Myspace Migration: Back Off, He’s Mine! Positive Emotional Memory Post Break-up

Have you ever noticed that you like him so much more when there’s someone else who likes him, too? Or, you never really noticed how desireable she is until there’s that guy in the bar who can’t take his eyes off her… Why is that? What is with our emotional memory that “The Good Times” become such a compelling force after we’ve moved on and they’re with someone else?
I was talking to a really good friend of mine today. She’s wonderful and a really great friend. She was telling me about her ‘on-again’ relationship (it’s not on-again/off-again, but they broke up and are now back together). One of the things that struck me is that they both really appreciated each other when other people were interested in them. She realized how much he meant to her when there was some other woman that her ex- returned a modicum of sentiment for. I know that some time ago, he really took her for granted and they broke up. AFTER she had started dating someone else, he realized what he had overlooked.
Does it really take an ending for most people to have their ‘emotional memory’ of the good times kick in? Theoretically, shouldn’t we be able to really appreciate what we have while we have it? My friend and her boyfriend are certainly not alone. Indeed, as I write this, I’m snuggled in with an old ex- of mine (totally a PG thing, so get your mind out of the gutter)… clearly, we have something of the same thing going on. When we’re not together, we can appreciate the other’s positive attributes – when we date, it’s hideous. Life gets in the way, we aren’t what the other one needs, and we break up. So now, we’re very good friends and it’s better that way. So, I guess I do it a little bit, too…. but why? I’ve talked to him about the guy or two that I tend to get jealous over when they’re dating someone new.. and the goofy things I tend to do when I have to deal with it.
With me, I tend to conveniently forget their names. Seriously, I DO actually forget it half the time. If I were to analyze it (and I guess I am), it trivializes their importance to whomever the guy in question is. Of course, it’s total bullox, but it works for me. Kind of the “I care, but not really…” sort of thing. The aforementioned gal pal? She calls the girls in her exes lives a rather not nice name. My snuggly friend? He points out all the shortcomings in the new men in the lives of the ex-girlfriends he’s still jealous over (and it does make me feel slightly good that I’m one of them – hey, I’m human!). I’ve had discussions with both on this very subject, and we all agree that it’s not because we want them back – we just don’t completely know how to be completely forgetful of the positive memories WE have of them, and don’t want anyone else to have better ones with them. Petty? yes. Human. Absolutely – I think, anyway. What about you?
I’d write more, but the major benefit of being able to snuggle with someone is falling asleep on them. My tylenol has totally kicked in, so I think I’m going to take advantage of that now… besides, he’s griping about the laptop! :D
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