I’m going to break THIS right down for everybody here, because if you’ve read my Introduction
…are collectively acting as enablers because the vast majority who post their experiences and those who comment are not putting the work in that a breakup requires. I’m really not being patronising, at least my intentions are not to patronise or belittle anybody. Breakups are gut wrenchingly hard.
I’ve written this in such detail to hopefully ensure that we get the basics sorted out and understand how important it is to get through a breakup with your dignity intact…If you honestly and adamantly do not want another chance with your ex and/or you are happy to prolong the healing process, go forth and go as crazy as your crazy desires (criminal activity aside)!
When we are in the throws of a breakup (whether you are male or female), about to be dumped, forcibly transitioned from ‘partner’ to ‘ex’ it is because YOUR-ABOUT-TO-BE-EX DOES NOT WANT TO BE WITH YOU ANYMORE or due to external factors CANNOT BE WITH YOU ANYMORE. The key word are ‘NOT, CANNOT and ANYMORE.
Whether they are communicating this to you in person (lucky you – cause here’s the ultimate chance to show ‘em what you’re made of), over the telephone, text, email, letter, social media, through a friend, disappearing, morse code, carrier pigeon, I don’t care what, YOU are going to HOLD.YOUR.SHIT. TOGETHER. You are not going to cry, plead, beg, bribe, offer sexual favours or act in any other way that compromises your self-worth. A’men. In an ideal world this would be the end of this post, but I can’t leave it here because from what I’ve been reading all of over the web recently I feel the need to make abundantly clear what NOT holding your shit together actually says about you and what your trying-to-be-ex is going to be witnessing.
So…the breakup came out of leftfield?
Oh no…you’ve been together for 6.75 years?
No way…only yesterday your ex was on their bended knee, location Champ de Mars at the top of La Tour Eiffel proposing marriage to you?
I DON’T CARE– what I do care about is that, no matter what, you are keeping your ‘IT’ together and that is all you should care about too. You are literally allowed to gasp if you are shooketh, your jaw can momentarily hit the floor or you can frown for a second if you simply don’t understand, BUT THAT IS IT. Shock and hurt, anger and confusion, frustration and anxiety, fear and fight etc are a few of the very strong emotions that unfortunately you are going to have to experience in that moment [and in the aftermath] and swallow down in order to keep your dignity intact. The breakup might be unfair a.f. but what you are NOT is a five year old tantrum throwing petulant brat-child. I’m being brutally honest here and it takes soooo much will power and sooo much self-control and soooo much self-respect and soooo much self-love and soooo much confidence, but you’re going to delve deep, you are going to exhale, pick your jaw up, unfurl the ugly frown on your pretty/handsome face and you’re going to understand this…
At the start of it all you and your partner gravitated towards each other as equals and in open states of mind. You were both initially unsure whether this would get to relationship stage, things were carefree, no pressure, you connected, you appeared compatible, feelings evolved naturally and organically, you experienced life together and hopefully you supported each other’s needs, wants and desires. How very attractive you looked to each other back then. Happy days! BUT…
…that is no longer the position, quickly process THAT and suck it up buttercup because now THIS is happening…
During the actual breakup you and the trying-to-be-ex are at opposing ends of the spectrum – polar opposite, freezing/boiling, high/low, black/white and all of the other extremes. In that moment your trying-to-be-ex does not want to be with you. FACT. You are not entering this twilight phase of your relationship on equal footing because one of you (you) still wants the relationship whilst the other (your trying-to-be-ex) does not. Neither of you are in an open state of mind because you adamantly still want the relationship whilst your about-to-be-ex definitely does not – you’re both closed off to any other outcome than what you individually want, which I’m afraid is not the same thing…you want opposite outcomes – bluntly, your ex wants OUT and you’re EVEN MORE IN THAN EVER. And right there a major part of your connect has broken the hell down…because the fundamental reason for you both being in a relationship is that you ‘mutually’ connect in all aspects of your respective lives, which is not the current state of play.
