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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 badlyjust 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

  • areawkwardlywell 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 doomedand 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 usan 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 niceeven 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 withand 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 hopethrough

  • their strange and harmful behaviourto 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 natureand 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 fooljust 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 painwhich 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.

  • To learn more follow the link on your screen now.

The intensity and suffering exacted by a heartbreak depends not only on the core fact that we've

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B1 US lover niceness break misplaced losing harmful

How To Break Up

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    Vivian Chen posted on 2018/09/12
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