Disentangling two lives is not an easy process, nor can we expect it to be instant. This “Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts” provides some recommendations for the period of time it takes you, whether suddenly or gradually, to remove your ex from your life.
DO articulate, clearly and honestly, the reasons why you are splitting up. You can be somewhat general (e.g. This relationship isn’t working/healthy/satisfying my needs; I don’t feel loved/respected in this relationship) but also be direct and specific enough for them to know you have made up your mind.
DO delete their number from your phone. See Part I: Cutting Communication.
If you have a smartphone, DO install an application (e.g. Mr. Number Call Blocker) to prevent them from reaching you.
DO take all their stuff (clothes, shoes, records, skateboards, etc.) out of your space (room, house, car, office). Stuff holds memories and easily invokes emotions that can interfere with the splitting-up process. It can also be used as an excuse for them to come back (see also: Alpha Male). If they don’t come back for it, inform them where you will be leaving it should they wish to pick it up (à la Fe-mail #2: Property).
DO start planning and carrying out your day-to-day activities free from them and their influence. Remember how good it feels to make decisions that make you happy, without worrying about what someone else wants to do.
DO take them off the pedestal. You might be tempted to reminisce about the way they look, smell, dress, or do certain things, but ultimately this is time wasted. And who wants to waste any more time on a bad relationship?
DO replace contacting them with an alternative. You have to learn to kick the habit. While some may use the rubber band-on-the-wrist tactic, we prefer positive reinforcement. Even deep breathing can be a positive exercise, if you consider with each breath how much better oxygen is for you than the toxic relationship you have now left.
DO acknowledge that it’s going to take you some time to extract yourself from your relationship. Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself cry, then, as best you can, get some fresh air, exercise, stretch, breathe and allow yourself to physically, mentally, and emotionally relax. Tell yourself that you will find happiness again. And that true happiness really does come from self-love.
DO put yourself first, and remember, this is for the best.
DON’T be vague as to your reasons why you are ending the relationship. DON’T give them false hope for getting back together in the future when this is not your intent.
DON’T let them persuade you once you have made up your mind to make the split. This may be very difficult, especially when you are dealing with sweet-talkers or other manipulative people. But trust the instincts that told you that this was not working, and be firm.
DON’T let them make you feel guilty or bad for splitting up with them. They do not deserve more of your time, attention or care. They are not worth it.
DON’T blame yourself. As much as you may be tempted to reminisce on your ex’s good qualities during this time, you may also be inclined to forget your own. Resist this temptation as much as you can. If anything, reflect on the ways they made you feel low, inadequate, or unloved. Then tell yourself why you deserve better next time. And there will be a next time.
DON’T overdo it on the coping mechanisms. Whether it’s running, shopping, food, alcohol, ganja or another substance, some things can make us feel good temporarily but are shit when overdone or in the long run. If you know or suspect you have a problem, help is available.
DON’T contact them, or respond to them reaching out to you. Use the strategies we have outlined, like the Par List, to keep yourself from speaking to them. We understand you may slip up. But adherence to the guidelines ensures the greatest chance of success.
DON’T meet up with them and don’t make plans together. This may be extremely difficult, especially if you have friends, groups, and children in common. But the more you see your ex on a romantic basis (no make-up sex!), the harder it will be for them to stay your ex and the longer it will take for you to get over them.
DON’T tie your sense of self-worth to this one relationship. Just because you are not with your ex anymore doesn’t mean you are not desirable and/or lovable. You are lovable. You are so lovable, in fact, that you should show yourself some love by ending this bad relationship once and for all.
Read on – Part 3: Moving On
Back to Part I: Cutting Communication