Break-ups may sting, but it’s the healing process afterwards that can truly hurt for a long time. It’s especially difficult if you find yourself still thinking about your ex-partner and plagued with questions: Should I try to win her back? Where did we go wrong? Why can’t I just forget about it? This week, we talk about concrete steps you can take to get over an ex or let go of a past relationship.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory Podcast, we're talking about how to get over a relationship. This is yet another from the list of the top relationship search terms of 2017 from Google is how to get over a relationship. We realized it's something that we've had some other episodes about breakups but we haven't quite addressed this exactly about specifically getting over a relationship. We did want to say that this is also in this episode we're going to focus on supporting your partners or your friends or other loved ones when they're going through a breakup as well and helping them to get over that.
Even if you're not currently trying to get over a relationship or expect to be doing that anytime soon, I know at least, for me, as a human being who has friends, generally, several times through the year, at least, some of your friends or someone that you know or yourself is dealing with a breakup and having to get over a relationship. This is something that is relevant to everyone in our lives.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. Bear in mind that when we say getting over a relationship or getting over an ex, for instance, that can look many different ways with many different results. The reason why we've talked about breakups but not really getting over things is because, I think, that when you're in the realm of non-traditional relationships, actually, one of the good things is the fact that a relationship can change in transition and escalate or de-escalate without it having to be a harsh breakup where you never talk to them again and you nurse that wound for years, which is usually how we expect to do it in more traditional relationships.
However, just bear in mind that getting a former partner can have many different end results. It could be a de-escalation and the getting over process is like getting over what the relationship used to look like and then, adjusting to what it is now. It could be cutting someone out of your life. That's okay too. It could be trying to create a healthy co-parenting relationship with someone that you are raising a child with but who you don't have a romantic or sexual connection with anymore.
Whatever it ends up looking like, this kind of relationship transition can have a huge effect on your mind, on your body, on your emotions and it is something definitely to -- Regardless of what's actually happening in this transition, to make sure that you're caring for yourself and being proactive and intentional about going about it.
Emily: Like Dedeker said, it's totally fine to potentially stay friends with your ex after the appropriate amount of time for you to fully get over that or for just some time to pass so that you're not super emotional about it or any of those things and the three of us are obviously great example of that. [laughs]
Dedeker: We're an example. If you blow your own horn horn much to say we're a great example.
Jase: I think we're pretty great.
Emily: I think we're a pretty awesome example because, again, I've talked to some friends of mine who hate all of their exes and don't understand the concept of being friendly with an ex after a breakup because a breakup means it ended horribly and that's the only reason that you would break up with someone and you never want to see them again. I think that the great thing about us or just about anyone, in general, who can be a friend afterwards is that those people can still bring something amazing to your life even if you're not necessarily in a romantic partnership with them.
Dedeker: Right. Actually, I was on the phone with a friend of mine just yesterday and he was asking about like, "What is it like still working on the podcast with Emily? What is like between Jase and Emily?" He's like, "Oh, Jase is in the room, if you don't want to talk about it, that's fine." I'm just like, [laughs] "It's fine. It's no big deal. We're still the emotional triad raising the podcast baby, none of that's changed.
Jase: That said though, and something that I think we'll get into a little bit more through this episode, is that in that transition from one type of a relationship that like in Emily and my case was living together as well as being in a romantic and sexual relationship with each other, the transitioning from that to not living together and not having a sexual relationship anymore and also trying to figure out what level of romance, friendship, whatever we had, that was a difficult thing and that definitely took time. That is something that's going to come up a lot through this episode, is just to understand that these things take time. Emily, we talked about this and it seemed like it took us about six months to settle in.
Emily: Yes, totally. I think that it took that amount of time again just to let -- I don't know. The really vulnerable beginnings of leaving someone in that way or at least de-escalating something in that way, how vulnerable that time period is and just a solid six months of nursing our wounds a little bit and having some time apart and then, finally coming back together and being like, "Okay, we can be cool now", and it's not weird.
Dedeker: Yes, but you all we're still recording a podcast during that time.
Emily: I know we were. It's not like we had no nothing ever, we never talked to each other or anything, but still, it wasn't as intense maybe as we are now where we're talking to each other multiple times a week.
Jase: Exactly, yes. There wasn't the level of comfort that we had before or that we have now. There is a transition period where it was just less comfortable because you're re-adjusting because you might be hurt about it still even if you think that it's the right thing to do. Anyway, I just want everyone to keep that in mind as well, whether it's for yourself or for someone you care about, is that just saying like, "Oh, but we both agreed we're going to be friends", that just that in itself doesn't make that easy and it doesn't make that breakup not hurt necessarily, just keep that in mind and if it does hurt, that doesn't mean that it's doomed or that you can't ever be friends, but just give some respect to the fact that it's going to take some time.
