We've watched 'What Not To Wear' and have slowly begun collectively tossing our overalls forever and never, ever buying plastic belts, no matter how neon, gold or skinny-jean oriented they may be. However, when it comes to what not to do, particularly when it comes to ex lovers, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends or partners, we're still stuck in the Eighties, hopelessly clinging to our big hair and spandex. It's really, truly, time to upgrade.
One mistake most women make when it comes to their ex is keeping the door open for a good continuing relationship. If there are children involved, this may be necessary - or at least a type of civility may be necessary; but real, true, honest to goodness friendship is really, and yes, I'm apologizing in advance to the BFF breakers up here, not a great idea.
The complications that arise when the new love interest comes upon the situation are not savory. They stink, in fact. Not to mention the triangulation and (yes, metaphorical) strangulation which may occur if the new flame is friends with the old and so on. This is your life and, while it is utopian and lovely to want us "all to just get along" remaining tight with the old bed buddy is not a good boundary; at least not until a year or even more have gone by and the memories are as faded as that old shirt of his you definitely do NOT have hanging still, in your closet.
Another thing to stop doing immediately is actually sleeping with your ex. This may seem outlandish due to the fact that so many of us continue to have intimate relations with our exes and then tell so many people it's not true that we begin to believe it ourselves. While it may feel good, comforting, hot and even theatrical to continue to sleep with your ex while you are not in a real relationship, it is something akin to stripping a wound of its tender scab over and over again...healing is without question not taking place in this situation. Instead, go solo or safely try on a new pair of leather shoes. Safely try on a new pair of pants. Safely date. Someone other than your ex, of course. See friends, take up hobbies you'd left behind, go on vacation.
Limiting contact may hurt, may feel wrong, may even make you feel you're not a nice person for shutting him out With all sincerity, taking this space, both mentally and physically is an incredible step toward finally breaking up. Letting go is hard, but necessary if there is going to be room in your life for an evolving you, and possibly your new partner.
Aimee Boyle is a freelance writer and special education high school teacher who lives, writes and teaches in CT with her family.