If there is one thing I dread more than getting stuck behind a fat tourist wearing Jordache jeans in Times Square, it would be running into an ex. And when you do, it’s always when you least expect it, right? The last time I ran into an ex unexpectedly, I had just stuffed my face with pizza and ice cream and was gimpy from 2 broken ribs from snowboarding. Hot, I know. Then I think, why is it so awkward to run into your ex? Because so many relationships end without closure. Perhaps it’s because closure means hearing the truth, and sometimes the truth really fucking hurts.
In recent months, I started juggling with the idea of an Exit Interview. I mean, we have exit interviews when we leave our jobs, why don’t we have it when we leave relationships. Don’t you think it would make future ex-encounters much less awkward? A client of mine recently went through a messy breakup with a girl I know and this is how I would imagine an Exit Interview for him would have been like:
Him: So, I brought you in today to talk about why you’ve decided to leave me.
Her: OK. I’ve decided to pursue other opportunities.
Him: What is it about the other opportunities that has prompted the leave? Better money? Better title?
Her: Actually, there are no other specific opportunities in mind.
Him: So why are you quitting us?
Her: Because we’re growing apart.
Him: Please explain.
Her (flustered): I think we’re better off as friends.
Him: How so?
Her (agitated): Because it’s not really you, it’s me.
Him: OK, what is it about you that has changed?
Her (frustrated): Well, nothing, but I think we could use some time apart.
Him: Why so?
Her (defeated): FINE. I think you’re boring. I’m bored. We do the same thing every weekend. We have the same routine in bed. I literally find myself yawning more than usual around you. I find my gynecologist more exciting than you in the sack. So I started having a crush on my gyno. But that’s besides the point. I need something more exciting, ’cause sometimes, I like pressing the “refresh” button.
Him: So…those would be some of my weaknesses. Any strengths?
Her: You’re cute, you’re loyal to your friends, and you make really good mac ‘n’ cheese. Especially when you sprinkle it with bacon bits.
Him: Alright, I will be sure to process your feedback. Please pack up your toothbrush and curling iron, but please leave my college sweatshirt you’ve been wearing as pajamas. Thanks.
Unfortunately, this conversation never took place and now he is left more confused than ever. If the Exit Interview had happened, he would know that for his next gf, he should embrace change and spontaneity, and to make more mac ‘n’ cheese. Also, if he ran into her again, it wouldn’t be so awkward after having such a mature closure.
But alas, I don’t think we’re at that level of communication sophistication yet.