The horror that is backsliding, and why you should avoid it at all costs

Hey, here’s an idea, they’re your ex for a reason (bc they’re vile)

Welcome to the morning after Valentine’s Day. It’s a morning where, chances are, you feel one of the following ways: satisfied and happy, awash in a post-coital glow, extremely relieved the day is over and your single ass can go on Facebook again without having to see flowers and chocolates and poorly cooked romantic dinners all over your feed, or filled with deep, stomach-twisting horrible regret.

The last one is because, not satisfied with riding out the day single, you’ve fallen into the trap of going back to your horrible old ex. Look, I understand (kind of). It’s a weakness that claims the best of us from time to time. Whether from boredom, frustration or loneliness you decide rather than move on with your life, continuing to glo up in the aftermath of your sensible and correct decisions, you pick at the old scab of messaging your ex, or worse, flirting with your ex, or – at the truly lowest of the low – sleeping with your ex again.

Backsliding is – harsh but true – pathetic. Obviously your friends will shout at you, obviously you don’t feel any better afterwards, obviously you’re looking at their Facebook profile the next day with bile rising in your throat wondering how you could ever be drawn back into being bizarrely, comfortably attracted to them again.

“I knew I didn’t really love him again”, Megan*, a reluctant backslider admits. “I didn’t even like him. But I was bored and all of my friends were in relationships and the more I scrolled through old pics and older texts and slid further and further back, the nostalgia got to me. I started to think maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to just, you know, go back to what I knew so well.

“Of course I immediately regretted it. The closer you get to your ex the more you recognise all those tiny things that made you fucking hate them in the first place, and if you hook up with them again those things are magnified and you feel so trash.

“It’s like taking two huge, humiliating steps backwards after your one leap forward.”

It’s tempting at this time of year, the dregs of cuffing season, when all you have to comfort yourself is cut-price post-Valentine’s Day chocolates in Tesco’s, to slide back to the cretin you previously cut from your life. But it’s counterproductive, and it’s a huge mistake.

You can’t repeat the past you know. That’s what Nick told Gatsby, remember? And Gatsby didn’t listen to him. And look what happened to Gatsby.