1. Break-ups hurt

Take it as a given that you are going to experience some pain. Depending on the length of the relationship, it will at the least be short-term, if not medium-term pain and whilst we all have our different timelines, you’ll know that you’re not dealing with the break-up and the hurt if it becomes a long-term thing. Break-ups are not supposed to be pleasant or easy, yet we often behave like we expect them to be. Most women that I come across through this blog that are struggling with breaking up and letting go, can’t cope with the initial painful feelings, which trigger kneejerk responses where they think it’s a sign that you need to get back together. Which brings me nicely to…

2. Break-ups hurt because they represent loss and change; hurt isn’t necessarily a sign that you should get back together.

When you’re in a relationship, even if it has serious issues, depending on your mindset, that person or being in your fragile relationship represents hope, companionship, and plans, even if they are mostly your own projections. When you break-up, suddenly white space seems to appear where you had plans or angst and all of a sudden, you’re uno instead of being part of a duo. Some of us don’t like change either which means that when you break up, you may be ill-equipped to cope with the difference in your life, and may not be able to see the positives, or remember why you left, or why it wasn’t working. This is when we start thinking ‘This is so painful; it must mean we are destined to be together’. The problem is that making a direct correlation between the pain you experience and your feelings for someone is misleading. Often women in the shittiest of relationships do this but not love. It’s pain.

3. Don’t break up to make up. Break up to break up.

Some people break up with their partner because they think it will galvanise them into action. Don’t fall into this trap. Not only is it manipulation and game playing but it is likely to backfire, and do it often enough or threaten it, and your input into the relationship will carry very little weight. On the flipside, others break up, but put themselves on hold in the hope that their absence from their ‘loved ones’ loves will suddenly make them see that they are ‘the one’. The trouble is that one of you is getting on with your lives and the other one has come to a standstill living in limbo. Can you guess which one you would be? The reality is that when you break up, you best be serious and with the right intentions, and you need to live your life as if your relationship is O.V.E.R. If anything is going to happen, trust me, your future relationship will benefit from the fact that you didn’t sit around pining, throwing your life away whilst he lived his life to the fullest. As many women discover when they stake themselves on a man, you could be in for an eternal wait.

4. That getting back in the saddle stuff is crap – Have a break from dating

Whilst some people have hides of rhinos, in truth, most people struggle to date immediately after their relationship has ended. For a start, you need to have healed and let go of your previous relationship – instead, dating straight after a break-up is like turning up on your dates with 30kg plus of luggage. Not attractive and it’s actually unfair on the other party, especially if they are looking to forge relationships. And whilst you may think you’re being clever by dating or shagging around with men who aren’t looking for a relationship, you are likely to pick up some bad relationship habits, become emotionally unavailable, and end up in a poor relationship.

5. You can’t be friends…at least not for now

You probably want to be friends because you’re secretly holding out hope. If it’s him that’s proposing friendship and there was anything remotely dubious about your relationship, he is offering the friend card because:

1) Men don’t like to look like assclowns…even when they are…

2) So he can poke around in your life and stop you from moving on…even though he can’t give you what you want and he’s moving on.

3) So he can hit you up for a shag/money/ego stroke as and when he needs it.

Probably something you’ll struggle to admit, but if you dig a bit deep, you’re likely to discover that you have no reason to believe that you have the makings of a great friendship. I am yet to find even one ex in my past who is friendship material. If you were friends first (and I don’t mean friends for a week or for a few months whilst he tried to hit you up for sex whilst pretending to be your friend), but real friends, then yeah, you probably can be friends…in 6 months or a year. You can’t go from being in a relationship to friendship without complication. Pushing for friendship after breaking up will at times to certain types of men (read: assclowns) reek of desperation and neediness. My advice – get a real friend – one you haven’t exchanged bodily fluids and a complicated relationship with. If you really, really, REALLY have to be friends, hold off for a while, get on with your life, and revisit your idea about this in 3, 6, or 12 months time, but immediate friendship – don’t bother.