Your trying-to-be-ex, who has freedom of will and an actual ‘choice’ btw, now wants to experience life without you whilst you disagree and as a result of this you are not supportive right now of each other’s needs, wants and desires. In this particular moment, I am telling you clearly, that your trying-to-be-ex who has told you as much (be it nastily, nicely, indifferently , articulately, inarticulately, cruelly, suddenly, lovingly, angrily etc.) DOES NOT WANT TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU. You are just about the last person in the world that your ex wants to be having any exchange with right now in any form. Not because s/he has lost all feelings for you or that s/he never actually cared/loved you but because s/he’s having doubts (for whatever reason, valid in your opinion or not), s/he doesn’t want to be with you right now and it’s AWKWARD and it’s STRESSFUL and it’s EMOTIONAL. Who likes awkward, stressful and emotionally charged conversations/exchanges with someone who is trying to exert their will, their wants, their feelings, their needs and their choices over yours and to the detriment of your happiness?
Reason(s) behind breakups are limitless. It could be because you’ve been arguing, they don’t feel that you are compatible, they’ve met somebody else they feel more attracted to, you want different things from life or they just can’t see a future with you or it could be to do with external factors beyond control, such as working long hours, health problems, a death in the family, having to relocate, getting though a messy divorce etc and so their head is not in the game [and if external factors are the only reason for the breakup, it is even more imperative that you keep your shit together because the attraction/connection has not necessarily gone away and circumstances can change, hint hint].
Even if during the breakup your ex did not explicitly tell you or explain themselves to the threshold that meets your approval and let’s be real, ‘very, very, very anxious scrutiny’, the reason(s) why they wish to be your ex, if you’re honest with yourself, nine times out of ten you’re going to be able to have a fairly accurate stab at, but even if you don’t really know or understand and if it appears they made an irrational decision or reacted to something you did or said in the moment, what you are not going to do is fish around for reasons and explanations because you need….groan….’closure’; and what fishing does is only THIS…it prolongs the conversation/exchange and thus the agony, you’re giving yourself room (translated as ‘time’) to get crazy because in your head you are thinking ‘if I can just keep the conversation going they are going to see that they are making a mistake, I can persuade them to give me another chance, I can change their mind’. WRONG…
…And if you honestly believe that you ‘just want /need closure – no ulterior motives, honest’ and that’s why you are fishing and prodding around, honestly, get a grip right now. No matter why or how – the fact is this person does not want to be with you anymore in this moment for their own reason(s) and THAT FACT is all you need to know – nothing else matters. And I’ll admit THIS. I prodded around once. I prodded and I prodded and oh.my.god.did.I.prod.prod.prod.poke. poke.poke and what I found out about this particular ex took me seven or eight years to fully deal with, process and let go. Seven or eight YEARS because I thought that I wanted to know shit that actually nearly damaged me beyond repair.
During the breakup your about-to-be-ex is in control of the situation and unless you’re not bothered about the relationship and having doubts of your own, you are GOING to feel massively hurt and probably betrayed – I accept that…
…I just want you to be able to demonstrate to yourself and to your ex during this exchange that you can deal with all of these emotions in a healthy stable way as a mentally stable person, as an absolutely kick-ass EXCEPTIONAL person. What you have to realise is that you have the ultimate control. YOU have control over the most important thing in the world. That amazing, important ‘thing’ is ‘YOU’.
YOU are in control of how your ex observes you handle a very stressful situation (i.e. ‘amazing strong’ them breaking up with ‘poor lickle ole’ you) – they are watching you, scrutinising you to decide which filing cabinet, right at the front of their brain to put their last memory of you in. Will it be the ‘PSYCHO EX’ file or ‘I LOST A KEEPER’ file – YOUR choice.
YOU are in control of your dignity.
YOU are in control of your actions.
YOU are in control of standing up for yourself by walking away to heal as fast and as thoroughly as is possible and to find better.
YOU are in control of your destiny going forward; you have no choice but to move forward because back is not an option.
