(From someone who knows.)
Most relationships do not end suddenly. There’s usually a gradual decline in affections. Sometimes even a reciprocated abhorrence.
A mutual relationship termination is much more common than one that comes out of the blue, hitting one of the pair full in the stomach and leaving them crouching in the gutter while their heartless ex larks about town with a gaggle of cheap hussies.
But I’ve never had one of the good break-ups.
No, no. It may surprise you to learn that I have had my hopes and dreams destroyed by unexpected words, and that I have been responsible for a significant amount of destruction myself. I’ve seen heartbreak from both sides of the wall, and today I share some of my acquired wisdom with you, dear readers.
Granted, this is essentially a list of what-not-to-do, but that’s because I’ve never quite mastered the art of accepting romantic defeat graciously and I haven’t encountered anyone who has.
Note: Do as I say, not as I do.
DO NOT BEG. This never works and will probably be the reason you cringe your way towards a dramatic pencil-through-the-eye-socket suicide when the whole thing has blown over.
DO NOT CREEP. Stalking is a no-no. Even if it’s online. It doesn’t help.
DO NOT CRAWL. If, while begging and creeping, you think you have discovered the very reason that your poor little heart has been torn from your chest, you may be tempted to inform your former paramour that you are willing to change whatever it is that they find so repellent. You both know you won’t change. This won’t work either.
DO NOT HARASS. One or two unanswered text messages per day is quite enough. Put your phone in a locked drawer and swallow the key.
DO NOT THREATEN. Threats of suicide, self-harm, violence and other slightly less terrifying forms of terrorism designed to frighten your newly-estranged partner into rekindling your romance are unacceptable.
DO NOT REBOUND. Sleeping with some poor sap who has no idea how much of a douche you are will not only fail to make you feel better, but will probably add feelings of guilt and/or disgust to your growing list of ills.
DO NOT CRY ABOUT IT ON TWITTER. You’ll lose followers, friends and whatever is left of your dignity.
DO NOT PUT YOUR FEELINGS IN A BLOG. As with twitter, this will extinguish any tiny embers of hope that remain.
DO NOT RESORT TO NAME-CALLING. Pretending that you never had feelings for this person, or attempting to cast doubt upon their character, will ensure that your former lover feels that their actions were justified and perhaps make them wonder what they ever saw in you in the first place.
DO NOT REVEAL THE FULL EXTENT OF YOUR MENTAL COLLAPSE TO THE WORLD. By all means, fall into a heap of pyjamas, blankets and old photographs when you are shielded from the judgemental eyes of the cold cruel world, but do try to project an image of physical and spiritual wellbeing when you’re out in public. Bumping into someone in the chocolate aisle of Tesco, wearing stained jogging bottoms and last week’s mascara will do nothing for your self-esteem.
Essentially, dignity is your friend.
Remain calm, console yourself with the fact that they’ll never find anyone better than you and eat just enough chocolate to make the whole thing feel like a hazy dream.