Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Breakup Checklist

So. You wanna break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, eh?

Not so fast. Before you act, print out this handy-dandy breakup checklist and take it with you. If you care one jot about the sanity and mental health of the person you're breaking up with, if you have even the tiniest bit of sympathy for them, make sure you check off all the items as you break up with 'em. That way, a year down the line, they might actually speak to you, or -- gasp!! -- become your friend!! I know, I know, crazy talk. But having been privvy to a few nasty breakups in the last year (2007: The Year Of Many Breakups) I have seen the effects of not following my checklist firsthand.

(Note for looky-loos: I'm happy to say the Diablo/Jonny bustup fulfils virtually every single one of these criteria -- note, please, that we are still very great friends on the other side, to prove my point -- and the couple places where it lacked, we've both apologized, made amends and smoothed our friendship over. Nobody has the perfect breakup, and there's always hurt feelings at points along the process, that's inevitable. However, if you have honor and respect and real friendship behind your relationship, it won't matter ultimately. We sure did, and do, and continue to. Shout out, Deebs, you my homegirl. Representin', up in the 'Couv!)

So. Here we go.

_____1. Be honest, but don't point out every single one of your S.O.'s flaws. You hear "be honest" in breakups a lot. It's so very, very, very true. "Honey, I'm leaving you for another woman" is infinitely preferable in the long run than making up a cock-and-bull story about, say, moving to another city for job opportunities and springing the "other woman" on 'em later on. It's the "rip the band-aid off quickly" theory. However: this comes with a major caveat, and its almost as important as being honest. If you feel the need to list every single one of your partners' flaws to justify the reasons for your breakup? Don't. All you're doing is making you feel better. That isn't being honest. What you're actually doing while you're pumping up your own ego is damaging the self-esteem of your partner who, if you're the break-ee, is right now as emotionally vulnerable as he/she will ever be. Skip it. Write 'em in a letter to yourself and bury it or something.

_____2. It's not them, it's you. Related to number one -- come up with some reasons that you are to blame for the breakup. Don't make it seem like its all the other person's fault. Because it isn't (unless, of course, you're in an abusive relationship, then it probably is, and fuck them anyway -- just get out). There are two people in any relationship, and unless you're Jesus Christ Himself, you have flaws, and your flaws are probably part of the reason for the split. Chances are, the main reason, if you're honest with yourself, is that you've changed and become someone else and you're just not happy being where you are now with your current partner. Fair 'nuff -- but admit that rather than pushing the blame off on your partner. That's crap.

_____3. Take care of your responsibilities. Think your breakup is a way to become more financially secure by pushing off your shared debts and responsibilities onto your partner? Think again. If you want to be a decent human being -- and you all do, right? -- you need to acknowledge your role in the shared financial status of your coupleness and take care of your stuff as quickly as possible so your partner doesn't suffer. Did you know that 50% of all breakups end in one of the partners declaring bankruptcy? I just made up that figure, but the actual figure is somewhere close to that, and that's so unfair and retarded it beggars belief. Only a complete ass thinks bailing from a relationship = financial clean slate. Take care of your shit, Sherlock.

_____4. Initiating the breakup? Participate in the process. You want out of the relationship? Uh huh, then don't make your partner take care of all the legal whatsits. There's nothing worse than having to take care of a divorce you probably didn't want or didn't expect in the first place. Furthermore: don't just sit out the process and then bitch at the end that it didn't work out to your advantage. You have to actually get involved. Show up to your court dates. Argue with your partner's lawyer. Get in there, get your hands dirty, do something about it. If you don't, you have no excuse whatsoever if things don't end up how you want. See also: Move Your OWN Shit Out Of The House, Fester. Your ex doesn't want to sift thru your skid-marked underwear you left behind.

_____5. Be fucking careful. Your significant other is sensitive right now. If you're leaving them for someone else, make damn sure you don't, say, accidentally send them something for your new girlfriend/boyfriend, or make them accidentally privvy to part of your life that they don't want to know about. Let them guide you into how comfortable they are in hearing about your new life.

_____6. Make sure if you say "let's be friends" that you actually MEAN it. Everybody says this at some point in the breakup. Almost nobody means it. Becoming friends with your ex is something which takes a great deal of effort on both sides, and you're going to have to go through a lot of pain and agony to get there. If you think its worth it, great -- again, I'll point out that Diablo and I did a great job of this because we both felt that even though the relationship as such was over, we both genuinely cared about the other person a great deal, and it was worth the effort to get there. My point is this: if you don't mean it, don't say it. And guess what? if you fail at #1-5? You probably ain't getting #6 anyway, pal.

Anything else you folks would like to add?


MissTrixi said...

The Leaver is usually the most flawed one in an abandonment situation, even though they try to blame the Leavee. Unfortunately, they end up causing so much more pain by trying to deflect thier guilt and pushing their own inadequecies on the one that they are leaving.

You should not lie to a person just so that you can 'get out'. Honesy is the best way to handle a break-up because lies always come back in the end and bring even more pain that the brutal truth would in the beginning. There's still a way to be honest without having to hurt someone that is already suffering from the loss that they are feeling. And you should always leave the relationship with dignity. There are the situations where the leavee's can lose their senses a bit, but try to give them as much respect and support as possible. They are hurting, they are not rational AND they probably didn't really deserve to be left so much as you just simply changed. There was a reason why you were with them in the first place....try to remember that in the end.

