You Aren’t Responsible for Your Ex’s Happiness

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I stay friends with my ex?” My answer is simple enough to make one word: Don’t. 

Y’all know I’m all about spreading kindness in the world. I strongly believe you should leave every person better than you found them, and one of my favorite quotes from Taylor Swift is,

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

This is such a beautiful sentiment and I think making people’s hearts feel warm and fuzzy is such an amazing superpower we all have. One person you absolutely shouldn’t worry about making happy, though, is your ex. Whether you guys dated for 6 months or 6 years, there are very few circumstances where I think it’s healthy to remain friends with an ex once you’ve broken up.

Sometimes people argue that they think remaining friends is the “mature” thing to do, however, I think many often just an excuse to keep tabs on someone you once dated. As an adult it is so important to look out for your own mental health and wellbeing, and it’s rare that people end a relationship and one or both parties isn’t hurt by the breakup.

I’ve never stayed friends with anyone I dated. The way I see it, I already have enough friends, and there isn’t a place in my life for someone who was once romantically involved in my life. Furthermore, it saves the drama that could possibly come up when you find someone new. You don’t have to worry about your ex’s heart hurting, and you don’t have to make the special person in your life feel at all uncomfortable about a past.

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If I saw any of my exes now I wouldn’t have any sort of feelings — negative or positive — about them. Time heals the heart well, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone in the world other than Robert. Still, though, I don’t have a need for any of my past relationships. I learned the lessons I needed to from each of them, and hopefully anyone who’s gone out with me can say the same with the confidence that I wasn’t the right person for them.

My advice to you if you’re wondering when to reach out to someone you broke up with is to choose to never text them. Choose to move forward in your life, cut ties completely, and to realize that there are bigger and better things ahead of you. Unless this person is absolutely the exception to the rule and you feel like you want to try one last time to make things work, realize that there is someone out there who you won’t have the same problems in the relationship as your ex with. You likely didn’t work for a reasonand there are so many other people in the world that you can now have room to find a person who will work beautifully with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you this will all be so easy. The first few days of a breakup are the hardest because you go from having someone in your every single day life to never talking again. Don’t use the excuse that you need to “be there for” your ex to talk them through your breakup, though. Block their number, delete them on all forms of social media, and cut ties in any way that you need to so that your heart can heal and you can have a new, healthy relationship one day. In the meantime, rely on friends and family to get you through your breakup and realize that your forever person is still out there — it just wasn’t your last boyfriend.

The Past Isn’t Greener

This is a letter I want to “send” to the couple of exes who still aren’t over us, but I want anyone who can’t get over an ex to let this resonate with you too. Everyone deserves a fair chance to find love, and thinking about your past isn’t going to help you move towards the beautiful future you want.


Dear Ex ,

You’ve always wanted what you can’t have. Happiness was always just one short leap away — until you took the plunge and missed.

The grass is always greener on the other side. You tried so hard to get me to date you, and when you finally had my heart being with me wasn’t what you had pictured. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, but perfection is what you often strive for.

Now that we’re not together anymore you feel like you made a mistake breaking up with me. I wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you didn’t. Even though I wanted nothing more than to keep you at the time, deep down I think I always knew you weren’t really mine. To all the guys who have ever dumped me and regretted it — I would have eventually gotten the courage to leave. We weren’t right for each other. You are smarter than you think.

I really hope this letter gives you closure and helps you move on. Just because we weren’t a good fit doesn’t mean you don’t deserve someone who will love you the same way — or even better than I did. There are so many amazing, kind, thoughtful, and genuine girls in the world that you will surely find others who will steal your heart. When you find “the one” girl you hope to keep, treat her well. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at her flaws instead of criticizing them. Embrace your differences and take them as an opportunity to learn from each other and grow. Don’t compare her to me. Comparing people really is comparing apples to oranges. You have a tendency to idealize our relationship and only look at the beautiful parts we left behind — don’t forget that we were deeply flawed. Don’t forget that I am a human being, which means the perfection you remember is very skewed.

Finally, don’t be afraid to give away your heart again. Just because I broke it doesn’t mean every girl will. I’m not powerful enough to shatter your heart permanently; it will surely heal, and one day you’re going to meet someone who fits with you so perfectly that your heart will finally feel like it’s home. I was just a small story in your journey to find love.

Even though you aren’t in my life anymore I still care about you, want the best for you, and even pray for you when you cross my mind. I still don’t want to be friends — we both have enough of those already — but I want you to know that you can, and will, be happy with someone else. I know it hurts sometimes to see me with someone new. This is actually amazing, though, because I was always the one in our relationship who felt too much. If my heart can heal from something I thought would destroy me, yours surely will too.

Wishing you nothing but the best,
Your Ex Girlfriend

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Today’s lesson: `Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Some girls may break your heart, but one day someone amazing is going to just stick. Keep trying until you find her. She is your forever — not me — so don’t waste your time wondering about us anymore. We have some great memories together, but imagine having someone to make memories with who will be by your side for always. That’s who your heart will beat fast for.

