Don’t let the drama take control.
I don’t have to tell you know how devastating and downright raw a breakup can be. Whether you saw warning signs or were completely blindsided, breakups suck.
Often we’re so hurt that we act totally crazy for months or years afterward. Later on, when it all dies down, you look back and think, “Oh wow, did I really act like that?” If this has ever happened to you, rest assured that you aren’t alone.
Even if the actual split already happened and you already feel terrible, here’s how to handle a breakup gracefully:
1. Find a breakup buddy.
Get one of your friends to help you with sticking to civility and handling logistics when it comes to dealing with your ex. Sometimes we don’t quite think rationally when in the midst of a separation (understatement of the year for lots of us).
Having a rational breakup buddy (who isn’t going through heartbreak) to run your ideas past is helpful. Your friend can help keep you from doing something you’ll regret and provide you with a shoulder to cry on that doesn’t belong to your ex. If you have to move your household items, having someone there to help who can remain neutral in the face of a potentially sobbing fit is another bonus.
2. Plan your meetings (mentally) ahead of time.
It helps to think about what you’re going to say or do if you have to meet with them again for any reason.
For example, if they won’t let you have a shared piece of furniture, how are you going to act? If they’re angry and speak to you poorly, how are you going to handle it? Of course it would be better to remain calm and rational, but your feelings are hurt too.
Make it easier by planning in advance for what may come and deciding how you’ll behave, because they’re going through a range of emotions just like you are. Don’t fly off the handle and do or say something that you’ll regret.
3. Choose your words wisely.
This is probably the hardest suggestion on this list — especially when you’re hurting.
Consider these things:
How many times have you said something you regretted?
How many times have you begged or acted pathetic?
Ever felt like if you just hadn’t said “that one thing,” you might not have broken up?
Being mindful of what you say is one of the most important things on this list, and you can bounce ideas off of your breakup buddy to be certain.
4. Handle any shared responsibilities fairly.
Usually a breakup comes with some dividing up of property, time with kids, pets, etc. When you’re dealing with shared things big and small, there is the potential for either of you to irrationally cling to items in hope of a reconciliation. Some people are so heartbroken that they bitterly let their ex have everything in the vain hope that they’ll curry favor or cut ties completely. Neither is balanced.
Make plans to rationally divide things up and resolve to be as fair as you can possibly be. Consider it future relationship karma. If you act like a crazy-pants now and try to get everything, don’t be surprised if it comes back to bite you later.
5. Accept that you’re broken up.
Whether you want your ex back or not, right now it’s time to accept that there is a breakup. People can have a hard time admitting that the end has actually arrived, and end up stalling and dragging it out unnecessarily, which will cause you both more drama and heartbreak than absolutely required.
Even if you think you eventually might want to try get your ex back, work on accepting that your relationship is currently broken. This can be really difficult, especially if you love them and don’t want it to be over, but fake it until you make it.
Move your stuff out, get your loose ends sorted fairly and start living like you’re single. For right now, put the focus back on yourself.
6. Clear out your social media.
Seeing your ex happily (or not) moving on after your breakup is a recipe for more heartbreak. Don’t post status updates meant to get a rise out of them.
Unfriend, unfollow and otherwise untangle yourself from them online. This cuts down on cyberstalking and keeps you from re-opening the wound with every status update.