The 10 Phases of Dating, my debut book, goes on sale October 1 – just 21 days! In the past couple of years, I’ve fallen out of habit with writing on my blog, but I’m planning to change that from now through the launch of the book. Hope you enjoy this one.
Big thanks to my friend Kevin Cobb (founder of Overheard in the Newsroom, if you ever want to laugh your ass off) for recommending the topic on this blog. He posed the following question: “When you end a relationship, what is the proper way to tell your friends and family (talking a long-term relationship, i.e. 2+ years)? In person? A phone call? Mass text? A Facebook Live video?”
I’ll explain to Kevin and all of you now that I’ve only made it to the two year mark once, on a technicality (we broke up, got back together, broke up again, technically made it to two years). But I suspect a full two years that leads to a breakup is painful. Beyond just the emotions of it.
2gether once proposed that “the hardest part of breaking up is getting back your stuff.” And while that may indeed be difficult, that was also before Facebook and even MySpace. More specifically, that was before we all had a platform to advertise our love. Every selfie. Every #MCM or #WCW. Every ‘Me and bae eating breakfast #relationshipgoals’ post.
In short, everyone knows about your relationship.
So in Kevin’s scenario, if you and your significant other have been together for north of two years and end it, then a lot of people are going to have a lot of questions. Here’s a breakout of who they are:
- 90%: People who you’re not actually friends with, but you’re ‘friends’ on the Internet. Fuck these people. Their opinions didn’t matter before and they should matter less now. How do you break it to these people? You don’t. But they’ll sniff out a change in your social media behaviors pretty quickly. Once you miss consecutive #MCMs or #WCWs or stop posting random obnoxiousimeancute pictures, the thirsty suitors-in-waiting will all start climbing out of the wood work. Women usually deal with this the most; men appearing out of nowhere, sliding into DMs to “catch up”, when in reality they’re trying to slide something else. Ignore them. Move on.
- 10%: Your parents/best friends/grandparents/siblings: These people actually matter. These are the people who are the subject matter of the blog. And there are a number of ways to deal with them. In my experience, breaking this news to family comes in a phased approach. There’s usually only one person – two max – whom you actually want to talk to about it. Call or text those people to arrange an in-person meet-up. Get out of the house. Bleed it all out. Cry like there’s a camera crew shooting a rom-com and you’re the star. The rest? Text them individually. A mass text invariably ends up with one dumb ass asking an entire group of people ‘OMG, what happened? You guys were so happy!’ or some other crap. So hit them up individually. And copy/paste a script for them that goes something like this: “Bobby/Suzy and I broke up. I’d rather not talk about it but I wanted you to know. I’ll reach out when I’m ready and please don’t vote for Donald Trump.”
And that’s it! A break-up is one of the few times in life you’re entitled to be totally, completely, unabashedly selfish. Talk only to whom you want to. Divulge only what you want to. And take the time you need. There are many well-intentioned people out there who want to help but that you’d rather shank in the neck with broken plywood. There is no reason to bring too many chefs into the kitchen at a time like this, and frankly, it’s your break-up anyway. It’s on you to get over it, sure, but to do it on your terms.
Or just blow the whole thing up and do it on Facebook Live. You might end up famous.
Interested in being among the first to read The 10 Phases of Dating when it comes out? Send your email address and name to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can add you to the list of pre-orders.