How To Save Face During a Break Up

Breakups are bad enough without looking like a total fool in the aftermath. So, in a bold move of honesty, and to help save others in the same place, I’m going to admit that in the throes of some past breakups I’ve been a little bit intense. I’ve learned my lessons on what not to do through a lot of tears, friend and family interventions, and often through making huge mistakes. And now I will pass along this harnessed wisdom to you.

Now, there are probably a lot of people who are just as stubborn as me, who in the face of rejection might just want to burn their ex’s stuff and cause a huge scene—to hell with other people’s advice. However, I’m going to beg you not to – it’s not worth it. Of course, just for clarification, if someone did something truly horrendous that warrants major destruction, such as cheating? Well then all bets are off.

REMOVING ALL REMINDERS: Take down all pictures. Refill said picture frames with happy photos of friends or family. Take the photos of your ex and all love trinkets, and store in a far away place. Don’t burn things—you may want to look back when you’re not bitter. And don’t sell things on eBay on a whim; you are totally going to want that Hermes bracelet one day.

EXCHANGING GOODS: If your ex wants their stuff back or vice versa (and I’m not talking about diamonds) and you are not okay to see each other face to face, that is why God created doormen, supers, and kindly old lady next door neighbors. Also, a simple spot to drop it off or even a friend who feels like being a Good Samaritan will suffice.

THE FINAL WORD: It’s never actually final is it? You might be grinding your teeth, steam coming out of your ears, red in the face angry after your breakup. You’ll probably have A LOT to say to your ex that you feel you need to get off of your chest. Venting is good, but only in proper forums. DO NOT write a goodbye letter, text, email, IM, etcetera where you tell your ex all the terrible things you really think of them. This can only result in a) them becoming more annoyed with you, b) you feeling like a huge a—hole two days later, c) you looking desperate, or d) the paper trail becoming public. If you need to write things down, journals are great, or write the letter and don’t send it. At least not until you are in a more lucid state of mind.

CONFIDE IN A SELECT FEW: This one might be the most important on this list: only talk to people you can trust. Rumors fly faster than an SR-71 Blackbird—that’s faster than a G5 and way faster than you’d ever want your dirty laundry flying around. Don’t pretend your friends will keep their mouths shut when you’re talking about something juicy. People love to talk. And the more you talk, the worse you will look. Words get twisted, stories get changed, and this will only perpetuate the drama.

WHAT NOT TO DO: Do not throw yourself in front of your moving car, do not proclaim in a public forum that you want them to die, do not get excessively inebriated and throw a full drink in their direction at a bar, don’t hook up with your ex’s friend in front of them, do not cry hysterically in public, do not tell them horrible things out of spite, and do not start a horrible rumor and pass it on to their parents.

COVER UP FASHIONABLY: Lastly, keep a good pair of sunglasses handy, decide on an answer to those who ask how you’re handling things and make it discreet, and try not to contact your ex until you feel you’ve regained some sanity. And for Christ’s Sake, do not beg for them back. Delete their number from your cell, take a little time to regroup, and start booking your calendar with distractions. Trust me on these tips…you don’t want to be called “crazy.”

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