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Break Up Like You Mean It

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Jessi Bee
Whether you're internet dating or dating traditionally, no one likes breaking up. I sure dont like breaking up. Sometimes it feels refreshing and liberating to actually be broken up but no matter how you slice it, the act itself is never a pleasant experience. But were cunning dating navigators and as such, know when the magic is gone (or was never there at all) and its time to cut and run. The real question is, do we know how?

Obviously, there is a whole puke-inducing plethora of reasons to end a relationship, and just as many types of relationships to end. Theres the person youve only been dating a few weeks and theyre very sweet but its just not clicking; the long-term relationship youve outgrown; the eccentric but seemingly great guy whos finally letting his inner psycho come out to playah yes, the possibilities are many and painful.

Lets assume for a minute that the particular person youre angling to part paths with isnt actually crazy. No violence, no manic behavior, no emailing you Photoshop-ed images of you being maimed by a bearthose kind of things. Lets say its not like that. Its just not working or youve met someone else or he made out with your boss. For these types of run-of-the-mill time to get the hell out situations, there are a few tips to abide by the make the break-up process as clean and permanent as possible:

1) Be sure

If you go into an end-of-relationship conversation with anything less than a completely steadfast resolve to sever ties, you can be talked out of it. And then youre faced with the possibility of having to rinse and repeat in a few weeks. Certainty gets you (and the other person) out of prolonged unpleasantness.

Theres nothing wrong with taking all the time you need to consider what you want before you go in for the kill. Be prepared to discuss your reasons and hear what your other has to say but be unwavering.

2) Cut off communication

Just for now! Im not saying you cant be friends with an ex. Believe me, if you knew anything about my personal life, youd know I am an adamant believer in being friends, even really close friends, with someone you were once amorously affiliated with.

But if experience, observation and research have taught me nothing else, its this: it is damn near impossible to go immediately from lovers to friends. This is especially true if you were involved in a long, serious relationship. Take a few months as a buffer period.

It gives you time to re-establish your independent life, decreases the risk of giving in to getting back together, and keeps you both at a safe distance from the icky details of each others forays back into the dating world.

After a few months, youll have the emotional distance to be able to hear about your exes new flame without wanting to cry or scream or get possessive. Not talking for a while post-break-up isnt a sign you dont careits actually one of the smartest investments in your future friendship you can make.

3) Watch your language

By this, I mean dont speak poorly of them, to them or about them to others. Just dont. Its never a good idea and regardless of how much they really, really deserve it and wronged you in unspeakable ways, taking trash about an ex always makes you come off looking bad. Take the high road and such. (note: best friends, moms and dogs are excluded from this rule. Thats what theyre there for.)

4) Put it in writing

Maybe this is just me, but Ive seen it work for other people as well. I think its pretty common for people to make pro / con lists when theyre contemplating whether or not to continue a relationship. Ive always been of the belief the love is something to be felt and guided more emotionally than logically, but I also acknowledge the fact that sometimes emotions get tricky.

You can feel so many ways about so many things that often its hard to know which part of your heart to listen to. So we give it up to our brain. And brains like lists. Written facts and reasonable thoughts can be helpful after a break-up as well, particularly during those first few days and weeks when the absence of that other person is really being felt for the first time. This is the crucial phase in which, if we dont consistently and mercilessly remind ourselves why its better in the long run to not get back together with our ex, we quite possibly will.

Write down your reasons for breaking up. And look at them as often as you need to. Having firm resolve to make the break-up stick is the kindest thing you can do to yourself and your ex-lover.
Jessi Bee

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