Do we really love our exes forever?! | Rebecca Jane column

Hands up who has ever been jealous of a partner's ex lover?!
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I can’t say that has ever been me, but I know many do. I have lived in a blissful little bubble of belief that once a relationship is over, it’s over. Anyhow, I am naive!

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I ran a poll of a good few hundred people over the weekend, and I was more than a tad disturbed by the results.

Rebecca JaneRebecca Jane
Rebecca Jane
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Of all the people I surveyed, 42% of people are still in love with an ex, even if they are in a relationship today. More concerning, 10% of people are still in love with a partner from more than 10 years ago!

I started down this rabbit hole when I began to think of the people I have said ‘part of me will always love you’ during our breakup. It turns out, I am not alone. Only 25% of people DON’T tell a partner ‘they will love them forever’ when they break up.

Maths may not be my strong point, but by my calculations, that is 33% of people who didn’t end up loving their ex forever!

In my life, I have told 3 exes that part of me would ‘love them forever’, and I have to say, that is still very slightly the case for two of them!

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What kind of love stays around forever though?! Who are these breeds of people loving their exes forever? What kind of relationships have they loved and lost for them to always hold a candle?! It may or may not surprise you to know that marriages were the least love lost!

Very few people in the survey said they still loved an ex they were once married to. People who had a relationship that lasted under two years, and a relationship in the early 20 years ranked pretty high, but the love most people carried on forever was the love as the result of an affair. With a slightly baffled brain, I delved into this rather murky world and asked why does the love from an affair last, and linger longer than conventional relationships?

From the people surveyed who answered my questions based on an ‘affair’, 72% of them said they still had love for their ex ‘mistress’ or ‘mister’. After many conversations, the answer became blatantly obvious and it lies within the ground of ‘unfinished business’.

Marriages have had fair and ample opportunity to disintegrate and often the love is smashed to smithereens before the couple decide to part ways. I have to say, I agree. I didn’t tell either of my ex husbands that I would ‘love them forever’ and today, I don’t have any love for them either. I have appreciation for the two wonderful girls they gave me, but the love I felt was gone a long time ago.

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When I questioned the former mistresses, I spoke to, I asked ‘what is it that makes you love your ex forever?’.

All the answers were along the same lines. ‘They were the one that got away’, the one that lingers in the mind that could have been ‘happily ever after’. These people didn’t quite get to finish their relationship through to a true conclusion, so the questions of doubt remain for years to come.

Across the board of the different types of relationships loved and lost, the other main feature that was difficult for most to let go was ‘lust’ and ‘excitement’. The common theme in the relationships I discussed was that the bad times were few and far between, they were all high excitement, adventurous and passionate. The fuel of that potent substance lingers for years!

On that note, this article is filed under the section of ‘opinion’, which means it is left to me to give my opinion. Here it is…

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I actually found the results of this survey rather disturbing. The thought that so many people are in relationships today, secretly pining for their ex is soul destroying. However, there’s one final fact of the survey that I found the most disturbing of all.

60% of people have had sex with their ex, even years after their breakup. 30% of the exes had new or former partners at the time.

Thirty, thirty whole percent of people who either end up in a new relationship, or go back to their partner after an affair - STILL have sex, with their ex!

I have made it blatantly clear in this fine newspaper that I am no saint, in fact, there’s a lot of behaviour in my past that I am not proud of. The journey I have been on this week has been a step too far, even for me. At some point, I have to ask… Do decent people even exist any more? Is all hope of wholesome, quality, fulfilling relationships lost forever?

Anyhow, thanks for tuning in, I’ll be back with more disturbing tales next week.