5 Things You Can Do To Make Me Feel Better About Our Breakup

Relationships have a habit of ending in eerily similar ways. Regardless of the circumstances of the split, neither party ever wants to be considered the villain. Our culture is too myopic and narcissistic to birth beings capable of living with their baser impulses. People will fight to their metaphorical death to claim moral superiority. I don’t even mean to say that both people have to be right about a disagreement, it’s that both people have to think they protected their opposite from emotional ruin.

When a relationship terminates, everyone needs to be able to say “I am a good person,” even if that’s not true.

A woman that dumped me recently made many tear soaked appeals for understanding during our final evening together. “David, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry to have hurt you. I just know I need to do this for my own sanity. It’s all too much and I’m too young and not ready to walk away from my life for you,” she said in between sobbing fits. I felt her emotion was genuine, that there was real regret inside of her. This was not an easy choice for her. At that moment, it was important for me to prove that I was a good person and leave without crushing her delicate spirit.

“I understand. I do. You need your space. I won’t stand in the way of your happiness.”

If I had turned around and walked home at that moment, firstly I would have won the moral high ground forever. I could be Lord of the Moral High Ground, the first person in the history of humankind to not be a vindictive bastard in the face of a breakup. President Obama would give me some sort of medal or commendation. Kate Middleton would show up at my doorstep with a basket of cookies. Little children would sing songs about my bravery. I’d probably get to guest host The Today Show and the government would run tests on my brain.

Instead of becoming a damned breakup legend, I said “I want you to be happy, even if I have to be miserable.”

No longer the bigger person, lacking the will to claim my pride from her clutches, I stood in front of my newly minted ex-girlfriend without so much as a molecule of pride.

“Please, David, I’m so, so, so very sorry. Tell me how I can help you get over this. What can I do to make this better?”

She had won. She could have left, but she chose to feign an interest in my well-being. Emotional support from your ex is akin to a serial killer feeding you expensive meats and cheeses before he or she cuts your tongue out. It’s not exactly any consolation.

Despite all that, her question was a gesture of goodwill, and my ex can always take pride in the fact that she made an attempt to ease the damage. My response to her was to insist that there was nothing she could do to erase my heartache. Only time, alcohol and Smiths records could save me.

Not only did I squander my chance to claim the moral high ground, I also failed to capitalize on the opportunity to be brutally honest with her. There are plenty of things she could do to make me feel better. I was too distraught to express myself in person, but I have more than enough courage to tell the truth on the internet.

Darling, I hope you’re reading this, because I want you to know that I would be thrilled if you could do one of the following five things within the next thirty days:

1. Introduce me to your cute friend. Remember Trish from NYU? She was in your sculpture class sophomore year. She came to visit us in LA for a week. Out of those seven days, she bathed about three times. You mocked her to me for her lack of hygiene, while I declared her to be a brilliant artist who lived outside the mainstream. We bonded over our love of Keith Haring, The Contortions and bendy straws. You got jealous and I had to make it clear that I loved you and would never cheat.

Well… I’m single now. What’s Trish up to? Do you still have her number? How open would she be to a more regular showering schedule? Can I still watch basketball on TV with her, or is that too bourgeois?

2. Cut me a large check. You owe me a lot of money. No, you didn’t really borrow much from me, but I also spent quite a bit on our apartment, on certain pieces of furniture you decided to keep and on countless dates to places I had no business eating in due to my shabby writer’s existence. I think I should be reimbursed for my time, energy and patience. I have created a detailed expense report, along with all pertinent receipts. I think you’ll find that everything is in order. Please mail me my check for $5,297 to my current address, or you can also send me the funds via Pay Pal at daveschilling@gmail.com

3. Move to another city. Both of us don’t have to live in LA, right? We are bound to run into each other and create an awkward moment of some sort. I might see you on a date with a new gentleman caller, which will just cause me to dunk my head in a public toilet and repeatedly flush until the image of you snogging some wet blanket is washed out of my eyeballs.

Let’s remedy this in an efficient manner. I will stay here in Los Angeles. I think you should be the one to move. If I remember correctly, you don’t even like it here. You say it’s too ‘impersonal.’ You say it’s ‘disjointed.’ You feel ‘stifled’ by the ‘philistines’ in their BMWs and Armani boots. “No one reads,” you say. “The public transit system sucks,” you moan. “I’m going to get cancer from the pollution.”

I’ll buy you a flight back to New York. Enjoy the pizza.

4. Announce you will be forever celibate starting immediately. One of the most painful aspects of a severed relationship is the ironclad truth that your former partner is eventually going to share his or her bed with someone new. You shared intimate moments with each other. You made love, likely on more than one occasion. You might have even made plans with this person for the future.

