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Counseling and Psychological Services

Break-up Dos and Don'ts

  1. Recognize that emotions are likely to be raw whether you are the “dumper” or the “dumpee.”  It is not the emotions which are problematic, it is impulsive actions which can cause problems.
  2. You may have to see your former partner in educational, professional, or social settings.  These places are not the appropriate settings for discussing relationship issues.  If you have issues to discuss, arrange a meeting in a public location where you can speak privately, but have other people around (e.g., restaurant or coffee shop).
  3. Resist the urge to air your complaints about your former partner to casual acquaintances.  Also resist the urge to defend yourself over comments / complaints made by your former partner. Those who know you will know better; those who do not know you will not be persuaded to take your “side” by words.  Most people of good reputation can afford to take a few unfair hits.
  4. If you have personal items to return or retrieve, arrange to pick them up or drop them off through a neutral third party, or in the company of a neutral 3rd party.
  5. If you are in the midst of break-up which is not amicable, be cautious about admitting your former partner to your home.  If your former partner is intoxicated, never admit him/her to your home.  Ask him/her (through the closed door) to leave.  If he/she does not leave, call the police.
  6. Change your passwords to your e-mail, banking, and any other on-line computer services you use.  It is very likely that your former partner has your passwords.
  7. Resist the urge to change your Facebook page immediately to reflect that you are no longer in a relationship.  Instead, take your page down for a while until emotions cool.
  8. Resist the urge to “check” on your former partner by viewing his/her web pages, going places you know he/she will be,  or driving by his/her home.   Checking will not help you feel better, and “checking” can all too easily turn into “stalking.”
  9. Making serial phone calls, sending text and e-mail are also not going to help you feel better about this situation. Enlist the help of a friend to keep you from contacting your ex.  Call or text the friend when you have the urge to contact your ex.

If your former partner is the one making the calls or sending the messages, you may want to consider deleting them unread, or forward them to a trusted friend who will screen the content.  If you received any threatening messages, take them seriously, save them, and seek help from law enforcement (you may need to take out a restraining order).

  1. Alcohol may make you feel numb in the moment,  but the disinhibition may lead you to actions which are ill-advised and possibly embarrassing.
  2. A break up is a difficult blow to your self-esteem.   It takes time to heal.  Immediately entering into a sexual liaison with another partner will not help self-esteem in the long run, and is not in keeping with good self-care.
  3. Take time to evaluate what kind of relationship you want to have with your ex. Being “friends with benefits” may work for your ex, but may not the best choice for you.
Author: Alice Q. Libet, Ph.D.


Reviewed 2/8/2010

 

 

 


 

 
 
 

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