Part 2 follows tomorrow!

Your thoughts? Have you learnt anything about break-ups? Have you experienced any of these struggles?

If you want to understand why you’re attracted to Mr Unavailable’s, check out my new ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. Find out more and download.

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28 Responses to 10 Truths You Need to Accept About Breaking Up: Part 1

  1. Annoyed says:

    Right on, NML!
    In reference to number 5, I think I am finally ready to move on from my ex but he, the EUM, keeps disrespecting my space. I told him some time ago to leave me alone, I deleted his number, set all of my social-networking accounts to private and even deleted him there, and yet, he keeps contacting me. Thank goodness for the No Contact Rule. I keep telling myself, “Do not engage,” and it works on my part.
    I realize that he is completely selfish and is acting out like a little boy because he can’t have his way (be my friend and sleep with me), but I just wish he’d disappear. So much for a future friendship; I’m not holding out hope.

  2. Hey Girl,
    You make some awesome points over there. I especially like the one you make where you say you shouldn’t break up to make up .. you should break up to break up.

    So many times we threaten to leave the relationship when it starts getting bad. Then one day the guy calls ur bluff and your totally screwed.

    I think as a good general rule … you should feel like you want to breakup with a guy consistently for a full week before you mention anything.

    Then if at any time that u want to be with him .. then that week starts over again.

    Just a general guideline which i found really helps … to keep you fro using breaking up as a weapon.

    Hot Alpha Female

  3. Stacy says:

    Great post. #4 and 5 especially. I am 4 months post-breakup and am struggling to get back into the dating scene. I am trying to get “back in the saddle” but mostly I just can’t wait for the dates to be over so I can go home and curl up on my couch. THAT BEING SAID, there is something helpful about having things to do involving new people. Gets my head just a little bit out of “ex pining” mode.

    On #5, I am friends with only one ex-boyfriend. And we didn’t talk for almost a year after we broke up. So yes, the “wait 3, 6, 12 months” before trying to forge a friendship thing is extremely good advice.

  4. brokenheartagain says:

    Question for the all the great posters here. What is the best way to break up after “the last bad thing” they did? I’m going through this right now. I am vacillating between No Contact and never saying another word to him or having the break up talk…which could get messy.

    Do you think it’s better to have that break up talk which could end in tears, yelling..etc. OR just do NO CONTACT and walk away without saying a word but actually NO CONTACT says quite a bit.

    Anyone have thoughts on which is the best way to go??

    PS. I can’t believe NML addressed break ups today….it was so timely for me. Thanks NML!!

  5. Honey says:

    I can’t remember how long it took after Lance and I broke up to become friends again. Wehad known each other for years before dating, but it still took awhile. So yes, I agree with everything said here!

  6. De says:

    Thank you so much,

    i feel you have written this just for me (I know not really :) but, it really has given me the answers I needed. I know for sure the only reason he is contacting me is cause I was his cozy ego stroke. My last email to him will be that he will hear from me in three months, if I feel I am ready to give him a friendship and for him not to contact me at all. If he does, no contact will follow.

    Thanks for your thought and kindness :)


  7. Astelle says:

    De, what is the point of sending him an e-mail announcing that you will contact him again in 3 months? You said that all he wants is an ego stroke, so why offer him friendship? Makes no sense to me at all. You are fooling yourself and need to cut the contact.

  8. Cynnie says:


    I think it depends on what your intention is. If you’re hoping to get closure, then the “talk” followed by no contact would be my approach. However, be prepared that you may NEVER get the closure you seek, such as understanding the why’s, what if’s and how come’s. And if you’re hoping that he might try to stop you and plead for another chance, you may be sorely disappointed.

    If the reason for your breakup is the same ongoing, re-hashed, cyclical issue that has been talked to death, I would just implement no cocntact , especially if you have threaten to leave before. Don’t give him the heads up, because if you slip, then you will lose your credibility.

    What ever you do, No Contact is important so that you can focus on yourself and start the healing process. Breakups are a real bit@h and it will be some time before you feel better.

