March 14, 2024

SEX ON THURSDAY | The Argument Against Running it Back

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I am begging you: do not, by any means, run it back with a former love interest. I don’t care if you shared the most romantic night of your life. I don’t care if you talked about your future children — I don’t even care if you named them together.

One time, probably outside at some party, I heard that relit cigarettes taste like garbage. Once you’ve butted it out, it’s as good as gone. Little did I know, the same has been said about love and relationships in some pretty moody Tumblr posts.

Running it back is akin to relighting the cigarette. It shouldn’t be a surprise when things aren’t as good the second time around. Sure, you had a great night together four months ago, but maybe that was all it was meant to be. Though reminiscing can fill the space between your ears, it’s best to not relight the flame.

I often joke about running it back or hooking up with guys I wish I pursued past a one-time thing. After the flame died, as opposed to looking for something new, I desperately tried to relight it. Usually, it was just a thought I toyed around with, which is natural. Everyone ponders about reuniting with one hookup or another, and I would never ask anyone to stop indulging in a little maladaptive daydreaming.

However, there is a difference between thoughts and actions, and the action of running it back is nearly unforgivable. Quite literally, in the phrase “run it back,” you allude to going backward. If you didn’t find everything you needed (including reciprocity) with them, why are you looking in the rear view? Shouldn’t your focus be on the road ahead? The blue horizon?

Though we all want to retreat into the known and comfortable sometimes, the act of sparking old flames induces more problems and anxiety than it remedies. No matter if it’s your favorite ex or some random body you dragged home from the bar, digging up the grave with them is going to be ten times scarier (and less enjoyable) than waiting a little longer to find someone new.

I understand that you might be getting a little impatient, and I am too. What’s familiar is easy, and nothing says “familiar” like someone who’s seen you naked one too many times. Bearing yourself to new people isn’t easy, but here’s the hard truth: it’s not meant to be.

You have to kiss a few frogs to find Prince Charming. Macking on the same sorry-ass frog over and over again doesn’t get you anywhere.

In a world where you could run it back, choose to discover someone new. Chances are if something didn’t work out the first time, the second time around will be twice as much of a dumpster fire. 

Though everything I’ve outlined above could make perfect sense to you, you probably still want to text them or go out this weekend just to see if they show face. What will hopefully put the nail in the coffin is a reminder that everything ends for a reason, whether it’s known to you or not.

There’s a reason that you made out with that one guy at that one party, and even though he asked for your number, he didn’t text. It might be a crappy one, but a reason is a reason. I often turn my nose up and laugh at the phrase “If he wanted to, he would,” but it’s the truth in cases like these.

It’s typical to want people to stay in your life, no matter how they treat you. When you give up part of yourself to someone, no matter how big or small, it’s natural to find yourself clawing onto any part of them that will stay.

I know it’s hard, and I’ve proved time and time again that I’m horrible at taking my advice. However, as fun (or in some cases, funny) as it may be to run it back, reignite the spark or whatever you choose to call it, I urge you to keep your eyes on the future.

Sometimes, you may be the one who is approached about trying again. Your ex may text you a lengthy apology, or the guy you made out with two months ago may drunkenly approach you at another function. Even in these situations, when they’re the ones asking for you, I implore you to remain strong. This is incredibly taxing because it’s hard to reject being desired.

No matter what running it back may look like, no matter who it is with, you’re still relighting that same cigarette and it’s never going to taste the same. Once the fire is out, do your best to keep it that way.

We all grow as we go — especially in college. When you’re busy clawing at the past, you’ll find that you’re not experiencing half as much as you could be when you’re focused on the present day. Though it may be nice to have a soft place to land, with your mind on the past, you’ll miss what’s right in front of you. 

In other words, snuff out that old cigarette — it tastes like crap, anyway.

Virginia Snatch is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected]The Slip ‘N Slide runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.

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