Tag Archives: breaking up

Keys to a Pain Free Break-up

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We’ve all been there.  Your once dynamic and fun relationship has faded to a dull, listless obligatory chore.  Whether you both are aware of the inevitable and impending split or if your partner is calmly rowing down a river in Egypt, it’s time to get this done.  But how do you sever ties without crushing your once-beloved?  There is no easy answer, but here we have collected a few of the more tried and true methods for separating with mutual respect and consideration.

Location & Date (…to no longer Date)

Choose the right locale and time.  This may seem fairly obvious, but some individuals may become angered and, in the heat of the moment, break up with someone during an important time/date in their partner’s life.  Clearly birthdays, major holidays and other key life events are taboo.  You don’t want your future ex dredging up the awful memory of your break-up every time they see a plump and delicious Thanksgiving turkey, do you?  While not wanting to pick the wrong time to break things off can be an invaluable tool for chronic break-up-procrastinators, there will always be appropriate windows to choose from.  Just pick the right time and strike with precision.

By the same token, you don’t want to do it in a place that they associate with something special or positive (their parent’s home, their place of worship, their favorite Chuck E. Cheese, etc.)  Just choose a nice, neutral, bland spot and get it over with.  Hopefully this will help make the event as non-memorable as humanly possible.

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Some Privacy, Please

While it may be all too tempting to want to execute the break up in a public place, with the goal of mitigating the emotional outpouring of the break-up-ee, this is a bad idea.  Trying to control their emotional state by enforcing societal restrictions on them may only make matters worse; meaning, they could become even more upset and make a real scene (screaming, glass throwing, hair pulling/extraction).  Just find a simple, quiet, private place and deliver the bad news.  This way they can express their feelings honestly without having to worry about looking like a fool to others or having to try to suppress their sadness.

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Face to face

Surely your once-adored sweetie deserves some face time (and no, not the “Face Time” app) for this occasion.  Be a grown-up, look them in the eyes and give it to ‘em straight.  This actually helps give both of you some closure.  If your relationship is still on the very green side, then a heartfelt phone call may suffice (but never, ever, ever a text – this is the message delivery equivalent of saying “You’re as valuable to me as a tweet about Trump.”)

The Truth Hurts…but is appreciated.

In trying to spare someone’s feelings, the go-to move is to concoct a host of reasons why the relationship failed that you personally deem ‘not that damaging.’  While certain hurtful things are unnecessary and can be omitted (“It’s true: you really did look fat in those pants”), the crux of your decision to break-up with them must be plainly shared.  If you come up with some elaborate lie about how you need to move to Iceland, the truth will inevitably come back to them, and subsequently you.  You’re not sparing them anything by fibbing; you’re only causing them to question things that are difficult or impossible to comprehend.  If you are honest, then they can assess the situation for what it really is, and this will help them (and you) move on in a mature and healthy way.

Poker Face (no, don’t ‘poke her/his face,’ just remain calm)

A common reaction people undergo when being broken up with is not only sadness but unbridled anger.  If this should be the scenario you find yourself in, just keep your own emotions in check.  Don’t fight back, just try to really listen to them.  Let them get whatever is driving them mad in the moment off their chest.  They will eventually lose steam and the storm will pass.  If you stay sympathetic during this period, the end result can be that you may actually part civilly.  However, don’t try to push for an immediate friendship (if that’s not coming organically).  Obviously many people need a healing/adjustment period if this is ever going to be the case.

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-Joe Leone 

How to Answer Annoying Questions About Divorce

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When news of your recent divorce hits the streets, people can get a tad bit nosy.  “What went wrong?  Who’s getting the kids?  Can I have the wedding present I gave you back?”  Retaining composure and diplomatically answering these questions can be a real challenge, if you don’t have the appropriate responses cocked and readied.  Read on to thoroughly equip yourself with seamless retorts that will keep the rabid Inquisitors (family, friends, intrusive grocery clerks and DMV workers) at bay, at least for a while.

“What happened?”

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When addressing this initial query, it’s best to keep it simple.  Providing the bare minimum, in terms of what transpired and why, is not just adequate, but will send the signal that this conversation is not going to turn into an episode of “Dr. Phil.”  Also, keep things in an affirmative light; let them know that you are not dwelling on the negative and that you are focused on shaping your future.

“I don’t think this is the right decision.  Why did you do this??”

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Explain that even if they completely disagree with what occurred and why, the best thing for them to do at this juncture is to give you their full support.  The aftermath of the divorce can be even harder to deal with than the event itself, and you truly can use all the positive reinforcement you can get.  Also, if kids are a part of the equation, explain that this can be a traumatic event for them especially.  Anyone involved, even minimally, in the lives of the children in question should be as supportive as humanly possible.

“You should try to get back together.”

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When this gratuitous “advice” is dumped on you, it’s best to clearly elucidate the fact that you recognize your ex-partner’s favorable attributes (you obviously loved them at one point), but now you need to transition out of marriage mode and progress forward with your life.  You’re not getting un-divorced any time soon, so let’s all look at what’s on the ever expansive horizon of life, not what’s fading into the sunset.

“Want to know what I think went wrong?”

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While your comrades, great aunts and assorted mechanics and baristas may all be brimming with theories as to what the real error in your compatibility was, graciously tell them that you appreciate their concern, but you really don’t want to drum all of that up right now.  Yes, there probably are myriad reasons why it didn’t work out in the end, but your goal now is to heal and move on.  Dredging up accusations of your ex’s potential extramarital affairs or secret hatred of your hat collection is not going to help you do that, so please keep your comments to yourself, Uncle Herbie, thank you.

“I’ve been divorced, too.  Here’s how you handle it…”

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Of course it can be nice to commiserate with people who have been in similarly trying situations, but take all such proffered wisdom with a grain of salt.  Let them know that every divorce is unique, like a lovely snowflake of separation, and what may have worked/failed for them may not apply to your uncoupling scenario at all.

At the end of the day, if and how you address questions related to your divorce is totally up to you.  You always have the option to tell people to “mind their beeswax,” and to give them ‘the hand.’ However, dealing with the residual effects of your divorce by confronting them head-on can lead to a quicker healing process.  When chatting with concerned parties, be nice, be polite, but ultimately, be true to yourself.

And yes, Aunt Trudy, you can have your ugly purple candy dish back.

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-Joe Leone