Let’s Talk About Ex(es?)

Y’know, part of me wonders if social media is making things better or worse for all of us.  On the one hand, I can learn about things that are happening to other people I know with a quick glance at my Facebook or Tumblr feeds.  On the other hand, I can learn about things that are happening to people I didn’t want to know about with just a quick glance at my Facebook or Tumblr feeds.

For instance, I can learn that a couple coworkers went and saw a terrifying movie, and I can be glad that I’m not going to have nightmares that involve things with too many limbs or possessed children or people in animal masks.  I can check to see if my friends in flood zones or fire hazard areas are okay (or if my friend whose building roof caught fire has a place to stay).  So I think it can be good for a lot of things.

Unfortunately it’s also a great way for me to indulge my curiosity and to check up on what my exes are doing!  YAY.  And I’m pretty sure that until Facebook starts tracking who is looking at your profile, I’m going to keep doing it.  I don’t know why, and I don’t really know what makes this seem like a good idea.  Every so often I get the urge to compare myself to my exes – the ones I am not still Facebook friends with, anyway.  So in their name goes to the search bar, and then there’s some clicking, checking on their profile pictures and career moves… It’s not totally creepy, is it?  (Is there a way that I can talk about this without seeming creepy?  Ah, well…)

Today I learned that the ex who cheated on me is in a really super-happy relationship with the woman with whom she cheated on me.  It kind of sucks, and not because I wish her unhappiness or unkind things, and definitely not because I’m unhappy with my own relationship, but… There’s a part of me that didn’t want that to work out.  If I’m going to be completely honest, if I had the power to change this I would.  I would make it so they couldn’t be together, because I’m still not 1000% over having been cheated on.  Let’s be real – being cheated on SUCKS and it hurts to feel like you’ve been replaced.

Today, though, I also learned an important thing:  I am better off letting go.

Look at me, look at what you just read through.  Checking on this particular ex, and learning what I know now, has made me feel insane.  Not the madcap Ace Ventura brand of crazy, but the “I AM GOING TO STALK YOU AND PUT DOLL HEADS IN YOUR MAILBOX AND SET THINGS ON FIRE” kind.  That’s a really terrible feeling, and it’s a little confusing to have these feelings about a girl I haven’t dated for 7 years (yeah, I know – old lesbian is old).

I can’t really identify what it is that makes people revisit past relationships.  If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t have movies like High Fidelity, or any rom-coms, and probably Friends would have been an awful TV show.  But I think what might be most important about this revisiting isn’t realizing the good or bad things that are long since past, I think it’s realizing how much you’ve grown since that relationship ended.  I’m definitely not the same kid I was when I broke up with this girl, and I can’t tell you how much of a good thing that is.

Every relationship is a learning experience, hell, everything we do is a learning experience.  But I think people come into your life and touch you in a way you never expected (and in ways you TOTALLY expected!), and I think it’s important to realize that you don’t have to hate your ex.  I don’t hate my exes.  I don’t like a lot of them, and I don’t stay in touch with most of them, but they aren’t necessarily bad people.

And really, I’m not a bad person for checking Facebook.


How to: Break Up With Someone

Hey there, all you lovely people!  Did you miss me?  I missed you.  I’m sorry for my prolonged absence – sometimes life just does things, you know?

I promise I haven’t been completely ignoring you guys, and I really have been intending to write more posts.  In fact, I have one RIGHT NOW that took me a bit to get together.  It’s funny, a few days ago I got an email from a gentleman who ended up taking my advice, and now he’s unsure about whether the relationship he’s currently in is going to continue.  I want to make it very, VERY clear to this particular dude: this post is a coincidence and not necessarily the advice I’m giving you as per your question.  I need a bit to figure out what I would do and also to get more info.

Without further ado, here’s how to break up with someone!

Let’s get something out of the way right now.  Breakups suck.  There’s no good way to break up with someone, and in my own experience, at least one person ends up being really hurt.  They can be messy, and they can really ruin your day, but hopefully these tips will make it a little easier.

