To continue my jovial holiday theme of ending relationships:
I have a policy of never talking to ex’s, at least not within two or three years of a breakup. As the Hag once put it, “What good can possibly come form that?” Maybe a sexual encounter, but not much else. And the sex does not outweigh the stress, emotional pain and confusion that come with it. Unfortunately, it seems, I am in the minority in this respect, as more and more people I meet seem unable to let go.
Kids these days, they seem to love to hold on longer than they should. Not sure exactly why. Maybe it’s that dating is harder than it used to be, or maybe the people I hang around all have low self-esteem. I don’t know. I do know that I have endured a few breakups in my day, and each one has gotten successively easier and cleaner. How? Because I have started to live by The Rules of It’s Over, a phrase I am unabashedly stealing from that magical songstress known as Dido. Nobody ever seems to follow them exactly, including myself or The Hag, another proponent of erasing people from your memory. But I do my best. I thought Eternal Sunchine of The Spotless Mind
was onto something with that idea, at least for the first half of the movie. After a breakup, I don’t want to “Just be friends." I don't even want to be acquaintances. Hell, I don’t even care to “Just be people who run into each other at Publix,” but that one can be tough.
So, I Give you The Rules of It’s Over. If you live by these you will be temporarily totally miserable, but ultimately much stronger:
1.) One night of breaking up is enough. Once you have parted ways the next morning no communication of any sort should be attempted except maybe to get whatever stuff you have at their place back. Just make sure you don’t sleep together when you go to pick it up or you may end up with a child like Jeff Zanotti.
2.) Delete your ex’s number immediately after the breakup. The first thing I do after after a breakup conversation is erase that person’s number from my phone (I have an uncanny memory for phone numbers, so this is more symbolic than it is functional, but it still works). Delete them from your buddy list and address book on your email. This gives you at least 10 number pushes and/or 15 keystrokes to think about if it is really a good idea to talk to this person
3.) “I don’t want to talk to you” means “I don’t want to talk to you.” Unless you are John Cusack, nobody will like it when they tell you to go away and you don’t.
4.) Along the same lines, do not attempt a grand romantic gesture like flying across the country or driving all night to see someone who has told you, in no uncertain terms, that they do not want any part of you anymore. Trust me, they will not appreciate it and you will look and feel pathetic.
5.) Do not pick up the phone when your ex calls. This may be the hardest one to deal with. Deleting the number helps because their name does not show up when they call. But resist.
6.) Remove any object reminding you of your ex from your immediate domicile. Hide, but do not destroy, any pictures. You will regret destroying them later, but reminders may lead you to calling him/her.
7.) Remember that you probably broke up for a good reason. Unless the reason was “I liked ‘Love, Actually,’ and you didn’t” there was probably a breaking point or one of you realized it was going nowhere. Don’t get back together as a band aid for your pain. That is the easy way out.
8.) Don’t be afraid to hurt your ex’s feelings. Sometimes hearing “No, I don’t want to speak to you and I don’t love you anymore, goodbye,” makes you realize that you are, in fact, no longer loved.
9.) Mean what you say, and act accordingly. If you say, “I don’t want to talk to you,” don’t talk to the person. Don’t hold hands or show affection to someone you are trying to break up with. And for the love of God, don’t have sex with them, no matter how good it was. It will only serve to complicate things
10.) Showering with gifts, affection and compliments does not work. When you’re dumped, you’re dumped. Get over it and move on
11.) Do not attempt to be friends. You are not Jerry and Elaine, and that was a sitcom for crying out loud.
12.) Once a cheater, always a cheater. There are no exceptions. Once you’ve cheated on someone, you will do it again.
13.) When someone is out of your life, don’t let them back in. They will only serve to screw up your relationships with other people. See: Mr. Big
14.) When considering contacting an ex, think to yourself “What good can possibly come from this?” 99 times out of 100 you will hang up the phone before you’ve finished dialing the area code.
15.) While “Closer” is an excellent movie that I highly recommend, “closure” is overrated. If you have something to get off your chest, write a letter and don’t send it. Everyone I ever knew who needed “closure” actually needed “sex.” As my mom said when I told her this was the reason for my sister's hanging around with her ex again, "Oh, is that what they're calling it these days?" The only “closure” that you need with an ex is the kind that a flip phone does when you are hanging up on them.
16.) “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” – Lucas’ Mom on “One Tree Hill." Best motherly advice I have ever heard on the WB Wednesday.
After some bad experiences this year, I have made a new policy of not dating girls that have anything more than accidental contact with an ex. Personally, I find it very hard to leave. But once I’m done, I’m done. It may take me a couple times to finally do it, but once I am done I am pretty good at making clean breaks. When I truly feel a relationship is over, I make no attempt to call my ex and do not respond when they contact me. If more of us could get out while the getting is good, and stay gone, life would be much simpler for everyone. Having been on all possible sides of this equation, I have come to the conclusion that severing all ties and erasing people from your life is the best way to go for all parties involved. So sack up and give it a shot. Because last time I checked, Lacuna Inc. wasn’t ready for business yet.