How To Be A Good Ex

Not to put too grim a spin on it, but it’s a fact that most relationships eventually end, and most of us have been on both sides of the breakup equation. Here’s a brief guide to handling being either end—the dumper or the dumpee.When they did the dumping …

1. Maintain your dignity. This can be rough, especially if your split came out of the blue. The fact is, it doesn’t have to make sense to you. When someone tells you they don’t want to see you anymore, that’s not something you can argue. (Not that I haven’t tried.) Breakups are rarely a unanimous decision. Badgering him only makes you look pathetic.

2. Realize that “closure” is a myth. “But it doesn’t make sense he dumped me because he didn’t like my laugh!” you protest. No, that doesn’t make sense. But by digging for “real” reasons you might find something even more hurtful. Then again, he may just loathe your cackle. Either way, who cares? Shut the door and move on.

3. Embrace your inner not-cool girl. Men in particular seem to have an aversion to being the bad guy. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a paramour pull out the “but I still want us to be friends” card as he was busily wiping his bum with my tattered little heart. You don’t have to hate your ex, but nor should you feel any obligation to move straight to the buddy zone if you’re not ready.

4. While you’re embracing your inner not-cool girl, smack your inner stalker upside the head. In the olden days, you had to actually leave your house if you wanted to get nosy, but between Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and a zillion other sites, technology just makes stalking so easy. Resist! There is absolutely nothing to be gained by discovering his Farmville status or pouring over photos of his engagement party.

When you did the dumping …

1. Suck it up and be the bad guy. Whether you cheated on him or just fell out of love, realize that, at least for a while, your now-ex is probably going to be angry. He’s allowed to be pissed-off and think you’re a giant, gaping a**hole. Obviously, you don’t have to put up with any kind of abuse, but getting into a big argument about it is only going to prolong the misery for both of you. It’s OK that someone in the world dislikes you.

2. No backsies or mixed messages, please. Is it just me, or has everyone had one of these exes who turns up every few years just to suck you back in and then cut you loose again? There’s nothing wrong with ex sex, as long as you both know that it’s an occasional deal with no lasting emotional impact. But keeping some pining ex on the hook for the occasional ego/clitoral massage is the mark of a narcissist. Don’t be that beyotch.

3. Realize that he’s probably going to move on. Funny how some guys just get so much more appealing the second they hook up with another woman. You dumped him, so you don’t get to rethink things now that he’s got a new girlfriend/fiancée/wife. It’s natural to have feelings of regret that he no longer loves you (especially if you’re still single), but acting on them shows a serious lapse of boundaries, good sense and kindness.

When it was a mutual breakup …

Oh, please. No such thing.