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My advice on The End of The Affair… or whatever.

September 20, 2011

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.

In addition, Single in My 30s does have a poignant story of a young love affair… in Canada! Summer Lovin’ Ended So Fast

ALSO!! I am super excited to be featured as a guest writer today over at a fantastic blog, Simply Solo! Go check out what I had to say about being single here!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2011 3:43 pm

    Hmmm where to start… my advice:
    1. Always be honest with how you feel, even when it feels horrid and you try do everything you can to ignore your own feelings. Trust me, it saves you and your partner (to be ex-partner) a lot of pain, hurt, frustration and time.
    2. Avoid retaliation and drama as much as you can. Nothing good ever comes out of it. Even if it feels right to lash out.
    3. Stand firm. If you are the person breaking up – keep in mind why. Do not take on all the guilt – remember it takes two to tango.
    4. Move on in your own time – if you the one that was left or the one who did leave… take your time afterward. There is no rush and only that way can you figure out what it is you want without ending up in more or less the same scenario again.

    That said, it is never easy. It takes a lot out of you but as they say “this too will pass”.

    • September 21, 2011 11:50 am

      Oooo great points, Ivy! I completely agree.

      It’s so easy to be overcome with emotion in the ending of things – and either lashing out or give in. Sometimes is seems damn near impossible. But it’s not – and following you advice until things pass? Can be critical in the end. No matter what it feels like now.

  2. Movedup permalink
    September 21, 2011 5:02 pm

    Another to add Nikki – if you don’t feel it don’t fake it hopin you’re gona make it… being dumped sucks no doubt even worse when you think you are on the same page but in reality you’re not…

    • September 22, 2011 4:00 pm

      OHHH abso-friggin-lutely! Don’t ever tell someone you’re feeling something you’re not, in hopes that *eventually* they’ll find themselves on the page you’re on. Heavens to Betsy. I don’t care what happens in chick flicks, reality will always bite you when you do that.

  3. September 22, 2011 9:37 am

    I never would have thought an advice on breakups post would have me laughing out loud. Good one Nikki!

    @Movedup- that, in my book, is the MOST important rule of them all!!!

    • September 22, 2011 4:01 pm

      Thanks, lady! And yes – Miss MovedUp is right. effing. on.

  4. September 22, 2011 2:14 pm

    I am here via Blunt Delivery.

    Where has this blog been all my life? Srsly.

    • September 22, 2011 4:01 pm

      Ha ha! Welcome! And please come back for more!

      PS Love me some Blunty!

  5. October 7, 2011 2:28 pm

    As per usual, Nikki, you are spot on. My reading of this post is timely as I am currently in denial about the status of my relationship with my long-term (9 months) lover. Honesty, honesty, honesty…

  6. October 16, 2011 2:56 pm

    “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.”

    Are you inside my mind? I haven’t been in what I call a “serious” relationship (i.e. long lasting, I can see myself with this girl) in almost 6 years now, not because I don’t want to be in one, but because I can’t find anyone that it would work with. I get bored, probably too easily, and when that happens I lose virtually all interest. I also get the mutual fading in and out of peoples’ lives, but that tends to happen as people get into their careers and in and out of relationships.

    Luckily I’ve avoided drama as I’ve become so quickly bored with those I date by just being honest with them. If I’m not feeling it after a few dates, I will state what I feel is missing. Some people say I’m too honest, but I’d rather be too honest than avoid saying anything and potentially creating more problems.

    In fact, the solution to all of this should be: Quit being so boring, women. (I chalk it up to a byproduct of attractive girls often not having to develop a personality to fit in, let alone give a shit about the world around them enough to have informed opinions that they can properly discuss (as opposed to argue about).) Sigh.


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  4. Ask the Urban Dater: Led Off the Cliff of Love | Mark Steinhobel
  5. Ask the Urban Dater: Led Off the Cliff of Love | Aku, Dia & Semuanya
  6. Ask the Urban Dater: Led Off the Cliff of Love | Christine Zhao's Weblog
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