Apr 232012

Charlotte had finally broken up with her boyfriend of four years. All her friends—including me—were relieved. “Bob” had been bad news. Now Charlotte was sitting in my kitchen, sipping a gin and tonic, and confessing that she was considering going back to him.

The mind has a funny way of spinning reality. I remembered my own breakup. Observing my mind-talk, I was surprised at how often my thoughts grew into tall stories. In one, my ex desperately missed me and wanted to get back together. In another he was actively dating and had totally forgotten about me. At times, I would even tell myself our breakup was only temporary. My girlfriend Kelli set me straight.

“You’ve been thinking that getting back together is impossible,” she said. “I’d like you to entertain the idea that it’s not.”

She continued. “Jump into the fantasy that you’re reunited and see how you feel.”

I took her advice, and afterwards I felt like I’d been sprayed with cold water. There was no going back. We had split for a reason, and that reason had not changed.

“Tell me what would be different if you two got back together,” I asked Charlotte. “What has changed?”

Charlotte thought a moment, “Nothing really. I just miss him.”

I totally understood.

“Missing him and getting back together are two different things,” I pointed out gently. “Imagine being back with Bob. Go ahead. Imagine it!”

She closed her eyes.

“OK,” I said. “You guys have been back together for five months, and you’re having dinner at your condo. How do you feel?”

I have a knot in my stomach,” she said.

“Do you still want to get back together?”

“No!” She laughed.



Oct 032011

I just learned about a new trend that I’m not liking: rating your exlover on line. Exrated is has joined the growing number of websites that allow individuals to comment anonymously on others’ performance, personality, and preferences. ExRated founder’s Tom Padazana, explains, “I hope this will be a research tool to help people make more educated decisions in dating.”Exrated’s motto is “forewarned is forearmed.”

Few have written ratings so far, but most who have haven’t been kind. One reviewer wrote, “Bring your own Zoloft. Fun in bed, but absolute bonkers out of it. Everyone’s conspiring against her, so she thinks.”

The whole concept seems mean-spirited to me. What do you think?


Sep 152011

“I should have seen it coming,” she began. My friend Cameron had been recently dumped by her boyfriend of three months. Cameron and I were sharing tapas at one of our favorite lunch spots downtown.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I said.

“But all the signs were there. We were arguing a lot, he’d become distant, and his friends were acting strange. The writing was on the wall.”

“Hindsight is twenty-twenty,” I said sympathetically.

“I’m proud of how I handled myself, though,” she offered.

“Oh?” I was glad she had stopped beating herself up.

“I handled the whole thing with grace. I listened to everything he had to say, told him I was sorry to hear it but appreciated his honesty, and wished him well. Then we hung up.”

“Hung up? He broke up with you over the phone?” I was appalled.

“I know that’s not kosher, but I’m glad he did,” she said. “That way, he couldn’t see my face and how I really felt.”

“And how did you feel?”

“Angry. More angry than sad. I was mad at myself for not breaking up with him first.”

“I get that.” I’d been there too.

“He was right; we weren’t a good match. We should have ended it a month ago.”

The next day, I thought about our conversation. The next time, I’m dumped I’m going to take a page out of Cameron’s book. I’ll listen carefully, thank him for his honesty, and wish him well. The less emotion shown the better.

Even if it’s been a long-term relationship, I’ll keep any drama to myself. I’ll avoid arguing, bargaining, lashing out, or crying. After all, there’s no reason to act like he’s destroyed me; he hasn’t. I will get through it, and one day I’ll find someone who loves me as much as I love him. I deserve that.

Cameron had shown me how to handle a breakup with grace.


Sep 142011

Here are three short videos on how to move on after a breakup:

Breakup Tip One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7WdYQsm6iU

Breakup Tip Two:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy3kJZUGYv0

Breakup Tip Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q06sCQPQOM4


Jul 082011

It was one of those beautiful Asheville summer evenings. The sun was setting; the air was cool—perfect convertible weather. Top down, Kathy and I were on our way to a hip new bar in the River Arts District.

“I may have gotten this break up thing down,” I said to Kathy.


“Yeah, Tomas and I talked last weekend, and we’ve decided to shift our relationship from dating to a friendship. I’m pretty jazzed about our new status.”

“And Tomas, how does he feel about it?’

“He’s in perfect agreement. He needs more ‘me’ time right now too. We both know it will be an adjustment. We’ve promised to keep the lines of communication open.”

Kathy looked skeptical. “You know, it’s pretty unusual to make this kind of shift without some kind of ‘time out.’”

“We talked about that, but we didn’t want to do that. Of course, that could change.”

“I’m impressed,” Kathy said. “Why do you think you’ve been able to do this? It sure hasn’t worked for you in the past.”

Kathy was right; rarely had I remained friends with an ex-lover.

“Two reasons,” I began. “First, Tomas and I are in similar places. We’re both going through major life transitions. And we both need a lot of time to ourselves right now. Being in a relationship was a distraction. Now we can focus on what’s really important.”

“Which is. . .?”

“Our friendship. You know, we’ve decided we’ll probably be more intimate as friends than we were as lovers.”  I laughed.

“That’s pretty great,” Kathy said.

“I’m proud of both of us. At the same time, I’m not naïve. I know it’s going to be tough, especially when one of us starts dating. I just hope we can work through it with lots of honesty and communication.”

“Makes perfect sense.”

“I guess we’re lucky. Not every couple can turn a break up into a friendship. But when romantic relationships run their course, a friendship can follow if the couple still love each other and have similar interests and values.”

“And maturity,” Kathy added.

“Right! OK, sweet pea, enough about me. What have you’ve been up to?”