A relationship post

The end of a relationship is a funny thing. I had a best friend breakup well over three years ago and I still think about her all the time. Yet, I’ve had multiple boyfriend / dating breakups and after a year I rarely think about it. In the immediate aftermath of a breakup though, it’s all you think about and it takes your best effort to not share your piss and venom with everyone who surrounds you. It also takes a great deal of restraint not to burst in to tears in the middle of staff meetings. Trena and I were talking over the weekend and we both claimed to be experts at the breakup (after all, we’ve both been to this party before). So, over time, I’ve developed my personal rules of engagement for the breakup.

The number one rule? Be incommunicado. It serves no purpose but to drag it on. I don’t believe in closure. Closure is the end of the relationship. Conversations after the fact drag it out and take time away from your healing process. My personal mantra is that you don’t talk with them until you stop wanting to talk to them. This includes texts, emails, actual phone calls, etc. Set up an email filter to delete messages, suspend your Facebook account and give your cell phone to a neighbor at night if you have to.

Rule #2: Get back down to your dating weight. Truly. It works out the stress, will help you sleep better at night and will make you smile at the thought of how great you’re going to look when you do eventually see the ex.

Rule #3: Don’t lose it in the office.This falls under ‘Keep it Classy’. You don’t want your coworkers avoiding you and your bosses questioning your sanity. Life will suck more if you don’t have a job.

Rule #4: Use discretion.  This is also under ‘Keep it Classy’.  It’s your business, it’s personal, it’s private. Most people asking are being nosy and after two weeks, they won’t care and will have moved on to the next bit of gossip. Personally, I believe in the no explanation explanation. ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ ‘Thank you, but no.’

‘OMG. What happened?’ response: ‘You know, I’d rather not talk about it.’

Rule #5: If you need to talk, get a therapist. A dear friend said she went to a therapist so that she would have to sit and listen to her cry. They are unclouded and untainted in their assessment. Your friends love you, but they know you. Remember when Carrie and Big broke up and Samantha gave her a therapist’s card?

Rule #6: Ignore the following statements from people:

  1. You’ll find someone else
  2. Well, you didn’t date that long, so you’ll get over it soon enough
  3. It’s not like you two were married…
  4. You know, you’re so independent, I just think….
  5. Have you ever thought you might be happier with a woman?
  6. Have you ever thought about why your relationships don’t last?
  7. Well, I know you’re 33, but you you might still find someone
  8. I had such high hopes for you two

Rule #7: Remember that life goes on. Think about the last person you broke up with thinking that you would never be the same again. And think about how it doesn’t even phase you now. You’ll get to that point soon enough.

Remember this: You are not alone. Even when someone says, ‘who wants to be alone?’.  Geez. You have family,  you have friends, you have your faith. You are NOT alone.



  1. Oh, I do hope that this post wasn’t prompted by something recent. I am really lucky that I have been married to the same wonderful man for a very long time. Hopefully I’ll never go through that kind of breakup.

  2. I’m also hoping that this wasn’t promoted by anything recent. Also, great rules. I need to blow up Rule #1, and frame it on my wall. And #2. Wait, probably all of them. Sigh.

  3. No matter what, a hug offer is in place. Take it if you need it and feel like it. [HUG]

    A suggested rule #7: A little gallows humour can be in place.

  4. Speaking as a single, straight, 50 year old female, I can vouch for the fact that every word of this is true. A very astute list. One big hug sent via cyberspace. K

  5. I hope this isn’t being prompted by something.

    That said, thanks for this post. I needed to see this. Though my breakup happened months ago, it was followed by a cross-country move. The difficult process of moving and setting up a new life in a new city has me occasionally second guessing all these decisions. Most days I think I did the right thing but sometimes I can feel that doubt setting in. I do think that Rule #1 is key.

  6. Interestingly enough, a roommate from college found another one of our roommates on myspace that we had all broken up with years and years ago. None of us can remember why we broke up in the first place and we are now good friends again. Life changes and people grow (at least from college they do!) and it is nice to have this person back in my life.

  7. Oh dear, I hope nothing has happened to make this advice necessary. Sending good thoughts up the Beltway to Baltimore 🙂

  8. I too hope nothing has happened in your life to provoke this post. But #5 in Rule #6 made me laugh, LOL. That’s when you give the person the “BLINK BLINK BLINK” look.

  9. Great advice, tho I hope I never have to use it. Knock on wood, I’ve been happily married for 12 1/2 yrs and would like to keep it that way. 🙂

  10. If this post is a PSA, noted and co-signing on all the rules. I could add a few too!

    If a recent parting has come about, i’m sending you luv and hugs.

  11. Yikes, hope you and The Cop are still on. He’s cute. These are good rules to live by and they don’t just apply to the end of a relationship.

  12. The rules are right on, but I don’t know that I have always followed them as some breakups were easier either because I lost interest or the relief from the stress was liberating. Some breakups were horribe, and heartbreaking. I am currently married to the man who broke with me 20+ years ago, became a friend for a long time and renewed his interest several years ago–go figure–I was surprised as hell. Anyway, we all are wondering about you and The Cop as you seemed to be such a cute and compatable couple. Please give us that much information.

