Posted by: CJ | February 8, 2009

Breakup Advice

This is something of an open-source note to myself. I spent part of the morning talking to a friend who’d just broken up with her boyfriend, and in the course of it we talked about several things about dealing with break-ups. It’s all common sense.

  1. Right after a breakup, especially breakups where it didn’t happen because you wanted to get away from the person but just because of divergent life goals, there’s a tendency to view the relationship based on some of its best times. So there will be a period when the feeling of loss is amplified by those rose-colored glasses.
  2. Because of #1, and because people usually just can’t make big changes in relationships easily, there really needs to be some separation time from the person before you try to become friends with them (if that’s what you want). If you don’t take the time apart then it’ll be too easy to be broken-up in name and in the lack of physical contact, but not be broken-up in terms of emotions and how you feel about the person. Being in that situation almost inevitably leads to one of two things: 1) The two people get back together, or 2) One of them gets really hurt when the other moves on and starts dating someone else.
  3. Compared to during a romantic relationship, where interactions come easy, hurt feelings are (relatively) easily repaired, and there are few restrictions, trying to be friends after a committed romantic relationship takes a lot of effort and energy. At least at first. You have to try and find the right distance, what interactions work for you, figure out how to deal with the person making decisions you disagree with but have no right to interfere with, etc.
  4. The transition from significant others to friends is harder if you didn’t spend much time as friends before becoming involved.
  5. There are more difficulties if you try to be close friends while you’re both still single and still like each other. That’s practically begging for relapses of some sort, so in that situation you might as well be honest with yourself and the other person decide what amount of relapsing you can handle and won’t feel guilty about.
  6. Everything becomes so much worse if you ignore your emotions or try to browbeat them into submission using reason.

Those are the ones that I could think of off the top of my head.


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