>(undermyfitted…): Dueces!: A Field Guide to Breaking Up

Well, y’all…it’s about that time. All the holidays are over, the temperature is steadily creeping up, and everywhere, people are suddenly discovering (and inventing) problems with their relationships. That’s right, breakup season is fast approaching. Spring is in the air…so you can’t be too surprised when your boo wants to make like one and bounce. The effect is simple…more or less, it’s the antidote to the Winter Boo Effect. The warmer temperatures and less shitty weather allow folk to emerge from the tiny cocoons they live in to enjoy the sunnier climate and, with the first 70 degree day where you live, near-nekkidness of attractive people.

However, this is not good news for everyone. In the next few weeks, with the approaching of spring and the resulting flings, literal hundreds of thousands of relationships will meet their end, most of them citing a need of “space”…which only makes sense since they were trapped inside together all winter. Seasonal relationships, bonded through the cold like a tongue to an icy pole in January, will slowly melt in the rising heat. Winter Boos will become jumpoffs, awkward friends or even strangers. Feelings will be hurt. Hearts will be broken. Some windows may be busted out of cars. It’s just the circle of life, but it can be less painful than you think if you do it right…for that reason, umf presents “Dueces: a Field Guide to Breaking Up.”

– Be sure. Do you really, really want to stop talking to this person or are you just chasing some new piece of ass? 9 out of 10 times, if you’ve made the concious and well-considered decision to move on you’re making the right one…but every so often, you could live to regret it. If you have a feeling you might, take a week and think about whether this person has no further purpose in your romantic life. If you’re still not sure, the answer is probably no…save yourself the argument and initially difficult but later very satisfying makeup process.

– Ease into it. Seriously, stopping pretty much anything too fast is never good. Diets, a bike down a hill, and especially relationships…all will go better if you slow down before stopping than just slamming on the brakes and crashing. Don’t just disappear one day never to return like you were lost at sea or some shit, you have to slowly withdraw yourself…start by decreasing the frequency of visits, then the length. If your soon-to-be-ex-whatever is a bit clingy, some light pushing away may be necessary. It’s a little awkward, but so is holding on to a dead relationship…or even worse, being caught on Cheaters by a rightfully suspicious significant other.

– Make it clear…it is them. “It’s not you, it’s me” has to be the biggest crock of shit I’ve heard since “you’re not really my type”. (Everybody knows that means “you’re a great person, but I don’t find you attractive…let me know if you ever get better looking, you’ll have a shot…”) It’s always them. If it was you, they’d be breaking up with you…but it’s not, so it’s them. The reason why it’s them may not be fair to either of you, but neither is patronizing someone by saying “you’re the greatest!” as you kick their ass to the curb. At least let them know what sucks about them so they can work on it…or at least not show up outside your window blasting R&B slow jams claiming to want closure. Nobody needs that.

– Get all your shit! If you listened to me when you got into this, you made sure to keep the items in your home that belong to them at a bare minimum (ideally it would all fit in a medium-size grocery bag). Now it’s time to gather up all your things from their place. Do it subtly and over a period of time so it doesn’t look like you’re going to tie all your possessions into a bandana on the end of a stick and steal away into the night like a hobo. There’s nothing worse than finally breaking it off and having to go back because you left your item at their house…that’s just asking for a confrontation and risking a trip to the proctologist, depending on the size of item and brutality of breakup.

– Please…do it in person (or at least use the primary form of communication between you). This person you’ve been dealing with most likely spends their time with you in person, shares whatever redeeming qualities with you in person, has sex with you in person…so it’s kinda shitty to turn around and end that through an email, or even worse, through Facebook. (I didn’t say don’t tell Facebook, just make sure to tell the other person first…and please leave your relationship status the way it is for at least a week, no matter what happens. Nobody likes a Relationship Hopper.)

– You can stay friends…but only if you ever were. That tired old “we can be friends” nonsense is so 1990’s. Let’s be real here, there are 2 basic kinds of romantic relationship…ones based in companionship and ones based in physical attraction. If all there really ever was was physical attraction and you remove the physicality and the end result of the attraction thereof, what are you left with? A shaky, vaguely defined friendzone, inevitable hard feelings when one ex finds someone else, and even-more-inevitable problems when a potential next special friend finds out you and your ex are still fucking or thinking about fucking (as about 45% and 65% of exes in limbo are, respectively). Most of the time, its best to just go back to what you were before…and if that’s “nothing”, then there’s your solution.

– Never look back…well, almost never. Far more times than not, if you left somebody alone, you did it for a reason. Maybe you had grown apart, maybe they got a bit too comfortable and irrevocably threw off the relationship learning curve, maybe they left their clothes in your laundry for the last fucking time, maybe it’s just Tuesday. The funny part is, time tends to be a kind editor when it comes to matters of the heart (I use the term loosely…matters of the hard are included here too). Often after a while we only remember what we liked about somebody and the bullshit ends up on the cutting room floor. We remember what they could have been instead of what they were. It’s an easy mistake to make, but a dangerous one…there’s an easy fix for that though, every time you think to yourself “I really loved the way…”, make an effort to remind yourself that it wasn’t enough to keep you around the first time when it was a surprise…is it really better now that you know about it? Backtracking only leads in one direction…but every so often things deserve a second look. Consider that very carefully before you drunk-dial your ex on St. Pat’s.

Aight, I hope that helps some of y’all out. It’s true what the song says…breaking up is hard to do, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If it feels right, just go for it. Think of it as the first step to somebody better…even if it’s just you. If you really wanted to do it, you’ll be glad you did. (Oh, and if you notice your main squeeze’s behavior lately sounds an awful lot like this post, it’s not a coincidence, it’s a warning…take it for what it’s worth…)