Winning The Breakup

You know when you first break up with someone the feeling that you want to “win” the breakup? You tell your new ex that they’re going to regret their decision a lot longer than you will and you hope you’re right, even though you don’t really believe a heart can hurt as much as yours does at that very minute.

I am not proud to admit that’s how I felt when one of my exes and I broke up. He and I saw our breakup for what it was — the right thing to do for both of us. That didn’t make it easy or fun, though. I think when you deal with something as difficult as losing a loved one you don’t like going through it alone. Knowing someone feels the exact same way as you do and misses the exact same memories deep down in the pit of his stomach the way you do brings a little bit of comfort, even if it is superficial and fleeting.

The more I have dealt with losing people and the more my heart has healed and become secure, the more I realize how ridiculous this sentiment is.

I’ve seen exes again who clearly are still not over our relationship and it breaks my heart. Just because these people aren’t in my life anymore doesn’t mean they’re not still living, breathing human beings with feelings of their own. Lately I’ve found myself praying for a few of these gentleman and you know what is absolutely crazy? One of the last prayers I said I started to pour out my heart to God and asked Him to find a great girl who is a better fit for the man who hurt me the most. None of this is because I am a decent human being; this has been 100% Jesus Christ working to change my heart. I never would have been able to get to this place on my own, and frankly I can’t believe how absolutely genuine my desire is.

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I wrote a letter to all of my exes that I’ll be sharing later this week. I really do hope they are all doing well, and I hope each and every one of them can find a way to move on from our relationship if they haven’t already. My hopes in writing the letter is not only to give them a sense of closure, (If any of them still read my blog, that is!) but I also hope anyone else who is having a hard time getting over a relationship can read it and connect to the words I wrote and find a way to move on.

Facebook Is Actually The Bomb.com

Breakups are hard enough on their own, but when you keep seeing your ex everywhere you go it makes things a lot more difficult. That’s why social media can be tough. Regardless of whether or not you are seeing your ex at work or school, you definitely don’t need him in your house or at the gym with you too!

One thing that can be really dangerous these days, though, is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of those pesky sites can make forgetting about your ex and moving forward with your life a real pain in the butt.

Somehow I’ve never really had a big problem with this when dealing with breakups, though, so wanted to share some of my insight and advice.

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First, block your ex on everything you can possibly think of. Block him from texting and calling you, block him on Facebook (don’t just unfriend — block. Blocking is better because you will not see him on any of your mutual friends’ pages and you won’t be able to send each other messages). Block on Instagram, Twitter, whatever else is out there. As I mentioned in a Facebook status awhile ago, you may need to do it on strange sites you wouldn’t even think of like Spotify and Venmo.

Second, get a bestie to come over and clean up all of your social media that might have things with him left over. For example, I had my best friend save a bunch of sweet voicemails from him “just in case, [we got back together].” I realized pretty shortly after that I wouldn’t need them back, but at the time it is a little easier deleting things when you can get them back again if you want them. Then she “unfollowed” a lot of his close friends and family on my Facebook for me, and untagged our most recent pictures together so I wouldn’t accidentally see any of them pop up anytime soon.

Third, box up all of his stuff, then shove it in the attic! If you’re not fortunate enough to have a tucked away attic you can get creative and use a closet, a cabinet, or whatever else you won’t be seeing at all in your everyday life. For me, this was the guest room. Do not contact your ex asking if they want any of their stuff back — this is just opening a door you do not need and offering another opportunity for both of you to get hurt. You gave him things, just as he gave you some — the only item you are ever really obligated to give back is an engagement ring. If you don’t have that, just call it even and move on.

Lastly, have an accountability buddy you can text whenever you feel like texting him. This has never a big problem for me, as I like to quit things cold-turkey. I do know, though, that even I would get reminders that would be hard or hurt, and enjoyed having a best friend to lean on when times were tough. She was someone I could cry to if I missed my ex, or just rely on her to have a little conversation about why it was good we broke up. Having someone to text instead of him is so important so that you don’t slip up! Real friends will understand this struggle and be more than happy to help — after all, they might need you for the exact same thing one day and will be grateful to you for listening.

Overall the best thing to do in a breakup is be kind and gentle with yourself, even if you do backslide. Ending any sort of relationship is hard, and good for you for deciding you didn’t want to settle for someone who isn’t right for you. Even if you were the one who got dumped, being strong and realizing that there was likely a pretty good reason for the breakup is a great start.

Weddings And Exes And Singleness, Oh My!

I went to a wedding last weekend for one of my good college friends and had such a wonderful time. It was the first time I had seen one of my guy friends get married, and I was actually really surprised that I teared up during their ceremony. I always cry at weddings, but somehow thought I might be able to keep my cool since it wasn’t one of my close girl friends. I think it was almost even more of a tear-jerker seeing a guy so darn excited to get married to his wonderful fiancée. Sooo, I should always wear waterproof mascara to weddings — noted.

