The ABCs of Ex Etiquette
By Lisa Steadman, a.k.a. The Relationship Journalist™
(excerpted from It's A Breakup, Not A Breakdown, available in bookstores and online May 2007)
Since I started writing my book It's A Breakup, Not A Breakdown the most common question people have asked me is whether or not it's possible to stay friends with their ex after a breakup while still moving on. And nine times out of ten my answer is always the same—no. Why? Because as hard as it may be to accept, your relationship is over. This person is now your ex. The relationship ended for a reason. It's now time to EXtract your ex from your life, give yourself time to heal, and find the space to move on. Most people who try to stay friends with their ex are just doing so in hopes of either rekindling the relationship or using the other person as a crutch until someone better comes along. What happens when it's the other person who moves on first? Ouch!
Of course, there are certain circumstances in which you can't avoid maintaining a relationship with your ex, but for now, the following is a cheat sheet on appropriate ways of communicating with your ex after the Big Breakup
The reasons for talking to your ex on the phone are...wait. There are none. Delete his number from your cell phone. And if he leaves you a message, listen to it only once in case your million-dollar check from Publishers Clearing House somehow ended up at his address. Then delete immediately and move on.
Via Email, IM, Text Messaging, MySpace
After you've arranged to return each other's stuff, delete your ex from your e-mail address book, your MySpace friends list, and your instant messaging contacts. That way when you're having a fragile moment at three A.M., you're not tempted to contact him. (The repercussions the following day can be both embarrassing and costly to your recovery). And if you were hoping to keep tabs on your ex by tracking his every online move or possible new dating adventures via his MySpace page? Don't do it. It'll just make you wonder who he's talking to (or obsess about those girls who keep leaving him posting messages to him), and you don't need that. Remove his page from your favorites and look for a new friend or two to take his MySpace place.
And because there are just too many emotions swirling around in your post-breakup head, you should avoid seeing your ex in person at all costs. If you see your ex too soon, you run the risk of suffering potentially bad consequences, like maybe these including any or all of the following:
Let's face it. None of these situations are is ideal. So if you can, avoid seeing your ex until your emotions are more stable. Only you can determine when that will be (and it's okay to say never!).
- Losing face by crying hysterically
- Waking up beside him the next morning and realizing you just had sex with your ex
- Getting arrested for assault and battery
There you have it. The ABCs of ex etiquette. Learn it. Live it. Love it.
About the author
Lisa Steadman, a.k.a. The Relationship Journalist™ is an accomplished relationship writer, speaker, and coach. She is the site creator of BreakupChronicles.com featuring stories of how breaking up with the wrong person is the right thing to do (and always leads to bigger and better opportunities in life – including meeting Mr. or Ms. Right!). Her first book It's a Breakup, Not a Breakdown: Get over the Big One and Change Your Life - for Good! will be available nationwide in bookstores and online beginning May 8th. Recently, Lisa has been featured on The KTLA Morning News, The Tyra Banks Show, Fox Across America, and Playboy radio espousing the positive side breaking up.
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