I’m face to face with my estranged best friend of 10 years, failing to resuscitate the mood stretched out like a corpse on the table between us.
“So…ummm, like…how have you been?” While we perform verbal pirouettes in a politically correct tango, my internal monologue sighs, “Babe, hang up your dancing shoes.”
Two years later, my ex-boyfriend and I, post-breakup, discuss plans. It’s clear but unspoken that our paths will not intersect in the future.
Unfortunately, the irony is not lost on me that we make our final farewell under a romantic full moon.
Watch: Horoscopes going through a breakup. Post continues below.
Aside from being utterly devastating, these relationship breakdowns shared another common thread. I reacted the same way afterwards: I cut contact. When relationships are reproduced virtually, this not only meant avoiding occasions and deleting contacts but included the social media ‘unfriend, unfollow’ shebang.
Petty? Uncool? I get it. Our teachers have drilled reconciliation into us. I plead my case: Adult relationships are not as simple as our sandpit disputes. When the word “sorry” either doesn’t come or cut it, repairing a relationship so you can ‘maturely’ coexist, can mean staying broken.
But if the failed relationships of my twenties have taught me anything, it’s that the line between helping and hurting yourself is perilously thin when it comes to cutting contact.
I hope the next hundred words or so can help you squint through the emotional rubble of a relationship in ruins and decide how you should rebuild your life without that person.
Ask yourself, what kind of terms am I cutting contact on? Do you dissolve into fiery fits of rage at the mere mention of their name? Did your last interaction feature high-frequency yelling or passive-aggressive karate? In this case, cutting contact is likely a means of inflicting revenge.
Grudges are energy-sapping and a colossal waste of time (I should know, I’ve held a few of them), but as the satisfaction of “getting a bit of your own back” inevitably fades, you will probably feel like a piece of garbage. Why? All the unresolved feelings are still there and now you’ve probably made it a little bit worse.