Etiquette isn’t just for table manners (hats off, gentlemen!). When getting out of a break-up, there is definitely some ex-etiquette that can help make things a little less painful.
Of course there are basics, like no hooking up with friends or family members, no 4 am drunk phone calls (hah! What a joke…those are essential), no driving by their house repetitively, lurking around their office/favorite bar or any other forms of “stalking.”
Some ex-etiquette is based on maturity, of course. I would like to say bashing your ex in a Facebook status or immediately posting pics of yourself draped over some hunky dude at a bar is not cool. However, had I had a Facebook in high school, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t have done at least one of these.
Ex-etiquette doesn’t solely include the two getting out of the relationship, either.
I was really nervous to tell my dad I had broken up with my boyfriend of 3 plus years. Why? Because my dad adored my latest beau, B. When I was living at home for a short stint, I came home from work to hear my father upstairs Skyping with B. My dad invited B on family vacations and to holidays without checking with me first. I overheard my dad on numerous occasions talking about “Z and B’s wedding” even though I told him talking about me getting married (to anyone!) makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and hyperventilate.
When I told my dad we broke up, the first thing he wanted to know was if B was okay. Seriously, he said “did you make him cry?!” and “Is it okay if I call him? No? How about email him? No?” He then asked if this meant he had to take down that photo of B in Bermuda off the fridge, before glaring at me and saying “well don’t bring home any assholes now, you have a tendency to do that.” THANKS, dad. Eventually he realized he was being insensitive and called to make sure that, yes, his baby girl is okay. (He also asked if when I travel to see B to exchange a piece of furniture I left there when I lived with him, he could come along to say goodbye. Uhm, no…)
Seeing as I write about sex and dating a lot, B once told me he was “terrified” of being my ex. It’s been hard to censor myself on here and in the other online columns I write, because I know B used to read them. While I hope he no longer does, for both our sanity, I can’t say I wouldn’t be curious if I were him—sort of like rubber necking…just..can’t…look…away. When he unfriended me on Facebook, I was definitely hurt, even though I understood how hard it is to move on when someone keeps popping up in your newsfeed. Look at me, look at me, see my new haircut? Look at me! Look how adorably hazel my eyes look in this green shirt. Look how much I don’t miss you. Seriously, social media has made breakups even more rough than normal.
In fact, technology in general has made breakups worse. 10 years ago if I thought I missed someone, I had to call their landline or go to their house to tell them so. Both of these things take a good deal of premeditation. I have the 30-45 seconds dialing and listening to the phone ring to change my mind; or however long it takes to drive to their house to turn around. Oh, and can we go a couple centuries back when if I missed someone I had to get on my horse and ride to them—how romantic! Damn I miss chivalry. But now, I can send them a text message at 3 am right from my barstool that says “fhjkhgugh I miss you” in .2 seconds. By the time I realize it was a bad idea they are halfway through texting back “…are you drunk?” I delete most of my ex’s phone numbers to keep this from occurring.
To recap. Ex-etiquette: no hooking up with family or friends, be kind on social media, no driving by their place of work with sunglasses on 500 times a day, consider deleting their phone number to avoid drunk texting, no allowing your parents to call and/or Skype and/or email them—yes, Dad, a Christmas card is fine.