Dedeker: We'll get more into that in the meat of the episode.
Jase: Then, the other thing we want to say is that it's also okay, on the other extreme, to not have any connection at all to an ex-partner or to keep someone who's toxic or destructive or just hurtful to you out of your life entirely. Then, also they don't even have to be a bad person or you don't have to have some jury decide that they are toxic or destructive person in order to cut them off.
You're not obligated to be friends with anybody. This is your life and your choice you don't have to justify why you don't want to have someone in your life. They could be a perfectly good person, but for you, they have a negative effect on your life, that's also perfectly okay to be honest with yourself about that and say, "I just don't want them in my life. I don't have to tell everyone that they're a terrible person. I don't have to convince anyone that they're awful. I just don't need to have them in my life." That's also okay.
Dedeker: We have four specific pointers for you if you're listening and you're trying to get over or let go of a past relationship. Also, if you're trying to help a partner or a friend or a family member who maybe also going through the same thing. Emily, what is our first one?
Emily: The very first one is going to be cut off contact. Specifically, this can delve into if you feel it's time to de-escalate or if it's getting awkward just trying to be friends or if you realize that the relationship is toxic or volatile, then, cut off contact for at least 10 days. See what it's like to be without that person for that period of time. Take 10 days off entirely from the relationship and then, after those 10 days, see where things lie.
Dedeker: I always toss out the 10 days to clients because it's in a sweet spot as far as amount of time goes where it's not so long that it's super scary. It's not like take six months of where you're not going to talk to them because people-
Jase: Or even one month.
Dedeker: -because when you're still attached to somebody, it can really be like [gasps] that feels really scary, but it's also not so short that it's like, "Oh, just take 24 hours and then, get right back into the negative cycles that you're already in." 10 days is a really good amount of time for being able to connect to yourself to see who it is that you are when you're not talking to this person, when you're not staying connected to this person, what feelings come up, good, bad, in between, things like that. This does include social media as well. I have a lot of clients who will do the 10-day thing but spend the entire 10 days just creeping on their partner's social media- [laughs]
Emily: That does nothing good.
Dedeker: -and trying to interpret like, "What does that mean? What does this mean? How could they do this? Why would they do that? Oh, my goodness." It just makes it worse so it does include social media. I know a lot of people get really hesitant because they think, "Oh, I should be above that. I don't want to come across as the petty ex who needs to block you."
If you need to, just very simply say to this person, "Hey, in this period of us not contacting each other, I'm going to disconnect on social media. At the end of that time, if we want to reconnect, then, we can", so that you don't come across as petty, then, do that but actually do it, actually cut yourself off from their social media, actually do as much as you can to get that psychological distance away.
Jase: Yes, and part of that is, also, don't rely on just your willpower alone to do that, that actually taking the initiative to either hide their post on Facebook or block them and, of course, there's other social media as well, maybe unfollow them on Snapchat or whatever it is. Take those steps to do it because you might think, right now, while you're listening to this episode, "Oh, yes. I just won't check their stuff. It'll be fine. If I need to, that's fine but I don't want to block them. I'll be fine."
Then, when it's later in the evening, especially if you have a drink or you're tired or if you're in any kind of "weakened state", your ability to have willpower -- This is something that is scientifically proven. This isn't just some mumbo-jumbo I'm throwing out here. Your ability to make good decision goes down. Your ability to do that does wear out during the day and that's when you're going to end up at two in the morning, checking their social media and especially, then, also, getting more upset about it so really take those proactive steps and say, "I'm going to do this", maybe even put a reminder in your calendar for 10 days from now to unblock them if you want, but actually take that step instead of just relying on willpower alone to do it.
Emily: It's like that song Need You Now. Do remember that song?
Dedeker: Which song?
Emily: We sang that Jase in karaoke.
Jase: Yes, we sing that at karaoke.
Emily: That's exactly what this is.
Dedeker: Is it about Snapchat?
Emily: No. [chuckles]
Jase: No. It's a country song so it's about telephone calls.
Dedeker: Right. Yes, I know that song.
Emily: "It's 2 AM and I need you now."
Jase: "I said I wouldn't call but I'm a little drunk and I need you now."
Dedeker: Yes, that's right. Why did you guys sing that? [laughs]
Emily: I don't know. It's fun to duet to.
Dedeker: I mean, it's beautiful. Whenever I've heard you all sing it, it's beautiful but a downer.
