The Definitive List of Breakup Don’ts

If you have to break up, you might as well do it right. Even when the end of a relationship is emotionally messy and we’re walking away from real jerks, it generally helps in the long-term to be kind to ourselves and avoid making any sort of scenes that we’ll regret later. Here’s the definitive list of breakup don’ts to keep things as regret-free as possible.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. Disappointment and rejection are terrible, real feelings, but that doesn’t mean you have to run with them. Just because one guy decided that he would prefer to work on his career than be in a committed relationship with you doesn’t mean that you’re aging poorly, getting too fat, or are unworthy of love. Try to keep things in perspective and be kind to yourself.
  2. Don’t rebound with his friends. Revenge works on TV because we don’t have to stick around to see the characters riddled with guilt and having anxiety attacks in their bathrooms after the fact. Most of us aren’t actually heartless creatures, and while playing the evil bitch to match your ex’s bad behavior might sound fun for a second, it just causes more problems.
  3. Don’t put him on blast. Social media is not the right avenue for getting support, and calling someone out online just reflects poorly on you, not him. He might be a cheater, but you don’t look particularly trustworthy, either, when you post screenshots of his attempts to get you back over text.
  4. Don’t ignore your feelings. It’s okay to be hurt or feel bad about hurting someone else — that means you’re a human. It’s when we don’t accept and process our feelings that they stick around, messing with our minds.
  5. Don’t question your decision. If you agonized over whether or not you should break up with him and finally made the decision, only to have regret and fear come crashing back on you, sleep on it for a while. Eventually your clarity and resolve will return and you’ll know you did the right thing.
  6. Don’t be defensive. We can trick ourselves into believing a lot of weird stuff to protect our innocence, but playing victim and avoiding all responsibility for a relationship just keeps us stuck. You might deflect some stuff… until you get into the same type of relationship all over again because you didn’t learn the lesson the first time.
  7. Don’t obsess. No matter how many times you listen to “your song” on repeat, it’s not going to conjure a love spell and deposit him in your bedroom to dry your tears. Has overthinking ever really done you any favors?
  8. Don’t go nuts. Getting out of the house is a good idea, but turning into party girl extraordinaire and staying out every night until 5 AM isn’t going to help you recover and move on. Neither will binging on junk food or cutting off your hair. You know, stick with the middle ground. And if you have to change your hair, just have a professional do it.
  9. Don’t get too down. So he’s not the guy for you. As hard as it to imagine feeling great again and ever meeting a new guy, it’s going to happen anyway. Might as well hold that good thought in the meantime.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog