What Your Ex Says About You

Print this out and quiz your therapist.


For more of the stuff that says stuff about you…clicky, clicky.

The best thing about ex boyfriends is where they live: the past. This means that technically, your ghosts say a great deal about who you were, but not much about who you are now. (You’re you!) Instead, think of your exes like fun dinosaur bones. And interpret that sentence however you’d like. They are pieces that make up a larger picture — a picture that you may choose to crop the shit out of once things are finally, officially, over.


You caught him at the pinnacle of his 6th-grade-success. Same grade as you. He was the class dodgeball star, least likely to get bloody noses and voted “most dreamy” among those peers who hung posters of teen-zine-mandated heartthrobs on their walls. He asked you out over AIM and from there, romance. What it said about you: you were a sucker for Disney Channel swag, peanut butter breath and the sound of a digital open door.

Even now — years later — as you back-stalk the Facebook photos of this love-turned stranger, you ask yourself, “What happened?” You’re not referring to how it ended, of course (that was because of distance: the walk from his locker to yours proved terrifying). Instead, you’re secretly questioning if you, too, peaked.



Everyone warned you against him. You warned you against him. He likely even warned you against him. But you didn’t listen.

What it says about you: you thought you could perform miracles after growing up on a diet of bad-boy-reformed influences (Ten Things I Hate About You, Grease, Judd Nelson). Turns out you could not. You got your heart broken and can now smell a red flag a smile away. (T or F, though: you still have a soft spot for guys just like this one.)


This wasn’t too long ago, was it? He was sweet and likely had great hair. You cannot be blamed for enjoying the attention of someone who thinks you’re awesome and has yet to grow jaded by “the scene.” At the time, this relationship said you were just looking for fun. It also may have been the very thing that prompted you into searching for the polar opposite…


 He tends to follow the younger guy. You were “done with the bullshit” and ready to date someone “mature.” His educational profile may have ranged from the raunchy to the Freudian-paternal, but once it ended, you realized you weren’t as prepared to grow up as you thought you were.


You either met him online or were set up through a friend. He sounded perfect. He looked perfect, too. Then you met in person and something didn’t click. You probably blamed yourself for not liking this person because, hello, he was perfect. What’s wrong with you? All it really said about you is that this wasn’t your match, but at the time, it whispered a false destiny into your ear: future cat lady.


The one until he wasn’t — is there any greater heartbreak? If you’re still calling him “The One,” you’re not over it. Ask Isaac about that. Or date your three best friends. 3 > 1.

This is the hardest kind of ex to have because it’s the hardest kind to talk about: if you weren’t ever technically together, then how can you technically be over and apart? Calling someone your ex when you never DTR’d can be more awkward than calling them your boyfriend or girlfriend — what if they find out? …What if they never actually ended things and you just missed a text? An Instagram like? WHY IS HE STILL OPENING YOUR SNAPCHATS?

What this says about you: you need a drink, a date and a tech-detox.


This person swooped you off your feet during three months of studying abroad. You came back a changed woman who will forever reference “that one time in Belgium” with a dreamy look on your face. Your friends will roll their eyes and remind you that this makes you no more international than an IHOP. You will remind them that you’re now technically considered bilingual.


You tried because your friends loved him even though you knew it wasn’t gonna last. He was great, and that sucks. But you weren’t ready. Don’t future-trip, either; latent realizations of fictitious love will only trap you in a projection room of some theoretical life you could have had. You know mom’s famous words: if it’s meant to be, it will be. For now, remind your friends that if they love him so much, they can marry him.


What’s that saying again? Everyone’s got one? In the case of your exes, depending on how long you’ve been dating and in what city, you could be a medical anomaly and have at least five. Ask around, though: in the dating world, this is perfectly normal. Nothing to be worried about — so long as none of them flare back up.


PS: If you think about it (if you’re stressing about it), the fact that they’re no longer in your life probably says way more about them. Don’t linger a second longer. Bye Philicia.

Illustrations by Alessandra Olanow; go follow her on Instagram!


Get more Humor ?
  • Adore this! Everyone has had an arsehole experience (of the partner variety, of course)

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  • Mackenzie

    What is DTR?

    • Amelia Diamond

      Define the relationship !