Jase: It is surprisingly hard to find duets in general. They're a little harder to find duets, especially ones that have good content because they're either super unhealthy ideas of what romance is or they tend to be something like this that's [sic] tend to be about fairly unhealthy relationship. [laughs]
Dedeker: Co-dependent relationships.
Jase: Yes, exactly.
Emily: Totally. Well, it's a country song. What do you expect?
Jase: All of them, though, they're all like that.
Dedeker: Yes. It's not just country songs, any popular songs.
Emily: That's true.
Jase: You know what? I'm going to make a bold statement right now. I would actually say, as a genre, I think country probably has more examples of some healthy relationship songs than a lot of other genres.
Emily: Maybe you're right.
Dedeker: Real quick question, do you want to take a five-minute detour to get a mini-lecture on which songs you think-?
Jase: No, but i think that country has a precedence for -- Because country songs tend to be a less angst-ridden like a lot of other pop and rock songs are, like, "Oh, I'm suffering so much" or "I'm in pain, I'm going to sing this", that country does have those songs, but often, they're a more matter-of-fact approach to the lyrics in talking about a subject. I think that actually leads to a lot of songs with, at least, a broader range of looking at what romance can be and not to say that all of them are great by any stretch because I'd say the music industry, in general, is full of terrible relationship models but I'd actually say, Emily, that country is a better genre than most in terms of finding some good examples.
Dedeker: Well, folks, you heard it here first.
Emily: At least, it puts itself out there. [laughs]
Dedeker: Can I bring us back?
Jase: Yes, please.
Emily: Yes, you may.
Dedeker: Anyway, this whole 10-day thing, people get really resistant to this but remember, if you were really meant to stay connected in some way, whether that's you're meant to continue the relationship or meant to stay friends or meant to have each other in each other's lives, then, that's going to last through 10 days of no contact. [laughs] If everything falls apart after 10 days of no contact and there's no way of salvaging it, then, clearly, there was not a good foundation there, to begin with. That's probably why people are resistant to it is because on a certain level they know that if we're not talking to each other for 10 days, this is not going to survive that.
Jase: Even realizing for themselves, and this can be a good thing for supporting a friend who's going through this, is they might be afraid to do it because they realize that if they're away from this person for 10 days, they're going to realize they don't need them so badly.
Jase: They, themselves, will realize they don't need this other person so badly, which will make it clear to them that they do need to end that relationship and that idea scares a lot of people.
Dedeker: More people get afraid of the opposite. More people get afraid of like, "If my partner is away from me for 10 days, they're going to realize that they don't me."
Jase: Certainly. I'm just saying I think it happens the other way around more than you think, so there. [laughs]
Dedeker: Well, those are them’s fighting words.
Jase: I know, right?
Emily: We just wanted to say real quick that jumping right into, "Let's just be friends", may just make the sex hotter for a while but not necessarily fix a problem or also, again, like we said before, you should probably take some time before becoming friends or otherwise, you may just start becoming friends and then, just keep having sex and keep doing your same toxic things in a relationship.
Dedeker: That's the thing, is that as soon as you know you're not supposed to be having sex this time, either like, "Oh, we're just friends" or "We're taking a break", it is going to make the sex really hot for maybe a week or two because the fact that you know you're not supposed to be doing it.
Emily: I've definitely been there done that.
Dedeker: Oh, I've been there done that too.
Jase: For sure.
Dedeker: Again, give yourself that time. If you actually want to be just friends, if that actually is your MO, take that time, do it for yourself so that you can reconnect yourself at the very least and if you make it through, I promise you, you're going to be a lot better because of it.
Jase: If you don't make it through, that's for the best that that relationship didn't last. Do you know what I mean? If that relationship doesn't last the 10 days even as friends, that's for the best. You dodged a bullet there.
Dedeker: Yes, you dodged a bullet. What's our next one?
Jase: I think this is you.
Dedeker: It is me. Oh, my goodness. Okay, yes. The next one is to find therapy of some kind. It can be professional one-on-one therapy with an actual licensed psychotherapist or with a coach or some other professional. Ideally, if you're in a none traditional relationship, good to find somebody who's friendly or knowledgeable about those things as much as you can. Of course, we understand that therapy is not always available or accessible or affordable to everybody, it is definitely a privilege but that doesn't mean that you're just screwed in this arena. There are many, many alternative options.
Jase: Right. The first of those is some kind of a group therapy. Now, this could be still professional. This could be a group therapy that you pay for or this could be some kind of a processing group or a discussion group if it lends itself toward that kind of support. This could be something that you do in person or this could be something that you do online such as there's lots of free Facebook groups out there in addition to our Multiamory Patreon group. If you're a Patreon supporter, a lot of people go there for support.
