Got A Case of Retrosexualitis?… Dating an Ex

February 16, 2010 at 8:25 am | Posted in Dating Tips, Relationships | 2 Comments
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

If you woke up the day after V-day, with a chocolate hangover and the guy by your side was your ex, you just might have a case of “retrosexualitis,” meaning that when the going gets tough in the dating scene, you get weak for your ex. If the Britney song “Oops I did it again” was looping through your pounding head there’s no doubt that you are a man recycler.

The primary causes for retrosexualitis are as follows:

Loneliness: The all-alone blues is a big motivator for a retrosexual to dial up an ex; she is looking to fill a void that is easily filled with a few compliments, a little sex and maybe even some breakfast in the morning.

Laziness: Hmmm, to get all gussied up and go man shopping for a new guy or Facebook message last year’s man who will take you unshowered and rockin’ sweats? Retrosexuals opt for the easy way into like, genuine or not.

Regret: Retrosexuals manipulate their old memories or second-guess their judgment of them, thinking maybe they didn’t give their ex a fair chance, and what if he was “the one?” All of a sudden things that were dealbreakers become justified.

Horniness: When a battery operated BFF isn’t cutting it anymore and she doesn’t want to dip into unchartered sexual territories, retrosexuals text an ex for guaranteed bedroom pleasure.

Retrosexualizing makes us sick because it almost never works. Count how many times a movie’s sequel was BETTER than the original. I’ll wait. Ok, I’m still waiting. Right… that’s what I thought. It never happens. On a rare occasion the sequel is as good, but who wants an as good se cond go around with a crappy ex?! Now I’m not saying that a great round 2 of a relationship is impossible because it does happen, but an effective second go doesn’t emerge out of a desperate relapse. The only way an old, unhealthy relationship can blossom into a new, healthy one is if both members examine why it fell apart and go into the new one with open eyes, committed to treating it differently in the sequel version. Typically retrosexualizing cases emerge from one of the above causes which all scream some measure of desperation – not exactly a solid foundation for a relationship. During the second cycle, all too often, we are depleted of good energy because we inject the relationship with renewed, but heavy weighted enthusiasm, hoping that this time things will be different, that he will be different, but mostly we wind up disappointed. And worse our energy tanks aren’t filled with the surprise and delight that comes with new like and love, new discoveries, new learnings of self. After the initial trip down memory lane wears off, it just becomes a lot of the same ol’, same ol.

The cure for retrosexualitis is to ELIMINATE YOUR POISIONED PAST and FOCUS ON YOUR BRIGHT SHINING FUTURE. Here’s your prescription:

Detach by deteching him. Minimize opportunity to indulge temptation by erasing all traces of your ex’s contact info… phone, Facebook, IM, Twitter… delete, delete, delete!

Create an upcycle list. Instead of trying to recycling what is broken (your old relationship), write down all the things you loved and loathed about your ex. If you’ve erased all memories, tap into all your besties to whom you bitched to about said guy – they’ll be happy to help. Cross out the loath side and upcycle those things with things that you would rather have (i.e. replace average sex with great sex) in a relationship.

Shop your closet, literally: Put together a slew of fabulous new date outfit combinations. Play loud music and get re-energized to re-enter the dating playground. Invite a few girlfriends over that you assign to be your intervention team – the BFFs that won’t allow you to relationship rewind – to join in the fun.

Mandidate shop. Get off your lazy ass, go flirt your beautiful booty off in your hot new digs and fill up your plate with new mandidates! Look for guys who have the qualities on your revised list. Use the learnings from your ex to get to the next!

Live and love largely (with someone new),


p.s. “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” – George Bernard Shaw



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  1. ummm. how come this seems to be targeted at the ladies? tell me men don’t regress?

    • Hi Linda,

      It is targeted at women because I write for women… but of course men regress!

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