Anyway, I didn’t really know what to expect going to this celebration for a lot of different reasons. First, I was the only one in my group of friends who wasn’t going to drink at all. This is kind of typical for me, but I usually have at least one other friend who doesn’t want to get too crazy, which is always nice if things do get a little out of hand. Second, an ex of mine I hadn’t seen since we broke up was going to be there, and I wasn’t sure how that was all going to play out. Third, I was the only single girl in our friend group going, and I was definitely the odd one out since I didn’t have a date to bring. I initially thought a few of my single friends would also be without dates, but they ended up finding people at the last minute to go with, so I was sure to be placed at a dinner table alone with couples.

Despite all of the things that seemed to work against me, I genuinely think I had the most fun out of any of our friends there — with the exception of the bride and groom. Not having a date wasn’t a big deal, because I danced with whatever friends were around and made a few new buddies to groove with! I was able to run on and off the dance floor according to the DJs song choice without consulting with anyone, and sang along to Taylor Swift without a worry in the world.

 

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This night just further proved my point that you can have an incredible time being single in your twenties. I’ve become kind of a pro at 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheeling, but this is a major way I’ve become more confident and secure with being by myself. I had plenty of reasons to decline the wedding invitation — it could be too awkward to see an old long term boyfriend, none of my girl friends were going to be my partner in crime there anymore, the wedding was out of town, etc. — but I decided to go because I wanted to be able to watch one of my good friends get married to the love of his life, and I wanted to finally meet the girl I have heard such great things about. Weddings aren’t about you anyway unless it’s your own big day; they’re about celebrating the two people getting married and making sure they have the time of their lives!

Being single has helped me grow in ways I don’t think I could have as easily with a partner, and I think it’s important to be able to handle situations in life with or without a significant other to lean on. I’m proud of myself for not being afraid to dance alone (and sober!), and I feel great knowing that I can have a polite and cordial conversation with an ex without any sort of old or unresolved feelings popping up. I faced my fears all by myself, and didn’t just get through the night, but had the most fun I have had in a really long time. This event helped me learn that the only way I want to bring a date to a wedding is if I have someone really special to take.

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One of my best friends Elizabeth was there, and I had a blast dancing with her and her bae!

 

Today’s lesson: Learn to have fun with yourself so when you don’t have a date you can still have a great time. Having people you can rely on in life is important, but it’s also so great to be able to count on the one person you’ll always be with — yourself!

Our Sad Spot Was Macy’s.

I think everyone has places you associate with an ex.

Mine were my alma matter, — particularly where we carved our initials in the sidewalk and our running route — Dunkin Donuts, Georgetown, and he would never know this, but our saddest spot is Macy’s.

Macy’s was the place I was when we had our first big argument over the phone. It was the first place it began to sink in that he may not care about me as much as he did his work, and the place I realized it was the beginning of the end.

Macy’s was the place he casually shopped for new clothes right after we talked about potentially breaking up for the first time. I held back tears as he felt the blue leather jacket on the sale rack. I didn’t like the jacket, but I didn’t care about it — I just cared about him. I wanted to keep him, even if he did have a new off-putting jacket.

During the several months we took to break up I drove the long way to get to classes. I stayed on the highway a little longer just to avoid the spot with our names. I wished they weren’t carved in the pavement.

Later, I found out that although our names were set in stone, our relationship wasn’t.

We broke up.

It took time to go back to all of “our” places, but it slowly didn’t bother me as much. Time went by and suddenly I was more shocked when I actually did think of him, since those thoughts were scarce.

I began thinking of Elizabeth and Megan when I saw Dunkin Donuts (It’s always been their place as well), and then met another special man who happens to be from Boston and obsessed with the place. I think of my time in New York City when a group of my girl friends came to visit and Thanh spilled her Dunkin hot chocolate all over the subway. I think of donuts — I don’t just think of him.

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Georgetown became a place I traveled to with friends to go shopping or grab a cupcake, and my school became just that — my school — including so many memories with and without him. I am able to look back on our time there fondly and separate that part of him from the part he became when he grew up.

Macy’s was a hard place to tackle — until it wasn’t. The heart has a way of healing itself, and you learn to let go. I’m so glad I did, too, because one of my fondest memories now lies there — picking out my new guy’s dress suits together for his trips to the embassy while he is overseas.

He Was A Runner

The crisp weather signifying the end of winter reminds me of him.

The fall before I got sick we trained for my half marathon together. We would run for hours or meet at the campus dining hall after a long run. He encouraged me and pushed me to do better. If it hadn’t been for his love of the sport I’m not sure that I would have found my new love of distance running.

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It was a way to quiet my mind and enjoy the peace that nature had to offer. Nothing could touch me as I ran for hours.

Little did I know this would be one of the last times we ran together. Later I would find myself chasing someone who didn’t want to be caught — he couldn’t be caught. His heart belonged to himself and didn’t have room for another.

Chasing someone is exhausting, especially after you do it long enough. You can be the strongest person in the world, but you will eventually become emotionally drained.

Find someone you don’t have to chase. Be with someone who wants to hold your hand and walk through life with you. Someone who will stop to smell the roses and enjoy the beautiful scenery life has to offer.

Let him run alone if that’s what makes his heart beat fast. I will be with the man who’s heart races for me instead.