4 Really Wrong Ways to Handle a Breakup

*If you’ve known me for a number of years, you’re reading this just to rub your face all over the irony you suspect is here. And I’m not going to say I’ve done all of these things, but I do know a guy who knows a guy who’s friend did these things (is that too much overcompensation?), so I know what I’m talking about here.*

Hey buddy, looks like you’ve just gone through a pretty bad breakup. How dare that skank, am I right? You’re such a great guy, what with all your gratuitous farting and not offering to pay the bill at dinner. That’s what those feminists wanted, right? Equality. Yeah. You see how this isn’t swinging in your favor right now, right? Regardless, you’re probably pretty salty right now and you probably want to do stuff that not only makes you feel good about yourself, but also dumps all over your ex at the same time. And so…

4. You Talk About It on Social Media

I know what you’re thinking – you own your Facebook and Twitter and anyone who follows you made the conscious decision to do so and that you’re not liable for their reaction to whatever you post (Ok maybe that’s not exactly how it sounded in your mind, but I’m right anyway). Here’s the fun thing about the advent of social media, rather than texting or talking to a close friend, you’re much more inclined to make a passive aggressive post on Facebook so that she and all of her friends that you’re friends with can see it.

Why You Shouldn’t Do It: You look like an over-sensitive sack of crap that can’t take an L. Even if you sent her a Facebook message with the same general idea and she knows that it came directly from you, it’s really hard to explain that to the rest of your Facebook friends. Instead, you look bad. Also, no one feels sorry for you. Instead they think to themselves how weird and pathetic you are. As men we’re supposed to be able to not care and just walk away from stuff like this, even if we cry ourselves to sleep at night because of it.

“She said she loved me!”

Rather than showing up at her door in an attempt to either win her back or make a scene to expose how awful she really is, posting passive aggressive content or cryptically depressing song lyrics just makes you look really soft and pathetic. But you’ve already gone and done it. No turning back now, even if you actually turned back and deleted those posts. You’re back on the market now, and despite your emotional outbursts, you’re not a bad looking guy. You’re pretty cool. You’re a viable candidate for dozens of eligible bachelorettes. But rather than bettering yourself as a person and expanding your social group…

3. You Date Your Friend’s Ex

So you broke up with your girl and you’re feeling crappy. You need a rebound. Your friend was dating this chick a while back and she seemed cool. You two had a nice little connection and as luck would have it she recently broke up with your buddy, who just so happens to be your 3rd best friend. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t do it. As guys we’re conditioned to put on an exterior that says we’re tough and don’t care. You may have the toughest, manliest group of friends in the universe. Don’t try dating your bro’s ex, even if he swears he doesn’t care – he does. It doesn’t even matter if he’s  already dating someone else.

Why You Shouldn’t Do It: Because it’s a dick move, that’s why. You already lost one person in your life, don’t alienate another one, especially one who could potentially hook you up with someone he or his girlfriend may know. Plus, think about how you’d feel if it were the other way around. You just broke up with your chick, and your buddy comes to you and wants a shot. Nothing would make you feel more sick to your stomach than to see them together and happy (more or less because you don’t want her to be happy).

But rather than learning from your first mistake, bettering yourself as a person, and expanding your social group…

2. You Date Her Tertiary Friend

Here’s the thing about your new ex – whether she hates your guts or doesn’t care what you do, she absolutely does care about who you date, especially the first couple of people you start seeing after the breakup. Your obvious instinct would be to try dating one of her friends out of spite. Or if you’re just a normal guy who is unaware of the dynamics of girl friendships, this could be an honest mistake. Either way, your best option here is to take every girl that she knows and eliminate them as a potential match. I cannot stress enough that if your ex knows absolutely nothing about your new partner, it will make your transition so much easier.

Why You Shouldn’t Do It: It doesn’t matter if you were all classmates for one year in elementary school or if your new girlfriend is related to your ex (if you do that, by the way, you’re certifiably insane), your ex will see your new girlfriend as a traitor and a really horrible friend. It’s a really perplexing situation. Back when you and your ex were still together, you could have had a conversation about the new girl and how much your ex hated her because the new girl was such a slutty skank whore (even if she was as pure as the driven snow, you know how girls are) – none of it matters now because your ex will act like you’ve just started dating one of her closest friends.

“I always knew you wanted her!”

If you start dating a new girl who knows your ex, your ex will gather up her friends and run a smear campaign against your new girlfriend. And you know what that does? More often than not it kills your new relationship. Why should your new girlfriend have to deal with your leftover drama? She doesn’t deserve that. Now you’re on a losing streak. Don’t you feel like a piece of poo right now? You’re probably mad and depressed. And so in a brief episode of rage, you did a really, really dumb thing…

1. You Contacted Her New Boyfriend

I get it. He’s the jerk who ruined your relationship. He’s the one your ex cheated on you with (or maybe she didn’t cheat at all; maybe she met him and liked him more because he was shiny and new). He has become the symbol for everything wrong with the world. You feel one of two ways: Either you admit total defeat and wish to give a passive aggressive and backhanded congratulatory concession, or you threaten to kill him. Don’t do either.

Why You Shouldn’t Do It: Aside from the obvious that it’s illegal to communicate threats, you look like you can’t take the L, just as you looked when you posted that stuff on Facebook. You look petty, jealous, and a little bit unstable. Plus, it really wasn’t the poor guy’s fault. At the very most, he fell prey to his basic hormonal instincts. He likely doesn’t even know you and if he did, you two might actually get along. The silver lining is that you can take solace in the fact that he just inherited all your problems.

Bonus – How to Make It Right

I wouldn’t intricately describe this completely hypothetical situation without offering a solution. The downside is that there’s no quick fix. You have to disappear. You have to let time do it’s thing. Eventually you and everyone you dragged into this mess will change and even though they may not forget about how you handled it, it won’t be as big of a deal. How long will it take? Who knows – 2, 5, 10 years? Depends on how bad  you messed up. Unfortunately that cliche of time healing all wounds is the only thing that will actually do the trick.

Oh you messed up pretty bad.

Oh you messed up pretty bad.

In the meantime you can do things to make yourself a better person. Update your wardrobe. Get fit at the gym. Advance your career. You’ll likely join some online dating sites and get cat-fished, but that’s part of the process. In reality, you deserve it because you were a crappy person for a while. But things will start to come around. Just don’t make the same mistake again.

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