Thought Catalog
March 3, 2014

5 Breakup Ethics To Follow In The 21st Century

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What is the issue?

Breakups are difficult and extremely crucial to a person’s physiological well-being. This is especially true when a relationship has been deemed as ‘serious’ but eventually ends. Here are the top 5 post-break up ethics to live by (especially if you don’t want to go to hell).

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

1. Do not, at all costs, contact each other

Sure, it’s nice to reminiscence on the good times of the past and feel nostalgic about them. But by contacting one another — especially when it has been a very short time after a breakup — is depriving not just the other party that left but you of a clean slate of starting over.

This is the most difficult one on the list in the beginning of breakups, factoring in drunk dials during an ‘I’m single!’ nights out with your girl pals. Curb that aching need to find that one person who you assume will comfort you the best. There are 7 billion people in the world; surely you can have a little self-respect for yourself and find another (willing) confidante?

2. Do not date another person almost immediately

I shall avoid the generalizations of gender, but it is likely that the one that ended the previous relationship has the overwriting factor of dating someone else quickly after the break up. By quickly, I mean a time frame that can range from an hour after a break up, to about 3 months. The thick-skinned ones are the ones who dump you and head out to the bar barely an hour after to meet the girl he’s been eyeing on for the last weeks to make a move.

By dating another person almost immediately after a break up, you are sending out signals too fast for comfort. You are telling your ex that they were so insignificant that you could move on that fast, and that the reason why you could move on fast without them because they were easy to forget, and not worth your time.

Do not ever make somebody feel that insignificant, especially someone who gave you so much to remember.

3. Never use physical objects as a means of custody

Someone once told me, “A break up is never spontaneous but thought of for a very long time”.

If you’ve been thinking of breaking up with your other half for a long time, for the sake of their emotions — please clear out the things that you need that you’ve left in their homes(quietly of course), because when it ends, so does the access to their homes.

If you’ve forgotten an item that you don’t really need — please — do not be an asshole and just let it go. You don’t need to be such a stingy old scrooge by calling someone (who is completely hung up over you) going, “Hey, do you remember that pair of socks that I left at your house? I need it for a function. Could you pass it to me when you’re free?”

4. Do not use social media as a way of getting back at each other

I get it, you want to prove a point that your life can be as fulfilling without them around. That’s fine, but, didn’t you hear? Marketing techniques show that the most credible form of a product is the word of mouth. Not visual aids or representatives.

Social media revenge does not get you anywhere, and allows acquaintances on your friends list a free movie with premium seats while watching your mental breakdown from a 22 year old depleting to a 5 year old child’s revenge.

By blasting your social media of pictures of yourself drunk on the back of a stranger, with statuses of you burning his tee shirts and cards that he left behind, and your new date for the fourth time this month, you are not telling him that you are getting over him — you are showing him that you are incapacitated without him, doing the things that you don’t usually do, and that your life is not in order.

You don’t have a plan. You just want revenge.

5. Avoid each other’s social circle

This is probably the hardest because you have potentially made good friends with your other half’s friends through the hang outs. No one is asking you to completely stop talking to them and delete each other off social media platforms forever, but rather to create an imaginary distance.

Don’t talk to them as often, don’t message them as often. If you see them on the streets, smile and make small talk if the situation allows it before you go your own ways.

In every break up there are sides, and these sides provide support for the break(er) and the break(ee). If you stay close to one, you could cost the other a friendship.

I have a friend’s ex-boyfriend who quietly unfollowed me after the break up, and wouldn’t reply a few text messages when I asked how he was months after. After two years of silence and meeting a new girl, he finally initiated a coffee break and asked to catch up sometime, while apologizing for his absence and explaining that he needed the time away. And for that-I respected his actions, for they were filled with maturity and no hypocrisy.  TC mark