Stick with me here – we’re doing this – and don’t give me no sappy ‘I can’t do it; I’m gonna cry; I need to beg; what if they think I don’t care; I need to tell them ONE. LAST. TIME. JUST. ONE. LAST. TIME that I love them, need them; I need to check that they are sure’ BULLshiiiiiiiit because these are excuses; bad ones at that; they’ve had all of these responses/reactions (and lets call them what they are which is ‘tactics’) pulled on them a million times before (I have, so I’m betting YOU have) and I absolutely refuse to accept that you don’t have the strength to be your best self even in this really shit situation. I managed it and you’re going to manage it. You’re going to have faith in yourself and you’re going to love yourself so much that as soon as you can get a word/text etc in (because this does not need and SHOULD NOT BE a prolonged angsty conversation/exchange – five to ten minutes MAX) you are going to say something like (albeit in your own words because you’re an individual with your own voice) ‘It’s really sad that we can’t work things out at the moment, but I understand (or I accept your decision) and I hope you find happiness. Goodbye’. Exit stage right. And I mean this,,,STAGE RIGHT, EXIT.
With every ounce of your being you have got to clamp your lips shut; do not hesitate; hold back the tears; get your coat…bag, whatever and leave quietly and with grace – no stomping or door slamming. Or put your phone down, delete all chat (but don’t block – that’s an emotional knee-jerk of a reaction). Or turn your computer off. Or put the break up letter in a draw/better still bin it. This is how you deal with the breakup. You can release your sadness, angst and rage blah, blah, in your own time with the people who love you (or in solitude) but without your ex spectating from the best seat in the house. Immediately you are out of their sight/the exchange has finished do what you’ve got to do (apart from reach out to him obvs and I’ve already covered criminal behaviour being unacceptable). And I’m going to tell you why you need to do this and what this achieves.
It communicates in no uncertain terms that what you ARE NOT is a doormat. Doormats are replaceable accessories that people wipe their dirty footwear on (i.e. used, walked over and instantly forgotten).
Plain and simple! You need to make sure that YOUR actions are not inviting your ex to think s/he can wipe their dirty feet on you…and I can also tell you this…
When I dump somebody and when I hear of my friends dumping a significant other I’m waiting for the drama with a capital ‘D’ – and it ALWAYS comes – ALWAYS as has been my experience. I’m thinking ‘oh shit, wait for it’, or in the instance of a friend I’m waiting for the ‘…and then guess what s/he said’ ***eye roll*** or ‘…and then guess what s/he did’***chortle***. I’m waiting for that because invariably one of these things or a mixture of THIS happens….argument, crying, begging, insults, accusations, loss of self-control, anger, desperation, chaos – DRAMA. DRAMATICS of the highest order all charged with a raw uncontrollable spectrum of every emotion going. And in trying to find instances online where somebody/anybody has actually had the goddamn sense to JUST TRY to handle a break up with dignity (i.e. by acting in the manner I have suggested above) it is clear that there is a minority of people out there that are able to actually execute this. So lookie here! In being able to do this to the absolute tee you have done something quite unique that appears to rarely happen these days. The quite unique thing is that YOU’VE managed to ‘do UNIQUE’ – and this will not have gone unnoticed! You have set yourself apart from the mad ‘uns and all of their ‘crazy’ exes that have come and gone pre-you and that are bound to come and go post-you.
This is massive – your ex is now making a new file at the front of their brain for you under ‘Exceptional!’. Your ex is going to admire your strength of character; because that is exactly what it is and even your ex will have to agree – you’ve received a dumping and you’ve kept yourself together and THAT IS ADMIRABLE. Your ex is now going to be given exactly what they asked for, which is A LIFE WITHOUT YOU IN IT and that comes with the reality of YOUR ABSENCE.
And now your ex can think long and hard about their decision to dump and ultimately now you are genuinely gone whether they should have handled things differently by actually trying to work things out rather than flat out sacking you off. Self-control is an unusual and therefore valuable trait – go ahead, read the online community threads and see for yourself. Another plus is that you don’t get to be another break up-gone-psycho-story to keep their bffs entertained at the local pub for hours – ‘oh yeah, I broke up with my ex’ **instant attention** Everyone: sharp intake of breath ‘and what did s/he say?’ Your ex: ‘s/he said ‘OK, I understand, goodbye – I’ve heard nothing since’. This is not really the kind of story a fully-fledged dumping hero is going to keep their gossip-loving friends entertained with for more than a millionth of a second.
