Love makes people do crazy things – and so do breakups. Just look at Luke and Joe in ongoing Toggle Originals series The Breakup List, where they embark on all kinds of crazy adventures after being cruelly dumped. But while it’s totally fine to do things like find a new hobby, travel, or just binge on ice cream as you sob over a sappy K-drama, there are other reactions that you should totally stay away from.
“When someone is broken up with, they want to know why (they were dumped), but one of the worst things to do is to keep chasing that ex-partner for a reason,” says Violet Lim, the CEO, co-founder and “chief cupid” of local dating company Lunch Actually. “It doesn’t matter because whatever it is, they have already made their decision.”
She adds that trying to win an ex back, particularly through extreme means like stalking, can be “very counterproductive”, and decreases their chances of actually succeeding. So what should – and shouldn’t – you do after a split? Read on for more:
Toggle: What’s one of the first things you should do after a breakup?
Violet: Take a step back and reassess your priorities. A lot of times in a relationship, we end up being moulded into someone more suitable for our partners, which may not necessarily be our authentic selves. So a breakup is actually a good opportunity to see what’s important to you, which may put you on the right path to your next relationship.
Ultimately, being in a relationship is not about making yourself complete – you need to be complete by yourself first before getting into a relationship.
Is there a “right” way to try and win someone back?
You should create a distance between yourself and your ex to show that you are perfectly fine on your own. The more needy and desperate you seem, the more unattractive you will be. But if your ex sees you and wonders how come you’re so happy, it might trigger more attraction. We have shared this with our clients and friend before, and it works!
What about the worst way?
The worst thing to do is to call up your ex’s family, friends and colleagues to try and ask them to get you back together. We once had a person who signed up with our agency, and not long after, we got a call from someone claiming to be our client’s ex, asking us not to accept the person as our client. This is something that people should not do – it’s very scary and stalkerish, and might reinforce why the person broke up with you in the first place.
Is keeping yourself busy a good way to deal with a breakup?
It will take your focus off the breakup so I feel it’s not a bad thing, but ultimately, you also have to face the situation. Keeping yourself occupied and facing reality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
What about travelling?
Travelling is great in the sense that you’ll have new experiences and see different parts of the world, but bear in mind that people tend to fall in love easily while overseas because of the adrenaline rush of being in a new environment, and it’s quite difficult for such a romance to last.
Would you recommend drowning your sorrows with alcohol?
Different people have different methods of mourning. Not everybody drinks, but for those who do, then maybe it helps. I think they need to get it out of their system. But if you’re going to go drinking, please have someone sober with you so you can drown your sorrows responsibly.
How do you tell when you’re ready to move on to a new relationship?
You can’t put a timeline on it. Basically you need to be honest with yourself – you’ll definitely know when you’re still mourning over the loss of a relationship, or if you’re okay.
How do you approach clients who have just gone through a breakup?
We talk to them to understand where they are in the breakup process. We don’t want to be in a situation where someone is still moping about their ex, because introducing new people to them usually doesn’t work out.
For example, we had someone come to us and everything was going fine until we asked what kind of partner he’s looking for. He took out this photo of his ex and said, “Make sure all my dates look like her.” We told him gently that perhaps it wasn’t the right time for him to get into a relationship.
How should you help a friend who has gone through a bad breakup?
You should give them time. Sometimes we think we’re trying to be helpful, but people need time to grieve, so just giving them space is very helpful. You can also help to distract them by bringing them out to do things together, but don’t introduce them to someone new too quickly because you don’t want them to end up in a rebound relationship.
Then at some point – but not immediately – if your friend is open to listening to candid feedback, maybe share with them what you think might have gone wrong. We tend to be afraid of hurting our friends, but at the same time, if we are too politically correct, it doesn’t help prevent them from making the same mistakes again and again.
So, to conclude, what are the top 3 things someone should do after being dumped?
1) Give yourself a set time to grieve, meaning tell yourself, “I’m going to be upset about this for the next one week or three weeks or whatever”. If you don’t give yourself a set time, you could go on forever.
2) Take time to garner support. You don’t want to be spending a lot of time alone because it can be depressing. Surround yourself with people, take new classes – just keep yourself busy.
3) Come up with a strategy, whether it’s for wanting to get back with your ex, getting into a new relationship, or taking a break from relationships. For example, if your focus is to reconcile, your strategy should be to distance yourself, look as good as you can and somehow let your ex know you’re doing well. Or if you want to find someone new, what should you be doing to achieve that?