Elissa Bassist, the author of this week’s Modern Love essay in the New York Times, made perhaps the biggest mistake you can make when your ex tells you he or she has moved on. She asked questions.


Then I asked if he loved her.

“I do.”

This “I do” was not in the context I had always imagined.

I asked if he had told her.


I asked if she said it back.


I asked if he said it first.


I asked how he said it.

It was while she was singing, softly, to the radio. He knew then of his love for her and that he wanted to marry her, so he told her he loved her that night.

Ahhhhhhh! I didn’t even date this guy and the “while she was singing, softly, to the radio” gave me a pang of heartache. Why would he tell his ex-girlfriend that? Why would she ask?

Of course, I’ve been there, though. I’ve acted friendly and disinterested, while asking details — too many details — of an ex’s current girlfriend. “Cool, what’s her name?” (So I could Facebook stalk her.) “What does she do?” (So I could judge her aspirations against mine.) “It sounds like things are going really well…do you see this as a long term thing?” (So I can slowly stab myself in the heart, over and over again, while listening to him describe just how into her she is.)

Now I know better. And I hope you know better, too.

Next time your ex moves on? Great! Good for them. Don’t ask any questions.

[The Never-to-Be Bride]

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