Shout out to all my ex boyfriends for making this post possible! Kidding…kind of. I’ve seen a bad breakup or two (or five) and although I’m on good terms with most of my exes, this post is based entirely on the true story of my life. All of the below things have either happened to me, or are things that I’ve done.
So, without further ado…
Fourteen Things You Can’t Do After You Breakup With Someone
- You don’t get to like their social media posts—especially pictures on Instagram. If you’re on really good terms, favoriting a Tweet may be okay if it’s funny enough and liking something on Facebook may be acceptable since it could be perceived as friendly or supportive (Facebook is rather public, and anything done in front of your parents is presumably okay) but liking a photo of them on Instagram is just low. You already made it clear that you only like their face this much, so get outta here with those random Instagram likes.
- You’re not allowed to text them every couple of months to check up on them. A lot of people think that this is the “nice thing to do” because you should “check up on them” after the painful breakup but really you’re just constantly reminding them of your existence every time they were just about to forget you. Plus, you chose to give up your right to “check up on them” so they really don’t need you to do that anymore. So, bye.
- You’re really not allowed to text them every few months because you lowkey still like them. There are three realities here. Assuming the feelings aren’t entirely mutual, they either still really like you which means that you’re taking advantage of their feelings and you’re a terrible person or you now like them more and are still thinking about them when they’re not thinking of you, which just makes you look like a dumbass. The third option is that you magically still like each other the same amount, in which case you should just cut the shit, put yourself out there by apologizing, and try to do the right thing by being together (note: assuming there are no extreme Romeo and Juliet kind of extreme circumstances that bar you from being with each other).
- You shouldn’t let your friends be assholes to them. Haven’t they gone through enough? Tell your friends to shut up and focus their jokes on your new love interest. Your ex has already done their time.
- You can’t ask for stupid shit back. Alright, ask for your mother’s expensive heirloom jewelry or whatever, but don’t ask for one pair of socks or something ridiculous like that back (see earlier post). Odds are that if you can’t buy another pair of socks, you probably shouldn’t breakup with anybody.
- Don’t invite them to social activities where you’ll be hooking up with other exes. Like, really? Really? “Let me invite you to this gathering where I will again show you that I am choosing another person (who this time also happened to not be good enough for me at one point or another, but is surely better than you) over you.” Don’t do that.
- You don’t need to write them letters (or long ass texts) to tell them how terrible you think they are, again. They get the point.
- You should never compare them to the people you’re dating now…especially to them. Like, are you a monster? I can guarantee they don’t want to hear about how awesome this new person is after already realizing their mistakes.
- You can’t ask them to meet up for coffee or other awkward shit before you’ve both moved on. Trust me, it’ll be a very sad scene. I’ve done it many times—it’s terrible and awkward and sad unless you’ve both moved on to a different chapter (and most often person) in your lives.
- 10. Don’t try to listen to “your songs” with another person. Doesn’t work. I’ve tried it a few times in an attempt to purge memories after a breakup and replace them with new ones, but it just ends up being really awkward and terrible in your head. Also, it inadvertently makes the new person uncomfortable and they have no idea why.
- Also, try not to talk about sex in front of your ex. Unless you just like…really want to hurt somebody, this should be a given.
- Avoid “who can remember more pretty and nostalgic things about our time together” discussions. These are very dangerous discussions that will end up with one or both of you crying in the nearest bathroom. Your memories are both skewed anyhow, so these kinds of discussions really serve no purpose.
- Don’t be a child by subbing them on social media. We’re familiar with subtweets, but how often have you seen something that’s obviously meant to upset an ex after a breakup? It’s childish and you really lose both cool points and credibility.
- And, finally, do NOT try to replicate your relationship with them in any way, shape, or form with anybody else. People are different and you love them in different ways. Living up to a past performance will minimize your opportunity for finding new ways to love new people. This may be the most important thing not to do after a breakup because ultimately, you’ll be selling yourself short.
Your last guideline seems to contradict the rest of your standards! If each relationship and breakup is unique, then how can you apply a set of rules as to how to behave?
I certainly am guilty in my dating history of reading into texts, or IG likes, or Facebook photos. The reality is that it’s much easier to go through life not worrying about those things. It is possible to like a photo on social media with no added intentions behind the action. It is possible to be civil with someone and return their property when they ask for it after a breakup. It is possible to text them every now and again to wish them well without there being some ensuing fiasco regarding feelings and who still has them.
I have been in numerous relationships and had numerous flings. Sometimes I called things off and other times I was broken up with. Regardless, what someone else does or doesn’t do – what they think or don’t think – should be irrelevant to the way you function in my opinion. It is up to the other person to internalize their feelings and respond accordingly, and the way they respond is none of my business because they are an individual entitled to their own free will. One of my favorite quotes from Ernest Hemingway goes like this, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” Isn’t it better to just be nice and loving towards everyone because it’s a means of becoming better than your former self? No matter what someone does pertaining to our relationship or breakup I function the same way – with kindness and reason. This is the only maxim I have, and I extend it to everyone regardless of their role in my life.
When I function according to this sole standard, I don’t have to worry about how someone takes me liking their Instagram post. I don’t have to worry about how they perceive a text saying, “happy birthday!” I don’t have to worry about avoiding them at social functions. I think that’s the best way to be happy, and that is the only rule to have when it comes to breaking up. Something to think about.
P.S. I enjoy your blog and find it entertaining. Thanks for the post.
I like this response and appreciate the thought you put into it! And thanks for the compliment.
I don’t think these “rules” (and note, posts like these are made somewhat for the sass and fun of it) find their meaning in a blanketed application, “across the board.” Rather, I think they’re more aptly described as tips on how to not rub salt into a wound you’ve caused, which seems to go along well with what you’re proposing here (i.e. minimizing your damage in an effort to be better). Not being able to like somebody’s Instagram isn’t applicable if you’re on super great terms with them of course; it is applicable when tapping a little heart onto a picture of them so easily translates nowadays to something that’s considered a huge deal (if only because we’ve forced meaning into such a small action with our focus on social media and such).
I like your ultimate goal of using continued kindness to better yourself, and the Hemingway quote is a nice touch. 🙂 And, by and large you’re correct in that we should normalize the used-to-be relationships that were less serious. However, I do think it’s a bit short-sighted and/or irresponsible to completely disregard how the person receiving said action will perceive it. If your focus is truly optimizing your effect on them, then you’ll inevitably have to consider how somebody is likely to perceive the given action, regardless of how good (and Hemingway-inspired) your intentions are.
Maybe you don’t have to worry about all of those things and I don’t doubt that the “civil” things you listed are possible in a situation where a lot of time has passed and everybody is over everybody, but if you’re dealing with someone who you think may still be hurting from the breakup, maybe you should consider how your actions will affect their recovery process. Not doing so could be thought of as selfish.
The good news is that you seem pretty intelligent, so I trust your discretion in finding exactly where that line is and acting accordingly.
Thanks again! I really appreciate the engagement and feedback. 🙂