From my own experience, I spent two years with a man who initially did all the right things (this was before the age of technology, thank you god). He pursued me in a healthy way, he looked out for me, we went places together, he took me on actual dates, we took things slow, we laughed and we connected. I couldn’t give you much detail now as to where we went, what we laughed about and how we connected BECAUSE it is clouded by his hideous reaction to me not wanting to be with him anymore which was a direct response to him becoming insanely obsessive. So in telling him that I didn’t want to be with him because of this major issue which I may or may not have been triggering in him, he became ‘even more obsessive’…and stalked me!
He was quite an extreme example, but my message is this…any chance of us reconciling our differences ended during the breakup conversation when he disrespected my request for the breakup and did as per talked about HERE
. He was clearly not willing to work on his issues and he was not going to respect my request for space. What he should have done had he wanted us to try again, given that we were initially good together, would have been to accept the breakup, cease communication in all forms (as per my wishes – because after all my grievance was that he was possessive and jealous), work on himself and his issues and allow me (as the dumper) to work on me and my issues, allow me the time to approach him (as the dumpee) with an admission of ‘I’m sorry I left you and I’d like us to try again’ when at this stage he could have said ‘yes, I’d like that, we’re worth fighting for’ or ‘no thank you, it’s too late, your loss, goodbye’.
Put yourself in the dumper’s shoes – I’ll be the dumpee! You and I are in an ‘almost relationship’, or you and I are in a long term relationship, whatever, it doesn’t matter. You aren’t sure about me so much now, work is getting on top of you, do I actually interest you anymore? Whatever the reason(s) you have decided for now (because you are very entitled to do so and also under no obligation to remain in any relationship that is no longer fulfilling your needs) that you just don’t want to be with me. So you summon up the courage to tell me we’re done. You’re stressed about what you are going to say/type, that is unless you are a total heartless prick, but you are also on the defensive and you’re more than half expecting me to be on the attack because you’re going to be telling me something I don’t want to hear and something that I’m going to totally disagree with.
You don’t want me and you’ve got to make sure that I don’t change your mind about this because then you’ve got to compromise your happiness to remain in a relationship you are uncertain about and then days/weeks/months later have the breakup talk with me again or ghost me, which you are more than likely going to get vilified for, or whatever.
So you’ve told me or texted me or emailed me to say you don’t want ‘us’ anymore or you’ve bottled it and just gone to ground, whatever. When I realise I’m being dumped/have been dumped because YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP THAT IS NOT MAKING YOU HAPPY ANYMORE, how are you going to feel/react if I beg? How are you going to feel/react if I sob? How are you going to feel/react when I chuck insults at you? How are you going to feel/react when I’m on my knees clinging to your leg in your house or my house or in public telling you I’ll change? How are you going to feel/react if I lash out at you verbally or god forbid physically? How are you going to feel/react when I belittle you? Insult your parents or slander your friends? Or any combination of these actions. And then later on when you’ve finally got rid of me or ended the call/text/email exchange…minutes later and/or hours later, and/or a few days later, and/or a few weeks later whatever, when I lose my shit again which could be at any time of the day or night because I’m not processing my emotions properly and I’m not respecting your wish for me to leave you the hell alone, how are you going to feel/react when I repeat some or all of these ‘toxic actions’ again and again.
Is it ok because I want you when you don’t want me that I blow up your phone because you don’t answer because you simply don’t know what to say to me anymore? Is it ok because I want you when you don’t want me to text you incessantly things like ‘I love you’, followed by ‘I hate you’, followed by ‘how’s the dog?’ followed by ‘who’s that person you’re with in that photo you just posted on FB’? Ok because I want you and you don’t want me for me to turn up on your doorstep, bombard you with cycle after cycle of declarations of love, regret, rage, jealousy? Unless you are playing a game and you love to create drama and you are too immature for a mature relationship, you are going to be TURNED THE HELL OFF – and no it’s not ok for me to put all of this on you just because I want something (the relationship) that you don’t want and have no control over MY OWN emotions and insecurities. But I’m going to be in a frenzy, a right bloody state. You’re going to want me to really-stop-right-now, I’m also going to want to stop right now too, but I’m on an emotional rollercoaster and either ‘the damage is done so I’ll just carry on in case you have a weak moment and reluctantly take me back’ or if I just try to reach out ‘one more time’ you’ll realise that you do actually want me?
