Break-Up Policies

Some of you may remember my article about “Becoming Jaded” written around this time last year. In summary, it was about how men go about breaking women’s hearts because they are driven by powerful libidos; the emotional damage this causes, and how it may eventually lead the women to becoming jaded about love. I urged the men to be more careful, and the women to be more hopeful, because true love does exist: despite the heart break, the hurt, and the break-ups. So this time, I want to talk a little bit about those break-ups, and how we handle them.

You see in my short life, I have had my own tiny share of rejections and break-ups, and I have noticed that some common approaches exist in the world. Usually, a break-up results in one of 3 things:

  1. You never want to see or speak to each other again
  2. You remain friends, but an awkwardness forms in your relationship.
  3. You truly remain friends; having left the past behind.

To my dismay however, I have found that this last option (#3), is rarely ever the case. Most people opt for #1 or #2, and may intend #3, yet end up back at #2. So people like me who actually prefer #3, are either hard to find, or come off like stalkers because we can’t understand why a friendship that existed prior to a relationship, should die or be damaged forever because of it.

Certainly, it is not easy to get over someone you’ve loved, or even forget the pain they’ve caused, but life goes on, and someday that pain goes away. When it does, that person you loved will still be there, and will still possess the qualities that you loved about them. So why is it, that we feel the need to create an ever-lasting distance? A friend of mine tried to explain it to me, and her explanation was this:

I don’t talk to them not because I hate them, but because there’s no reason to poke the bear.

i.e: Why should I revisit past hurts myself, or on other people without cause?

Which begs the question:

If you are over it, why do you assume the other person isn’t?

Still, I understand the hurt and pain that comes from a broken heart; and I even understand that in some cases it can take weeks, months, years, or even an entire lifetime to get over. But as long as you get over it, why would you think that they wouldn’t? Think about that for a bit…

Now, as long as the person you dated didn’t become a different person during the relationship, chances are that they still possess qualities you like. With the relationship now ended, it is also clear that they possess qualities you don’t like (assuming that you initiated the break-up). Qualities that you either were not aware of, or you thought to be inconsequential before the relationship.

Even still, the relationship is over now; and as a result you know more about this person than you did before. They also know more about you. Moreover, not only do you now know each other better, you also know yourself better as well. You know more precisely what you can and cannot deal with in a relationship – and you know what you will and will not take when dealing with this person.

So quite frankly, your friendship and all future relationships ought to benefit from, instead of lose out to, the experience. But instead what happens? The friendship goes to the shitter, and future relationships suffer the consequences. All because of baggage that we carry over from the hurt.

Which brings me back to our 3 policies:

  1. You never want to see or speak to each other again
  2. You remain friends, but an awkwardness forms in your relationship.
  3. You truly remain friends; having left the past behind.

Clearly with #1, no active healing will ever take place. Only time will dull the pain, and whatever baggage came from that relationship will go right on with you to the next one. That is, unless the next one is after enough time that the wounds have healed. In the meantime, that previous friendship ceases to exist forever.

With #2, there is as equal a chance to end up as true friends, as there is to end up as nothing; and how you end up may mitigate or exacerbate the baggage you carry. So it’s probably the safest bet. But if and until you end up in one state or the other, you are in an awkward kind of limbo where certain topics are off-limits, certain statements may be read into, and every face-to-face interaction is a bit wierd.

Finally, #3 (my personal favourite), seems to be the one with the highest risk, and highest rewards. If it does work out, you gain a friend with whom you can talk about anything and everything. A friend who has probably experienced the extremes of your good and bad sides, and a friend who knows what they will and will not take from you – and isn’t afraid to give you shit if you cross those lines.

…and if it doesn’t, you either end up in an awkward limbo, a dead friendship, or worse. Because you know what they say:

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned. Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned.

Now I’m no gambler, but it looks like going for #3 not only has the best reward, but also 2 safety nets to save you from hell. So even if I can’t appeal to your sense of love and forgiveness, I shall appeal with practicality: Keep those you’ve loved close. It’s better for you, and for the rest of mankind. 🙂

Damola Mabogunje

Software Engineer by day, Blogger, Poet and Author, by night, I spend my days writing everything from the convex comma, to highly complex code.

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