  13. ditto. for hoping it’s nothing personal and for liking the black humour!

    Don’t know much about this sort of thing – but I ‘went through’ a breakup between two friends of mine over a year ago and that was hard! I became friends with him after they met and would see them together and separately depending on all our schedules. So when things went baaaad, and oh they did, I got stuck in the middle! Not fun. But I’ve managed to stay close to her and still see him sometimes, so we all survived.


  14. Yay for rule nr 6, and if I ever utter any of those words to a friend who has just broken up, I hope that my friend takes the advice of The slapdash sewist and punch me!

  15. I only wish you happiness, wherever you find it. I remember (although it’s a loooong time ago) that I usually tried to seek out new places and people, and change some of my routines.

    Rule #2 you won’t have to worry about.
    Rule #6, point 5: Thanks for the laugh!

    And about being alone; you’re only as alone as you want to be. Judging from your readership, I’d say that’s another one you don’t have to worry about 😉

  16. did I miss something? hopefully you were just having a Dear Abby moment (i.e. reflecting on the lives of others). But thanks for the advice!

  17. You are truly the CLASSIEST of the classy and this was a most awesome post. (Snorted my root beer on #5. Girl, Been There.)

  18. I like the list. I’m printing it out and sticking it next to my bathroom mirror. Thank you!

  19. Well, I have a rule that got put as numero uno on my relationship list because of a guy I dated. It has never failed me yet: Do Not Date People You Work With. Do Not Bend This Rule Even For “Well, we aren’t in the same department,” or “Well, we don’t work on the same floor.” If you work for the same company, everyone knows about it and there will be people who know your ‘stuff’ who you haven’t even met yet. If you break up, even if you are both Obama-like in terms of self-control and graciousness, you will, by the rules of the game, see this person every day, in the elevator, in the parking lot or garage, in the cafeteria, in the hallway. You will end up on taskforces together; you will be assigned to work on projects together. You will end up with an ulcer and nuclear headaches every Sunday night when you will contemplate going to work the next morning. It is not worth it.

  20. You’ve been asked question 5…..really? Someone’s trying to turn you gay, lol. I’ve never had someone ask me that, it’s just a weird question overall. But no, I wouldn’t jump to the other side, I like guys thankyouverymuch.

    Good post. I’ve been single for several years and I’m perfectly fine. In fact, I love being single. No having to worry about someone else, no “where are you at?” questions….ugh what a pain. My focus is on me, my life, my career, my friends, my family it’s awesome. I don’t understand why so many women feel like being single is a bad thing.

    I’d welcome a relationship when the time is right, but while I’m single I’m gonna enjoy it. I think if more women thought this way, we’d be happier overall.


  21. Have you actually had someone say number 5 to you? Wow things have changed since I was in the dating life. A good post.

  22. My strategy: Incommunicado with essentially everyone that I don’t HAVE to talk to, work out alot, and sew something HARD.

  23. Here you go again, giving me yet another reason to think you’re a pretty incredible chica. Now go fill up your ipod with super booty-movin’ music, hit the gym, and make some more muscle!

  24. A prayer for your happiness from my heart to yours.

    In my experience it takes exactly 6 weeks to feel better. The last time this happened to me, my boyfriend crawled back two weeks after the 6 weeks were up with a (hefty bag!) of gifts. The 20qt Stockpot clinched the deal and we were engaged. (don’t worry, I got the 6 carat marigold saphire ring a month later)

  25. ???
    And yeah, I hear you on the BFF breakup. I had a BFF drop me like a hot potato about 6 mos after my divorce and it was easily as painful as the divorce. Good rules.

  26. Cidell, this post wasn’t about you right?!? I am not sending any hugs, don’t believe in self pity. BUT if you need someone to cry for you, send me a mail and I’ll do the bawling for you, I’ll even time it….lol…

    Tell you something though, I agree with your list completely, especially the part of looking greaaaattttt!!!!

  27. I’m confused. You and Trena broke up? Is it because of something one of you sewed?

    I’m sorry if this is a bad time for joking. Your post is very strong. I absolutely absolutely believe in all of your points, 1 through 7. I do think though, that everyone has a little different style when it comes to contact after the breakup. To each their own, and you (or your friend?) should handle a breakup however you need to in order to have a quick and effective return to normal. Good luck.

  28. My father gave me the best advice after a break up once which is very funny because he is not touchy/feely and has a very dry sense of humor–he said “Cynthia, don’t look in the rearview mirror–it is so much easier to drive when you are looking forward.” (or something like that…)
    Hope all is well with you

  29. I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. You’re supposed to post the award, nominate 7 other blogs and leave a message on those blogs. I really enjoy your blog.

  30. If you have broken up with the Cop, then I send you my shoulder to cry on. I realy feel the urge to do a no 7 so as to make you feel better but really it will only make me feel better. Sigh….