…and you are definitely not going to want to risk taking me back because I’ve shown myself to be emotionally unstable, totally unhinged and ‘hard to get rid of’ should things break down again. Your friends already know that I’m the ‘latest mad ex’ and peer pressure is a funny old thing. You wouldn’t want any of this to be done to you after you’ve exercised your right to leave a relationship so don’t do it to your ex and expect them to want you back or **seriously???** ‘come crawling back’ and don’t expect that you can recover and heal quickly after you have done any, most or all of this.
Now, say you dump me and I act in a dignified manner. I do everything let’s say ‘right’. You say or text something like, ‘look, I just don’t think this relationship is going to work. I just don’t think there’s a spark there or any potential to take this forward’, whatever, and I accept this, I say ‘goodbye’ and I leave, or put the phone down, whatever…what are you (the dumper) going to feel? What are you going to think of me? Be honest here because the words ‘respectful’, ‘dignified exit’, ‘gracious’, ‘elegant’, ‘classy’ and ‘unique’ come to my mind and all of these are very good virtues and very positive adjectives to label a person you have a past with whom you just seconds ago, hours ago, days ago, weeks ago, months ago, years ago you broke up with, especially considering the alternative which is going to be in the extreme category ‘crazy’, ‘unhinged’, ‘deranged’, ‘nutter’, ‘psycho’. Because after you have been dumped you are immediately going into ‘The Classy Ex That May Have Got Away’ top draw or ‘The Psycho Ex That Must Be Avoided At All Cost’ landfill. Do you want to be top draw material or landfill?
Right! Nobody can tell you whether or not an ex is going to come back to you and ask for a second chance. How you react to them when/if they reach out appears to be yet another deal maker or deal breaker! But by acting with dignity, standing up for yourself and standing out like this during and following a breakup, you give yourself the absolute best chance of your ex reconsidering their crappy decision. And if THEY (as the dumper) reach out to YOU (the dumpee) days, weeks, months or years later, whenever, at that stage YOU have ALL of the power and YOU can decide whether YOU actually want THEM back, whether YOU are in a better place, or actually could do a hell of a lot better, are happier without them or whether they are worth YOUR very precious time; time which you have already potentially wasted on them and will never get back. Decide wisely and NEVER go back to a toxic relationship, NEVER, EVER, EVER. And if they never reach out to you again, YOU have the power to make a better life for yourself, make better decisions and ultimately attract those more suited to you. You should be looking for better every time a relationship ends and a new one is contemplated.
In the meantime because you did everything right [RIGHT?] and whilst your ex is wondering ‘WHAT THE EFFING HELL happened – my ex didn’t FREAK THE FUCK OUT and is TOTALLY IN CONTROL OF HIS/HER SHIT, HAVE I MADE A MISTAKE HERE?’ YOU have to work on YOU. You have to work on self-control because you’ve got to keep that shit up long haul, possibly forever or until they reach out to you to indicate that they genuinely want to work things out (best case scenario if you want them back), or until you are totally over them. Get doing things that make you happy but what you must never, ever do is reach out to them first IF they dumped you. When you walked away/put the phone down, whatever, at the end of the breakup exchange you have to believe that walking away was/is intended on your part to be forever.
This is not a game. This is not to punish them. This is not to manipulate them. This is so that YOU heal, YOU learn, YOU love YOU. YOU first, ALWAYS and CONSISTENTLY. By putting you first you are positively distancing yourself from the dating-competition – you’re right up there ahead of the race and are going to win a better life and a better partner. Win/Win. Learn this lesson now no matter what your relationship status is so that when you next suffer a breakup not of your choosing that you did or did not see coming, you have the knowledge, sass and arsenal to deal with it in the very best way it can be dealt with.
Don’t cave in, don’t waste your time giving this dumper another second of your life, you simply don’t have the time – life is for living and it’s short a.f.
How do you handle a dumping? What do you think of my advice? Let me know in the comment below, if you like…
TOUGH LOVE EVERY.STEP.OF.THE.WAY