This is something that I found at some polyamory discussions, if you can find those, that sometimes there will be either a certain section of the talk or maybe some time afterwards specifically for people who are seeking support or want to share more personal things rather than a just intellectual discussion about polyamory, that's one option if you're not in a polyamorous relationship. If it's more monogamous, it's much easier to find support groups for that but either way that is really important to find people you can talk to openly about it who are going to support you on that, whether they're strangers or friends or whatever.
Emily: Yes. I have a friend who's in therapy and in group therapy. She does a little of both. I think that is pretty cool. Another way is to find a therapeutic activity, something that you can create with your hands or an artistic expression or creative writing. I personally find yoga or exercising to be insanely therapeutic because it really takes you outside of your mind and puts you into your body in some way and lets you let go, meditation, which we didn't even put in here, but that's another form of therapy as well.
Jase: For sure.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. When I was researching this topic, I found someone who said, "Instead of paying $200, 300, 400 for a month of therapy, I spent a hundred dollars on buying a canvas and a bunch of brushes and paint and then, that was my therapy."
Emily: That's awesome.
Dedeker: The difference there being that she very intentionally went out and did something in order to prep for that and that can be very helpful. This can be a time I think to pick up a new creative activity as well, something to really take your mind and your focus off of it and something that you can pour those emotions into is also really helpful.
Jase: Yes. I found that this also really varies for me. That I've had times where in a certain break up or getting over something difficult, that something calm like meditation or something like writing has been really helpful but in other situations especially if emotionally, for me, I was a lot more angry about it, then, something like going and working out or doing something very physical was much more beneficial for me, whereas, other times, that wasn't as helpful, so keep in mind too it's not just like, "I'll just Google this real quick" as apparently a lot of people have in 2017. "I'll just Google this real quick" and they say, "Go run or go on hikes." "Okay, I'll do that. Oh, it didn't work. This is bullshit." Find the activity that is right for you.
Emily: One size does not fit all.
Jase: Right. It might be different from day to day and just don't be afraid to really check in with yourself and see what might help. Is it that, "I feel really pent-up physically. I need to go get this out" or is it more, "I need to occupy my mind"?
Dedeker: Bear in mind that your partners and your friends and your family members, they can help with this if you need to vent, if you need to express, if you need to verbally process. It can be great to go to someone that you trust or to go to a supportive partner in order to talk about these things but just be mindful of what emotional labor is been given and received because basically, they can be helpful but only up to a certain point because you also don’t want to be just completely draining your partner or your friends or your family members, making them into your therapists and not paying them [chuckles] or not compensating or not -- I don’t know what the words that I'm looking for -- Not returning the favor in any way, just be mindful of the fact that emotional labor is a thing. Go listen to our episode on emotional labor.
Dedeker: Don’t be hesitant to open up to your partners or friends or family members but just be aware that is a resource that isn't necessarily a bottomless well.
Jase: Yes. Then, also, I know I mentioned this a little bit earlier in the group therapy, but the Multiamory Patreon group has a lot of this stuff, actually, because when you have a group of a couple of hundred people, breakups are going to happen, unfortunately, but it’s really great to have a space where people can share about that and say specifically, “I’m looking for support on this or I’m looking for advice or other people’s experiences or ideas to have a space where you can talk about that where someone isn’t going to jump to, "Oh, well, that’s what happens when you're polyamorous or that what happens when you try to do any non-traditional relationship." Instead of trying to, essentially, blame you for it or blame your choices for that, it's just a place that you can share where people are like, “I’m concerned about how you feel", giving you that support first and foremost rather than trying to pathologize your relationship or something like that.
Jase: That’s a fantastic resource that a lot of people do take advantage of in the Multiamory Patreon on the Facebook group for the people there.
Dedeker: I know I’ve seen a number of posts in that group of people just sharing, not even necessarily getting into the nitty-gritty details of what happened but just giving a really simple version of what happened and just saying, “I’m just hurting. I just need support.”
Emily: Support, yes.
Dedeker: That’s it. Being able-- Again, like Jase was saying, to get people reaching out with that support and understanding and relating and virtual hugs without it being about, “We’re going to dissect why you shouldn’t have done what you did or whatever.”
Jase: With that, we’re going to move onto our next topic, which is -- We call this, "Be a Negative Nancy." This one is surprising to a lot of people that we would put this something about being negative. Essentially, what this is is about remembering after you have broken up or you’ve ended a relationship, remembering why you did that, why you ended that relationship or why that relationship ended as if it was mutual or whatever because when we do romanticize our past relationships that way, it can lead us to perhaps doing the yo-yo dating thing.
