Exes & Oh No’s: An Expat’s Guide to Ladies’ Sick Sense

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Photographer: Matthew Henry

Creepy Communication

We all do it.  Social Media makes it easier than ever to look up how our loved ones past and present are doing.  Are they living their best lives?  How happy are they?  It seems when I’ve finally met someone new, the ghosts of lost loves past have their interests piqued.  When I started dating my most recent ex, it breathed life into a few poltergeists.  The man I’ll probably always consider to be the first great love of my life reached out.  He said everything that I had needed and so desperately craved hearing, albeit all a little too late.  I was honest about our communication with my new partner, and he was honest (well…to a point) about his.  When I was living with the Adonis, he would call his ex while I was at work.  What did I care if they spoke?  They dated for 7 years – she was a huge part of his life and he was important to her.  She was also roughly 9,000 km away.  How much harm could she really do from that great a distance?  I think I’d be more worried if he wasn’t interested in her well-being and didn’t want to maintain mutual respect.

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Photographer: Ant Rozetsky

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

In a new relationship, it’s tempting to look back on your partner’s old ones.  Are you part of a trend or are you different, special – an outlier?  Are you far enough outside the particular set of previous patterns and failures to stand the test of time?  A jealous, pissed off, or threatened woman does better research than the FBI, CIA and Secret Service combined.  When in a budding relationship I was contacted by my (then new) boyfriend’s ex stating that he had cheated on the previous two.  She told me I was becoming a symptom of a much bigger problem.  I, of course, dismissed it at the time.  He told me just enough to make it seem like we had an open and honest relationship.  I was completely transparent.  When his pattern reemerged several months later, you had better bet I quickly learned about RSS feeds, source, input, and the ease of info gathering online.  I did it because I sensed a problem.  I had an underlying insecurity about the state of our relationship.  I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and unfortunately got more than I bargained for.

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Photographer: Allef Vinicius

Poking Holes in More Than Just the Story

What about the longstanding current girlfriend, fiance, or even wife, though?  I mean, she’s already won.  What use is it to look back on something which ended so very long ago?  On one hand, I can see that she means no harm.  She’s just curious about our history together.  How far down the line is it normal or healthy to creep?  Why does my ex boyfriend’s current love want to know about my daily activities now when he and I ceased all contact 7 months ago?  I’m sure there’s a small part where the “winner” can take perverse pleasure in popping up and rubbing it in your face that she’s enjoying your old memories.  Is there trouble in paradise or does she just want to lord her “success” over me without ever having to exchange words?

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When you’ve finally met someone new and are enjoying learning all about him, she’s there to drudge up the past.  At least when a man’s 6th sense kicks in, you might get closure.  When woman’s sick sense starts tingling, everyone just ends up shaken.  It’s better on both sides to leave well enough alone. 

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Photographer: Matthew Henry

Personal Space

To my exes’ new girlfriends and wives: ladies, if you’re really that curious about me, reach out!  I’d rather be cool with your creeping than completely unnerved.  If that’s not your jam, please have the decency to use a fake account.  You don’t need him to block me.  You don’t need to control with whom he communicates.  The women before me prepared him to love you.  If your relationship is strong, it’s due in part to the fact that I made him ready to love you and that you’re a better fit together than we ever could have been.  The hell he and I went through together doesn’t negate the joy you have now.  It’s not in spite of it, it’s because of it.  We worked through issues together that have made him a more considerate boyfriend or husband for you.  They will hopefully have helped make me a better partner in my next relationship, too.

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Photographer: Kaci Baum


To my readers: If your man is communicative, caring, and observant, chances are there’s a mother, sister, or ex-girlfriend who helped him along the way.  There’s not a single ex-boyfriend of mine with whom I’d want to get back together, but I have a genuine interest in their well-being.  Don’t try to police your significant other’s communication.  If he’s friendly with his ex and a better man with you than he was with her, you might even want to buy her a bottle of wine.

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My Two Great Loves

That Girl Cartier - My Two Great Loves

When I was in high school, Sex and the City was in its final seasons.  I thought Carrie Bradshaw was the height of sophistication, and that one day I’d find myself a Chris Noth look-a-like to sweep my off my feet on Pont-des-Arts (the love-lock bridge in Paris).  I wasn’t far off!  I was 17.  I had been to Paris twice.  I was obviously pretty damn close.  I was even closer by the love locks at Namsan Tower when H and I decided $7 was too pricy for a romantic gimmick.  There are so many quotations from dear SATC which I’m sure resonate rather shamefully with most of the women in my generation and beyond.  Recently, I was reminded of a concept Charlotte brought up in season 5’s “Anchors Away”.  In one scene, she states, “Everyone knows you only get two great loves in your life”.

The idea that we only get two great loves would terrify most people, but I think this irrational fear is far more prevalent than most people might realize.  This irrational fear of mine is compounded by the fact that one of my “two great loves” isn’t even a person.  You see, I recently lost someone who I thought might just be my last great love.  It’s  silly to think something so short could have meant so much, especially since it’s so one-sided.  Nonetheless, I’ve replaced him with my first great love: food.

When I lived in Vancouver we were somehow invited into the glamorous world of Vancity foodies.  Perhaps service is just paramount there, but I regularly dined at Michelin Star Restaurants and hobnobbed at hole in the wall bars.  In Toronto, I had a food blog and somehow managed to get on a few PR e-mail lists.  Now I was eating great food all the time…free of charge.  I got fat.  I mean, I guess I was a bit chunky moving home from Vancouver to Toronto, but with an expense account and a few years working in hospitality management, I was an absolute porker.

Culinary delights can often be as pleasing as the embrace of a loved one, especially when dining in good company.  I think that in my last relationship I may have had some of the best dining experiences ever.  A threesome with your two great loves?  I’m not sure I could have asked for more.

I had wanted to write my “The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date” series in sequence finishing with “The Travel Romance”.  This should be an epic ending, but I can’t quite seem to admit to myself that it’s beyond over.  I can pinpoint the moment the exact moment I think I knew this would be more than a couple of smooches on the beach past midnight.  I had had lacklustre Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup) for breakfast at our hostel in Phuket, and was craving some rich Thai curry.

Our amazing #dinner of #Massaman #curry chicken! Yum yum! #massamancurry #TOSocialThai #food #foodporn #Airasiatravels #myredtrip

A photo posted by Kate 🛫 Travel Blogger (@torontoseoulcialite) on

I spent the day taking a Muay Thai sparring class followed by a tour of Wat Chalong.  I was hungry.  The “never dine alone” culture of Korea left me praying for a dinner companion.  Though we had no wifi beyond the hostel, we still arrived back around the same time.  I got my massaman curry and spicy dinner companion in one fell swoop.

When you’re in lust, love, or on vacation (I’m still not sure what this was) everything is just better.  Sun and salt water make my hair soft and wavy.  I care less about what I’m wearing and more about who I’m with.  Sunsets are more profound.  Food tastes better.  Whether I was in Thailand finally trying authentic versions of my favorite dishes, or sitting in a crappy all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Hongdae where the exhaust backed up, everything was better.  Sugar is an addiction.  Food is one of my two great loves.  Right now I feel like I’ve got a monkey on my back telling me to chase the dragon.

“Some love stories are novels.  Others are short stories.  It doesn’t make it any less filled with love”.  This is not my account of “The Travel Romance”…it’s just a tribute.  For now, I need to make healthier choices with the first of my two great loves, don’t you think?  Have you felt addicted to sugar or food?  How did you kick the habit of going back to the ex?  Let us know in the comments!

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