B1 Intermediate US 319 Folder Collection
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The intensity and suffering exacted by a heartbreak depends not only on the core fact that we've
been left; it also decisively depends on how we've been left. Our hurt can be hugely
intensified when we've been left badly – just as it may be rendered a great deal more bearable
when we are fortunate enough to have landed on a lover who has learnt the psychologically-rich
art of mature break-ups. There are certain things guaranteed to make a break up worse
than it ever needs to be: (i) Lingering. All decisions around relationships should be taken
with the awareness that life is desperately short for both parties. It therefore really
shouldn't matter if the holiday has already been booked or if preparations for our birthday
are – awkwardly – well under way. As soon as the decision is taken, a courageous lover
will not dither out of a misplaced desire not to upset pre-existing plans. They know
they must leave. They are ruining things, of course, but they can see that the holiday
or restaurant meal would in any case be doomed – and they are kind enough to know not to
waste any more of our precious time. (ii) Collateral Accusations. A wise departing lover
knows not to accuse the other of more sins than they are guilty of. It is not, they know,
our fault that their career is going wrong and we truly aren't responsible for their
insomnia or the conflicts with their brother. The wise lover keeps the list of accusations
down to the specific problems that necessitated a break-up; they don't use the parting as
an occasion to rehearse all that happens to be a bit wrong with us – an inevitably far
longer but irrelevant charge sheet.(iii) Deceptive Niceness. The most harmful lovers are those
who labour under a misplaced impression that they need to be nice – even when they are
firing us. But there is, in fact, no need for honeyed words, we simply require the basic
information and then some privacy to put ourselves back together again. Indeed, ongoing niceness
simply confuses us all the more. The tenderness makes us ache to restart the relationship,
for there seems no reason why not, given how they are behaving. (iv) Evasiveness. Clumsy
lovers are so scared of the news they have to share with us, they cannot bear to come
out with – and let it seep out in odd symptomatic ways. They start drinking too much, or come
home very late, or advance odd-sounding theories about relationships. They hope – through
their strange and harmful behaviour – to be fired rather than have to resign. In sly
and unfair ways, they seek to push us to take the agonising next step. On the other hand,
there is so much that can spare us excessive pain at the end: (i) Directness. Kind departing
lovers make a sharp break. Once they've decided, they move swiftly to letting us know;
they clear off quickly; they don't hold out hints of reconciliation; they don't
suggest that if we changed in certain ways, they'd reconsider. It's awful, of course,
but there's a vein of mature kindness in their brusque manner: in an obviously difficult
situation, they are sparing us the extended torture of false hope. (ii) Reasons. Good departing
lovers try to explain in convincing ways why the relationship didn't work out. They might
point out, for instance, that you are both really quite anxious by nature – and therefore
struggle to soothe and calm each other. This isn't so much a complaint about you as on
observation about why the fit between you as a couple wasn't very helpful. Or they
may explore the ways in which the two of you have powerfully divergent attitudes to money
– and hence are set on a serious collision course. They're not saying you are horrendous
or a fool – just that the two of you turn out not to be very adept partners for each
other. (iii) Honesty about who they are. Nice departing lovers let us see and actively remind
us of what's not so nice or good about them. They admit that they brought a lot of difficult
things into the relationship. They admit, perhaps, that they're obsessed by work;
they may acknowledge they are bossy or very controlling; they might be open about their
unfaithful nature. They are doing us the kindness of showing us that life with them would be
seriously difficult in major ways. We're losing them, but we're not losing the prospect
of a blissful or problem-free future.
Good departing lovers know that the news they are breaking will,
inevitably, lead to them being hated for a time. They are brave in the face
of this. They don't suffer from the fateful and sentimental desire to be loved by people
they no longer love. We're gradually disentangling two distinct sources of pain – which mean
very different things. There's the sorrow of losing someone we liked. But there may
well also be the suffering caused by the unfortunate ways a lover acted at the end.
We may not be able to escape the agony of broken
hearts but we can always strive to keep it to a very basic minimum.
Our Resilience Cards are designed to help us become tougher in the face of adversity.
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How To Break Up

319 Folder Collection
Vvn Chen published on September 12, 2018    EmmaW translated    Evangeline reviewed
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