    *Hang in there*

  9. angela says:

    what if its been over a year and you’ve tried your best to “get back in the (dating) saddle” but no matter how hard you try to change, you’re still attracting the EXACT SAME kind of “man” as your ex? and its always ending up the same way- getting hurt/used, etc. how am i supposed to break that cycle if i can’t even date- like it must be something with me? how do i know which issue(s) i need to change?

  10. shootingstar67 says:

    I am looking forward to my planned no contact period starting in Oct. It is impossible to do right now due to alot of loose ends and unfinished businss.

    I dont’ know what is going to happen after the no contact period. I imagine that I might just never contact him again. I might not want to. Expecially if I clean everything up now.

    I don’t want to have to call him in three months because I needed a name of that dentist or something when I can get that name now.

    I don’t know if he is going to contact me or not. Bur He is SO over me right now that I am getting his co-operation.

    I rebounded with Steve from a guy named Doug. After Steve and I broke up I called Doug. I still call him occasionally but I really avoid being around him. If he is hosting a party for example, I won’t’ go unless I have a date. Or if he invites me over, I don’t go.

    I bring this up because it can be an example of what can happen after no contact.
    You sometimes become casual acquaintances and have pleasant chats occasionally, but you are not friends.

    You can trust friends not to take advantage of your feelings for them. You can hang out with them and be safe emotionally. They keep their hands off you.

  11. De says:

    Hi Astelle,

    thanks for writing :)

    Sorry re-reading my mail I realize I didn’t quite make my thought process clear.
    I will ask him not to contact me for three months… in my mind I have already decided I will not contact him ever, It’s just, knowing him, if I said that I wanted no contact he would turn up the heat and not leave me alone…(this is what he’s doing now with the no contact, he’s panicking and I’m getting emails)… telling him ‘give me three months will hopefully get him off my back and get him to turn somewhere else. I will be stronger in three months if he gets back in contact.
    At the moment I ‘m still a bit afraid of him.

    Or I am still not seeing something?


  12. Astelle says:

    De, cutting contact right now will get him of your back. Let him turn up the heat, you don’t have to respond. If he is panicking right now or in 3 months, I don’t see the difference. The no contact is for you not him.

    AND, if you are a bit afraid of him, that makes it even worse.
    Cut the contact!!

  13. Astelle says:

    shootingstar, you should NOT contact him ever again, he has a girlfriend and made it perfectly clear that he is not interested. By you making contact you are keeping your pain alive and that is not good for you.
    Why would you do that to yourself? Let him go…

  14. Loving Annie says:

    augggh, it ate my comment !!!

  15. brokenheartagain says:

    Cynnie……..I’m truly done with him. We’ve had breakups and good bye talks before but it’s always been me sobbing and saying goodbye, then doing NC., followed by him pestering me to no end. If the NC goes on longer then a month he really turns up the heat and blows very hot.

    The bottom line is I can’t take this anymore, I don’t want to live this way anymore and want him out of my life. This is probably one of the most painful relationships I’ve ever been in, it must be similar to “kicking a hard drug”.

    The reason I wondered about whether to just initiate NC or have “the talk” and then do NC is that in the past, I’ve never really had the chance to tell him how I feel or what damage he’s done to my psyche. I guess in the scheme of things it probably won’t matter much to him what I say but it’s important to me. He just doesn’t get to walk all over my heart without at least hearing about it. So I think I’m going to have “the talk” but only if he calls. I won’t call him to initiate it. Then it will be NC for good.

    Thanks for your concern and advise. I know I can get through this because he pulled something so egregious this time that there is no going back. I HAVE to move on for my sanity.

  16. Astelle says:

    brokenheartagain, what did he pull??

  17. De says:


    thank you…I will from now do my no contact for me!