I’m sure all of us have some friends who’ve done this where they’re just constantly on again and off again and you’re just like, “God, you guys are all for each other. You're always miserable when you’re together. You’re happy for the first a little bit when you get back together but then, it’s shitty again.” Not only that that you’re together and not together but other people will see, “Gosh, this isn’t -- You're not being productive in your life.”
You’re constantly thinking about whether this is on again, off again or if you should break up again or whatever that often, that can come because our human memories are not very good. Some are more not good than others. I’m speaking for myself, maybe. Human memory is very flawed and actually doing concrete reminders for yourself and really remembering the fact that this ended for a reason and just because I’m lonely, doesn’t mean that I should still be in that relationship.
Emily: Yes. Some of those boundaries or deal breakers might be good things to remember or just red flags that happened in your relationship, just a violations of any kind. Again, if you’re feeling like, “Well, maybe it wasn’t that bad” or if you’re trying to figure out like, “Well, should I really break up with this person?” If there is a consistent thing that’s occurring in this relationship like a deal breaker or like a red flag or anything, just huge differences in what your boundaries are or what your morals or viewpoints on the world are even, then, it might be a good idea to remember those things and be concrete about them and maybe not staying in that relationship.
Dedeker: Yes. Speaking of being concrete, it can be good to actually write these things out, actually have a list of reasons why the relationship didn’t work out or red flags that you missed early on. Sex therapist, Amy Levine, actually recommends have that list in plain sight somewhere. Keep it on your phone or put it next to your computer if you’re always on Facebook and about to message your ex or check out your ex’s social media or something like that.
If it has to get extreme, then make it extreme. If you need to change the contact name in your phone of your ex to something specific like, “This person called me a bitch in front of my friends”, then do that so that when you pull up your ex’s text messages to start messaging them, then you see that and you’re like, "Oh, right."
Jase: Oh, right. [laughs]
Dedeker: That was the thing that happened. I feel so torn about this one because usually, my MO in life is like, “Don’t dwell on the negative and dwell on the positives and move on.” If you’re at the point where you’re finding yourself just miserable and constantly drawn back to wanting to be back in this relationship or back with this ex who is not good for you, don’t to be afraid to dwell on the negative things.
Emily: Yes, if there's a re-occurring offense, then, for sure.
Dedeker: Yes. Also, on top of that, congratulate yourself for not being exposed to those negative anymore. You can wrap it up in that too.
Jase: That’s the great part, actually, about writing it down is that I feel you actually then don’t have to think about it so much and instead, it’s there, that idea of putting it in the contacts or somewhere that isn’t a place where you might message them or start thinking like, “Maybe I should get back together with them", maybe put it on a posted note on a photo of them that you have in your room or whatever it is can actually help you to not have to be dwelling on that all the time.
It’s not like you have to constantly walk around in a state of being mad at them or upset with them to keep yourself from dating them again but it’s still there at the important times to remind you to be like, “Oh, right. Yes. Go, me. I’m not in that situation anymore.”
Dedeker: I know. What I did once -- I don’t remember if this was with an ex or with someone I had a falling out with -- This was when I had a desktop computer. I was going to Facebook and social media more often through my desktop that Chrome had some setting where when you type in your URL, you can have it automatically redirect to a different one or when you click on a particular URL. I set it to that. If I ever went to that person’s social media, it would redirect me to Tiny Buddha, which is a Buddhist-Zen blog.
Emily: Wow. That’s really smart.
Dedeker: You could either do that or you can have it set to that it redirects you to a Google Doc where you have a list of all those things.
Jase: Yes, that’s fantastic.
Dedeker: I don’t know if you could -- I'm sure there’s some way you can do that in the mobile version as well to cover yourself on all basis but for me, it really helped because I would be cranky or sad or want to go and look at their social media and then, it will redirect me to the blog and for a couple of seconds, I would be like, “This is dumb”, but then, I'd be like, “No, but this is right.”
Jase: Yes. In a mobile app, you can’t do something quite like that, unfortunately, because it’s all within the app instead of through a browser. I do think this is potentially a good chance for unfollowing someone at least to remove that temptation of seeing their posts that they’re putting on social media even if you’re not going to block them entirely because maybe you still are cordial sometimes or you need to coordinate about your children or about something financial or whatever. I think that’s fine by taking away some of those temptations to just reminisce about that relationship or think about it or wish that you still had it, things like that.
