I’ve thought about this more often the last week or so, although it’s a burden I’ve been bearing for some time. Honestly, this is harder for me to say than it will be for you to hear it. I’m just not at a place in my life where I can keep this up. It’s not you – it’s me. I’m too irresponsible for this kind of commitment every Thursday. I’d like to dial it back a notch and take things more slowly. I hope you come to understand my point of view, and I know that you will come to forgive me in the future and realize that this is what’s best for both of us. It’s over for now, but maybe we’ll get back together in the future. Who knows what will happen? Lastly, I hope you’re mature enough that we can still be friends…
Now that I’ve set the mood, we’re ready to talk about today’s topic: break-ups! I’ve been through my fair share, and boy is it tough breaking the news to someone. But today, I’m here to help you by sharing the unfortunate situation of one unlucky lady.
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After a two-year relationship with my boyfriend, he dumped me! He broke up with me and offered all sorts of crappy excuses and lame lines and then it was over. I don’t know what to do now. I don’t want to leave the house or go out or do anything. What do I do, how do I deal with this break up?
Yours truly, (no seriously, she can be yours now that she is single)
Newly single and out of chocolate
*edited for slight profanity and excessive use of capitals, both of which I will abuse later*
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Well N.S., I am terribly sorry to hear that! You must feel confused, frustrated and betrayed. Don’t let my whimsical nature and sarcastic remarks fool you, deep down I am a good guy who wants to help you overcome this break-up in a mature and effective manner. I will most definitely get friend-zoned somewhere along the way. But as Placebo1 says, “A friend in need’s a friend indeed, something about breasts, something something.” Let’s get to it!
As a disclaimer, I promise not to write the word psycho, as apparently I’m liable if people make a drinking game out of it and get sent to the hospital with a BAC higher than their GPA. In other words, I’m terribly sorry for last week. With that said, there is a process everyone should go through when dealing with a break-up. And no, I don’t mean incoherently sputtering ice-creamy words through your tears to your best friend while watching ‘The Notebook’. And I’m not just picking on the guys; the girls seem to have their own ritual involving chocolate and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Oh, and burning things if you’re Taylor Swift. Arson is so hot these days. Instead of breaking down and becoming a shut-in for the following weeks, everyone should tackle this emotional turmoil with some semblance of structure. Trust me – your friends will [still be around to] thank you later. I don’t claim everyone should use THIS process. Take what you like, personalize it, add your own touches. Get a game plan and be prepared in case the worst happens. Protect yourself against the Hurricane Katrina of Love. Bonus points if you are dating a Katrina. Just don’t take it too far; your significant other might not react as hoped when you tell him/her that this break-up was merely staged to test your emergency procedures!
First off, figure out why the break-up occurred. I can’t tell you why; I really only watched the good stuff through your window. At times it’s painfully obvious. Some couples devolve to the point where they say hello to each other with the broad side of a toaster. Other times it sneaks up on you all ninja style and judo chops your heart into a pulpy beating mess. You might not be able to figure it out entirely, but it still helps to attempt to chronicle the warnings noticed along the way. Identify the communication breakdowns. Make note of those times you felt uncomfortable, the little tells and giveaways that hinted something was wrong. Put it on a timeline. Hell, use the inside of Timeline2 – no one is going to read that shit anyway. Congrats, you now have a new diary complete with warning signs for your next relationship. Consider it your secret love weapon. Just don’t threaten to pull out your secret love weapon whilst fighting in public; I can see that ending poorly.
– Poor communication
– Lying or concealing things
– Sneaking out in the middle of the night to go “study at the library”
– School Zone
Although it may sound a little insane, keeping note of this might help reinforce those tells or signs in your memory. If the time ever comes where you begin to recognize these signals recurring, you can address the concerns before they escalate out of control. The earlier you confront an issue, the better. Communication is the key to any great relationship, but sometimes your significant other will need a push before he/she is willing to have a serious talk about problems or those strange illusory creatures we call ‘feelings’.
Admittedly, sometimes there are no warning signs and your cheating ex runs off to Vegas with some skank he met at Denny’s downtown. In this case, skip to step 5.
Secondly, decide if you want to pursue this relationship or not. But wait, I just got dumped by the guy/girl you are telling me to go after. Your advice sucks! Fact. But another fact is the greatest love stories involve tragedy and break-ups. Okay so that is more opinion but who’s counting? Evaluate yourself as a part of the relationship. Were you happy? Is what you had worth fighting for? Is anyone playing the question mark drinking game yet? Some relationships can survive the turmoil of a break-up or seven, which is great news if you truly want to give it another shot with this person. Ignore your heartache for a moment and take some time to seriously consider if there is a desire to get back together. Next, evaluate the possibility of doing so, or of even having that conversation in the first place. If you decide this is worth spending your time and effort on, make one last solid attempt. It never hurts to try. Unless you try again and again. There is a fine line between fighting for someone and being a stalker – only about 50 shades of crazy. If your ex has immediately moved on to another beau, make sure to proceed straight to step five. This is the only time you should take it seriously.
Now that it’s over, take some time off. Evaluate yourself, what made you happy, what made you tear your hair out, what made you tear your clothes off. Make a list, an inventory you can use once you are finally ready to seek another relationship. What do you want out of that relationship? What behaviours do you refuse to tolerate? Set limits, set goals. A healthy relationship begins with a balanced breakfast a plan. By no means must you stick to the plan, but I find it helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for before you go out searching. Delve deep into your inner psyche and wrestle with your core. Find your values and surround yourself with people who share those same values. Sharing commonalities that run deeper than favourite movies or restaurants will lead to a stronger foundation for growth. They say opposites attract, but humans aren’t magnetic fields. Besides, do you really want to go out with someone who is ugly, boring and humble?
Finally, get back out there. Whether you want to enjoy being single, find a rebound or seven, or find your soul-mate, it’s time to throw yourself back in the sea and catch something. People, not diseases. People are far easier to get rid of. Think of all the positives this opportunity has granted you, and prepare to have a great time meeting new people who may enrich your life. Or, meet some fish (in the sea) who smell, have gills and die when they breathe air. What a stupid idiom.
Fifth step: Win. Every break-up is a contest. The winner is the first person to PDA the decency out of someone else in front of his/her ex. Spoils of war include inspiring burning jealousy, abusing the trust of your new partner, and receiving drunken 2 AM booty calls. If that doesn’t work, you can always go all Pete Wentz3 and write songs about how much you hate your ex and how hard it is being a teenager. You’ll be dating tweens in no time! Disclaimer: this is probably going to get you shunned from family dinners or at the very least, arrested.
Now I’d love to delve into a deep conversation about the psychological implications of break-ups and their effects on the growth and development patterns of future relationships, but I just don’t have the qualifications. Also, the psych department banned me from their extensive library after I ‘borrowed’ all their books and garnished them with gratuitous drawings of genitalia. Boys will be boys. Instead, I’ll thank you once again for subjecting yourself to this visual torture, and I’ll wish N.S. all the best. You were too good for him anyway.
If you have any questions about sex or relationships (or can tell me what the hell Sean Paul says in any of his songs) make sure to write in (firstname.lastname@example.org)! I’ll be back the same time next week – the standing dinner-date of your online life.
1Placebo’s ‘Pure Morning’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQQmAP9Poo4
2Timeline – Michael Crichton. Yes, it was a book before Paul Walker destroyed it
3Best break-up song ever – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQfRQknq5Z0