Who’s My Emergency Contact Now?

So, you’ve broken up.

You’ve taken their number out of your phone so you don’t text in moments of weakness. When you drop your cat off at the groomer’s and they ask for an emergency contact you say, “I don’t have one. I guess if I don’t come back, you have to set the cat free.”

Best case scenario: you came together, you challenged each other to be your best, inspired each other, learned from each other, then evolved so much you grew apart and mutually decided to consciously uncouple. Worst case scenario: everything else.

Here are some tips to help you deal:

Mourn the plans you made together.

It could be that annual trip to Batfest in Austin, TX, it could be your aunt’s wedding in Boston, it could just be the new Iron Man movie. Notice and release your disappointment in each thing you won’t be doing together. You’re creating a new reality map in your brain without that person in it.

Disconnect electronically.

This might be the hardest part, because we all want to be supercool adult people. That doesn’t mean you need to see when this dude is out to dinner with a girl whose haircut is very similar to your own, and he doesn’t need to know when you’re out at karaoke singing the Stevie Nicks songs that he used to hear in the shower. You don’t have to delete them, but certainly turn their feed off for a couple of months while you get your head together. Even though it sometimes feels good to dwell on the object of your affection, scratching that itch will just contribute to an obsession and will delay your healing.

Cut off communication.

One of the hardest parts of a breakup, especially of a long relationship, is that you find that the person you used to get comfort from is the last person you should speak to. Talk to friends. Talk to family. Talk to your pastor. Don’t talk to each other. Part of your job right now is to get this person’s smell out of your nostrils, literally and figuratively. Once you stop hanging out with them, you’ll stop saying things like “but we’re so good together!”

Depressed Man After Split Up

Ditch the Knick-knacks.

If you have stuff of theirs that reminds you of them, and it bothers you, put it away. You can even throw it away, if you want. If something is in your house that makes you sad, get rid of it, unless he gave you a couch or something, in that case throw a blanket over it until it doesn’t make you feel sad anymore, because that’s a nice couch.

Should Relationships End?

Not too long ago I had to listen to a lecture for work reasons that was about the topic of whether or not it was a good idea for a couple to live together before they got married.  The lecture was skewed towards people of faith, so the natural conclusion was that it wasn’t better.  Rather than fall back on the old standard of living in sin, however, the speaker backed his position up with actual numbers, citing evidence that the divorce rates for people who got married after living together were significantly higher for those who “shacked up” versus those who didn’t make Jesus cry. Thus, those who wait till marriage are more likely to have a successful marriage.

These numbers, I should point out, are fiercely debated and a quick Google search on them yields hundreds of different articles questioning what other factors, like age, economics, etc., could have a stronger correlation to the divorce rates than the shacking up does.  I would also argue that a factor to consider is that the very people who would wait till marriage to live together out of fear of their parents or God or both, are the same people who probably aren’t too likely to consider getting a divorce as a really viable option either.  So of course those people have lower divorce rates. But do they necessarily have happier marriages, or are they just more likely to stay in a bad marriage because they won’t consider a divorce?

What if, and just come with me on this, what if we completely threw out the idea that the single greatest marker of a successful marriage, or any relationship, is that it doesn’t end? It seems crazy, I know, but just think about it.  Each and every one of us probably has at least one great relationship in our past with someone who we ultimately didn’t end up staying with.  What if that wasn’t a failed relationship, but was actually a resounding success? …a resounding success that just happened to end at some point.

Maybe, just maybe, the very real possibility exists that great successful but ultimately short-term relationships are not only possible, but in many, many cases they are so by design.  I could think of the amazing, five month long relationship I had with a woman named Hilary that started in 2009 and ended in 2010 when I moved to Los Angeles as a failure I suppose but I don’t see it that way.  I think the two of us helped each other through a strange transitional moment in both of our lives. It was beautiful while it lasted and then it came to an end when it had to.  I can think of the fact that my parents’ marriage, which is going on forty years’ strong, is not my father’s first marriage, and the fact that I wouldn’t exist if he and his first wife had felt they had to make it work.

So often we let the culture teach us that ending a relationship is the result of a personal failure on our part.  We didn’t work hard enough, we didn’t make the right effort, we were too selfish, etc.  And maybe that’s true sometimes.  But I think the reality is that humans are complicated beings with more and more complicated lives and sometimes we’re so complicated that what is best for us one year might not be the next, or five, ten, fifty years down the road.  Sometimes no amount of work, no amount of attention, will make a relationship last.  Sometimes separating from your partner is the most loving thing you can do.

Breaking Up – Listen to Your Hurt

Do you need to hear this right now?

