February 27, 2012 | relationships

How to Break Up Gracefully

 

People, let’s talk about affairs of the heart. I mean let’s really get down to the nitty gritty of it all. Specifically, when they don’t go so well. The internet has a way of letting things live on, exposing stuff you’d much rather have kept private. Last week online, a site posted a stream of text messages a girl sent to a guy she’d dated a couple of times, wondering why he didn’t want to see her anymore. It was painful, cringeworthy reading. Clearly, the girl did herself no favours and the guy involved is most likely contemplating a restraining order. So, when things don’t quite go according to plan, how can you get out with your dignity intact?

Firstly, we must understand that love does crazy things to us. We’re not in our right frame of mind. That goes for both men and women. I challenge anyone who’s ever been in a relationship to not recount a time they did something utterly nuts in the name of love, that they swore they wouldn’t do when they were single. It’s the endorphins or something, they just take over and before you know it, you’re serenading someone outside their window with some Sade, declaring your undying love. You swore you would never be that cheeseball.

New technology is screwing people out of decent break ups left, right and centre. I feel lucky that I experienced my extreme heartbreak pre-social media. Thank the high heavens I didn’t have the ability to text or tweet my heartbreaker. Thank goodness we didn’t even use emails too heavy in those days. The best we could do is repeated phone calls (to their house phone – they didn’t have a mobile), from a blocked number, hoping they wouldn’t realise it was you.

Now that you can live out every painful nanosecond of your heartbreak live online for the world to see, it’s not quite so easy to bow out gracefully. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it should be done.

So, before you go to leave the tenth angry voicemail, send yet another text begging for them to come back, or update your Facebook status with how much you hate your ex, switch off. Seriously, shut everything down and step away.

What needs to happen here is you having a real talk with yourself about logic and reason. And if you can’t have it with yourself, get with someone who can talk you off that ledge. Break ups are hard and they’re upsetting, naturally. But here’s the reality: people are allowed to not be with you. I know that’s hard to hear, especially if you think that person is perfect for you, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. And if they’ve explicitly told you they’re not interested, why would you want to convince them of your relevance in their life? Either you are or you aren’t – there’s not really any middle ground there. If they’re telling you they don’t want to be with you, all you can do is accept it and move on.

It hurts, but the way to deal with that hurt is not to retaliate with it. Making them hurt, making their life difficult – none of that is the answer. Your focus should be on you and your healing. Bitterness and resentment are not going to help you move forward. Constantly arguing with them and rehashing why you broke up won’t change the situation either. It’s a massive blow to the ego to know that someone doesn’t want to be with you but frankly, you’ve just gotta suck it up.

Deep breaths. Put the phone down. Ban yourself from social media for a month or so. Lashing out is not the answer. Hold it down, deal, breathe and keep it moving.

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11 Comments

The Jaded NYer

You cannot and will not stop me from cyberstalking him, his family, friends AND THAT NEW WHORE HE’S DATING!

They will ALL feel the wrath of my Keyboard Courage. ALL OF THEM!!!

MUAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

blcklistd

given how you’ve discussed the emotional aspect of it, and how modern tech is ruining our lives, how would you actually break-up with the fella/lady. In person? via text? over the phone? me personally, i’d do it over the phone. I find its a lot cleaner than doing it in person (where theres a potential to cause a scene) and via text is a little impersonal. What”s your take?

Ms Red

When I broke up with my ex i did it in person although I was bricking it. He was a very manipulative man and I was scared he’d talk me into returning. He didnt even try thank goodness.

Although I felt like texting him (and his new woman) abuse I didnt, I didnt say a word to anyone not family about my situation, and due to that all my ‘friends’ assumed (nice of them) that I had cheated on him (instead of visa versa) and dumped me as a friend.

I still wont/dont go down the whole abuse line but i will tell the truth if someone asks. Also I dumped my useless friends and made new ones.

Basically I guess Im saying, you cant win either way.

xx

Lissy

I was once broken up with kinda by text, kinda by being ignored.

The urge to text/phone/tweet/Facebook/email/post him off mackerel was intense. It was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve done and took an immense amount of self control.

But I’m so glad I never made contact and still haven’t to this day. Why the hell should I try and talk to someone so cowardly? And why waste energy on someone who quite clearly has no energy for me.

It’s hard, but in the long run leaves you with more dignity.

Bailey Ana

This is the truth right here! I have totally disgraced myself in the name of love & I could have gone so much deeper! We all need someone to talk sense into us sonetimes!

Harri

I’d definitely recommend breaking yourself away from social media for a while. Aside from anything, you start to infer all kinds of crazy things from Facebook photos (e.g. there’s a girl in the background of this photo. OH GOD HE IS BLATANTLY SHAGGING HER. They’re probably deep in the middle of a crazy whirlwind romance, they’re probably about to move in together and laugh about how crap I am in bed.) Err no, she’s just a girl, walking in the background of a photo.

Ladies, if it’s too much, remove him as a friend.

Eleni Drinks Tea

Ha ha, @harri so true!

On the subject of dignity after a break-up, what’s your stance on staying/becoming friends with an ex? I was recently dumped (“he wants to be on his own”) but the fella says he wants us to be friends. He keeps inviting me out, and all our mutual friends keep asking me why I don’t come. Am I being childish by avoiding him? I’m sure the emotionally-intelligent, mature thing to do is to swallow my pride and just go – see our friends, get on with life, act like I’m fine (I certainly wouldn’t dream of making a scene, I’ve never been that kind of person)…but is that realistic?

Mamacook

I’m also very glad my last relationship breakups were pre twitter, unfortunately not pre text and I’m sure I sent some pretty embarrassing things in my time. The joy of twitter though is even celebrities with all their PR don’t know when to step away sometimes. We’re all fallible…

Amy

I have been in love twice; unfortunately life got in the way both times and I currently find myself single again. The first time I was the one who called things off, my ex didn’t react well AT ALL. It was a few years ago, before everyone started to get a bit bored by Facebook, and I was keen to keep things low key- I wasn’t the cold hearted bitch he thought I was and even I needed some time to move on. I logged on a few days later to see said ex had “liked” numerous groups, all along the lines of “I can’t believe its over, why did she have to do this?”. If he was a puppy, you would have wanted to take him to the vets and put him out of his misery. Friends of his, people I had never even met, assured him very publicly that I wasn’t good enough for him, they never liked me anyway. Anybody witnessing this unfold would probably have agreed it was painful.
More recently I became the dumpee. The day after Valentines day in fact. I was heartbroken, I wanted comfort and sympathy even if it was only via the medium of 140 characters. Thankfully, however, I remembered the previous incident and I turned off all electrical gadgets. I wailed into my pillow, in which my face stayed buried for a full eight sleepless days. Still, I put the pillowcase in the wash afterwards and now there is no evidence that could ever come back to haunt me!
Great blog, a lesson everyone (not just women) need to learn!

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