Breaking Down the Breakup.

Breakups are the worst. No, they are the worst of the worse. It doesn’t matter if you dated for a decade or for a few months, they are awkward uncomfortable, heartbreaking, emotional and on the rare occasion violent events. In my experience there is no escaping the heartbreak of a break up despite what end of the bad news you are on, but there are ways to make dealing with it easier.

Clean Breaks

First off clean breaks are the best breaks. Don’t leave messy loose ends to the breakup. Ambiguity is not your friend. Make sure that when you are having the “talk” you are clear about what your intentions are and why you are ending the relationship. You don’t need to give a laundry list of yourpartner’s faults but be sure to give a reason. If you don’t give a clear reasonyour now ex will be left asking tons of questions about how they ruined therelationship and you better believe they are going to ask “Why?” over and over and bother you for a real explanation. My last two break ups ended with the reason, “You’re great, you’re wonderful, but I don’t want to be with you. I can’t explain it.” What the hell? Ok if you aren’t attracted to me, if you cheated on me, if you’re changing your sexual orientation fine I get it, at least it’s a concrete reason. Of course I wanted to fully understand what went wrong but instead I just had to move on knowing that I gave all I could but it just wasn’t right. On the contrary I’ve broken up with a man because his friends were a deal breaker and I told him just that. He thanked me for my honesty.

Bad News

The good news is when you break up you get to start over and meet someone new that you are crazy about. The bad news is you have to break up with your current partner for that to happen. This is easily the hardest part, the actual “talk”. I recommend having the “talk” in person. It shows that you respect what you had with this person and that you aren’t a callous jerk. Yes it’s understandable that one will want to put off telling a person they once loved “I don’t want to be with you anymore.” Just be honest, straightforward and don’t place blame. The reasons for ending a relationship are unique to each couple and the circumstances are varying, however honesty in a break up can never go wrong. Be direct, don’t place blame, don’t call names and be honest. There is no good time for a break up. You may have tickets to a future event, a wedding you RSVP’ed to, whatever the circumstances it’s is only fair to end the relationship the minute you are sure that you do not see a future with that person. Dragging out breaks up is never a good idea. It causes more pain for the person who is on the receiving end of the bad news and it will cause resentment. If you want to have a friendship with your ex keep the break up brief, to the point and as honest as possible.

Cheating

If you or your partner cheats that should be the end of the relationship. Period, the end. If you disagree then I’d love to hear why. The break up should go something like this, “I cheated.” “It’s over.” Simple as that.

Moving On

Right after a break up you will feel either like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders or like a knife has cut out your heart. If you are feeling like the latter then the best thing to do is keep busy. Go out with friends, get a new hobby, do volunteer work, read a book, take dance lessons, work out, visit a museum, etc. The key is to fill your time with activities so you don’t stay home and feel sorry for yourself. Allow yourself a brief period of time to be hurt, wallow in your sadness and self-pity and cry. Then get out of the house and fake it until you make it. If you pretend you are ok one day you really will feel ok. I promise it hurts less and less everyday. You will feel like yourself again. You will move on. You will fall in love again. You will forget about the heartbreak. Do not contact your ex, One day you may be able to be friends but you need time to pass. Don’t call your ex at 3am after a few martinis to declare your love for your ex. It’s not going to change their mind, it will however cause them to begin screening their calls. Don’t romanticize the relationship, someone once told me hindsight is foresight with no future. You will begin to look back on the relationship and only remember the positive and then doubt the break up. There is a reason you aren’t together anymore, focus on moving forward and meeting someone who won’t break your heart. I suggest taking everything that reminds you of your ex, photos, keepsakes, cards, etc. and put them in a box and keep it out of sight for a long time.

Poor Form

Break ups are bad enough but when they are handled in a hurtful way it only amplifies the pain. To maintain good relationship karma do not break up with someone by text, via email, via phone, via voicemail, via a social networking site, by changing your relationship status prior to the break up (yes that happened to me), through friends, or by fading out. How one handles a break up speaks volumes about them. Handling it with grace and class is the best approach. In spite of the pain you are feeling don’t react immaturely, violently or aggressively.

Fadeout

I felt the need to expand on this method of breaking up because it seems to be happening to many of my friends as of late. We refer to it as the “fade out”. This means that you slowly stop communicating with the person you are dating. Calls and texts go unanswered, plans start to get broken, suddenly they aren’t your Facebook friend anymore and you are getting pretty suspicious. You know what happens when you do that, you run into that person and it’s awkward and the person is hurt and angry. Have some balls and end it. A person will respect you if you have the guts to have the uncomfortable break up conversation. It’s common courtesy and fading out is just about the rudest thing a person can do.

Reconcilliation

Sometimes a couple realizes they made a mistake and one of them wants to get back together. If the feelings are one sided then you are only headed for more heartbreak. A good idea is to take a realistic look at your relationship. Are you missing your ex or are you just lonely? Do not mistake feelings of loneliness for genuine feelings for your ex.

Last Word

People break up every day and it’s tough. You have to put it into perspective and understand that while it feels as though your world is crashing down around you, it’s only a page in the chapters in the book of your life. Heartbreak makes you stronger. It leads you to what you really want and relationships are learning experiences. I hate to be the one to say everything happens for a reason but it truly does. Had my last ex not broken up with me I would never have met some good friends and that includes the person who asked me to write for this site. There is a such thing as a good break up. One that changes you for the better and that enriches your life and that leaves you with a good friend. Break ups have taught me a lot about dating and relationships. I know that I never want to have a messy hurtful break up. I know that the exes I respect and can call my friends now are the ones who treated me with respect when dealing with the break up. The best way to deal with a relationship is with class and maturity. Also a few drinks with friends never hurt either.

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