Exiquette- How to be an ex gracefully

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” (Paulo Coelho)

3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years or even 3 decades of relationship bliss. You have cuddled, snuggled, exchanged gifts and saliva, but then it all comes crashing down faster than a led balloon. How can you leave the relationship with dignity and poise? 

Before looking forward we must look back, briefly.

Relationship phases:

  1. The start. Often referred to as the honeymoon period. You dote on each other and still get giddy at the thought of seeing your loved one. Their habits are “quirky and cute.” You don’t fart, burp or pick your nose in front of them and your bikini line is never a shaggy mess.
  2. Comfortable coupling. Now bodily hair begins to look unkept. You can sit all weekend in each other’s company without having to speak a single word; silence doesn’t mean that there are problems. A messing and blending of friends begins. You quickly realise you like them all, apart from that one hot friend he has who keeps commenting on his Facebook… Who is she?
  3. The Downhill Spiral. Those once “quirky and cute” habits now make you want to throw him off a cliff and if he leaves the toilet seat up one more time, you will kill him! Sweet text messages are a thing of the past, replaced by infrequent, yet highly irritating, questions, such as “What’s for dinner?” and “Can you pick me up from the station?”
  4. Inevitable Ending. It’s messy, it’s long, it’s drawn out. There were tears, even his. But the spark has gone/ you have fallen out of love/ someone cheated/ you just can’t take it anymore.
  5. Broken beyond fixing. You divide your things, friends and lives.

Friendship after relationship?

Of course, not all relationships are doomed to end in such tragedy. Some manage a perfect break up, without drama and tantrums. Take Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, even after breaking up (and Chris has bagged the sexy Jennifer Lawrence) Paltrow still takes the high ground. Rather than the usual catty remarks and custody battles often associated with celebrity breakups, this pairing have found a way to remain friends.


So what is it about the way most celebrity relationships end that is so hate fuelled and undignified? To achieve this level of angst towards one’s ex, you should have a good look at the fall of Britney Spears and rapper wannabe K-Fed. All over the tabloids and gossip columns was their messy divorce. We were hooked on Britney, and wished that she would find a man to treat her well so she could once again become “America’s Sweetheart!” Spears, my childhood icon, take a leaf out of the classy way Paltrow and Martin parted ways. For more tips read below:

Keep your drama away from the world!

Firstly, do not use social media to rant. In fact social media and relationships really should be limited. The couple who goes from single to in a relationship to it’s complicated are asking for attention, and we must stop giving it to them. Does that mean you shouldn’t put on Facebook if you are married? Is it shady if you don’t? Are you doing it just because you don’t trust your partner? Is it true that it’s not official until it’s Facebook official? You are free to make your rules, but beware that the ups and down on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram are just annoying and embarrassing to your friends. Worse still are the people who feel the need to update their status eight times a day, each time using a new and equally atrocious swear word adjective to describe their ex. If you are compelled to bitch, do it with your best friend over a tub of ice-cream, not on a world wide forum.

Secondly, delete them if appropriate. Not all breakups are because they simply fizzled out, sometimes your ex has hurt you. The crying phase of the breakup is lasting longer than expected, when all of a sudden you see a picture of him on holiday with his new ‘bird’. You wince, cringe and stomach churn all at the same time. That one tag sends you into the depths of depression. This breakup is unhealthy for YOU! So rather than making a big show and tell about it, contact your ex and tell them you need to delete them for the meantime because it hurts too much. Being open about your emotions in a private manner is much more dignified than blasting “you’re a d**k” over Facebook. In this technology based world, we cannot escape ex partners as easily as our parents would have been able to. Before the only concern would be is bumping into them in the local shops with no make-up on; now there are a multitude of communication devices to dodge your ex with. Therefore, by respectfully explaining that you must unfriend each other will ensure neither you nor your ex are bad mouthed. The feeling is cathartic, cutting social media ties is a true way to distance yourself from a relationship that has ended. Think of that relationship like a library book; you borrowed it, read it and now it’s time to return it before you get a fine!

Finally, fill your life with positive things. It is easy to dwell on the death of your relationship, to bitch to anyone who will listen and post (not so) cryptic messages on Facebook about their bad sexual habits. The difficult part of the conclusion of your relationship is to move forward. Your friends may suggest to go out drinking to celebrate your new found freedom, but as we all know alcohol is a depressant so perhaps that isn’t the best idea. And I guarantee that you will be regretting that Snapchat or late night, post jäger bomb call where your rambled to his voicemail in the morning. Instead use that time you would’ve spent together to pursue a new hobby or even discover an old (pre- relationship) hobby. Soon you will be remembering how to love, but love that is aimed at yourself.

I leave you with the wise words of Noel Gallagher, “Don’t look back in anger!”


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