Here's something else I learned regarding divorce -
In the case of a divorce with no children, the man will usually see a 45% increase in his financial comfort, where the woman will see a 75% Increase in her cost of living expenses.
This is because the woman is usually awarded what is considered the assets, but with that comes the expense to maintain those assets, as well as the debt left behind from the marriage.
The woman usually is the one that has to file for bankrupcy, and suffers the most damage to her credit.
(I read this in a book that was published in the 90's about the effects of No Fault Divorce).

Now...why would I have such insight? Hmmm....th mind boggles.

LAP said...

I agree with all these points, although I've never been married. I think the "be honest" point is very important ESPECIALLY when tempered with the "it's not them, it's you" point. The cleanest breakup I ever had involved me simply saying "I want to end this because it doesn't make me happy, and that's not your fault" and then confirming that my feelings weren't bound to change on that point.

I once made an observation that in most breakups, no matter who initiated the break, it seemed to me that ultimately the female in the couple gained emotional strength and the male didn't. I know there are examples where this isn't true, so I might change that observation to the parties who are truthful in the situation gain more emotional strength than those who don't.

Jon Hunt said...

>>>it seemed to me that ultimately the female in the couple gained emotional strength and the male didn't.<<<

I think your amendment is closer to the truth, but that perhaps males are less likely to be truthful? Maybe??

Anonymous said...

Can I get a standing ovation?

Now you can totally add, "Relationship therapist" to your resume.

I'm forwarding this to the ex's now!


Accepts Affection said...

_____7. Once it's over-especially if you're the one doing the breaking-don't sleep with your ex again for Christ's sake. Is if very confusing and hurtful and makes one miss their privates all over again. Oh, and if you're going to be friends stop treating them like they are still your partner. They have new people to nag at them about how much their choice in shoes sucks.

Ashley! said...

Now THAT has to be up there.

Yeah, I'm not going to marry. I'm gonna be the hot single 80 year old driving a harley. Que vida!

Jon Hunt said...

That's a hell of a #7.

MissTrixi said...

_____8.Don't tell the dumpee how your next conquest makes you want to be a better person. If you didn't 'bring it' during your time together, then the only person you have to blame for the breakdown of the relationship is yourself. I mean, if you were not giving the relationship the best that you could, then you are the failure, not 'they'. Why cause even more pain by telling them that they were never worth it to you to give them your all. And gee, you're kind of a dik anyway, so don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!

The flip side goes for the dumpee telling the dumper 'I'll be a better person for the next relationship'. (I've had this happen in both a 'you'll see!' and a 'Don't worry about me, I'll be ok' moment. Both times it just made me think 'yeah....THAT is the reason why I'm dumping your ass'). You are only supporting the dumpers decision to leave you by telling them that you were not giving them your best. And bad on you for doing that!

Forgive the bitter... I have had a brutal day of annoying ex's.

'Hi' to my jonny, the one who always 'brings it' and more!


Accepts Affection said...

Personal experience my friend, personal experience. And by the way, my choice in shoes KICKS ass.

Is if.

LAP said...

Total kudos on #8. Especially when dealing with an ex who is also the co-parent to your kid(s), because of course in that situation even when you'd like to break completely- or sometimes be mean and hateful, you just can't and shouldn't. Just because you feel inspired, or have a new muse and maybe you even want to talk about it to absolutely everyone, even when there's a lot of room between the breakup, there's going to be a comparison drawn subconsciously, and that comparison is going to hurt, so keeping the reasons for your joy non-specific is really much better. I would go as far to also include the reverse of not complaining about your current partner's issues or faults to any past partner who is now a friend either just because it's disrespectful to the current relationship you're in, as well as disrespectful to the (hopefully) successfully rehabilitated friendship status with your ex.

Jeffrey M. Rosado said...

_9. (ooooh...talk about cool, appros and cosmic this number is considering how I'm the card carrying *Beatles fan, here).

Number Nine: Do NOT, I repeat do NOT call your ex and jump over the moon, over the river and thru the woods over how much you're diggin' your new squeeze. That's what my ex did to me almost a year ago while I was still in recovery mode, extolling his virtues, etc.--but here's the icing on the cake: She told me something to the effect of "He's so much like you, it's scary! He plays guitar, too; he's into movies, he's smart....He's the man I want to marry, Jeffrey"....--Thanks....could you twist that unintentional knife still in my heart another inch or two, honey? Haven't gotten my recommended daily allowance of pain today.

But you know what? Long story, but it was this phone call that got me started on the right road of healing.

Well done list, Jon. You're a good writer. Hope you don't mind me chiming in. Really related to number one, big time, too.

*: Here's how semi-ancient I am....My vinyl copy of The White Album has a serial number on the cover.

Anonymous said...

#10 Don't move back in with your ex after the breakup. nevermind how much time has passed since the split, no matter how feasible it may seem at the time. no matter how many times you tell yourselves that you can handle it. it's hard. it hurts. bad.
i'm just sayin...
also, my white album has a stamped serial number on it, too. does that make me old? or just the fact that i have vinyl?