Ex Marks That Spot

So yesterday I received a very (lovingly) gentle prodding with regard to the leanness of my weekend’s post; it tickled me immensely J . A very big part of what I found endearing was the unlikely source of this “jonesing”.

Have many of you given any significant thought to your position with regard to how the marbles are divided after a break-up? And especially after a pretty acrimonious one? Don’t know about you…but I both give it much thought and think it is worth a significant discussion. I have to admit right at the start that I vacillate – my feelings and opinions in direct relation to so very many things. Okay here we go – let’s address this:

At the end of a relationship, I typically tend to err on the side of caution – everyone leaves with the ‘toys’ they came with – less messy this way. I mean, let’s face it: most relationships end with a touch (or much) of bitterness, anger, disappointment and possible betrayal; emotions that take up quite a bit of room and necessitate a village to eradicate. For the wronged party, there needs to be safe places to vent; spaces that are just theirs that ooze loyalty and a willingness to “throw down” if necessary. Privacy is also of the utmost importance during this time; the mess that is typically the image of the injured needs to be insulated and protected from prying, unsympathetic and most importantly, duplicitous eyes. There is an unspoken code that needs to always be protected and enforced: NO ONE SEES THE HEARTBROKEN UNTIL SHE/HE IS AGAIN UPRIGHT. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL ANYONE FROM THE OPPOSING ‘CAMP’ BE PRIVVY TO THIS KEENING/HEALING PROCESS.

For the one that has walked away, things are better; but, the need for understanding and agreement is still necessary. It is human nature to expect that one has either their “boys” or “girls” that champion their decisions, that empathize and sympathize during moments that affect or change lives. I have even found that the bigger the asshole or the more disrespectful the circumstances, is the bigger the need for an unfettered show of support.

So, whether you were the one that dumped or the one that was dumped upon, one can see how having very clear, undiluted lines about who either slaps you on the back or rubs your back is very necessary. Additionally, most people are unable to serve two masters (that’s why monogamy is promoted; ha-ha); especially when the heart is involved. To the person with a broken heart, your remaining friendly with the person who has inflicted their pain can seem quite disloyal. Certainly. Until hearts heal, I can see where it will be necessary to pick a side.

But see, I wrote the words “pick a side”; naturally I did that on purpose. Here we go: in moments of pain, heartbreak and disrespect, as my friend, there is no fucking side to pick! Life is a very simple creed: “leave the dance with the person you came with”! All the way home, feel free to tell me how I behaved badly, that I was not appropriately dressed, that my rhythm was off – but, as my friend, please understand that I expect (who the fuck am I kidding) – I demand that you leave with me! I mean, if I break up with someone, doesn’t that mean we ALL break up? If they hurt me, doesn’t that mean, as my friend, that they have not only hurt you, but that you are ready to take off the earrings and the wig, put Vaseline on your face, step out of the Choos, put down the Birkin, position the video camera on your phone for future upload to YouTube…and whip that ass?!? Hahahaha. Seriously, if I dropped someone, doesn’t the “five-second rule” automatically kick in for both them and their friends?

Okay, that’s one thought; but then, there are these: is it really so black and white? Does maturity, circumstances, length of time, emotional investment and just plain ole “he/she is really cool people” factor into the decision to keep or lose the associations you may have made while you were both still happy? Is it mandatory that everyone breaks up or only the two who were exchanging bodily fluids? Does it make a mockery of the friendships you may have forged if they simply dissipate when the couple is no longer such? Do you owe loyalty to the others you may have met through your now-ex? Should there be a more tolerant rule implemented? Let’s say, if the couple were enjoined for 5+ years then that length of time adds credence to any peripheral relationships that may have been formed; thus allowing for the un-criticized maintaining of same after the couple’s split? Kind of a “statute of limitation” on the need to lose everything. Hmmmmmmm…..

Well, I guess as in most matters that involve that organ that beats with such rhythm (Lord people…the organ in our chest that has the rhythm; jeez), how we navigate our decisions when it is bruised, bumped or shattered will depend largely on not only how much we can handle, but certainly how well we can handle. For many, the mere sight of anyone connected to the one that has negatively affected us, may be just too much; painful reminders that inhibit and stunt our ability and need to heal. Others may encourage this situation as a misguided way of trying to hold on to either hope for reconciliation, or as a masochistic form of voyeurism. Then, there are those that have evolved to a place of understanding that no relationships are to be trivially entered or discarded; precluding them from being relegated to the curbside as easily as one would drag out the recyclables.

Given the reality of the divorce rate, maybe we should do a few things: discuss with your partner when you are in love, what his/her opinion is with regard to the anatomy of break-ups – friends, property, oh… and social media presence J . Seriously. I get that we all like to assume that ours will be the relationship that lasts forever; but, well….. Listen, I really believe that how one breaks up is more important than how you get together; the former usually involves only two people; the latter, a ménage a plenty.

My advice after a break-up? Assume you are no longer invited to that sand-box; play in your own. Allow for the dust to settle; see what happens after it does. If any of the relationships that were forged meant any more than just a by-product of the fact that you were for a time Mr./Mrs. Right Then, they will sustain after both parties have regrouped and recovered. Give the space and the focus of loyalty that is necessary to prop-up where necessary or congratulate on “dodging that bullet”. As friends, speak with each of the primaries of the ex-relationship to ascertain their feelings with regard to your maintaining a relationship with either the ex or the friend(s) of same.

Listen I get it – sometimes certain couples only get together so that the friends can meet; hahaha! But, I’m serious – sometimes the friendships and family that come out of a union are more significant than the initial union – granted. But even in those times, in all times, be sensitive to feelings. Decide whether a new relationship is worth more to you than the old. And, when you choose (because most times you will be called upon to do just that), choose grace, choose benevolence, choose understanding, choose sensitivity, choose substance, choose loyalty, choose fairness. When you choose, choose well.


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