I’m not sure how many of you reading this watch New Girl, but I am an avid fan. Tonight, the sitcom tackled something we’re all familiar with – the backslide.
You know, that accidental fall-back to your ex. Ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, ex-lover, ex-friend with benefits, ex-“We’re too cool to label things but yes we were more or less dating”. Your ex.
The episode was pretty right-on in terms of why the backslide happens. Usually, it’s because you’re lonely. And once upon a time, that person loved you and you loved that person. So hell, why not give it another try? Surely things will be different this time around. You’ve both changed.
Well, I’m sure you have both changed. But seals and chimpanzees change too – that doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly be perfect for each other. They still don’t work on an extremely fundamental level. (please don’t ask me where I got that metaphor, I have no idea)
Honestly, though, backslides are reassuring. And that’s why they happen. Because we all feel insecure sometimes when we’re alone. “What if no one ever loves me again?” “What if that was the best it will ever get?” “What if I want something that just doesn’t exist?” The backslide is a sort of cushion for the blow of loneliness and fear that – like it or not – comes with being without a relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the single life. It’s really a wonderful thing. I don’t believe I need a man to feel valued (although I once upon a time made the mistake of letting a man’s opinion of me become my opinion of me), and I don’t think my world is a horrific series of tragic events simply because I’m not with someone.
But let’s be honest. People are social animals. And we get lonely. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or dependent or somehow deficient. We’re simply not built to be alone. We’re not built to never need anyone ever, period. There are certainly people who try to live that way, but I can’t imagine what it must be like. Terribly sad, I think. Human relationships are the most beautiful part of life.
Which brings us back to the backslide. Sometimes it’s because you actually miss the person. Sometimes it’s because you’ve convinced yourself that you miss the person. Sometimes it’s just because you want to feel loved by someone who has known you and loved you before. You want to feel understood and valued by another person.
Sometimes you’re just horny, and they happen to be in the right place at the right time.
But regardless, it’s important to watch yourself if you get into a backslide. The reason it’s called a backslide is because you’ve moved forward in your life. I’ll take a wild guess and say that you’re probably growing as a person, and constantly changing. It’s a slippery slope once you take a step back from the unknown future and toward the familiar past.
Beware the backslide, my friends. May you a fall a little if you must, but never tumble down the hill.