When it comes to dating and relationships, everything isn't always black and white. Because of all of the variables (different personalities, history, goals, timing, etc...), one-size-fits-all advice just can't apply to EVERY situation.
However, I CAN say with confidence that, during/after a breakup, there IS a healthy code of conduct that should apply to everyone, regardless of their exact circumstances.
The fact is, most people either don't know -- or choose to blatantly disregard -- this healthy code of conduct and instead plunge themselves into all kinds of self-destructive behaviors that end up prolonging their pain and preventing them from properly moving on.
I say, why suffer any more than you absolutely have to?
That's why I'm devoting today's blog to the topic of "10 Post-Breakup Decisions You're Sure to Regret."
Hopefully, a breakup is NOT in your future (or present!). But let's face it -- it's pretty much an inevitable part of the process of dating.
So it's my hope today that my list will help you identify some behaviors that you've either done in the past or may be tempted to do in the future...and learn how (and why) to choose the healthy behavior instead.
10 POST-BREAKUP DECISIONS YOU'RE SURE TO REGRET
1. BEGGING HIM/HER NOT TO BREAK UP WITH YOU Breakups come in all shapes and sizes, but perhaps the one hardest to come to terms with is when you're on the receiving end of the dumping... and it's seemingly out of the blue. Whether he/she drops the bomb on you:
* in person (awkward and agonizing),
* over the phone (cowardly and inappropriate),
* or - God forbid - via email or text (rude, rude, rude!)...
.... your best course of action is to hear him/her out, then remove yourself from the situation (i.e. take off; hang up; or delete, delete, delete!) immediately. Remember, this is not necessarily the only time you'll have to express yourself on the issue, and if you say too much in the moment, you'll probably utter something you wish you hadn't.
Worst of which would be to BEG HIM/HER not to end the relationship. Crying and pleading for them to reconsider... that you can work through your differences...that you'll change...that you didn't REALLY mean it when you gave that ultimatum to propose, etc, etc, etc...Well, it's just going to come across as needy and pathetic. And if your tactic were to actually work?
At best, your reconciliation would only be temporary. Let's face it: if your ex had really made up his/her mind to break things off but was TALKED INTO staying together, do you actually think that's going to stick? That manipulation is a foundation upon which you can build back up your relationship? You and I both know that will never work.
Save face now, get out of the situation, and get some space so you can think things through and gain some perspective on what just happened. You'll be MUCH happier in the long run if you keep your mouth shut.
2. CALLING YOUR EX. Speaking of needing to get some space so you can gain perspective, this is exactly why you should NOT call him/her after your breakup. In order to have the clarity you need right now, you're going to have to stop communicating with your ex.
That means no phone calls - initiating or returning. That also goes for emails, text messages, instant messages, and ESPECIALLY seeing him/her in person.
Why is it necessary to cease contact? Because breakups are confusing. They're exhausting. Right now your emotions and your decision-making skills are compromised, which means you are easily tempted to go for instant gratification - to do what feels good in the moment even if you know it will have disastrous results in the long run. Y
ou're probably wearing your bruised heart on your sleeve. If you're in contact with your ex, you are much more likely to engage in self-destructive behavior like dialing him/her up repeatedly and then having to deal with the pain of knowing he/she is screening your calls. Or stopping by their place unannounced to see if he/she will talk things out one more time with you... OR worse, sleeping with your ex again even though he/she has no intention of getting back together with you.
When your ex is in your life, it threatens your emotional and mental safety and leaves you exposed to the possibility of new and deeper hurts. When you're lonely, down, or even angry, confused and looking for answers, calling your ex MAY seem like a good idea. But I can promise you that you WILL regret reaching out – no matter what technology you use to do it.
Your ex is not going to fill that void of loneliness in your heart. He/she is not capable of cheering you up right now. He/she is NOT going to have the answers you want to hear (other people can rarely provide closure to our satisfaction…we need to find it within ourselves). And remember, each time you contact your ex, it's like hitting the "reset" button on any progress you may have made in your journey to getting over them.
If you exercise some willpower now, it will help you move on quicker in the long run.
3. SLEEPING WITH YOUR EX. Although this decision could fall under the umbrella of #2's no-contact rule, it's a biggie and really does deserve to be discussed separately.
I am always shocked when I hear people talk about sex with an ex, claiming that it's either a harmless way of reminiscing or a tactic to win their lost love back. (Frankly, I suspect that, in both cases, the person is trying to win their back... one is just being more honest about her motives.) I am not going to mince words here: DO NOT... I repeat... DO NOT SLEEP WITH YOUR EX UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Stop fooling yourself. This is not some Sarah McLachlan song. It's your life. One last night of passion and tears is not tragically romantic. It is tragically stupid and self-destructive. And if you think that hopping in the sack with him is going to magically un-do your breakup, THINK AGAIN. He's not going to think, "wow, why did I ever give her up?" If anything, he'll think, "wow, she'll STILL give it up and now I don't even have to call or take her to dinner."
YOU may be thinking that you're on the path back to coupledom. HE's thinking that he just hit the jackpot and can officially have no-strings-attached sex with you. Please love yourself enough to realize that your ex forfeited his/her right to be intimate with you the moment he/she said they can't be in a relationship with you.
You are way too precious to give that much of yourself without a loving commitment.
4. STAYING CONNECTED TO THE WRONG PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMON CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. This one is a toughie, but now that you've ceased contact with your ex and are reaping the rewards of making that difficult decision (perspective on your relationship/breakup, time and space for your emotional wounds to heal, and increasing clarity about what you want for your future), you don't want to do anything to sabotage that progress.
While it is sad that friends you once had in common with your ex might be additional casualties of the breakup, it's often necessary in order to properly move on. Sadly, some friends will make this decision FOR you by picking sides.
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