This one's also great if you’re the friend who’s supporting somebody through a breakup. That this technique-- Especially, if you feel you’re the one who constantly has to feel shaking them and be like, “No. Remember that they were a jerk to you. You don’t want to be back in that relationship." If you’re feeling you’re the one having to do that all the time, perhaps you could be the one to suggest this idea of like, “Let me see their contact in your phone real quick. I’ll just make a quick list in here of all of these reasons why you are not with them." It could be a way to save yourself a little bit of emotional labor.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. Let’s move onto our last one.
Emily: Yes. The last one is going to be 'Get outside of yourself'. You’ve grieved, you’ve had a lot of time to yourself, maybe you’ve had time to get over the death of this relationship or just the moving on from this relationship to something else entirely but after that has happened, to go out and be social, maybe connect to family or friends or other partners or just go be in a group of people, go to a Meetup group, anything, go out dancing, something, just be social and get outside of yourself again.
Dedeker: Just to something to get yourself outside of your own head and outside of your own memories because that's when we can have those moments of being much more vulnerable, when we're by ourself and we're feeling lonely, we're feeling sad and we're pouring over the good memories of the relationship. How it could have gone differently? What I could have done differently? Of course, take care of yourself and of course, you're going to go through a period where maybe you are grieving and you are mourning, let yourself have those emotions but, also, don't be afraid to let yourself go out and just focus on somebody else and on something else.
I'm going to bring up again my pay it forward technique, TMTMTM.
Jase: TMTMTM. [laughs]
Dedeker: Thank you for backing me up on that one. The technique of in the moments that you are feeling sad or feeling lonely or feeling like you are not being loved, go love on somebody like send someone a text message.
Jase: Clarify what that means. [laughs]
Dedeker: Okay, fine. It doesn't have to be going on Tinder and finding a hookup. What I mean is go through your phone, message someone you haven't messaged in a while, family member, friend or another partner and just send them something positive and true about them or just ask them, "Hey, I have been thinking about you and want to know how you're doing. Just find some way to do something very small to try to brighten somebody else's day or to spark a little bit of a connection with someone else who's in your life already. Again, just for the purpose of getting you outside of yourself and getting you into a mode of wanting to give to somebody rather than focusing on the things that you are not receiving.
Jase: A slightly similar way is to realize that there might be other ways of getting your needs met too. This is something that comes up a lot -- Something that I realize happens if I'm feeling that feeling of, "I'm desperate to find somebody to date", and I know that after a break up this can be especially hard if you're feeling alone more of the time, feeling this like I need to date, the sense of need rather than just I want to and that a lot of times, we can help that by getting our needs met in other ways and some ways to do this would be something like, for example, if it's touch that you need, finding a cuddle party.
I know that some people might be like, "I don't know. That seems weird." Sure, it might not be for you, maybe you could just find a friend who's okay with cuddling. There are also -- Even if you don't know anyone in your town, you might be able to go on meetup.com and find a cuddle party nearby even if you have to drive a little ways to get to it. If it's more sexual, you could find a sex party in your area. These are also ways-
Dedeker: Or some kink dungeon or something.
Jase: Right. Some way of getting those needs met. If it's more just social time, something like finding a group activity, again, through meet up or through Facebook events or there's lots of other social groups in most major cities and even a lot of small ones.
Dedeker: Or just get your friends together.
Jase: Or put your own together, just create the activity that you -- Be the activity you want to see in the world. Create the activity, say, "Hey, I'm putting together a hiking thing", or a picnic or a board game day or whatever it is to realize that you can be proactive about getting some of these needs met.
Dedeker: If you're in a situation where you do have multiple partners and maybe you are trying to get over a particular ex but you're also still trying to maintain good relationships with other partners, let yourself use that freed up time and energy that you were giving to this other person and maybe it's a lot of energy that you are giving toward a toxic relationship or something like that and just see like what are the ways that you can use that time and energy that's been freed up to invest more in each of your other relationships, even if it's just a little bit.
Again, this is going to be after you've taken time to mourn and to take care of yourself but then, it can be really -- I know I've at least found in my own life that it's amazing once you're no longer in a relationship that's taking up a lot of your emotional energy and emotional labor just to keep it afloat, how much you will find yourself able to give to your other relationships once that's out of the picture. It really is quite amazing.
Jase: It's important to focus on the wording of this one too because it's about realizing this time and energy that you have more that you can give to your relationships. Similar to the pay it forward technique, that after a break up for polyamorous people, there can be a strong temptation to demand more from your other partners as well to try to get them to fill that gap and this is a way of turning that around because they're not magically going to have more time now just because you had a break up. Maybe they will but usually, that's not how it works. However, if you are the one who has more time and energy, you could find ways for you to give more to those relationships rather than focusing on wishing you got more from them now to fill that void.