    I hear you!


    brokenhearted I was where you are now three months ago and the ‘talk’ ended with him raging at me, me crying and apologizing to him! I realized then any contact would mean giving him the opportunity to drop bombs on me whenever he wanted to. remember, any attention is attention for them, they eat it like candy.
    give them an argument and to them it means they still have you hooked which they love. They do not CARE about you. No contact will give you the peace of mind, honest within two weeks I was over him.

    this latest contact on his part is him reminding me of all the good things he has done for me, honest he listed them!! Luckily I am able to counter point them with a nasty thing. weighing it up, the mean cruel things outweigh any good time and the pain was the only thing I was holding onto. let it go, you will get to a better place really quickly, that a promise :)

    Happiness is waiting for you, give it to yourself, you deserve it, but it only comes when he is not there to destroy it.

  18. tulipa says:

    When you are in the middle of it all the break up that is .. you honestly don’t think there is an end to it … I went through anger and sadness and thought how long does this take to get over and I tried to rush things but you can’t and eventually you do get over it but it takes time.
    Some books I have read think you should spend just one day wallowing over a break up then move on… I don’t personally feel this is possible.
    It does take time

  19. shootingstar67 says:


    The reason I still talk to him is I work for him And I have to complete this project.

    He and I have both decided mutually to start no contact in Oct.

  20. NML says:

    Wow! Thanks for all of your comments ladies.

    Annoyed – Don’t engage, don’t discuss, don’t explain, and definitely don’t hope. He has shown what he wants so you have no reason to keep him in your life. Cut him offffff!
    HAF – I agree. Kneejerking, threatening it, and then backing up makes you look silly, plus deciding to break up and doing it in one day lacks a lot of thought. You need a consistent feeling plus it means you won’t backtrack.
    Stacy – it’s never easy to start dating and if it doesn’t get better you can always step out of it. Maybe you aren’t ready to date and that is perfectly fine. Do things for yourself and enjoy yourself with family and friends
    brokenheartagain – if you’ve never broken up before, one explanation is fine, otherwise no contact. If he’s a Mr Unavailable, I would definitely employ no contact, and if he’s done lots of bad things, say SEE YA! Either way cut off.
    Honey – You know I’m fascinated by you two! :-)
    ShootingStar67 – Reading through your comments – complicated. Definitely read my post on the Get Out Plan because yours is not a clear cut plus whatever happens, it looks like you may have some contact. It means one of you has to be stronger and get on with their lives – I was in your position. All you can do is stick to your guns, ignore anything inappropriate, and cut them off when they cross the line.
    De – Cut contact as you’re just prolonging the agony. I see your thought process but trust me, he’ll just mess with your mind. I understand your fears, but feel the fear…and cut off contact anyway.
    Astelle – Wow! Trust me ladies, this is coming from a woman who has been there and done that. She is sparing you pain!
    Cynnie – Very wise words. You have learnt a lot!
    Angela – I will do a post specifically on this subject.
    Tulipa – Your wallow period could be a month if you felt like it, it’s just that at some point, it’s got to end. A day seems very strange but on the flipside, wallowing for an extended period of time says pity and no-one should pity themselves. If it benefits you, then great, but the problem is that 99% of people I come across see no benefit from extended wallowing – just pain. What you can take from their advice, is maybe it’s good to set a deadline, indulge yourself, and then pick yourself up.

  21. Honey says:

    NML, thanks, that’s funny 😉 Basically he was a jackass when we broke up and I forgave him (after a significant amount of NC, I had moved 2200 miles away after all so it was easy) much later. He’ll tell you the same. Perhaps we’ll post the deets someday, who knows…

  22. brokenheartagain says:

    NML……we have been down this path before so I am doing NC right now. He’s called and IM”d me but I can see now that no matter what I say it won’t make a difference. Thank you for your input.

    Astelle…..The egregious thing he did was cheat on me AGAIN. He promised he would never see this woman and I foolishly took him back but he lied and I found out. So there is no going back now…..

    De…..I agree with you about “the talk”. It goes no where. Just as you said, we are the ones that end up sobbing and somehow they turn the tables and try to make it all seem so normal. So I’m going with NC…day 3. I ‘m so addicted to this man…I can’t eat and hardly sleep but I’m determined to get through this. I won’t continue to live my life this way.

