Don’t Use Your Ex as Standard for New Relationships

Aim for consistency instead.

It’s been 2 years and counting… My best friend Abbie still can’t move on from her first love.

If one smack can wake her up from this toxic relationship, this story could have progressed long ago. Yet, at this very hour, she still pursues the same unhealthy, unlabelled relationship. She’s stuck.

The last time we talked, Abbie rants about the guy. It was an endless cycle between “I hate him, we’re over” and “we’re talking again”.

But one time, she decided to delete all their pictures. Wow, that’s a start. I’m proud of her. A few days later, she sent me an emotional voice message. She sang “I will be here” by Steven Chapman. I know she’s been under a lot of stress lately.

I want to comfort my best friend, say she’ll forget him soon. But before I send my sincere words of encouragement, she told me, “I also sent this to him.”

I rolled my eyes. Here we go again.

Inexistent competitor

I encouraged Abbie to date other guys. It’s easier to move on when she gets his face out of the system. Plus, he gives her the cold shoulder for years. It’s enough reason.

She was hesitant but kind of enthusiastic. She told me about her conditions in dating men.

“If I ever date someone, they must exceed what he did. He set the bars high,” her smug face transcends through my Messenger.

What the guy did… brought her bouquet every occasion, accompanied her every day. He drives for her every day, fetches her from work at dawn. Yes, it was ideal. He could have been perfect for Abbie.

But these were ancient stories. I raised a brow. Setting such standards… was she aiming for a replay but with a different man? I gave her a piece of my mind.

“Don’t use your ex as standard for a new relationship.” I told her.

It’s selfish. Ex is an ex for various wonderful reasons. Let’s leave it at that. Never set your ex as the reference point. It’s unfair for the new person. It corrupts your judgment.

Instead of showing who they really are, they waste time surpassing an inexistent competitor. Don’t make this a sport where one should have a point-lead over the other. Your ex already left the picture. You should, too.


The extreme surprises, unforgettable moments, and the “chemistry” are nonsense without consistency. We could argue about how awesome our exes were. But remember, they left. They broke promises. It ended with heartbreaks. All these were senseless because it didn’t stand up for long.

It took almost 2 years before I got over my ex, too. But unlike Abbie, I didn’t communicate with the guy.

As I trudged on my single life, I had several admirers who pursued me. However, “they aren’t on par with my ex,” was the thought I always carried.

So however exceptional their efforts were, it didn’t work on me. My eyes were set in the past, and never on future possibilities. It was unfair for them.

Until one day, a man walked into my life. A too straightforward, intimidating man — I didn’t like it. He called out my reverse psychology. Worse, he applies it to me, too, completely turning the table.

He liked me, but didn’t “baby” me, unlike what my previous suitors did. By then, I was sure, this guy’s different.

Unlike my ex and suitors, this guy wasn’t free all the time. He didn’t give me expensive gifts. We were not together every day. He corrects me when I’m wrong.

While I sought for a man who would get over the brick walls, I found a man who stumped on these standards and built his own.

I thought these were forceful and stressful. But it turned out his ways allowed me to grow. He gave me what I didn’t know I needed — independence, respect, and support. He gave me a stress-free relationship built on trust and growth.

I learned a lot from him:

Don’t find someone who gives you gifts. But find someone who gives consistency.

Don’t find someone who promises you his world. Find someone who puts effort to understand your world.

Don’t find someone who says the cheesiest lines. Find someone who tells you the truth.

Don’t find someone who praises you when the mood is right, then hurts you in anger. Instead, find someone who will protect you, mentally and in whatever situation.

Don’t find someone who’s extra nice during occasions. But find someone who might forget occasions, but love you the same every day.

It’s easy to find someone who will give you his all. Everyone can do that. They can surprise you, make you feel at the top of the world. But for how long?

Love isn’t all glitters. Considering lifetime, then love would mostly be boredom and a frequent battle to stay. So find someone who would stay.

Love isn’t how grand surprises were, how expensive the gifts were, how he fetches you late at night. The real question is until when are they going to do it?

I don’t say lower your standards. I say, build standards that will nurture you — not one derived from an ex. Find not the material things, but the beauty of the little things they do.

See someone for who he is, and not how he exceeded your past relationship. It’s time to appreciate his presence. It’s time to let go of the memories from an ex. And welcome the possibilities that lie ahead.

“Find someone who knows that you’re not perfect, but treats you as if you are.” — Anonymous

Written by

Margarette Mathias works as a college instructor in the technical field. She's also a content writer who focuses on self-improvement and lifestyle topics.

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