Breakups are the time when song lyrics often hold the most weight. It’s when we are shattered open, but also melodramatic enough that a song can “get” just what we are feeling, whether or not the intended meaning matches with our experience at all. Sometimes a song’s original meaning is much deeper than having our hearts ripped out, and other times, it’s just a bit of fluff, but one that we cling to as it shepherds us into to moving on. Below are some of the best break up songs.

Artist: Miike Snow
Song: Animal

There was a time when my world
Was filled with darkness , darkness , darkness
Then I stopped dreaming now
I’m supposed to fill it up with something , something , something

The opening hook brightly bursts in and deftly illustrates the mantra for the early stages of a breakup, when you feel most broken and empty, and have to remind yourself there is life outside of this relationship and figure out the parts worth holding onto. I repeated this to myself during the “housekeeping” phase of my last major breakup. That’s the part when you need to remain calm and tie up the loose ends like adults, restraining your bubbling rage which masks your hurt, which hides away your desire to be close to them, further clouding the dysfunction which is the painful root leading you to this song.

Artist: Drake
Song: Hold On, We’re Going Home

I got my eyes on you
You’re everything that I see
I want your high love and emotion endlessly
I can’t get over you
You left your mark on me
I want your high love and emotion endlessly

This song is for wandering around aimlessly at night while weeping to yourself. I preferred it as my drive-home music for whatever social event I could not fully engage with but tried to use as a distraction and be human. Powerful stuff, Mr Graham.


Artist: For the Mathematics
Song: A Versus

Ahh, this one is a deep cut. It takes me way back. Full disclosure, this was the band I toured with as their road manager around the same time I had my first “adult” relationship. I remember being picked up by the band in their converted airport shuttle retro-fitted into a mini-tour bus. It was the first moment of confusion in the early stages of our courtship. I hadn’t eaten all day, and after arriving home from day-job work, had started drinking a Smirnoff Ice like the cultured 20 year old I was, while waiting to be picked up for our next mini-tour date. That’s all it took. When they arrived to collect me, I recall a dramatic overture, questioning the very confused and exclusively male team as to why men are so hard to understand; before promptly dropping myself on the floor of the bus, leaned against one of their protruding knees, and immediately being reminded how fun it was being with my best friends, joking around on our way to a show. I was, more importantly, reminded how fulfilling it was contributing to their development as a group. It was the most supported I had ever felt and we often described it as a 6-way platonic marriage. When the relationship did finally run it’s course, my generous mother asked if I could turn this song down a bit. When I quietly protested, she turned it full volume, and allowed me absorb the song’s healing power while I wept cathartically in the passenger seat of her car, and was reminded by this song of how I still had value. I belonged to something beautiful. I never quite understood the lyrics to any of their music, but the wall of intricate and powerful sound hit me right where I needed it.

Song(s): Three Songs in A Tunnel

This video helped me through the first break-up in which I had lived with somebody. In the wake of the devastation, my brother had driven up to collect me from my hometown and delivered me to my family for recovery. I cocooned inside their guest room and binge watched episodes of the UK series The Green Wing; until my high school best friend collected me and we went to see Parlovr play a live show. The drummer had been a friend of mine back when I was running a small magazine and I had a tiny secret crush on one of the other members for years. At this show, I came out of my cocoon as the friend and I engaged in a thrilling discussion of everything and nothing and my friend turned to me discreetly and said “I don’t know what the situation here is, but he is INTO you” whatever it was, I felt lit up and had a joy come out from inside for the first time in many moons. To be flirted with by someone so charismatic, clever and charming, whom I had secretly carried a torch for, was the best medicine. I watched this video of the band performing in their beautiful city of Montreal for a pick-me-up whenever my emotions threaten to delve back into a case of the “why-me”s.


Artist: Madonna
Song: Hung Up

Time goes by so slowly for those who wait
No time to hesitate
Those who run seem to have all the fun
I’m caught up
I don’t know what to do.

Oh this; this old classic is the triumphant rejection of holding on. The antithesis of Drake’s crooning. You are fed up, you’re ready to move on and walk away. You are not staring at your phone, you are Getting. Your. Life! Listen on repeat when you are fed up and ready for pure freedom to bubble through you.

Artist: Santigold
Song: Disparate Youth

Don’t look ahead, there’s stormy weather
Another roadblock in our way
But if we go, we go together
Our hands are tied here if we stay

This can apply to a new love, but I prefer to direct it inward, to myself. After years of loving this, I just properly read the lyrics and I could write them all out for you because they are quite profound and applicable to this entire experience, but this intro is enough to get you started. Now you are free, this is you get up and go. I used this video, quite literally, to get myself out of bed while on a particularly arduous month long festival in the UK. I loved the work, but it was a mental challenge that required a shot of adrenaline to get moving. If there was ever anything I could recommend to set yourself flying out into the night, it is this.

Can you relate to the songs above?