Those plans are meaningless. The future is a nebulous thing you can’t even fathom controlling. The only way to make that bleak reality palatable is to not have sex after our breakup. I’m sorry, dear. You have to cease inviting people into your bed. The mere thought starts me hyperventilating, and now that you’re gone, I have no one to drive me to the pharmacy to refill my prescription for Xanax (the generic, of course). You are welcome to stimulate yourself in any way you see fit, as long as that activity does not involve another living creature.

You probably deem this demand the most unreasonable thus far. You’re not necessarily wrong about that. Keep in mind, you did ask me what you could do to ‘help.’

5. Don’t break up with me. Please don’t do this. Please. Please. Please? TC mark

image – Orin Zebest


More From Thought Catalog

  • Zach

    “Emotional support from your ex is akin to a serial killer feeding you expensive meats and cheeses before he or she cuts your tongue out.” Perfect analogy is perfect. 

  • Rae

    “Only time, alcohol and Smiths records could save me.” 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesperdahl Jesper Dahl

    There is something special about a piece that is both hilarious, emotional and angry. High five!

  • Anonymous

    “… to dunk my head in a public toilet and repeatedly flush until the image of you snogging some wet blanket is washed out of my eyeballs.

  • m.


  • Diva

    I agree with the first 3.
    #4 is a bit unfair, chances are you will most likely find yourself in your bed with another person…sooner or later….it’s just the matter of time. And if she gives you back your money, hooks you up with a cute friend and moves somewhere else then she is no longer useful to you, therefore you shouldn’t give a shit about her.
    #5 sounds desperate, if you don’t let go of the wrong one, then how the hell can the right one be with you?

  • Aaliya Khan


    • Anonymous

      I’m right here.

  • JadedRomantic

    Numbers 4 and 5, definitely. 

  • Anonymous

    #5 sounds like the prelude to a post entitled My Ex And I Have Reaslized We Actually DO Like Each Other So We’re Back Together: PleaseIgnore the Things We Said(/People We Slept With) During  The Breakup.

    Or I’m just pissed about a badass friend of mine going back to his stupid gf he convinvced me was a horrible stupid person while they were broken up.

    • Anonymous

      ‘Or I’m just pissed about a badass friend of mine going back to his stupid gf he convinvced me was a horrible stupid person while they were broken up.’ So many people do this. Where does that come from, the need to change your mind on someone you are sure is wrong for you?

      • Anonymous

         Well, as he put it on Instagram on February 14, “I’ve realized I’ll never find a girl as good”. So, settling?

        The thing is, I don’t know her, and it’s a long distance friendship. Maybe she’s perfect for him and the breakup was a mistake. Or maybe the breakup was perfect and getting back together was a mistake.

        Either way, there’s one less bass player out there for me to make out with when he plays my town. Lame.

      • Anonymous

        My guess is it stems from a crippling lack of self-esteem. Saying “I’ve realized I’ll never find a girl as good” is really you saying ‘I’m not worth a whole lot, so I better accept this person who tolerates me.’ 

      • Anonymous

         And what does it say about her, that she’ll be with someone who doesn’t see the value in her?

        It’s a situation where my feeling is that they would both do better.

    • http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com/ Summer

       I am so, so, so badly hoping this situation does NOT happen with my own badass friend who is somewhat on the cusp of this being a [horrid] possibility. He’s said endlessly awful things about her and repeatedly detailed the many, many downsides of their strained relationship, yet somehow it’s still a lingering possibility that they may opt to work things out. Why, how, why, why, how and why are my only questions.

      • Anonymous

         This is why people should make a list of why they broke up with someone after the relationship ends. When they want to go back to the relationship, they need to review teh list. If nothing on this list has changed (and is still a deal breaker, i.e. the listmaker’s priorities haven’t changed), then reconciliation is a bad idea.

    • Asdf

      Yeah. That is the worst. Especially when they ask you to take sides. Reluctantly you do, and then they get back together and one of them hates you, which ultimately makes the other hate you. And suddenly, you’re the focal point of their mutual disdain for each other. 

      Of course, you in this context is the generic you context… not second-person you, as in you, yes, you reading this.

      • Anonymous

        Oh god, the side-taking things is so unfair! I had a friend show up on my doorstep once, weeping over just being dumped by the guy she lived with. I spent the afternoon trying to lift her spirits, discuss her options and be supportive of her. I tried to be critical of her relationship, not her bf, since I’d known him longer and didn’t really know his flaws, just that the relationship wasn’t a good thing. After a few hours of this, she went home to pack some stuff to spend the night at my place. She must have patched things up with him because she never came back and our friendship cooled immediately after that.

