You Ain't Gotta Lie, Craig! (The Dos and Don'ts of Breakups)
I'm not going to sit here and tell you a bold-faced lie about how breaking up with people is easy. It isn't. There's the matter of guilt, and whether or not to go full on petty and change the Netflix and Hulu passwords and all that jazz. But there's a whole, scary-ass group of people out there who think that the best way to opt out of what they imagine to be a messy scene is to just go ghost. Poof.
I'm not a fan of this. It's cowardly behavior. Furthermore, it leaves a person in limbo when you could have had a conversation to clear up any misunderstandings and letting someone simply know where you stand.
I have thoughts on this, of course.
First of all, these rules do not apply if the person you are dating is abusive. Emotionally, physically, mentally, focus on getting out of that situation safely. Ask a family or friend to assist you, if you need it.
For the rest of you, listen up. There's rules to this shit. Dos and don'ts, if you will.
Be brief. Now is not the time to tell your soon-to-be ex that you had an epiphany watching Dorothy and Stan on Golden Girls that you should be alone at this time in your life. Tell them things aren't working out for you, and you think it's better if the two of you separate. You don't owe them a reason why, but if you feel the need to give one, keep it short.
Don't ghost. Ghosting is cowardly. If someone did that to you, you'd cross-post passive-aggressive memes to all of your social media accounts and you know it. Don't do that to someone else. If you don't want to see that person anymore, face the music and end it like a grown-up.
Be honest. In one of my groups, someone asked if she should admit to cheating to get out of a relationship when she hadn't cheated at all, and that was complete insanity. They're going to hate you anyway short term for breaking up, why would you want them to hate you for something you haven't actually done? Don’t you care about your reputation at all? And why would you want to saddle someone with issues over something you made up just to get out of dating them? What kind of psycho are you?!
Be firm. Don’t get caught up on the whys. Your problem with them is that there's something that doesn’t work for you, but you don't need to go into exhausting detail about it. Don't offer to be friends, because friendship should not be a salve to soothe their bruised ego. Trust me on this. Make a clean break.
Don't linger. Leave the area. Hang up the phone. Don't answer angry texts. Don't answer late night drunk dials. Don't respond to memes they post because they feel some kind of way. Failing to do any of these things gives them a way back in to make you miserable and repeat the process again. Just don't.
Don't expect things to stay the same between you.
Yeah. I get that you may not want to cut them off completely and enjoy their company, but this person needs time to get over you, and even if you were the one to break things off, you need to get over them, too. The routines of spending hours vibing and smoking together, well, that has to stop or else the lines get crossed, and you're back to square one.
There's no easy way to break things off with someone you liked once, but learning to advocate for yourself and what you want is a necessary part of growing up that you just can't skip. They might hate you now, and maybe you've earned that, or maybe you haven't. But in time, they will respect you for having the guts to end things. And, more imporantly, you will respect yourself.