The agony of the “EX”tacy this Mardi Gras Season.

Let’s face it, we all love falling in love. The way birds suddenly appear every time they are near. The feeling when love takes over, you defy gravity, trust your instincts and leap! You go out, meet friends, get on with life, play happy families, go through hard times and nest.

And then bang… it stops.


As my mum says, “That’s life – be thankful for having the time you did”.

I’ve always managed to remain good friends with my ex lovers. It’s a small community and trust me the L Word’s chart has nothing on the interconnectedness of Sydney’s lesbian scene. I’m presuming it’s the same for guys. I know firsthand by hanging with my gay male friends that they scan the room for “guys they have had” – thanks Brian Kinney for that one!

Regardless of how fractured our communities become we are still brought together each February for this thing called the “GRAS” and with that comes multiple opportunities for that chance run in and encounter  with ex’s (and I’m not meaning of the nice kind). If you haven’t resolved the past with the ex then there lies the potential for a run in to destroy your whole future (or the night anyway). Blah. Who wants that on our once a year night of celebration, love and happiness.

But for me there is a bigger picture here.

We have fought for too long to have our relationships recognized and accepted to behave in ways which trivialize the importance they once had in your life. Remember you spent time with this person (people) because they meant something to you at the time. You probably spoke about future plans and maybe weddings and children at some stage and they are probably as upset as you are about “it” not working out as you had planned.

Let’s face it – we don’t get into relationships simply to break up now do we?

People move on in their search for their own personal happiness and yes it’s sad that it wasn’t with you, but at least you had the opportunity to find out if it was or was not!

Today the New Mardi Gras office received a request from a group in Uganda. Imagine living in a country where you basic rights were denied to such an extent where you couldn’t even try to have a relationship with someone! Where being with someone is a life threatening risk and break ups and the trauma attached seem trivial in comparison. You can’t break up with someone if you are never given the opportunity to love someone.

As a community here in Australia we can meet publicly, fall in love publicly, post sickening love bubbles on each other’s Facebook wall for all to see.

You can publicly breakup, Facebook break up, be de-friended and blocked in an instant and all in the public eye. Mutual friends see you move on, change your Facebook relationship status to single, see the photos in the press and news feeds, start reading new love messages with new people, see their facebook status change to a new relationship.

It’s a changing world we live in. Twenty years ago we would not be so brave in our public displays of our relationships. PDA’s now so acceptable need to make room for PDFA’s*  or public displays of Facebook affection. Not to mention PDFF, or public displays of Facebook fighting.

In a world where our relationships are now getting to be so accepted and so public should our break ups be too? Regardless they are, and it’s up to the individuals to protect the other in all this. You share your life with someone (for as long as it lasts) so it’s good to respect them in the end to.

And back in the real world, with party season upon us, I start thinking about the people who I don’t want to see out and about, and I have to question why?

Isn’t this what the fight for equality is all about?

The simple quest for happiness? For finding that person you can call yours who will be there for you and you for them, to have fun with, to cry with, to build a future together.

To simply love without prejudice like anyone else?

And if you choose to love regardless of who and what, you must accept that maybe if won’t work out and you, or them, aren’t the right one. Truly loving someone means to be happy even if your ex finds the right one and it isn’t you.

So just remember that when you see that ex walking across the dance floor in your direction, and your stomach drops to the floor with that nervous anxiety, that if it wasn’t for the efforts of hundreds and thousands of men and women over the past 40 years, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to be able to fall in love so publicly, break up so publicly, to run into them so publicly and form this community that is small and insular and warm and protective, but also provides its own challenges.

You bring someone into your life, nurture them, love them. There’s no reason not to when it’s all over and dusted, after all “so much of me is made of what I learnt from you.” – all of you(s)!

So, this Mardi Gras, this celebration of love, of acceptance, of diversity, if I see an ex out and about I will greet them with love and thank all those who came before me that allowed me the opportunity to do so. Thank you for allowing these great big public displays of love, that have seen me and many others happy and have seen us sad but made me appreciate the community who looks after us through it all.

Thank you for giving me the life I live and the freedom to love who I choose when I choose.

Peace and love to all (especially my ex’s).

* The term PDFA was originally coined by the Fabulous Rachael Oakes-Ash.


About mgsteph

Mardi Gras Blog
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1 Response to The agony of the “EX”tacy this Mardi Gras Season.

  1. Damon says:

    Nicely put Steph.

    All that has really happened in 30+ years is that we can now equate to our generally straight community in how they meet, love, break up, and move on. A divorce in the straight world with a small grouping/community of friends and family is not dissimilar to what we have, and, with that ‘smallness’ goes the problems of continued contact out and about, especially where children and solid cross-family relationships are developed during a broken ‘normal’ relationship…

    I recently reconnected with a long past lover and we talked, and talked, as we had never before, even during our relationship over a decade ago. Whilst slightly emotionally painful, it was also exciting and liberating as there was so much ‘core’ love and care that hadn’t really gone anywhere, just covered over. To hide the past lovers from your life risks losing so much of the ‘good times’ from our memory.

    Many an older gay man becomes bitter and twisted due to all the pain they store over the decades. I have witnessed this many times due to love lost, friends lost, and a general sadness about where the community is heading. They bury themselves in their beers each week in many of our venues – easy to spot, jusy look for the sadness. Some even can’t handle things any longer and take the sad way out…

    As hard as it is to forgive or apologise, and then move on, it does allow the beauty of whatever time you both had to still fall into fond memories, despite the initial grief, anger, blame etc periods that all loss embraces.

    Enjoy your Mardi Gras Steph.


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