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How To Break Up

I read an article which touched a raw nerve. The article had tips on how to break-up while avoiding the discomfort of the whole process. Now, having gone through this so very many times, I can attest to the fact that practice does not make perfect. There is no easy way to dump someone or get dumped for that matter. In either case you look bad. It is uncomfortable for both parties.

That should perhaps be one’s solace, that no one is the ‘winner’ in this. It’s a relationship that needs termination, not a race or a war – at least I hope it hasn’t reached that stage. Even in the worst, most unpleasant situations, try and remember that there must have been some nice moments with the person. That’s probably preachy and I can’t live up to that always, myself, so I’ll try another tack.

Speaking out of pure practical intent, if it’s over, the person and the relationship do not deserve any more time and attention invested in them. Make a clean break, it is really the simplest thing to do. Elaborate farces, heavy emotional drama all of them take their toll…or at very least require you to do SOMETHING…anything.

And finally I think anybody who has been close to you, even briefly deserves the dignity of the truth, at least. Leaving a person with empty questions is consigning a shitload of emotional baggage to their lot. Maybe that’s what you want after how they’ve made you feel…but really, how much do you gain over making a person think of you everyday, badly? I’d rather they don’t think of me at all than think of me maliciously.

Don’t bother with the blame-game (how does it matter who is responsible anyway? Believe me you’re going to feel just as shitty about it, whether you acknowledge it or not). And honestly, honestly it does not matter who actually verbalises it, partings are generally painful anyway.

As for how they are going to react, if you’re breaking up with them, why should it matter anymore? I tell myself that…and yes, I’m a person who can’t handle other people’s emotional scenes and tears. They are responsible for their behaviour but you are responsible for yours.

I’m all for a clean break, the simple truth, served up direct without frills.

Being at peace with yourself is often a function of how cleanly you’ve lived your choices. Think of all that, the next time you need to call a halt to a relationship.

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*An earlier version was posted here. One version appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Let’s Talk About Ex, Baby!

There is the family that you are born to and can’t do anything about. There are friends you choose of your own will and from whom you grow away. And there are those your heart beats for (or more likely your hormones delude you with) and from whom you rip your life away. Ah….the world of ex-boyfriends and girlfriends.

I have come a good, long way. When I was a kid, I had a naive dream of meeting my one and only true love and settling down with him in a fairytale life. Well, there have been more than one, hardly any of them true and none I suspect, were love. I don’t think it is a bad thing anymore, no matter how it sounds. Each one of them has been an experience, a learning about myself and about life. How many would-be feminists realize that they’re almost worse than the men they battle? How often does a strong person realize how weak he is? Or a weak person, how strong she is?

There are the jarring experiences, the ones where if you never saw the person again, it wouldn’t be a day too soon for you. I was in a relationship with someone who was not at all good to me, in every way that it is possible to be so. But he had great friends. I shared their love of books and could spend hours talking about them. I suspect I actually got along better with them, than he did. Looking back, I think I had more fun hanging out with his crowd than him. We did not part on good terms and I don’t think I will ever feel happy about the fact that he was once in my life. After the pain of break-up subsided, I was sadder that I had to let go of a number of nice people because they were his friends first.

Friendships apart, a person who has shared something with you romantically, has known you in a way that others just haven’t. Everyone who has ever been through a break-up knows just what a mix-up of emotions it leaves behind. But of course! How can you suddenly become indifferent to someone you have been really close to? It is hardest to forgive people you have loved; it is also toughest to forget them.

The other day, one of my friends told me that a guy I had once gone out with, had got married. I wasn’t sure how to react for a minute. I wasn’t jealous…not even the faintest bit. He wasn’t Dr.Evil but he was just a little desperate. The slimy way. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. But some girl thought he was good enough to spend her life with. Really, really weird feeling to imagine your rather undesirable once-admirer as the husband of some woman.

Time is a healer and once the initial fireworks subside and you are able to look at the bigger picture of life, it may even be a good thing to catch up with a person who has known you so intimately and then hasn’t been around for awhile. It gives you perspective. People who have been a part of your life for a long time may not always be able to tell you the truth about yourself. But someone who has known you for at least awhile closely, and now doesn’t fear losing you, just might.

There is closure too. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much baggage you are carrying until you meet the person who gave you all that garbage to tote around in the first place. Then you realize that you may as well put both him and your memories back where they belong….in the past. Occasionally, very occasionally you might realize that there are more ways than one, that a person can be a part of you life. That is rare. But you never know. You just might get lucky. In a different way from when you were dating.

My first-ever boyfriend is friends with me today. We meet for a coffee every few months, catch up on each others’ lives and laugh over silly things. Today I can say that he is a great guy. Well, I’m a great girl too. It’s just that we’re great as friends and not anything else. It’s taken years for us to get to this place and I’m glad we did. It is a long way to stop feeling bad and then another arduous journey to where you can actually feel good about the other person. I can’t say that this is possible with every single ‘ex-‘, which is why this friendship is remarkable.

My heart is a scrap-book of mixed memories.

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This is an updated version of an earlier post. A version of this also appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

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