Best Practices for Breaking Up
I’m terrible at break ups. That not to say that anyone is particularly good at them but if there’s a better way to handle things and a worse way to handle things, I’m pretty sure I’ve always chosen the worse.
Take Boyfriend #1. He cheated on me. Yet I drove up to Montreal in a snowstorm to say goodbye. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I spent the next three months hinting that I would very much like to visit Toronto, where he was going to school at the time. He finally invited me to his college formal, and I convinced myself that I was doing him a “favor” in accepting the invitation. A few days before, he uninvited me on the grounds that he’d been fooling around with a number of girls at school, that they’d all found out about one another and that he didn’t want to subject me to the ensuing “drama.”
I broke up with Boyfriend #2 over the phone but drove down to Baltimore the next day to say goodbye. (Are we seeing a pattern here?) We sat in Starbucks bawling our eyes out and he followed me to my car for “one last kiss,” which I’m pretty sure I gave because he looked so damn miserable. He then decided to move to Florida but asked if he could see me one last time before he left. I of course said yes and invited him to my parents’ house in Maryland for the weekend where all of the neighbors sat around whispering, “Didn’t they break up?” A year and half later, finding myself single and rather miserable in London, I wrote to him. I never should have done it. He got his hopes up and I found Boyfriend #4 shortly thereafter.
But we’ve skipped over Boyfriend #3. Boyfriend #3 never should have happened. He was one of my flat mates in Oxford and we were great friends but I was never sexually attracted to him… that is, until I broke up with Boyfriend #2, discovered Boyfriend #3 was a halfway decent salsa dancer and found myself seriously rebounding. We broke up in DC and I hoped that we could just go back to being friends (we’d only dated for a matter of weeks, whereas we’d been friends for a number of years at that point) but he wasn’t so keen. He was furious actually, and we haven’t spoken since, despite numerous attempts on my part.
Getting back to Boyfriend #4, we broke up over Skype (gotta love those trans-Atlantic relationships) but I couldn’t just leave it at that. Oh no. I needed “closure” so when I flew back to London a few months later for my graduation ceremony, I decided to meet him for a “coffee.” Coffee turned in wine, wine turned into an invitation back to his place and… well let’s just say it was not my proudest moment. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen my mother as disappointed in me as she was when I showed up back at our hotel the next morning.
Needless to say, I’m pretty sure I’ve made every mistake in the book: the drawn out goodbye, the “let’s be friends” the “let’s take a break,” the rebound, the rebound from the rebound, the “one last kiss,” the “one last night” and the list goes on.
I am determined not to make any of these mistakes this time around. I’m 28, not 19. I have a Masters degree. I teach college. I respect TWD too much and, more importantly, I respect myself too much. I don’t want to ruin what we had with nonsensical pipe dreams and histrionics and I don’t want to ruin my chances of moving on by spending the next six months looking backward.
6 Responses to “Best Practices for Breaking Up”
One time, I started a breakup conversation by saying “You know I’ll always love you, right?” Brilliant Becky.
Oh yeah, I’ve definitely used that one too 🙂
I’m reading some mature sentiments here, you go girl! I laughed out loud about you know who in London…I actually can picture it vividly…not my proudest moment as a mom, but thankfully now, I think you can understand. It is all about self respect and respect for someone that you at one time, did care for. Unfortunately not everyone can get out of their own way during these very emotional times.
Haha- yeah. You were seriously scary looking. But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger 🙂
Who would’ve thought that a post rehashing your worst break-up moments would make you sound so mature. Being able to face that craziness with a real commitment to not repeat the mistakes makes you a grown-up lady.
Thanks 🙂 I felt like an idiot writing most of that out (it didn’t seem so bad until I listed it all together in a single post) but hopefully you’re right: onward and upward!