Ladies, hands up for those of you whose dating record includes at least one guy who handles break-ups with the epitome of immaturity. You know the type. The guy who immediately posts up pictures of himself with other women on Facebook, writes status updates slamming his ex or women in general, is blatantly rude to you at social gatherings of mutual friends, keeps trying to blur the boundary of “just friends” to keep you hooked, or calls you up “just to chat and see how you are” shortly after you break up – usually as a guise to drop the bomb about seeing someone else, just to gauge your reaction.
This type of behaviour is permissible if you’re 14 years old, heartbroken, and blindly trying to navigate your way out of your first love. It’s not cool when you’re supposed to be a fully-functioning, emotionally mature adult. Fact: mature men who have genuine confidence in themselves do not feel the need to rub shit in your face in order to feel better about themselves after a break-up.
This isn’t rocket science, ladies. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see from a mile away that his childish little acts of vengeance are thinly-veiled attempts to mask his insecurity and crushed ego. He’s angry, hurt, and wants you to feel as bad and rejected as what he does. Unfortunately for your poor, recently shattered little heart, the knowledge that your ex is acting like an tool doesn’t help in the slightest. All of his little barbs hurt like crazy.
Don’t fall into the trap of making excuses for him. “He’s only lashing out because he cares” is a load of horse excrement and you know it. We ladies hurt after break-ups too, but we deal with it by buying boxes of chocolates and tissues, crying, calling the girls over, and watching Bridget Jones Diary together for the umpteenth time. A person’s natural reaction to emotional pain is one thing. Him consciously conniving to cut you down and undermine your self-worth is a different beast entirely. At the very least, the fact that a man who was supposed to love you tries to rip your heart a bit further out of your chest when you’re at your most vulnerable should give you a damn good clue to his true colours.
You are the person who chooses how much pain you want to suffer at the end of a relationship, not your ex. If you have been involved with the type of guy who continues to play hurtful games with you, it’s time pull your head out of your arse and wise up. Stop playing the victim. Yes, your ex may very well be an twit, but a relationship is a two-player game. You need to realise that the only reason that he’s still playing with you is that you haven’t said, “game over”. Stop playing his little game, and you’ll stop being his little toy. You have better things to do than to squander your energy playing with someone who isn’t worthy of inhaling the same oxygen molecules as you.
Of course, calling “game over” with someone when you have mutual friends isn’t always a walk in the park. If you have no mutual friends, it is not necessary to maintain any contact at all. However, most couples share at least some mutual friends, and this is where it gets tricky. Breaking up with an emotionally mature man on good terms is difficult enough. It still hurts, but you don’t feel the need maliciously hurt each other, put your friends on the spot, or make it harder for each another to move on. These exes may be genuinely nice people with whom you would be comfortable maintaining a friendship after sufficient time has passed, and that’s fine. Notice the key words there though – after sufficient time has passed. There is absolutely no point whatsoever in trying to be friends with an ex-boyfriend without giving yourself sufficient time to heal from the relationship. Break-ups hurt regardless of who initiated them. They leave a big hole, and that hole takes time to heal.
On the other hand, there is no point in maintaining friendly or even civil contact if your ex is emotionally toxic or has the maturity level of a toddler. If this is the case, the best thing to do is to sever all contact without exception. You can see your mutual friends at separate times. You need to give yourself plenty of distance, because you can’t objectively assess this person’s place in your new life until you take off your rose-coloured glasses. Yes, it will hurt in the short term to cut yourself off from him. In the long run however, lack of contact hurts much less than frequent and consistent contacts that never allow the wound in your heart to heal.
Breaking up is like cutting your finger. If you dip your freshly-cut hand in lemon juice, it hurts. A lot. For a time, your entire focus will be devoted to that pain. However, if you give that cut six months to heal, you won’t even notice the lemon juice where the cut used to be. The same can be said for romantic feelings. The right time have any contact whatsoever with an ex-boyfriend is when anything you hear about him is water off a duck’s back.
Be the duck before you go jumping into the water.
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