I have seen several articles circulating around the GAG community in regards to exs. Forget about the Ex, move on, close the doors, goodbye... Commentary and advice from fellow users on this site has included things like "Why would you want an ex back? Why are you still sad about him?"
Well here is my opinion on exs!
1. Easier said than done; feelings aren't a light switch
People may date, and live together for years, and although they may choose to break up as the relationship has fizzled out- that doesn't mean that the moment they part ways the emotions and feelings turn off like a light switch. We are humans, we aren't programmed that way. Many vulnerabilities were shared with another person, and even if a couple no longer loves one another- it could even be the loneliness or the habit/routine of being together that may hurt when the separation occurs. So by telling people to move on, forget about the ex.... as lovely as that sounds, and unless that person suffers from Alzheimers, we CAN'T just forget.
2. People do change, if they want to
My friend of 9 years, dated a guy for 7 years. They broke up for about 6 months, because for one he didn't want children, and secondly he couldn't secure a job. He came back after half a year, letting my friend know that he not only has a job that he enjoys and plans of doing whatever it takes to grow within the company, but after thinking about how much he loved her, he wants to have children with her. Well of course everyone, including myself was cynical. They have been married for 3 years, with a baby on the way. Her now husband has been with the company for years, and was recently promoted to a managerial position. They are so happy! Now of course this is rare, but sometimes people do change and when you truly love someone you'll do what it takes to make it work.
3. Venting helps
When people vent and talk about their feelings and issues, it helps them clear their minds. It is like the energy of stress and frustration leaves them (even if just temporarily). So by being supportive we are helping a person express themselves. There is no need to shoot people down for feeling a certain way. Breakups are painful no matter what.
4. Just because it didn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work for them
I love how some of the responses on here, are filled with bitter endings and terrible, cynical examples. Just because something didn't work for you, doesn't mean that it won't work out for the other person. One off examples, and tragic endings may be dramatic in nature, but that certainly isn't a standard for everyone.
5. You rarely get all the information
When people write articles, or share their stories we rarely get all the details of an 8 year relationship. We can't tell what the reason was, or whether a person is being biased in their interpretation of execution of information. So it's hard to give good advice sometimes. Better to be positive and understanding than bashing a person in pain.