There are two sides to almost every breakup — the dumper and the dumpee. (Sorry, I don’t buy those “mutual” decision splits. I’m sure they happen, but they’re as rare as a fat cell on Madonna’s rear end, so they don’t count.) While it’s ideal when both sides leave the relationship with dignity, it’s much easier to be the Gracious Ex when you’re the dumper. After all, it was your bright idea to break up. You’ve had time to wrap your head around it, and really, who are you kidding? You probably have a replacement lined up already. So, we’re going to start with you, the breaker-upper, because your list of “How Not to Be” is a lot shorter. Without further adieu, you definitely should not …
1. Refuse to be the bad guy. Every breakup has one and, as the dumper, you need to suck it up and admit you’re it. Even if you’re not particularly evil, you’re the one who used his heart as a hankie, so don’t call him, wondering if he’s “OK.” Not only does it not absolve you from anything (and that’s really all you’re looking for), it’s presumptuous. And while we’re at it, don’t even think about acknowledging milestones. Nothing says Unhappy Birthday like a store-bought greeting card from the person who ruined your life (at least for a while).
2. “Friending” them.
I dated one guy whose MySpace page consisted solely of women he’d wrung through his emotional wringer. Guess whom he tried to add next? I don’t think so, buddy.
3. Leave them on your band/performance/whatever SPAM list. The best thing about getting dumped by a musician/actress/mime is that you never have to sit through another one of their lame performances. The second worst thing about these emails is that they serve as a reminder you still draw breath and are experiencing some level of success. But the all-time worst aspect is that you just know that the list of recipients includes the person she’s currently snogging. This goes up an extra notch of excruciating when the sender doesn’t utilize the BCC function.
4. Throwing the sad face. True, running into someone you’ve emotionally eviscerated is uncomfortable, but if you happen to cross paths with your ex, be polite, be discreet, and move on quickly. Don’t coo and hover, your exaggerated frown telegraphing their status as the booted party to any and all in the area. Getting dumped is humiliating enough without the insincere theatrics.
5. Rebound with a friend or family. The ultimate in sketchy ex behavior is dumping someone to get to his cousin — or brother. Next up is his best friend. If you’re going to go there, at least wait a couple days before you do so.
6. Backsies! How many times have you finally gotten over someone, only to have them come bounding back into your life the second you meet someone new? It’s uncanny—and unbelievably irritating—how often this happens. Don’t be that person. To ensure you won’t, before you have “the talk” with your no-longer-significant other, picture him making out with your best friend. Are you A) mildly intrigued, B) livid, or C) relieved that he found someone else because now he won’t cry when you tell him to get lost? If you picked A or C, you’re good to go. If B was your answer, you’ll get what you deserve when he starts dating your hotter, younger cousin.
Next week, I’ll tell how to handle being dumped with dignity.