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Cold Turkey: A Special Thanksgiving Shoutout to the Asshole Who Dumped Me in Seventh Grade

Below, the entirety of this week's AM New York column, all about thanking your exes.  And if you can't find it within yourself to thank them, just think about how fat they're getting.  That'll make you feel better.

NOVEMBER 20, 2006

This Thanksgiving, we should all give thanks – to our exes.

Thanks for the jewelry!  Thanks for the therapy bills!  Thanks for the chlamydia!

Okay, okay - or we could really thank them.

Most people have a tendency to dismiss relationships that don’t end in a successful marriage as garbage in, garbage out – worthless wastes of energy and emotion.

That sort of perspective is absurdly shortsighted.  After all, every person you date has taught you something, whether that’s “Never date trust fund babies with alcohol issues” or “hyper-intelligent women can be very sexy.”

“Every (and we repeat, every) relationship brings a gift, in the form of personal growth, a deeper understanding of life, and respect for both the difficulty and the joy of the relationship process,” say husband-and-wife relationship authors Barry and Joyce Vissel.  “It is often the pain of our past that serves to open our hearts the most.”

Although it’s a little 12-step-y, Thanksgiving is the appropriate time of year to put aside the grudges and thank those exes who have helped us – sometimes unwittingly!

“Thanks for accidentally forgetting your Italian leather shoes here when you left,” said Peg Samuel, Founder of SocialDiva.com.  “My Shih Tzu needed something new to chew on.”

Maybe they were a jerk and broke your heart, maybe you tired of them and broke theirs.  Either way, you gained something from the relationship – if only a firm understanding of the kind of person you don’t want to date.

“I’d like to thank my ex’s wife for taking him off my hands!” says Lainie Friedman, a PR manager on the West side.  “After 10 years of dating him on and off, he still wouldn’t commit.”

Repeat after me: “Dodged.  A.  Bullet.”

It’s not easy to go back to examine your old relationships – especially ones that ended painfully (and don’t most?) – but thankfulness, which usually entails forgiveness, is certainly cathartic.

“It takes a while for the wounds to heal and step back,” says Jon, a lawyer in California and, coincidentally, my ex-fiancé.  “But after you do, you can certainly thank your exes for a multitude of things.”

“For example, thanks for telling me that I wasn’t The One!” he added good-naturedly.

And – as difficult as it may be to admit – sometimes our past relationships weren’t even that bad.  You can thank your exes for being good partners, even if they weren’t the right partners for you.

“I am thankful for being shown that there are guys out there who are sweet, romantic and put you first,” says Lizzie, 25, a journalist in Atlanta.  Although dumped by her ex the day before Thanksgiving last year, she’s not bitter.  “Even if it didn't last, it was nice to know that kind of guy really does exist.”

That’s the cheerful attitude taken by Susan Silver, the 50-something author of “The Search for Mr. Adequate,” a weekly column for NewYorkSocialDiary.com.

“Having been divorced a VERY LONG time, I am very thankful to my ex for having married me in the first place,” she said.  “At least I can say someone wanted to.  It's looking difficult to get anyone else to do it!”


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