Tag Archives: relationship advice

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 Avoid Bad-Mouthing Your Ex

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After a divorce or break-up, you are going to be angry. When people are angry, they often want to express their negative emotions, but that is not always a great idea. In fact, giving in to the temptation to bad-mouth your ex will probably work against you, and, what’s worse, against your children.

Therapist Ashley Davis Bush advises that you strive to remember that your children are one-half your ex, which means negative talk about him or her is negative talk about them. Whether or not it is immediately apparent, they are genetically predisposed to be like the person you firmly dislike, so they can be directly hurt by the things you say.

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Another, less easy to digest piece of advice is to remember that you once loved, or at least thought you loved, this person. Have respect for the time in your life when things were different, and try to learn to accept and respect the choices you made in the past. Saying negative things about that individual will only make you internalize the idea that your time with him or her was a mistake.

Avoiding derogatory talk about the other person may be fairly easy at first, but what happens when they start saying bad things about you? Resisting the urge to retaliate or defend oneself is extremely difficult and often goes against human nature. However, the other person’s behavior should not influence your own when it comes to what’s best for your kids. Their inability to control themselves means they are hurting, and while you may not be able to lend a helping hand or an understanding ear, you can at least be the bigger person and give your kids an opportunity to talk about what they hear without having to also hear your rebuttal.

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One way to approach this is to stop thinking of that person as your “ex” and instead think of him or her as your child’s other parent. This will reinforce the responsible role both of you should be playing in your child’s life and take the emphasis away from your relationship that went sour. Use the time you interact with your ex to create positive experiences that teach them how to get along with others, and if that’s not possible because of your ex or because you are simply too upset, then re-focus your energy on doing something fun with your children instead of dwelling on the insult and anger you feel.

Regardless of your situation and the personality of your ex, it is advisable to have a thick skin and avoid letting negativity from the other side get you down or lower your resolve. Your primary goal should be to show your child love and compassion, both for them and the situation. Bad-mouthing ultimately brings you down and can create a risk of being alienated from your child. Even if your ex is saying mean things to your child, such as, “You are not smart because your mother doesn’t push you hard enough to do well in school,” resist the urge to respond directly by saying something about him or her. Try instead to create an open environment in which your children can talk to you about the painful things they are hearing.

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Even if you do find yourself slipping and resort to saying negative things about your child’s other parent, you can stop. Ashley Davis Bush also advises creating a habit of saying, “Cancel that,” even mid-sentence, and beginning again. You can substitute negativity for more neutral words, such as, “My child’s other parent and I regularly disagree,” rather than saying something along the lines of, “My ex does things in a stupid way.” The key to not bad-mouthing your ex is keeping an eye on the future, not the past. Move forward into the future with strength and determination, not vengeance.

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