Emily: Jase talked a couple of sections ago about maybe not jumping right into a new relationship but I will challenge that in saying that perhaps one could just go out on a date for the sake of going out on a date, just to be like, "Hey, I want to remember that I am desirable and that I'm an interesting, awesome person." I, for one, love going on first dates. They're awesome. It's really fun to walk into a place not knowing who you're going to find and then, I get to be the best version of me for this small period of time and that's really awesome.
It might be a good thing, just be cautious because you're definitely going to be in a vulnerable state during this time but if you want to just have a good initial date with someone, then, go for it.
Dedeker: I know for a long time, Jase, you and I have talked about this concept of what would it be like if you approach someone online, for instance, with the caveat of like, "We're just going to go on a first date and that's going to be it, not as in we're obligated to have sex or anything like that, whatsoever, no expectations. This is just a first date just for the sake of having a first date and that's it."
Jase: I still haven't tried that.
Dedeker: I haven’t tried that either. I'm really curious about that because that's the thing is that it can be a great technique for getting your outside yourself and getting you focused on another person but especially if it's in this context of there being no expectations and you're not trying to make it into anything and you're not trying to use this person to fix you or to make you feel better. It literally is just to get outside and connected and that's it and if I come away with a new friend, that's great, if I don't, that's also great and fine.
I'm really intrigued by the idea of doing that. Of course, it can be tricky. This is also how people sometimes get themselves into trouble, throwing themselves into something when they're trying to expect this other person to fix them or to make everything better, things like that but-
Emily: If you can do it without that expectation, now, it could be a really cool thing. Just remember, "Hey, you're awesome", and being able to like see yourself through somebody else's eyes I think is really empowering.
Jase: Being able to approach that from a place of not needing something from them is what can make that really powerful. Like we're talking about earlier, about getting your needs met in other ways, of not coming into it date being like, "God, I really need this to at least end up in some cuddling", finding some ways to meet that so you're not going into the date with the sense of desperation and need but at the same time, still realizing this date can be a great opportunity to show off the best parts of myself and get to meet someone new.
I will yes/and to Emily’s controversial idea here and this is about just getting into another relationship. I want to bring this up because we found a research study about rebound relationships showing that they actually have a lot of positive effects such as boosted confidence by giving you new emotions and thoughts to focus on instead of past negativity, et cetera. Basically, the study showed that a lot of that common wisdom about rebound relationships, meaning, getting into another relationship shortly after another one. I think 6 months was their window. I forget what it was exactly. People say, "Don't do it. It's just going to be bad. Those are always going to break up." The study actually showed that that's not necessarily the case.
Dedeker: The important thing to distinguish here is that the study didn't show, "Oh, no, rebound relationships, they're more likely to succeed and last forever", it didn't show that. It more showed that actually, the psychological impact was actually quite positive. Even if the relationship itself didn't last for a really long time and that's the important distinction to make there.
Jase: Well, it goes along with something we talk about a lot on this show, if the idea that what makes a relationship good isn't just how long it lasts.
Dedeker: Right. If you look at rebound relationships in that way like if you end up in another relationship, not coming to with the expectations of like, "Okay, I'm just going to hop on to my next soulmate", but understanding that that may not necessarily be the case. My favorite part was the name of the article that published the study and it was called Too fast, too soon? An empirical investigation into rebound relationships.
Jase: Yes. That's a really good title. From their conclusion, this is a quote from that, it says, "Contrary to what is commonly believed about the need for a waiting period following the end of a relationship, we found that beginning of a new relationship quickly after a breakup seem to have positive consequences." Again, not about even the quality of that relationship necessarily but just that there are positive psychological, emotional consequences.
Dedeker: It did help people get over their initial break up and come out the other side feeling a lot better than if they hadn't.
Emily: Yes, but this specific study is also not necessarily about just hooking up, it's actually about dating and entering into a relationship with somebody new.
Jase: That's right.
Emily: This is interesting, "People were more insecurely attached in their original -- People who were more insecurely attached in their original relationship, ended up having the greatest boost of confidence in psychological well-being in their rebound relationship." I wonder why that is.
Jase: I think it's especially interesting-
Emily: That's cool.
Jase: -because when you two recorded that episode about attachment styles, that one of the controversial things in that field is your attachment style is something you're stuck with or is it something that you can change or that can change over time. This is interesting that they showed specifically that people who had reported a more insecure attachment style with this previous relationship had the greatest improvement in this new relationship. That is interesting. To me, interesting evidence to show that circumstances also play a lot of role in attachment styles. It's just not something that you're stuck with in your life.
