I knew it was over when the sex started to get good again. It’s amazing how good indifferent sex can be. After almost four years together, we didn’t combust as much as we silently resigned ourselves to fate. A year of constant fighting fizzled into a slow decline of indifference, and then into me kicking him out of the country. That didn’t make the break up any less painful or bitter though.

I am, of course, talking about the most dreaded of all species to crawl this planet: The Abominable Ex.

I came across him yesterday in a picture my friend sent me of a party she had recently. As I pored over the picture, amazed at the changes in friends since I had seen them last, there was a face peering back at me that I didn’t immediately recognize. It’s shocking to think that a man I had lived with for 4 years, that I had such an intimate relationship with at one time, peered back at me in this picture like so much a stranger. I found nothing in his face that was even remotely familiar to me anymore. Probably because he’d gotten fat.

Can I just say that there are few things better in the world than seeing the man who broke your heart and who tried to crush your soul grow fat? Right up there with the cheerleaders who snubbed you in high school packing an extra 20 or 30. It. Rocks.

I made all my mistakes in that relationship. I came away from it battered and raw, but for the better. I learned how not to treat a person you say you love. I learned that being a rat-bastard will garner you a rat-bastard’s end (and hopefully with poison). I learned what I wanted from a man. I certainly learned what I wouldn’t take from a man ever again. I learned that one person giving 200% doesn’t make up for the other person giving nothing. Most importantly, I learned when to throw in the towel. When to quit. That sometimes you can’t go down fighting.

It was a tough lesson to learn and I felt like a failure. I wasn’t used to giving my all, doing my best and still losing.

But the upside is that I had a mad season of dating. Wow, that was fun. I became the hunter again. All about the hunt. Love the hunt. Love the chase. Love the game. Of course, said game was also all about catch and release. I was not stockpiling for the winter. I was the happy grasshopper.

Eventually, I took myself off the market and focused on myself. This is when Sailor Man made the picture and I was shocked to learn that I had the dog-good-sense to not run away from a man so open to love, who really wanted a relationship with me, who treated me well, and was handsome as all get-out, which in the end was just icing on the proverbial cake.

I made the huge mistake of admitting to him at one time that had The Ex not been such a jackass, I would have never given a nice guy like Sailor Man the time of day. Sailor Man, upon aquiring this knowledge, has forbidden me from ever speaking ill of The Ex again. In his twisted little mind, Sailor Man feels he sincerely owes The Ex a debt gratitude.

Those two men couldn’t be more different if they were apples and radiators.