Clean Break: Love Secret #9 Three Ways To Stage A Graceful Exit from a Relationship
By Leigh Arn
Myth: Breaking up is hard to do. Fact: Breaking up, staying broken up, and being okay is hard to do. The immediate action of breaking up is actually quite simple. A simple “we’re done” or a “see you never” will do. What takes strength, bravery and emotional support is ignoring the urge that so commonly supersedes a breakup — to reconnect with an ex.
Breaking up is not hard to do, but what is hard is ridding one’s self entirely of previous emotional ties – PETs, if you will. Bumping into an ex at the grocery, or more likely, stumbling across their most recent photo on Instagram, can easily transition into an attempt to resuscitate a dead relationship. The fool-proof method for never dealing with an ex would be to never leave our houses and to stay off social media indefinitely; however these are neither healthy nor feasible options. Rather than retreating into a tangled mass of blankets and watching Netflix for the rest of our lives, we can find healthy ways to boost our energy.
For a few days – or even weeks – following a breakup, we go through withdrawal. Yes, withdrawal. Similar to an alcoholic quitting drinking cold turkey, or a shopaholic cutting up her credit cards, breaking off a romantic relationship deprives us of the rushes of oxytocin we are used to receiving from a boyfriend or significant other. The sudden lack of interaction, be it physical or emotional, can cause us to feel more than depressed; it can make us downright nuts. Most of us find that after a break-up, we have a lot of free time on our hands – time that is typically spent scrolling endlessly through his Facebook posts. Instead of moping over old photos and Tweets while watching old episodes of Friends, “break-up time” is better spent strengthening relationships with other people in our lives such as close friends, relatives, or coworkers.
- Unfollow, unfriend, unsubscribe
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, his blog . . . everything. And do it all at once. They alternative is to stay off social media entirely, but is that really a viable option? Rather than having your wounds re-opened each time you stumble across a photo of him, self-protect and cut him off. Down the line, it will make it much easier to ignore his “I miss you” texts.
- Find Oxytocin substitutes
Since the caricature of a crazy-ex-girlfriend is likely not a role we want to play, it is crucial that we find ways to substitute for that oxytocin rush that do not include driving to his house at 4 in the morning or stalking his Facebook photos from six years ago. The movie you were planning on seeing with your now ex? See it with your cousin. The concert tickets you had for this weekend? Go with your roommate. This is the time to boost your confidence and energy by filling your life with as much love, support, and chocolate as possible.
- Resist the urge to reply
He will call you. He will text you. He will re-friend you and re-follow you. You can be polite, but don’t get yourself into something that you know is unhealthy. You broke up for a reason. While there may still be physical attraction, it is not enough to compensate for the lack of emotional connection, and a reply may be a stepping stone on the path toward the dreaded “friends with benefits” status. While you may have agreed to try to stay friends when you initially broke things off, being just friends and nothing more will not be a possibility until your oxytocin levels are completely balanced.