Holiday hookups with exes are a bad idea

Justin Marinelli

Senior Writer

Over the holidays it can always be tempting to fall back into old habits and hook up with an ex or a former summer fling from home. But take this warning before you return home and make a potentially big mistake.

One of my old girlfriends, Freyja (not her real name), contacted me a while back about getting some help with her college essays. Seeing as how I spend a lot of my time writing, I considered myself sufficiently practiced at this point to be able to give meaningful advice (and honestly, she needed it).

In between sending copies of her essays back and forth, we caught up on what we’d been up to since we last saw each other. She’d been rising through the ranks in the school choirs and was earning high-level places in state choirs. It was hard not to feel proud of her. She also had a new boyfriend who was not exactly the same kind of guy I was. He apparently wasn’t as smart, driven, athletic, knowledgeable, charismatic, witty, mature, confident or good-looking as I was (he is also apparently “way more modest” than I am). It was hard to keep my ego in check, which was where the trouble started.

After talking a while, we planned to meet up over break. This was my chance. All I had to do was show up, be way more awesome than her new boyfriend and odds were she would eventually fall into my arms. I had no intention of any sort of romantic relationship with her again, but a holiday hook-up? I could be thankful for that.

But why was I even thinking about doing that? It wasn’t as if there was any left over attraction (that was gone even before the relationship ended). It was my ego flaring up. It had been agitated by hearing about Freyja’s new man. I wanted to make her yield to me, to know that I still had the same sexual power over her that I used to.

Luckily, I realized that I was feeling these things. I had a good laugh at myself, and made myself some tea. I learned long ago not to entertain thoughts like that. It would most likely be fun to hang out and meet her new guy, and it could occur without making it about my ego.

Still, I ended up canceling on Freyja anyway. I knew my ego wouldn’t be a problem, and I knew it could be great fun, but deep down, I really didn’t want to see her. I suppose at the end of the day I felt that there was too much of a gap in experience, knowledge and maturity to make it worth my time. There’s only a two-year gap between us, but it feels like a lot more than that sometimes.

Maybe I’ll see her over winter break. Maybe not. Either way, she’s not the only old flame I’ve got back in New Jersey. I think I’ll see at least one or two of them this December. I don’t know if anything will happen, if there are even any embers left burning on my side or theirs, but it would make my life a lot easier if everything was extinguished. I know it’s forecasted to be a very cold winter this year and that nothing can keep you warmer than an old flame, but I’d rather the only fire that’s burning be in the hearth.

Hooking up with an old flame is usually about two things: satisfying your ego or trying to keep the past alive (and frequently, both). Neither one results in a happy ending in the long-term. Don’t do it. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, not to make poor decisions.

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