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  • Gabby

    If we count the fact that The One was the Peaked Too Early type; and the Perfect on Paper also was the Really Sweet, Kind of Nerdy Guy; and the Younger One was also a Foreigner… That would mean I’ve dated every type.

    Does that say I need to go on a dating cleanse?

    • BK

      You’ve levelled up and need to tick off each category again with new dates

    • Kimberly


  • LOVE this. Spoke to me. Poor, poor, poor perfect on paper Brian. The one that got away 😉


  • Tiffany


  • Leah

    I wanna add another- the guy who turned out to be a better friend than a lover. I still speak to my ex every day!

    • Amelia Diamond

      that’s so nice!

    • Jackie

      That happened to me too! It’s the most fantastic thing ever, because there is no more of that tension of the potential – you know exactly what you both are getting out of the friendship going forward. THEE best.

  • mollie blackwood

    I had the younger guy that morphed into bad news that also peaked way too early. He just started following me on Instagram… I did NOT follow him back. Awkward….

  • AlexaJuno

    I had the Bad News, Older Guy, and Human Question Mark all rolled into one. He was a human death cocktail of dysfunction.

    Also, does LA count as foreign?

    • Amelia Diamond

      if you’re not from LA it sure does

  • Man, some of these hit right on target! In fact, most of them do (never made it to “The Foreigner” before getting hitched…haha).

  • Jackie

    This post made me smile so much because it’s so dead on. The Younger Guy followed by the Older Guy immediately after definitely happened. Also the Perfect on Paper guy has happened to me too many times.

  • BK

    You missed one: Mostly-Average Guy From University Class You Dated When Bored One Summer Who Outrageously Dumped You Before You Could Dump Him When You Found Out He Was Actually Quite Racist

    • ThisPersonSleeps


  • kellymcd

    The Human Question Mark eventually turned into the A**hole for me. It took 5 years, but hey. Good learning experience right?…right?! C’mon guys, I know I’m right, I have to be

  • Leandra Medine

    My ex is also my husband

    • Lua Jane

      There’s always hope. Right? As long as he wasn’t The Asshole.

    • Hahahahaha stahp

  • serena

    I fell like a type is missing here: The Lier. The one who lies because truth could hurt you… but probabily he’s just a kind of asshole!

  • Gabriela Holm-Jorgensen

    I dated all this guys and I was all this guys. I feel so old.

  • I’m having all the feelings that we’re ultimately the assholes who probably broke the sweet nerdy guy’s heart… I think I was in that situation once, and it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because I never thought I would inflict heartbreak on someone else, because I can relate and it really sucks. What also fuels my discomfort is having many guy-friends who are sweet (but not necessarily nerdy) and they have all been through some pretty nasty shit with women ultimately because they left them to go searching for ultimate assholes and bad news guys. I’m ashamed.

    Also you missed the #friendzone something! I have been friendzoned a couple of times, and believe me, from what I’ve been through it’s worth mentioning!

  • Lua Jane

    To me the Foreigner and The One were combiend in one guy. The perfect on paper (young dashing diplomat) turned out not to actually like me enough, and acted a bit likeThe Asshole in the end. The Older guy I haven’t yet had, but did try dating a Younger guy, and as lovely as he undoubtedly was, I just didn’t feel it.

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  • Asta Magnusdottir

    What about the one who took your virginity but then turned out to be gay?

    • l:ly

      oh my god

    • kellymcd

      SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. I thought I was literally the ONLY woman on this planet who had this experience!!!!!

  • l:ly

    the one who was also the asshole? ughgughgughgughguhUGH

  • Ariana Estrello

    It is also possible for a particular guy to fit into one or more of those categories. Sigh. Like my cousins from Mexico like to say “el trauma de mi vida” (The trauma of my life). Cues the foreigner, the one, bad news…..”hello from the other side.” LOL

  • erin

    judd nelson link is broke and how am i supposed to get my bad boy fix? ;(

  • Carlee Gomes

    You guys are the actual best. Thank you for this self-aware, let’s-not-take-ourselves-too-seriously, but also earnest antidote to all of the empty Cosmo bs out there about past relationships. <3

  • Carmelo Johnson

    That’s funny! Girls, do you think it’s important for us, guys?