I was speaking with a close friend the other day about her latest break-up and she was going on and on about how crappy her ex-BF had been to her. No matter how many times she asked him to cease and desist in whatever drama he was involving her in, the guy would not give up. It seemed as if the relationship hadn’t even come to a true end since the fighting between them had continued for weeks and weeks after they called it quits. Intense emotions were still being exchanged between them thus her romantic feels for him remained which she was attempting to shed in order to understandably move on and have closure.
The conversation got me thinking about what it means to be a good ex-lover. I’ve definitely had my fair share of both good and bad previous paramours. My most recent long-term relationship beau and I are currently buddies and I’m also friendly acquaintances with other men I’ve dated or slept with or smooched. However, this is not the case with all prior intimate companions. A couple of them are on my ex-X-list either because of their actions during the relationship, their unapologetic stance on those actions, or their garbage treatment of me after our union came to an end. If only they had admitted to their wrongdoings, accepted responsibility for their behaviour, and left me the hell alone which I repeatedly requested they do. Too bad they didn’t have the below list of my personal, detailed, incredibly helpful DOs and DON’Ts.
If you’re not confident that you’re being a good ex, read on and educate yourself.
DO ask your ex what their wishes are and notify them of your wishes
As soon as the separation hits, communication is key to making the transition kinda smooth and relatively pleasant and not aggressively painful for everyone involved. In a rational manner, inform your ex of your wants and if they don’t at first share their wants gently inquire what those are. Everyone is different and deals with heartbreak in unique ways. We’re all sad snowflakes who possess a variety of methods for handling crying on buses. Some folks need to cut off all contact, while others prefer to receive updates and you won’t know what they truly need from you unless you ask. Never assume anything when it comes to break-ups. Assumptions usually culminate in hurt and anger and public yelling matches at large house parties.
DO obey those wishes regardless of how intoxicated you are
If they don’t want to talk to you in person, or over text, or on twitter DO NOT TALK TO THEM. I repeat NO TALKING, CAPICHE? I have had exes nod along politely when I’ve begged them to stop drunkenly calling me at 2 am every Tuesday only to have them drunkenly call me at 2 am the following Wednesday. Of course we all have slips and have sent regrettable messages in times of weakness. However, those slips cannot continue on for days or weeks or months especially not if your ex makes it abundantly clear that they absolutely hate it when you reach out to say Hey. What’s up? I miss you. Wanna maybe sex? I don’t know. I’m confused.
If you need to delete them on Facebook, do it. Erase their number, block them on instagram, throw your phone off a roof. Whatever it takes. Unless you have a legit need to speak with them, as in they owe you money, have something of yours, or they need to pick up the child you made with them from school, for the love of god, back the f away. Humans need space to grieve and heal and progress in their lives so give them that space if they so desire.
DO treat them as you would want to be treated
Remember how your mom and your teacher and your television would frequently share this cliche piece of wisdom with you? Well, sometimes cliches are cliches ˜cause they’re full of sweet, sweet truth. Every single time I had a craving to emotionally harm my ex in order to repair my fragile soul, I genuinely asked myself Would I want someone to do this to me? and the answer was perpetually 100% no. We forget sometimes that our exes are as bruised as we are, potentially even more bruised. They may appear robotic on the outside but inside they’re full of mushy, sensitive organs and melancholy water that expels from their eyes and strong feels in their sorrowful head, just like you. They’re you, but also, like not, ya feel me?
DON’T scheme against them or vow revenge or attempt to ruin their existence
It’s tempting to morph into a Disney villain when you’re dumped and to spend every second of your day brainstorming ways to make your ex perennially frown, but I recommend that you don’t. This includes not purposely overly flaunting new hotties you’re kissing on instagram. Your ex might have been mean to you or lied a bunch or are just generally is a shitty human but believe me when I say that you won’t gain anything from putting all of your time and energy into destroying their life. In fact, it will likely backfire on you because the thought of them won’t leave your brain and they’ll elicit mixed emotions from you, which could include feelings of love or longing or misery. Their shittitness will probably cause them to crumble on their own. Leave ˜em be. You got more important things to focus on, for example, YOU. YA FEEL ME?
DON’T confuse friendship or acquaintanceship or running into them on the street with getting back together
I recall casually texting with an ex for months and months after we broke-up and basically assuming that this would lead to us reuniting. So, it was very traumatizing when I discovered that he was dating someone and had been for a while. Was it appropriate that he was still messaging me as much as he was? Not really, but to play devil’s advocate against my past self, I never communicated to him that I wanted the text conversations to stop because I was hoping that we would have a fairytale ending. Also, we were trying to be friends and the texts were totally platonic. I WANTED to continue chatting because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, while simultaneously knowing that I NEEDED to say goodbye. Know your limitations and if you find yourself thinking about your lover turned pal romantically, maybe a little distance is the solution.
DON’T get angry with friends who are closer with your ex for distancing themselves
This has always been a super hard one for me to swallow. I routinely date guys who belong to the same friend groups that I do or who are members of the same community or who work in the same office. Hence, when our relationship cord is cut friends choose sides. Not for the purpose of battle. To protect the delicate souls of the buddy they’ve known for longer. I remember not being invited to a birthday party for my ex’s oldest friend and promptly becoming consumed with jealousy and animosity and anguish. I wrote to said ex’s oldest friend to inquire as to why I was snubbed from his soiree, which to say the least is not cool and wasn’t necessary. The reasons for the snubbing were quite obvious. It wasn’t that my ex’s pal had suddenly developed a dislike of me or considered me his mortal enemy or found the site of my face nauseating. It was that my ex would have likely felt uncomfortable if I was in attendance at the party and it might have resulted in a public yelling match. Go easy on your mutual friends. They’re struggling with the change as well and remind myself regularly that they probably love you BOTH lots and lots and lots. Unless, you’re a giant asshole, in which case, they probably hate you lots and lots and lots.