Break-Up Etiquette: A Survival Guide for the Broken-Hearted
BY: ARETHA ANGCAO
Barbra Streisand said, “No matter how hard we try, some good things never last.” Same with many romantic relationships. Most relationships start great. You can’t get enough of each other, days seem brighter and more bearable, and the connection is so intense that you can finish each other’s sentences. Somewhere along the way, you discover he’s not the frog prince – just the frog. Just kidding. No matter how long or how short-lived, relationships can be painful when they end. No one likes to see a friend suffer from a break-up because it is never a pretty sight. In fact, break-ups are studied intently in psychology, specifically how people deal with the emotional stress. If you’re in the throes of a break-up or if you want to help a broken-hearted friend, this guide is for you.
DILEMMA #1: SHOULD YOU STAY FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX’S FRIENDS?
Rose, 24, who’s had her share of breakups, says that this is a caseto-case basis. “In my case, I was in the same barkada as my ex. It depends on how close you are to them and if you actually hang out with them without your then boyfriend.” Staying friends with your ex’s friends is not bad, as long as they do not become casualties of the breakup. Try your best not to involve them and avoid seeking help from them because that will only make things complicated. No one really knows what goes on in a relationship except for the two people who are in it.
DILEMMA #2: HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WAIT BEFORE GETTING INTO ANOTHER RELATIONSHIP?
John Lloyd’s maniacal outburst in one scene from his movie One More Chance with Bea Alonzo is enough warning to most people of what could happen if the three-month rule is not followed. “Alam mo ba’yung three month rule, ha?! Lahat ng nagmahal at nasaktan alam ‘yun! Kailangan mo muna maghintay ng three months bago ka magka-boyfriend ulit! (Expletive) naman, Bash! May dalawang linggo pa ko! Ba’t ba kating-kati kang palitan ako?!” he said. Dr. Seth Meyers, a Los Angeles-based relationship expert, say that one must wait at least three months after a breakup before dating again. Ideally, it’s six months. He further said that one must mourn the loss of the past. “The mourning process doesn’t even start until you stop trying to cover up the unhappy feelings,” he said. Three months give most a chance to grieve and avoid falling into the trappings of a rebound relationship. According to Allen Josel Malumay, a 30-year old graphic designer, one should wait as long as he can. “Moving on after a break up is not a quick stroll in the park. Each of us has a different timeline of coping and accepting the fact that we were broken up with or that a relationship has ended,” he says.
DILEMMA #3: IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE THROUGH TEXT, PHONE CALL, OR EMAIL?
We’ve heard the stories. Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas is the testament to that. She even won an award for the song she wrote about it. That break-up wasn’t pretty. Even though it is the 21st century, we believe that chivalry should never go out of style. It is very likely that the news of a breakup will not be taken well. We owe our former partners an explanation-delivered in person. Give your partner that chance to slap your face. Kidding aside, breakups are seldom easy. “Even if texting, email and phone calls are available communication tools we can use for our everyday lives, I don’t think a compassionate person would choose these means to end a relationship,” Allen said.
DILEMMA #4: HOW SOON CAN YOU CONTACT YOUR EX POST BREAK-UP?
While erasing your ex from the face of the earth is a tempting option, this is not as easy as it sounds. The longer the relationship lasted, the more habits will have to be unlearned – this is where people get into trouble. Forget checking up on each other constantly. Drunken texts and calls made post breakup are never helpful for both parties. A popular belief even says that there should be absolutely no contact at least six months after the break-up. Remove the ex from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and from your contact list. These are extreme measures, but steering clear away from an ex for a few months can indeed speed up the healing process and give you time to grieve and accept the demise of the relationship.
DILEMMA #5: SHOULD YOU RETURN YOUR EX-BOYFRIEND/ GIRLFRIEND’S GIFTS?
While it is tempting to burn things that remind you of your ex or box memorabilias and throw them on his front porch, don’t! Let’s be civil here. This is never a good idea. It will be like rubbing salt on a fresh wound. A better strategy is to donate or sell those things if you have no use for them. However, it is considered in good taste if you return an engagement ring, especially if it is a family heirloom. Otherwise, if the ex does not ask for it, keep or donate them, whichever you think will help you best to move on. Break-ups are not easy but they are part of loving not only a former lover but also ourselves.. Remaining positive and gentle are attitudes that will get through the pain and become a better person.