    I just hate the pain of getting through the breakup.

  23. Garry says:

    Some of the words used on this post are pretty sexist and unfair, not all men are “assclowns” as quoted above. In respect to the ‘can we still be friends’ thing. There are guys who simply want to remain amicable about the situation. Not all guys want this so they can control your life. This is too much of a generalization, by classing all men as the same. Similarly, there are alot of men who would class all women as the same, something which is clearly untrue.

  24. ts says:

    Hey Garry,

    I don’t disagree with you on the generalization aspect. You are right, in that, all situations are different and unique from each other and we should not box everyone into a category. Also, there ARE shades of gray, I think.

    Not all the men that most of the women here are trying to sort out and move beyond are all that horrible. But, some most certainly are. Just read New Day’s experience. That is definitely an ASSCLOWN.

    This site is about specific women trying to get past men, who string them along without offering much. Other than the words and sentiments they can blow out to seem like they care or aren’t really doing what they are doing, i.e. NOT really being in a real relationship with them.

    You say some men just want to keep it cool (sic), oh well, sometimes, the truth is not so cool. Sometimes, you have to admit what is you really want , say it, suffer the consequences, and move on.

    I have a question for you. Why did you feel the need to post and respond on the site, also, why did you find it?

    I am sure everyone here would love to hear more of your opinion.

    Take care, ts.

  25. Gaynor says:


    No one here said all men are assclowns, this is how you’re choosing to interpret the post. We are discussing a small percentage of the male and female population-yes there are emotionally unavailable women- who are selfish, using, lying jerks. These people only keep others around to get an ego stroke or to get some occasional sex. Many go as far as telling us they are in love with us and they foresee a future together, thier behavior is cruel and sadistic.

  26. NML says:

    Garry, if you can point out the line in this post that says that all men are assclowns, I would be truly amazed as it doesn’t exist, which means your point about generalisation etc is rather redundant. I even did a search of the “all men” that you refer to on this post and you’re the only one to use that term… I then did a search on “assclowns” and again, there is still no sign of this “quote” and the word is actually used twice and very specifcally in the post above. The first reference said “Men don’t like to look like assclowns…even when they are…” This means that when a man is an assclown he will still try not to look like one. This means he has to be an assclown in the first place, not just a man… The second reference “certain types of men (read: assclowns)” couldn’t be more explicit in what that means.
    As Gaynor said, this is how *you* have chosen to intepret the post but when you jump on a thread and start making accusations, I suggest you get your facts right.