Keeping Things From Your Ex. Good or Not?

The relationship ended. You never imagined that you would be here. You stand in your place full of memories, looking at all the little reminders of the person with whom you thought you had a promising future. What do you do with the mementos, the gifts, the personal things that are left behind?

At Relationup, an app that provides 24/7 live relationship advice from professionals via chat, we were curious about how people handled the keepsakes they accumulated during their relationships after they had fizzled. We conducted a survey and discovered that 56% of people (70% women; 33% men) kept mementos from a past relationship(s).

Our data also revealed that there were 5 common ways people dealt with their keepsakes in the aftermath of their relationship.

They held onto a few unique gifts they loved. This group described keeping unique items (e.g. jewelry, vintage jazz shirt, sweatshirts, teddy bear) because they loved them and didn’t want to part with them—regardless of who gave it to them or the circumstances surrounding the ending of the relationship. One man commented, “I loved that t-shirt so much that there was no way that I was going to throw it out”.

They kept things about which they were sentimental.
This group hung onto items (e.g. plush dog, ticket stubs, airline boarding pass, mementos from travel) because they represented meaningful and significant experiences. Some kept things that represented the relationship (“my first love,” “the first time time my heart was broken,” “the first time that I felt that someone was really paying attention to me”), while others kept things that related to an event/experience (“the first time I went to Europe,” “my first concert,” “being at Coachella”).

They kept everything and boxed it up. This group liked to avoid facing their feelings by packing up everything to deal with later. In the majority of scenarios, this was motivated by painful endings and people wanted to wait until they felt emotionally ready to do a post-mortem on the relationship. One woman commented, “I just couldn’t look at anything to do with him for months.”

8 Adult Ways to Help You Break Up — That Won’t Make Them Hate You

Ready to be single again? Sure, we’ve all been there. The problem is: you’re also an adult. An adult who respects yourself. And you can’t just ghost someone, make a scene or even push him away. Maybe you’ve been there or had too much therapy or respect other humans in a way that makes you, my friend a good person.

If this is you, here are eight kindly ways to breakup with him or her that will make them respect you in a way that your actions truly warrant!

1.Be honest.

You must be honest with the person. But you certainly don’t have to be a brutal about it. If you don’t feel you have enough in common, tell him or her that. If his hygiene isn’t great or she’s a mess , tell them. If you think he’s a closet racist,, perhaps tell the person you don’t have enough in common.

The more honest you are with your soon-to-be ex, the more you’ll be able to help them move on.

2. Write down your thoughts.

Things can get heated during a break-up conversation. It’s important to stay focused and not be swayed by words or emotion. If you feel you can be swayed, it’s not really a break up talk at all. Writing things down will help you find some clarity and make sure you articulate what you need to in the charged arena of “the talk.”

Couple Drifting Apart

3. Ask questions.

While it’s important to stick to your points about your own thoughts and feelings, it’s equally important that you’re giving your partner the floor to express their feelings. After all, it’s a dialogue, not a monologue.

Questions like “how are you feeling right now?” “Are you okay?” and “Do you understand?” are all incredibly important pieces of the breakup puzzle in order that you be adult and mature in cutting ties. Then listen, because he or she will know if you’re not. Give your significant other time to talk it out to illustrate you truly respect his or her role in your life.

Even if the romantic portion of your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean the respect is gone.

4. Come prepared and have a game plan.

How do you see this thing going? Everyone is different, so remember, based on who your soon-to-be-ex is, make sure you go over best and worst case scenarios to prepare.

Do you think he’ll never want to see you again? If so, bring his stuff. Do you think he’ll want to remain friends? Then invite him to an event or show that you might be participating in.

It’s also important to know how you feel as you proceed, and be prepared if it doesn’t go your way. If it gets to long, for example, say you have to be somewhere. Don’t ever lose control in the wake of a breakup. it’ll be easier on both of you if you maintain some control over the event.

5. Ask how he would like to proceed.

As important as it is for you to have a game plan, it’s also crucial that you ask your ex how they see your future interactions going. Does he want to be friends? Have some space? Never see you again?

That’s his or her prerogative, and even if it’s not what you want, you must respect what they need. After all, you’re breaking up with them, so they might feel vulnerable and feel you’re at an advantage.. He or she gets to decide how he wants to move past the initial shock and beyond.

Couple breaking up

6. Be generous with your time and possessions.

It’s not all fair in love and war.. Since you’re doing the breakup, it’s incredibly important that you are willing a couple on the chin in the spirit of being kind (see #8). That’s what maturity is all about!

It means you might have to let them use your Netflix for a few more more months, or give him back your favorite sweatshirt you love. Whatever it is, it’s very important to let your ex decide on the possessions/conscious uncoupling. That way he or she can feel like is being treated with dignity and respect.

