My advice on The End of The Affair… or whatever.
All right stop collaborate and listen… the Insomnia Club is back with a brand new edition… And what, pray tell, is our topic this month?
… the end of the affair…
They say breaking up is hard to do. Well. I wish I had a funny story about the end of a summer fling… or a poignant tale of last goodbyes… long, final looks…
Hmph. I can wish for that kind of content all I want. I just… haven’t been dumped all that much.
Yeah yeah. Hey, I haven’t been the dump-er all that much either, ok?
The thing is… I’m not that much of a relationship person. And never really have been. Shocking, I know. When I was younger, I just got bored a lot. And I’d say it was more… fading into and out of other people’s lives (but, to be fair, they faded too – it was a mutual fading, and we were young ‘uns, so much less serious…). As I’ve grown older, I’ve been better about relationships, but I never… quite… get into it.
Six months is about my limit. Apparently.
And, yeah, there was that one time I had my heart not so much broken as obliterated. But. I wasn’t really in a relationship (even if whatever that was took another year-and-a-half to die).
Sooooo… I’m not really the go-to on ending affairs. Or whatever. Because I don’t really have ones that don’t just end on their own. In very non-dramatic ways. Like… not getting a phone number the next day.
But, you know, I do have one thought on the ending of things. And it has everything to do with how you behave before they end:
Be honest. With your partner(s) and with yourself.
Pay attention to your feelings, be clear with yourself and others about what they are, and speak the fuck up about them. Along with that comes clear communication – of where you are, what you want, how you feel, what is and is not working for you.
Sounds like pretty standard relationship no-shit-Nikki-thanks-for-the-newsflash relationship advice, right? And, yeah I hear you, what does it have to do with the ending of things?
A lot, if you ask me. First, if you are honest about where you are, what page you are on, and you are self-aware to really know it, you’re actually safe-guarding your relationship from wandering off to different pages when you’re not looking. Or pretending you’re not looking. What I mean is, if you and your partner are honest and clear with each other about what you want and how you feel, you both will also know what to expect from one another – not more and not less. As such, one of you won’t be thinking we’re in Buck Fuddy Land while the other is picking out rings… and when Buck Fuddy is ready to move on, Wedding Bells isn’t left with a broken heart.
But, it’s more than that. Not only do different pages increase the risk and depth of heartbreak, but I really believe they’re one of the reasons relationships fail. For example, ever been the person thinking you’re in Fuck Buddy Land, only to make the ring-shopping discovery? How’d you feel about that? Bet you wanted to stick around, and had no thought of running for the hills, didja?
Second, you can see the end coming. Yeah, ok you can say in theory at least but I’d argue that you always know when you’re done. You just do. And you can take measures quicker and more clearly when your relationship has already been about honesty and communication. Perhaps you’re less likely to pretend you feel something you don’t, and are more adept at talking with you partner(s), instead of just saying what you think you should.
Third, if you are honest and clear with your partner(s), you establish trust and open communication. That way, even if the ending fucking sucks for either of you (e.g. only one of you fell out of love), at least you partner trusts you, and you are able to talk with them. Sure, they may not accept what you have to say when you say it, but I bet they’ll eventually appreciate that from you.
Look, I understand that honesty in a relationship not a panacea for a painful ending. It isn’t going to help the dumped feel better about it (especially if they did nothing wrong, you just fell out of love with them) but it’s much better than the alternative.
Let me draw on my great realtionship-y experience (sarcasm font, people) to give you some evidence…
Example #1: In my first real relationship with a girl, I was really honest. I told her that I was not really into relationships, that I was new to the whole girl thing, and that this was casual. At first, she struggled with this a little bit, because she was used to hoping right into the honeymoon (i.e. she didn’t know what to do when I didn’t show up with the Uhaul). However. I always encouraged her to be honest with me about how she was feeling, if she needed more from me, etc. And, here’s the key, kids – she was.
End result? We didn’t start saying omg I love you! after a month. We also had the easiest breakup ever, where we both said we weren’t really feeling this on a serious emotional level (we *gasp!* actually stayed on the same page!), and, since she wanted a serious relationship and I didn’t, it was time to move on. We did, and remained very good friends.
Example #2: My last actual ex. We started out as fuck buddies, because I didn’t want anything more, and she was fresh from a horrendous break-up. That lasted, oh about a month – for her. I continued to tell her how I felt and what I wanted, and she continued to ignore me. And, here’s the key, kids – I pretended not to know.
So, not only was she la-la-la-not-listening!!, I was also la-la-la-not-noticing-that-you’re-not-listening!!
End result? Breakdown of trust, honesty, and communication. And the break-up? Don’t even get me started.
So. There ya have it, my dump-age advice: Be honest way way way before the dumping even happens. Not to say you’ll be fine, but you’ll be better off than you would have been otherwise. Trust me – I have loads of experience.
As for my fellow Insomniacs, Alex over at the Urban Dater also shares his thoughts on this month’s topic, and I think he gave the best advice: “It’s not about getting dumped, it’s all about how you take a dump.” Check it out here ~ Taking A Dump.