    NML’s last blog post..Trading On Your Looks & Sex Appeal Part 3

  27. Karen says:

    Its funny how I find myself still having to come to this section. Its been 4months since I broke up with the A**clown and I still have moments that I ask myself the WHY’s. I find my thoughts still trying to replay the relationship in my mind wondering how on earth I could have been the only one who thought/believed that he loved and cared for me. Well, perhaps it doesnt help that that is WHAT he said to me and continued to do so even when I found a million texts and phone calls to another woman. It was because I checked his phone that turned him off he said. I could just scream! I am really not a suspicious person until you give me reason to believe otherwise! And yes I checked your phone because I had to become “detective” since your sorry A** didnt have the balls to come clean and admitt it. I needed to have the proof myself. And even when I did, he still lied to my face about it. Telling me that what I was seeing wasnt really that– that i was the one creating these thoughts in my head and making something out of nothing. Oh and how i allowed myself to believe him (or better yet— gave him another chance) because well,,,,, I loved him. I wanted to believe him. I really really wanted it to all be my imagination. Sadly– it wasnt. So, I ask myself…. to break up with someone who isnt willing to do the dirty work sucks. I had to muster up every ounce of strength and courage to end it because I knew I couldnt and didnt deserve him lieing and cheating on me. I gave my all in those two years. Support, understanding, love, affection, my credit cards for godsake!!! I was there thick and thin for what? So in the end to find out that the whole time he hardly appreciated it? To find out that his I LOVE YOU’s were empty? For in the end for him to tell me that … I turned him off??? Could he not see the bigger picture and everything I HAD DONE and all the help and Love I gave him? How come I was willing to look over the fact that he was texting and calling someone else….but he couldnt ignore the one thing that he says turned him off: ME CHECKING HIS PHONE??. I tell you— if there is ever a lack of balls it was shown in this man. And here I am still trying to get through the emotional havoc that he and his lies did to me and my heart. You would think that I shouldnt even waste one more ounce of energy in asking why…… but here i am and i still do. I have come a long way in 4months but it still shocks me to know that i can have moments such as this. Am I insane?? Because sometimes I think I am. Can it really be that i was such a turn off because of one thing? Could it really be that he believes this or is it just an excuse? I have tried being angry at him and not talking at all, I have tried the amicable route and trying to keep things platonic but I cant help to always wind up in the same place…. hurt and baffled and not sure of what to do with these residual emotions. I truly wish I would have had my eyes open a lot wider. I truly wish I would have payed more attention to the actions than the words. I truly wish he would have never lied to me. And I truly wish I wouldn’t have invested so much of myself with someone who didnt appreciate it. Breakups are hard…. but I feel I am left with nothing. He didnt leave, he didnt break up with me, he didnt stop calling me…….I was the one that had to end it. I was the one left to do the dirty work for him………and all I get is: Well if you wouldnt have been so quick to jump to conclusions. If you just wouldnt have checked my phone. Since that time you put a bad taste in my mouth. Really??? Wouldnt any other decent man have broken up with me if that really bothered him instead of stringing me along, telling me that he loved me? He said: I just didnt want to hurt you (that was his reason for not telling me the truth). Really? After I had cried endless times telling you that what I wanted was to NOT GET HURT and that if you had found someone else that the best thing to do was to let me go? But instead you told me that I had nothing to worry about. That I was the one that was being jealous and insecure…..and I listened to you instead of listening to myself. ITS MADNESS and I feel empty like I was the only one who was in that relationship. So I dont know whats worse. Im trying to forget about him…….meanwhile— he had forgotten about me a looong time ago even before I broke it off. How do I deal with that pain? How do I forget someone who to me meant the world………but to whom I was simply no one? (Or at least thats how I feel) :(

  28. Sharon says:

    I am reading this now, and I see you posted this years ago. I will say, I recently was phoned by the OW under a guise that she was looking to relocate to North Carolina. I moved three years in to a relationship with my assclown. However he flipped a switch and decided to propose marriage a month after I left. He never made a move towards following me, and never would set a date. He wanted me off the market, and it worked. He was going along and visiting at least once a month for the first year, and we spent all of our vacation time together. Then things changed, and all the red flags were in full swing. I chose to ignore them until the OW called me the horrible morning when she proceeded to tell me she too was engaged to my assclown. I immedately confrtonted him, and initially resolved myself to dumping him. Of course he talked me out of it. I also have the usual self esteem issues so I soon knew I was going to keep him just because I had invested 5 years. Well things changed and he said he wanted to take a break. I was so angry and hurt. I asked “why did you not just let me leave you two weeks ago when I found out about Candy”. At any rate, he conitnued to say he wanted a break. Then he text messaged me fairly regularly, and there were the occassional phone calls. I made the super error in actually sending off that long ranting email. It ended up with him apologizing like crazy and saying we needed to talk face to face. I responded by saying that was not necessary because there is nothing to work out or discuss. He turned it around and said I made it a permanent break. I was quick to point out that he made it permanent when he took up with the OW. At any rate, his contact has stopped and it has been 14 days with NC. I am feeling better every day, but is is so very hard. I want to reach out because of the “movie in my mind”. He really was not good for me, and I know it, but am quite sure I feel the pain in greater strength because he had the affair, and then dumped me. I will say that Candy will have a good first year, but watch out…He is a playa! Wish me luck….I need to move on, cut my losses, and take the lessons….I need to ensure I do not settle again!

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30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.