Still talking about your ex? Shut up already!
Why is it that some girls think their recent breakup is the center of the universe? Their guy calls it quits and all of a sudden the world has stopped and the end of who they thought was Mr. Right is the only thing they’re capable of discussing.
Fun girls’ nights out start turning into therapy sessions with tears. Your phone rings and when you see it’s her calling, you hit “ignore.” If you have to hear about what a jerk her ex is one more time, you’re considering slitting your wrists. Sound familiar?
When a relationship ends, it’s really hard for some women not to vent. But when does venting go too far? Life coach and author, Sylvia Friedman said she sees this all the time.
“When a breakup occurs, friends are usually sympathetic at first. They’re compassionate and they will listen,” said Friedman, “But after awhile, if the friend isn’t getting over it, and if she isn’t getting help, meaning therapy, friends will start to distance themselves.”
I actually have a friend going through a divorce right now, and I seriously cringe when I see her number come up on my phone. Why? Because I’ve been hearing the same stuff for three years! “Let it go!” I’ve said at least 1000 times. “Move on. Accept it.” I’ve said at least 1000 times. But still, nothing changes. I find that while I’m trying to be a true, supportive friend, I have to wonder, ‘When do you just give up and disengage? Is she hopeless?’
According to Friedman, when a woman can’t get over a failed relationship, it usually comes down to insecurity, and/or lack of self love.
“People who can’t let things go, or who can’t get over the fact that the relationship is over, or who constantly talk negatively about their ex don’t have self love. They don’t feel they deserve to move on for one reason or another.”
There’s also the issue of talking about an ex on a date or to a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Being a divorced person who went back into the dating scene after many years of marriage, I can remember going on dates where the entire conversation was the guy bashing his ex wife. This was such an unattractive quality. It made guys seem bitter and angry, and after awhile it got to be boring.
Trashing your ex can inevitably ruin a relationship because if the guy is talking poorly about her, how do you know he’s not going to talk about you this way someday?
“When people first get divorced or when a relationship ends, they are sad and hurt, but then the feelings turn to anger and resentment,” said Friedman, “And after awhile, those feelings should go away, but only if you have self love.”
Sylvia said something to me that really made sense when it comes to talking (or not talking) about your ex.
“What is more important? Hanging onto the pain and anguish you had in your past relationship or YOU? What would you rather have? The drama of the misery or YOU?
Four productive ways to deal with the grief of a breakup without talking anyone’s ear off:
1. Therapy: You actually can talk someone’s ear off in therapy because you are paying the person, and it is his or her job to listen to you. They can also offer a lot of insight and advice that is unbiased. Instead of saying, “He’s such a jerk!” the therapist will help you realize what your role was in the failed relationship and they’ll help you learn how to heal.
2. Work out: There’s nothing better than a little kickboxing to beat the crap out of a guy who did you wrong. Give him some uppercuts, left hooks, right hooks and cross punches. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re burning calories, and at the same time, you’re leaving imaginary cleat marks on his face. Take that!!
3. Journal your pain: Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I always find that the best form of venting and mourning a breakup comes out by typing on a keyboard. You can write/say anything to your laptop and no one is there to judge you. Your computer can be your best friend. Sometimes when I write how I feel, I get a sense that I’ve just cleansed myself, and no one else has to listen or be burdened. It just feels like I’ve been heard.
4. Prayer: In my opinion, talking to God is so much more productive than talking to friends or anyone else about a breakup. Because, what usually ends up happening is a lot of self introspection and asking God for the strength to deal with the issue, rather than asking your friends if they think you’re cuter than your ex’s new girlfriend. Faith and prayer bring acceptance, grace and self love. I truly believe that.
The thing is, I am divorced, and trust me, I’m sure I have a lot of friends who burned out on me talking about my ex. So, I’m not claiming to be perfect. But, what I’ve learned is, there comes a time when enough is enough, and moving on and leaving your ex out of the conversation will ultimately make you a happier, healthier person.