Emily: Maybe they that broke that habit of the old relationship and therefore, they're better off in this new one, I don't know.
Dedeker: I mean, quite possibly, some of the theories in the study itself that they toss out is that they think that if someone in a relationship and they're insecurely attached and part of it is because they're wondering whether or not the relationship is going to end, that that can fuel some of that insecurity, but if this person gets to that breakup and there's no longer that question of like, "Is it going to end?" It's just, "It has ended" or "It's true, this person is leaving you." That it's like you take out that particular insecurity and maybe that leaves you more open to be able to embrace the positivity that comes and reconnecting to someone new. That is one of their theories but I don't know.
Jase: Yes. Also, just that if it's that feeling that many of us can relate to of like, "I don't know how I'll get by if this relationship ended", and then, it ends and you didn't -- You're still around, you didn't die, you're still here. That even that is like, "Oh, huh, okay." Maybe you didn't need to worry quite so much about that.
Emily: Oh, we're cool. We're cool.
Dedeker: As always, just proceed with caution if your hopping into a rebound relationship. Just always check in with what your expectations are. As what we've said before about any time that you're in or in a new relationship energy or limerence or whatever it is you want to call that big rush of passionate emotions and hormones that get all cooked up in your brain when you're first falling in love with someone new, don't sign anything in the first year.
Jase: Really. Seriously.
Dedeker: It's simple. Don't really-
Emily: Don't get married.
Dedeker: Don't get married. Don't sign a marriage contract. Don't sign a lease together.
Emily: Don't sell a lease or a house.
Dedeker: Don't even sign a contract for the same cell phone plan. Don't buy a house together.
Emily: Don't buy TV together.
Jase: Don't adopt.
Dedeker: Don't adopt. [laughs]
Jase: Don't adopt -- I was going to say adopt an animal.
Dedeker: Don't adopt an animal or a child. [chuckles]
Jase: Or a child. Right.
Emily: Don't adopt a child together. [chuckles]
Jase: Don't open a bank account together, just give that first year some time.
Dedeker: Some time, yes.
Jase: If this really is the true love that you think it is, you're still going to be in love.
Dedeker: There'll be time for that. There'll be time for you to do all those things.
Jase: You don't need to rush.
Dedeker: Just don't sign anything when you're still in NRE.
Jase: Yes, exactly. I might even argue longer than a year but we'll be generous. We'll give you a year.
Emily: It's still very generous.
Jase: Cool. We wanted to do a quick little recap here of what we talked about. The first thing is in getting over a break up is to create some space to figure things out and how to reconnect with yourself and to remember that if a relationship, if you're trying to stay friends, if this relationship can't survive 10 days apart, then, it's not one worth saving.
Emily: Secondly, find support. That can mean professional support, friends or family or just something that you do on your own that's awesome and fun and enlightening.
Dedeker: Yes, and remember to be a Negative Nancy. Remember that you broke up for a reason. You can keep a list or reference or some document that you've written down to remind yourself of why you're no longer with this person if you find yourself starting to romanticize or idealize the relationship for this particular partner.
Emily: Also, get your focus outside yourself. That means hobbies, hang out with friends, go to social events or you even start dating again.
Jase: Yes. Nobody likes having to go through a breakup but it is incredibly important part of the dating process. I just have a little exercise for both of you here and all of our listeners at home. Imagine for a moment if you will, if you never broke up with anybody, this means you would still be with the very first person that you ever dated. I certainly would not. [laughs]
Dedeker: That turn my stomach.
Jase: I certainly would not want that. I think that so often we're taught that dating is one thing and all the techniques and all the advice without dating is about how to make it last, how to get them to love you the most, how to get them to never want to leave you blah-blah-blah and then, breakups are seen as this like, "But everything breaks and falls apart, then, you can break up." I actually would make the argument that ending relationships is an equally important part of the dating process to starting relationship because of exactly what I said. We all have to do it.
There's a very rare few people out there who stay with and are happy with -- That's a big caveat there -- Who stay with and are happy with the very first person that they ever had a romantic relationship with. Just keep that in mind that whether you're going through this or your friend is going through this, this isn't a failure. This is just a natural part of dating. It's an important part and it gives you opportunities to improve and have better relationships and get more clear on what it was that you want in your life.
Emily: Going clear.
Dedeker: What? That was Scientology thing?
Dedeker: Gosh, darn it.
Emily: Sorry, I don't mean that. I'm just saying get clear on yourself.
Jase: Oh, man.
Emily: Okay, well.