Bad exes are truly an epidemic and, for all of our peace at mind, they need to be stopped. There's the exes who blow up our social media and our phones, leave desperate voicemails, stalk us in public, ask our friends how we're doing all the time…and plenty others who go to extensive ends just to get our attention (mostly in a bad way).
But what about you? Are you being courteous, sophisticated, and respectful of each other's boundaries and privacy?
If not, you really should be...and here's why:
1. Your reputation might depend on it
More likely than not, you and your ex share some mutual friends and even more mutual acquaintances. That being said, it'd be risky of you to stake your reputation on some subtweets or petty Instagram captions about your recent breakup. While you might earn yourself a laugh in the moment, nobody wants to affiliate long-term with someone too immature to handle their breakup privately and respectfully.
2. Two wrongs don't make a right
It's important for you to stand your ground and remain cordial throughout the entire breakup process. Although difficult, it's worth it to be sophisticated and empathetic during the whole ordeal if it means you can save face. Of all people, your ex definitely doesn't warrant you stooping down to lower levels.
3. You don't want to bring the "crazy ex" profile to life
Who wants to give their former lover the satisfaction of fulfilling the very role they swore they would never come in contact with? Acting out against your ex only gives them the ammunition they need to spread some very true gossip about you and how you behave in relationships. The last thing you need to face when you've healed enough to date once more is a roadblock in your way that you've created for yourself.
4. People will get tired of you talking only about your breakup
Friends and family who are worth keeping close to you will wholeheartedly support you as you cope with your emotional struggle. But after a while, whining about your ex in public or being openly jealous of your BFF's new relationship is inexcusable. There's only so many snot-stained t-shirts and late-night pints of tear-filled ice cream that even your confidants will want to endure. Move on healthily and avoid becoming the person who isn't invited out anywhere for fear that their conversations will only involve their most recent heartbreak.
5. How you act towards them post-breakup says A LOT about you
Even if your ex was the instigating factor in your splitting up, you will look really bad if you make the effort to lash out at them and belittle them. Someone who only saw your role in the breakup won't have enough details to assume anything about your ex, so naturally, they will make you the culprit in their minds and view you as such. Don't forget your morals and let yourself get so heated that you can't act rationally to protect yourself.
6. Plotting revenge against them is rude (and exhausting)
Sure, you could come up with an elaborate scheme to exact your revenge and make your ex feel worse than before…but really, what does that do for you? Do you really want to exhaust yourself hurting someone else instead of focusing on your own healing and moving on? Time is valuable, honey— so don't put it all towards a lost cause.
7. If you're not careful, your high expectations can become your worst enemy
So you're back on speaking terms with your ex and work in seamless social interaction throughout your day. So that means they must want to get back together with you, right?
Nope. You're setting yourself up for even more disappointment if you initiate a friendship between yourself and your ex in hopes that it will morph into something serious. You owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities that a clean break offers you— don't psych yourself up for a very unlikely outcome.
8. Controlling your impulses will feel better than acting on them
Not giving in to those late-night requests for a drunken hookup will help your mind feel better in the morning (even if your body doesn't). I can guarantee that you would feel extremely disgusted at yourself if you woke up naked in your ex's bed after you swore up and down that you would never be that girl/guy.
9. Your mutual friends shouldn't have to pick sides
Don't give the mutual friends you've bonded with a reason to "agree" with your ex in the context of your split. You shouldn't be pressuring them to ditch your former lover as a friend, nor should you urge them to believe that you are the victim in what was just a calm parting of ways. No one likes to be boxed in between two friends who used to be romantically involved, but are now begging you to take their side over the other's.
10. You don't want to kill your chances of getting back together (if they're there)
It's possible in some situations that you could win back each other's hearts and fall in love again. And if that's an outcome with some reality to it, you'll squander it if you are such an awful ex that your former sweetheart completely loses interest in pursuing you. Of course, you should never lower your standards for someone who doesn't deserve you, but if there is a real, healthy chance that you and your ex may reunite, you'd hate to be the one to ruin that.
11. You deserve to have some peace at mind for yourself
Moving on from a toxic relationship, whether you ended it or not, is critical to promote the fastest, most effective emotional healing. You deserve a break from all of the drama that accompanies romance. You deserve a chance to develop yourself as an individual before you turn your eyes back on the dating world. Take the time to be a good ex and put yourself and your well-being first this time.
It can definitely be tempting to be petty and subtweet your ex-boyfriend just so the world can know how awful he is. It's even more satisfying to rant about him to one of his close pals, or to throw armfuls of eggs at your ex-girlfriend's white Jeep until you've stopped crying. But at the end of the day, know that whatever karma you put out into the universe will come back to you in time. Make sure that you're being a good ex— and ultimately, a good person— if you want to draw your forever love even closer to you.