7. Create boundaries that work for both of you.

I’ve talked about communication and honesty, but it’s also very important to have boundaries so all those good things can be upheld. Boundaries are the break-up skeleton. Without it, the thing could fall apart after a few drinks or a lonely night.

Establish ground rules about communication and friends, and when in doubt, assume you won’t hang out with a fun mutual friend if you aren’t sure you should.

Be kind and give your ex some space. Don’t post something about dating on Facebook right away if you’re still connected. If you must, make a special friend group so he or she won’t see. In an age where everything can be shared, it’s important to try and be disciplined about it.

If there is something you read or see that reminds you of your ex, try and restrain yourself for their sake. Give your ex some time and err on the side of maturity.

8. Be kind.

Remember, you started dating this person for a reason, and I hope part of that reason was that they were pretty rad. Be kind to someone you’ve had fun and intimate moments with. Even if she or if he was a jerk, part of being a grown-up is being kind to people who may not necessarily deserve it. In the spirit of an adult breakup, I implore you to be kind.

Breakups are awful and we’ve probably all been there Chances are, you’ll probably be there again, so get some karmic cred by keepin’ it kind.

Read more stories like this such as, The Reasons Why Men Suffer More After a BreakupGood Times to Connect With Your Ex, and If You Have Broken Up with Your Partner, Can You Get Those Feelings Back?

Saying No to a Second Date: A Nice Girl’s Guide to Being Honest

Telling someone “no” isn’t easy for many of us. Here’s how to let them down easy.

If you’re anything like me, you have a tough time saying “no, thank you” when someone ask you on a second date. Especially when he or she was a perfectly nice guy but you just didn’t feel a spark. But life is too short for bad dates and your time is valuable.

And don’t forget, if you’re hoping to speed up your relationship success, join LOVE TV as a member today!

Don’t ghost someone

Women are often taught to be kind and accommodating. We’re told “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and it’s easier to just fade into silence.

So, I made rules for myself. If I’ve met someone casually ones for coffee of drinks, I try not to ghost them. For all they know you fell off the face of the Earth. And while telling someone “no” when they ask to meet again feels unkind, not replying at all is actually worse.

Don’t lead him or her on

I’ve agreed to several second dates when I shouldn’t have. Here are lies I have told myself: “Maybe it takes time to develop chemistry with them.” “He’s a really nice guy, maybe I’ll feel the attraction as I get to know them better.” “What if it didn’t go well because the bar was really loud? “\The second date will go better when we don’t have to yell at each other.”

Some of these might actually be true. You don’t know they are lies when you tell yourself these things and agree to a second (or third) date. But then you go on the next date and realize that your instinct was right. This guy, while perfectly decent, isn’t the one for you. It can make it worse for them in the end.

Do trust your instincts

How to let someone down easy

One of the most important life skills you can develop is to know when your decisions are usually right and when they’re usually wrong.

I am not great at trying new things. My initial reaction is to stick with what I know. But there have been several times when I finally tried something (at the repeated urging of trusted friends) and was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. My instinct for staying with the tried-and-true is often wrong, so I have learned to push myself past that initial gut feeling of “no.”

But there are other places where I know from experience that my instincts are usually right. Every time I’ve hesitantly (or indifferently) agreed to a second date, I’ve regretted it. So I have learned to trust that instinct.

That also means I’ve had to learn to say “no” when someone asks to meet again.

The “sandwich” method

This popular feedback method involves “sandwiching” constructive criticism between two compliments. I learned this in school and frequently apply it at work when talking with a mentee or junior employee. There’s no reason you can’t apply the principle to dating, even though you’re not necessarily giving constructive criticism.

Here’s the formula: 1. Positive greeting. 2. Refusal. 3. Positive send off.

How to politely refuse another date

Here are a few ways to kindly let someone know you don’t wish to see them again:

“I really enjoyed getting to meet you, but things have started to get serious with someone else I was seeing. I’m going to see where that goes. Best of luck to you!”

“It was great meeting you, but I didn’t feel that spark I’m looking for. Wishing you the best in dating land!”

“I really enjoyed meeting you and hearing about (your travels, your adorable dogs, etc). But I don’t see this going in the direction of a serious relationship and that’s what I’m looking for. Good luck out there!”

“You’re a blast to hang with and deserve someone great, I just don’t think I’m that person. Take care!”

“I want to respect your time so I want to be straightforward. While I had a good time, I don’t see this going anywhere. Wishing you the best!”

I have yet to receive a negative reaction to a message like this. Most guys say something along the lines of “Thanks for your honesty” or don’t say anything. And best of all, I feel better about myself for having been upfront about what I do and don’t want.

Read more stories like this, such as 8 Adult Ways to Help You Break Up — That Won’t Make Them Hate You.