Navigating the Break Up

Navigating the Break Up

Usually in January, women are elated about starting a new relationship or getting engaged. For some reason—unbeknownst to us and truly boggling our minds—our readers were more concerned about breaking up. Perhaps it’s a way of starting off the New Year on a clean slate and charting a new future alone or with someone more compatible. Whatever the reason, we hope our advice will help them have a romantically successful 2013.

Last year, I started dating the son of a couple that has been friends with my parents for almost 20 years. I have known this man most of my life and our friendship turned romantic around last Christmas but it's not working out and I think we make better friends than a couple. In the meantime, our parents have become thrilled about the relationship—even planning our future wedding—but I need to break it off...how do I do so without breaking their hearts too?

Let the fire die and the heart heal before resuming a friendship or starting a relationship with a friend's ex
Let the fire die and the heart heal before resuming a friendship or starting a relationship with a friend's ex

When it comes to relationships, it is more important to do what's right by you than what your parents want. ALWAYS. Talk things over with the guy, end things amicably and then the two of you can talk to your parents together. Let them know you're not ruining your friendship. They will appreciate you two staying close and, by telling them together, you avoid any upset theatrics from your parents and his. In the end, the fact that you two are going to remain friends is going to be the most important part to them, so emphasize how close you two still are. As long as this split doesn't cause a huge riff that tears their friendship apart, they are not going to be heartbroken in the long run.

I have a very close friend who is going through a tough break up with her boyfriend of five years and I have been trying to help her through it the best I can. He initiated the split and I can understand both sides of the story; however I've developed a strong bond with him, his friends and his family. Is it possible to support my girlfriend and still remain friends with her soon to be ex? What's post-break-up etiquette for the best friend?

As much as you like this guy and his friends and family, as a best friend your job right after the break up is to take your friend's side regardless. She needs time to heal, especially from a relationship that lasted five years! The best thing for you to do right now is have only a little contact with the ex. You can send each other a few texts here or there, but you should not be going out together or spending long periods of time on the phone with him. At least not right after the split. You should be there for your friend just like you would want her to be there for you. After the healing process has finished, your friend may realize that she is ready for a friendship with her ex and you can rekindle your friendship with him and his friends and family at that time.

Just because your friend gets engage quickly doesn't mean you should put an expiration date on your relationship
Just because your friend gets engage quickly doesn't mean you should put an expiration date on your relationship

This past Christmas, two of my close friends got engaged after being in relationships for less than a year. I've been with my boyfriend for three years and he has yet to pop the question. We love each other very much and have a great relationship but I want to start a family soon and I don't want to do it without being married. We rarely talk about marriage and when we do, no solid plans are made. How long do I wait until I pull the plug and move on?

Before you put a number of days on your relationship, you two need to have a serious and long talk about the future. If your usual talks about that and marriage are not serious or cut short, he may have no idea how you're feeling right now. You both need to be honest about how you feel about your future and where you want things to go as a couple. He may surprise you and tell you he wants everything you want, which is great! The key here is communication. It is the lack of communication about the future that is going to slow you down and halt any plans down the road. Whether the talk goes well or poorly, it's important to explain how you feel and what you want. From there, you two can decide together where your relationship is going.

A friend of mine recently went through a split with her fiancé. She and I are not really that close but we do circulate in the same social circles. Last week I ran into her ex at party and he asked me out on a date. I am very attracted to him and, as a single woman, do not want to pass up an opportunity for a good relationship; however I don't want to upset my friend. He's quite the catch...what do I do?

I would say tread carefully…very carefully. The last thing you want to do is cause trouble within your friend group and tear things apart. My question is: if his engagement is just ending, is he really ready to jump into a new one? Are his intentions as pure as they seem? These are serious questions in my mind when I hear about situations like these. Now, he may be a handsome, successful man, but is the potential for a great new relationship worth the potential of no longer running in the same social circle and ruining a friendship or two? If you think so, then by all means go for it, but if it is not, I would think twice about this date. Who knows, some great guy may be just around the corner from you. Do not let the fact that you feel you are passing up an opportunity to not be single anymore cloud your judgment.

Dating and difficult break-ups know no age boundaries
Dating and difficult break-ups know no age boundaries

After my parents divorced ten years ago, my mother who is slightly over 50 has become somewhat of a serial dater. She gets involved with a man, becomes attached too quickly and he eventually breaks it off. I see her go through heartbreak after heartbreak but, as a daughter half her age, giving her advice is hard. I don't want to hurt her feelings but really wish she'd change her dating strategy. How can I stop my mom from serial break-ups?

To be honest, there is not much you can do. A great way to ruin a relationship with a family member is telling them what they are doing wrong and trying to control how they live their life. Your mom spent a lot of time married and is single again; that is scary to some people. She may just be trying to figure things out, work her way back into the dating world, and this may be the only way she knows how. You just have to be patient with her constant dating and breaking up. That being said, just because you cannot tell her what to do and how to live her life does not mean you can’t try and distract her from her dating life. Maybe plan a mother-daughter weekend (absolutely no men allowed) and show her a great time without a man. Your mother just may be looking for companionship since she had it for so long and all the sudden it was over. I know you can see the mistakes she is making, but she has to learn these mistakes for herself. It is a growing process. Besides, we all remember how much we hated when our mother gave us her two cents about our failed relationships—she feels the same way.