8 Things to Know About Breaking Up

Breaking up is hard to do, and everyone seems eager to give advice about how to make separation easier. Unfortunately, there's no simple way to sidestep the awkwardness of ending a relationship. Being respectful to yourself and your soon-to-be ex is the best way to move forward while preserving the chance to be friends later on. Handle a breakup carelessly, though, and you may stir up a hornet's nest of anger and regret. Here are some common myths and facts about breaking up that could make your next separation a bit less awkward and painful.

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FACT: Avoiding your ex is better than trying to show that you're better off being single.

The "I'll show you!" complex is embedded in human consciousness. When someone rejects you - whether it's a relationship or a job interview - your first reaction is often to show how wrong that person was. After a breakup, this could be a girl dressing up in her cutest outfit and hanging out at her ex's favorite bar, or it could be a dude flirting with his ex's coworkers in an attempt to get under her skin. While the "I'll show you!" complex may bring moments of satisfaction, the overall result is often more pain and hurt feelings. Also, this approach can dramatically backfire if you're the inadvertent witness to your ex meeting his or her next big fling. Give yourself space after a breakup - there's no way you will regret it.

FACT: It's OK to stay friends with your ex on social media.

Just because you broke up doesn't mean you need to sever all ties. Plus, how many people on your friends list do you really pay attention to, anyway? You can still be Facebook friends with your ex and get some distance to get over your feelings. To do this, though, you may want to temporarily filter out posts and photos from your ex, and you may want to block anything you post online, too. This provides privacy for as long as you need it without creating additional awkwardness from unfriending your ex completely.

FACT: Avoid becoming "friends with benefits."

It's always great when people who've been dating can break up and still be friends. However, there's always a risk of "can we still be friends?" becoming something that's destructive and emotionally damaging. Continuing an intimate relationship with your ex can be tempting as both of you grapple with being single, but eventually one of you will move on, and then the breakup gets even more painful. Plus, while you may feel good while hooking up, you're hindering your ability to move on to the next chapter of your romantic life. Being friends with your ex is great, but don't let things cross the line.

MYTH: It's the digital age - all you need to do is update your relationship status.

It doesn't matter how casual or how serious your relationship is - don't break up with people over Facebook, Twitter, or any other form of social media. This is just tacky. A Facebook breakup is about the worst way you can disrespect the person you're breaking up with, and you're not likely to win points with any of your shared friends. Always have the decency to break up in person or at least during a phone conversation. It will pay off later once the dust has settled and you and your ex are able to be friends.

FACT: Don't wait to break up if you're already making plans to date someone else.

The only thing worse than being broken up with is immediately seeing your ex in the arms of another person. Where is the respect in that? If you're in a souring relationship and someone else has already caught your eye, then end your current commitment as soon as humanly possible. Not only will your soon-to-be ex feel better, but your next relationship will have much better chances to succeed. Breakups are hard and cause all kinds of negative feelings, even for the people who are instigating the separation. Do you really want to carry those emotions into your next relationship?

MYTH: Breakups are easier when they haven't been going out for so long.

There's no easy way to end an exclusive relationship. Whether you've been dating for two months or two years, breakups are hard, period - especially if the circumstances of the breakup are hard to stomach. If you are on the rejected end of a breakup, don't beat yourself up for being overwhelmed with emotion. It's normal. Breaking up is never easy.

MYTH: String out the breakup for as long as possible.

It can be tempting to draw out the break up, but it is important to not overthink it. Don't rehearse a big speech or try to think of some creative way to break things off. As the great Phil Knight said, "Just Do It." The longer you talk, the more your significant other may try to guilt you into changing your mind. The damage is done the second you start the conversation. End it quickly, get out, and start the recovery process. You'll both be better off for it.

MYTH: Binge eating is a great way to feel better without doing anything too crazy.

When is the last time you ate a ton of unhealthy food and didn't feel any regret at all? Binge eating may feel good in the moment, but later you may feel worse than you did before that slab of ice cream cake. Even though you want to do things to help take your mind off of the breakup, try to stick with activities that will leave you feeling happy and energized instead of steeped in disappointment. Going out to a nice dinner, working out with a friend or heading outdoors for some hiking or camping will quickly remind you how awesome life can be.