  31. ugh!’

    big hugs here from cyberspace. i love your blog. you are a classy lady indeed. 🙂

  32. You are a CLASSY lady. I wish I would have been as smart as you when I was younger. Good Luck with you classes.

  33. The cad! He got away with those marvelous ties!! It’s a shame I entirely agree with the incommunicado rule, or I’d be urging you to get them back at any cost. Why, if you didn’t want to see them you could give them to any nice man you know (uncle? best-friend’s grandfather?) and that’d be better. Better yet, you could practice your yoga with them (as part of #2) and enjoy stretching the shit out of them.
    SIgh. There’s never any good time to do this, is there? But you have a good solid set of rules to go by, and if you stick with them (and that yummy new jacket) you’ll be OK. I agree with slapdash though, just punch them if they get too uppity with #6..

  34. Ooh, this doesn’t sound good. I know when my 17 year marriage failed I promised myself that I would keep it out of the office too (and get this; my ex and I worked at the same company, just different departments). Anyway I did a pretty good job of it till 8 months later when I blasted my ex over the phone (he called me, I didn’t call him!) but I got hauled into my supervisor’s office anyway and was reprimanded. I told my supervisor where he could shove his opinion and later on even though he was married, this same supervisor asked me out! I didn’t go. Men! BTW your advise has so much common sense, you should be a therapist!

  35. Oh, Cidell, I am SO sorry! I am 44 and have been through it so many times, I, too, thought I was a pro at the beakup thing; but my last breakup was like major surgery. I love your rules. I wish I could say I kept them. Any of them. I have even broken the “don’t date anyone at work” rule. Yep, I was stupid enough to do that too. I got through it with good friends. And I got a therapist – best thing I ever did!

    Your friends wish you the best and send you cyber hugs!

  36. Cidell, you are the best. I love your blog. You are such a positive person and so funny. And yes, very classy.
    If you are hurting, I am sad for you.
    Big hugs to you.

  37. Is this about The Cop? After meeting the family and those wonderful ties? Uh-uh… better not be.

  38. I enjoy reading your blog! It was you who inspired me to try BWOF patterns. Stand up tall and look towards the sun; onward!!

  39. I am giving you a great big hug for being so strong. I recently have been stinging a bit over letting myself to be taken advantage of my a real smooth player. I never even saw it coming. I was thrilled with his attentions and thought myself fortunate to have found such a terrific guy. WRONG! I’m more mad at myself than anything else. I’m smarter and more savy than that. I agree 100% with your rules. There really is nothing better than being able to hold your head high and know that you are above it, even if it hurts like hell!

  40. sending you well wishes! hope all is good. couldn’t agree with the first rule more. it is THE BEST thing to do for yourself – room to think. never thought of #2 – pretty brilliant. one of the reasons i read your (cool, hip, and ultrasmart) blog.. take care! : )

  41. I’ve been through this not long ago and one thing is sure I suck at it. I wish I had confidence and rules but I am not a break up toughy. In any case you know it you’re not alone, life goes on and has hopefully a lot more to offer.

  42. Sometimes for about a minute life is good, great actually and then bang sometimes without warning, you hit a bump, maybe a big one and it sucks. Really sucks. I have no really great answers, but I know we’ve all been there. You are not alone. I hope today is a better day for you and tomorrow even better. Big hug ( )

  43. Cidell, I just thought I’d come back to make you laugh.
    Did you ask for your ties back?

    Here’s what my stepfather once told me: When you fall in love, reserve 3/4s of the love for yourself, in case you need it to fall back on in times like this.

  44. Hi Cidell:
    Awesome list! I totally agree with you and do agree that you need to hide your cell phone. Rules #2 and #3 are my favorites and something I follow. I totally agree that people tend to be budinskis and definitely need to tell them to get lost. Love Heather’s advice and agree with that. Take care!

  45. Lordy. I just wrote a seven page comment. Revised: thanks for posting about the friends breakup, my first “adult” friend-breakup was last year and it was really hard. And I agree with all your rules. Dude it took me 32 years to figure those out, and you had them all the time… 😉

  46. This post was really timely for me. If you wrote it to help others, it did. Me. If you wrote it to help yourself I hope it did as well. Thanks for reminding me not to lose my dignity or self respect because I am hurting. You haven’t nor will I.

  47. Cidell… hugs to you. I’m not sure of the circumstances, and won’t ask…but love your list. Keep it classy? You DEFINE classy!
    You go girl. You so truly are not alone. There’s an outpouring of love, respect, and friendship directed at you from across the globe. Love you, and only wish I had had your wisdom back in the single years. 🙂

  48. You are a terrific writer and an amazing seamstress. Breakups are the pits, no two ways about it.

  49. Hey, I hope you’ve cleared enough headspace on this for me to say- I knew he wasn’t “the one” when you didn’t get your Uggs for xmas. my man and I may live on mac&cheese, but there is always a little chanel in my stocking 🙂

    happy hunting

  50. Yeah, it sucks. It’s hard and it hurts. But, he was obviously not ‘the one’ and now you’re free to go out there and find him!

    And you know what? Being “alone” is a heck of a lot better than being in the wrong relationship!

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