happiness?

Fantasy: You genuinely want them to be happy, because you know they’re a great person and they do deserve the best, even if that’s not with you.

Reality: You genuinely want them to be happy, because you know they’re a great person and they do deserve the best, even if that’s not with you. Just as long as you’re a little bit happier. It’s not a competition. Does that make you terrible? No, just human.

Fantasy: You call up your rebound and you laugh about the whole thing, “Ha-ha-ha, ha-ha-ha! Ha. Ha. Ha. Cough. Ha.”

Reality: George Glass is busy not being real, so you go home. You think about masturbating, but you think it might be best for you and your hand to see other people tonight. You hang out with Walter White instead, because you’re a Breaking Bad kind of person now. You’ve changed. You’ve seen the world.

Fantasy: You’re fine with the idea of seeing them again. No big deal!

Reality: You will probably run the other direction if you even see the back of their head. It’s okay. You’ve got Cheetos waiting at home. That’s the sexiest rebound there is.

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