All the advice in the world will never change the fact that breakups are extremely hard. You almost never see them coming and when they finally do happen, they often feel surreal. Trying to cut ties with the person you love can be so painful, and sometimes, it seems impossible to move on.
But while breakups can be really difficult, I feel like dumping someone with dignity and respect can make a huge difference in terms of how that couple chooses to cope with it. You’re probably already familiar with the basics of breakup etiquette, like the fact that you should play nice and actually talk to them face to face. However, there are other helpful pieces of advice that most people probably aren’t aware of. If you want to know how to make the process a little less painful, check out these 11 unofficial rules of breaking up with someone.
1. You don’t have to pretend that you’re fine.
Some people might disagree with me on this one, but you don’t have to pretend that you’re okay when you’re really not. Don’t feel like you have to put up a front or act like you don’t feel anything to appear strong in front of them. Because after all, you’re only human. It’s okay to feel nervous or get upset.
2. If they cry or break down on you, be gentle. But don’t get too physical with them.
It’s okay to offer a little comfort if you see that they’re not handling it well, but this doesn’t mean that you have to wipe their tears and wrap them in a tight bear hug. Getting too physical will only make things more awkward, so be wary of how often you guys touch.
3. Don’t be cliché, just be honest.
Phrases like “It’s not you, it’s me” or “You deserve someone better than me” avoided like the plague during a breakup. I mean, they’re just empty excuses that do absolutely nothing to help the situation. Just give them a legitimate reason for why you feel the need to end things, and be honest.
4. Know that you’re not obligated to stay friends.
I feel like one of the most popular things people say after they dump someone is, “Hey, we can still be friends.” But you know what? I feel like people just use that line to help soften the blow, because maintaining a friendship after breaking up is hard. Things could get so awkward, and you could easily fall into the trap of hooking up because you lost sight of why you guys broke up in the first place. So don’t promise to stay friends unless you truly feel that it’s possible to stay in a platonic relationship.
5. If you’re interested in someone else, you’re not obligated to tell them that, either.
If you fall for someone else and it’s the main cause of the breakup, you might feel a little guilty. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to share the details of your new love interest because technically, it’s none of their business.
6. Don’t flaunt your new relationship.
Now, speaking of new love interests, if you actually do want them to know that you’re seeing someone else, be mature about it and just tell them in person. Don’t rub it in their faces or wait for others to tell them, because that’s just selfish and immature.
7. No breakup sex allowed.
Though breakup sex usually feels amazing, this is a huge no no. Having sex will only make you want to get back together with them again, and that kind of defeats the purpose.
8. You’re not required to check in on them the next day to see how they’re handling the breakup.
You might be tempted to reach out as a friend if you’re feeling really sad or guilty, but whatever you do, do NOT call, text, or meet up with them. Chances are they’ll try to guilt-trip you into taking them back , or even worse, they might try to seek revenge. The best thing to do is keep your distance, because both of you will need time to cope.
9. Don’t rely too heavily on rebounds to help you get over it.
Rebound relationships are just a temporary distraction. Or rather, they’re failed attempts at trying to move on because they’re usually rushed and they often focus on sex. Instead of actively looking for new relationships to help you move on right away, you should take some time off for yourself and deal with the emotional baggage from that breakup.
10. It is not okay to talk about it openly on social media.
And that includes long rants, vague statuses, and subtweets. Airing your dirty laundry online is never a good idea because it comes off as childish, But if you really feel like you need to vent, consider using a journal instead or just talk to someone.
11. Get rid of your ex’s things. ALL of it.
This doesn’t mean that you should gather all of your ex’s things and throw them into a furnace. You should pack their things up and return them as soon as you can, because keeping familiar items might bring back old feelings and make it even harder to move on. I mean, out of sight, out of mind, right?