The Unofficial Breakup Checklist

The Unofficial Breakup Checklist ©iStock/Michaelpuche

Everyone goes through breakups a bit differently, but just about every person has done the things on this unofficial checklist at least once as their relationship comes to an end. Do you recognize any of these stages and deeds in yourself?

Stage 1: Before The Breakup

Get nervous about your soon-to-be ex’s change in demeanor. You can feel a breakup on the horizon, and you don’t know what to do about it.

Fight frequently. It never used to be this way, but now you can’t go more than a few hours without an argument.

Get a wandering eye, and doubt your relationship. Maybe it’s time you two split up? That new bartender looks cute.

Debate whether or not you really want to break up right nowEven in the rockiest relationships, people will often come up with reasons (valid or otherwise) to stay for just a bit longer. So, you might be delaying something.

Come up with an escape plan. Sometimes, a breakup needs careful planning. This is especially true in abusive relationships, or in matters of divorce.

Try to fix the relationship and fail. Yep, it’s time to head to the hills and batten down the hatches.

Have a dealbreaker happen. He did WHAT?! Oh, hell no!

Stage 2: The Day/Week Of The Breakup

If you’re the dumper, you have to choose the right course of action for the breakup. Hint: Unless you feel your safety is at risk, ghosting is never the right answer.

If you’re the dumpee, you will get slammed with the news. Sometimes, we don’t always see it coming. True story.

Deal with the “Exit Interview.” If you’re (ahem) lucky these days, the party that decides to break up will actually tell you when the relationship is over. It may be done over phone or in person, but you should expect a lot of tears to be shed.

Get your stuff exchanged and move out. It’s time to move back in with your parents, ain’t it?

Announce your single status. Updating Facebook has never been so painful. After you announce your singledom, you can at least expect a lot of people to come and give you a hug.

Stage 3: OK, You’re Broken Up. It’s Freakout Time.

Get into denial. “He’ll be back. They always come back.”

Cry to your friends about how much of a jerk he is. Your friends are prepared for this, and they even came armed with Kleenex and ice cream.

Eat a tub full of ice cream, watch The Notebook, and go through a seriously miserable hermit phase. You know it’s a bad breakup if you end up with nightly threeways with your pals Ben and Jerry.

Get angry at him and plot revenge. Nine times out of 10, this is not an advisable move. If anything, it’s going to make you look like the crazy ex. If you decide to make a scene and plot revenge, make sure it’s a legal way of doing so first.

Renew your membership in the “She-Woman Man Haters Club.” At this point, you’ve become convinced that all men are evil and hate women. It’s OK — everyone understands.

Try to hook up with other guys as a way to forget him. Hey, we’re not going to judge. Guys do that, too.

Post cringe-worthy updates on Facebook. Passive-aggressive posts are all too common on Facebook during a breakup.

Stage 4: Post-Freakout Breakup Mode

Allow yourself to see him as the selfish, worthless jerk he is. Guys generally do not deserve the good women that they dumped. Even if he doesn’t come back, is it really that big a deal?

Realize your faults in the relationship. For example, you probably knew he was cheating, but you may have waited until he left you for another girl to actually confront him. You might have been too clingy, or too mean with him. There may have been some things you could have done better, and it helps to learn from your mistakes — even if the only thing that you could have improved upon would have been to cut it short faster.

Figure out what you can learn from the last relationship. A bad breakup can tell us volumes about what we do and don’t want in our next partner. It can also teach us about who our real friends are, and who we should be glad to ditch.

Rebuild your life without him. You’re moving into a brand new home without him. It’s smaller, but it’s all yours. You might miss him a bit once in a while, but in all reality, you begin to realize that life is better without him.

Thank friends for being there for you. Let’s just face it — a lot of people tend to be hot messes during a breakup. Thankfully, your besties will be there for you.

Get interested in another guy – for real. Instead of constantly thinking about your ex, you’re starting to think of that cute, geeky hipster talking to the DJ at the bar. There’s some good opportunity there…

Realize that you’re now over him. “Why did I like that guy in the first place?” you muse.

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.