        On the upside, I’m still friends with the guy. On the downside, I felt punished for being a supportive friend. And the friendship with the girl was never repaired.

        It’s worse though when they get back together and decide that you (the generic you) are the real problem. That if you loved them both, you’d want them together in some codependent mess of anger and resentment. What good friend wouldn’t want that?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    I always see comments form women saying “this is perfect”, well, as a man, THIS IS PERFECT!

    I actually tried #1 once, only for her to come back with “I don’t really have any single friends”, which was bullshit since I could name at least 5. But by then I knew she wasn’t honest about helping me out, because me dating one of her friends would destroy her just as much as her dating one of mine would, so whatever…

  • Rosie

    My throat is choked and my heart beats painfully against my ribs. I hate breakups.

    • Anonymous

      Me too.

  • Fenestella

    I’ve been shouting while reading this because it’s just so perfect. You kinda ruined it with #5, but whatever. So awesome. 

    • Anonymous

      I have a tendency to really ruin things at the end. Ask all of my ex-girlfriends.

  • http://twitter.com/MandaLeeK Manda Lee Kennedy

    I’m waiting for my Delivery by Duchess cookies –  ’cause I took the high road. Oh Lord did I take the high road once – ending with my partner, who had cheated, knocked up another girl, told his friends and family he had dumped me weeks before he did, and signed a lease with me the day his knocked up girl on the side told him she was keeping the baby –  to tell me that he knew I’d be easy to beak up with ’cause I’m just such an understanding person.

    I should have stuck the knife in and twisted it. Kate Middleton would have forgiven me.

    • Anonymous

      You have just described the most horrible person on the planet. Did you date George Zimmerman?

  • Lauryn

    THANK YOU. Just, thank you. This gave me like, five minutes of reprieve from that whole “feeling like you’re constantly being punched in the stomach” synonymous with breaking up.

    • Anonymous

      That’s why I get out of bed every morning. To make a difference.

  • Michaelwg

    This was fantastic. #2 for sure, after every relationship I look back on my financial decisions and weep.

  • Rach

    Will you date me instead? I loved loved loved this!! 

    • Anonymous

      I’ll date you, but I have to ask…will you dump me? If so…

      • Rach

        Doubt it, but if I do I know what to do. I’ll pay you back, hook you up with a friend, leave the city and pretend to be celibate, which will probably eventually lead us to not break up- too much effort!

      • Anonymous

        Sounds like an ideal situation.

  • blabla

    This is great

  • Sophia

    Ohhhh the last one. The last one. The thought makes me cringe so hard. I find myself constantly on the defensive; any time I see him within five feet of another girl I start to freak out and wonder if something’s happening. Not that I can handle the idea that something could be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/summer.gillen Summer Gillen

    I thought the article was great, but your comments replying to others reactions are fantastic. Your ex can have fun on the high road. She’s missing out! Thanks for a great read. 

    • Anonymous

      Folks, it’s compliments like this keep me going. 

      Yes, that’s a request for more compliments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1636013073 Ef Villegas

    Blunt, witty and a good laugh up until that bitter 5th choice. Thanks for playing with emotions Mr. Schilling.

    Seriously good read though. Awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/corriestookey Corrie Stookey

    I’m going through my first hardcore break-up.  I loved number 3, number 4 almost made me feel better about my situation because it’s good to know I’m not the only one feeling like this, but 5 made me cry…again.

  • Emily

    PERFECT. I’m especially feeling number 4 and 5 right now. :/ 

  • Sarah Bailey

    This is brilliant! Pretty much what we all feel when someone breaks our heart. And sometimes you get it broken so many times that you think if you ever dare to be optimistic again it will ruin your luck. Its a vicious cycle, people hurt you, and hurt you, and you go round and round through your mind thinking “what the hell is wrong with me!! what kind of awfull hormone do I send that makes other’s love for me just not last”. Then you realise your just plain unlucky, and you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably ruin your next relationships because of your innability to trust that anyone might actually not leave you

  • Sarah Bailey

    other than that, anyone who writes like you, is fucking amazing. She’s an idiot, you’re lucky she’s gone, now you’re free for someone worth it, someone worth of you

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t agree about myself more.

  • Ophelia

    You forgot #6: “Please don’t haunt my dreams with your face and making me believe you love me again.”

    • Anonymous

      I have those dreams all the time. Truly appalling.

      • Ophelia

         That moment when you wake up and realize you are alone…

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