1. Be Direct!  Waffling can only confuse the issue.  If you’re gonna break up with someone, it needs to be a real breakup.  It needs to NOT be friends with benefits, or “close buddies” or “we can still be friends”, because odds are if you’re breaking up with someone, you don’t want to be their friends.

2. ABSOLUTELY NO POST-BREAKUP SEX.  Nothing about this scenario will be good, I promise you.  Post-breakup sex leads to confusion, and confusion leads to awkward situations where you’re not sure what your status might be.  Or, weirder, it leads to that gray area of “are we or aren’t we back together?”  None of these places, none of the confusion or anxiety about that confusion, makes it okay to boink your very VERY recent ex.

3. Stay strong!  You had a reason (or three) for this.  I’ve noticed that, by and large, people don’t want to be dumped.  It’s something about how rejection is awful and hurtful and blah blah blah.  When they’re put in this position, they are prone to doing dumb things, like promising you they’ll change, or that they want to “work this out”, or that they will get back together with you as long as there are other guidelines or rules.  Guidelines and rules in relationships are fine, but if you are setting out specific conditions for getting back with someone, things can get hairy.  They’re never conditions that stick.  That change they promise you isn’t change you can believe in (SORRY MR. PRESIDENT).  Sometimes, your douchey ex needs to stay your douchey ex.  You broke up with them because of something.  Stick to your guns.  Chances are you’ll be much better off for it.

I once dated a lady I thought was the shit, and we hit it off and were very clear that the relationship would be over when she moved away for school.  Well, that plan lasted a whole two weeks after she moved, and then we were long-distancing like it was our job.  That ended in lots of tears and her sleeping with several other people.  It isn’t exactly the fairy tale I envisioned, am I right? If I had stuck to the plan of “no it is totally over and that’s okay”, I would have avoided the ridiculous feelings I had after I learned she was cheating on me.  It’s okay to stay broken up with someone, no matter what they say to the contrary.

4. Be careful with your rebounding.  This might go without saying at this point, but do NOT try to have rebound sex with your ex.  Or any ex.  That shit is WEIRD and it can get really weird.  I don’t recommend it.

Sometimes rebounds can be good, but sometimes you can end up projecting feelings about needing to be with someone (like your recent ex), and then your rebound becomes more of a commitment than you were expecting (or maybe that’s just what I do, but whatever).  It’s okay to be wary of feelings with other people, as long as you remember that even the person you choose to rebound with deserves common decent respect.  Be clear with them about getting out of a relationship recently, I can almost guarantee it will prevent horrid awkwardness and uncomfortable conversations down the road.

4.5 Don’t feel you have to have a rebound.  There’s an odd expectation that getting out of a relationship means you get to run around and have tons of sex with other humans… And then reality happens and most of us don’t get to be that lucky (haha, pun intended).  Rebounds aren’t for everyone, and they’re certainly not something you should feel you have to do.  Nobody wrote that it was required for breakups, and look – I’m writing the exact opposite!  It’s okay to just take some time to yourself without running off to bang someone else.  Trust me on this one.

5. Take some time for you.  This is probably the thing I forget most after a breakup, because I’m usually very worried about what the other person is thinking or feeling or doing (or WHO that other person is feeling or doing, if you know what I mean), so I spend more time obsessing over that than taking care of myself in ways that work for me.  Give yourself room to mourn the loss of a relationship if you need it.  Go out with friends if you need it.  If it settles some part of your soul, go get wasted and sloppy-drunk and pass out on your own apartment kitchen floor.  These things are okay, because breakups suck.  Just try not to make the more self-destructive things super habitual, because that can get very dangerous.

You guys, breakups are the worst*.  There’s nothing fun about a breakup.  More often than not, there’s nothing good (at the moment of breakup) about your situation.  (*Notable exceptions include abusive or awful relationships, in those cases breakups are AWESOME).  There are things that make them easier, and things that make them harder.  In my own experience, doing the opposite of the things listed above make breakups harder.

I hope this helps, if this is what you need.  Be good to yourselves and each other, and keep being safe.