Breakups are incredibly difficult for everyone involved. Whether you parted on good terms or it was sour farewell, it's over. Once you get over the initial shock of no longer being the priority in that person's life, you begin the healing process.
But, there is one thing that could hinder this slightly: your ex. The very person you are trying desperately to forget could be the one thing that keeps you holding on.
Why? Is it for his or her own sick, twisted pleasure? Is it because this person is curious to see if you would ever take him or her back?
Whatever the reason, it is unfair to you, and if you are the culprit in this scenario, you're being a douchebag. Here are four rules that should be followed when dealing with your previous partner:
You have said your goodbyes, and you have talked, screamed or cried about why you can't be together anymore. Nothing has changed, and it won't.
So, cut the cord and stop talking to each other. Whether it's sharing a funny video on Facebook that you think he will like or a cute story about your dog that she would laugh at, you cannot talk to each other anymore. Even if you are dying inside because you miss that person so much, sending needy or abusive messages will not get him or her back.
Acceptable: I guess this depends on how things were left, but maybe a birthday message. Other than that, leave it alone.
Unacceptable: Contacting an ex when you have moved on or sending a lengthy email about how much you hate or miss that person.
If you are in a new romance, why are you reaching out to your ex at all? Surely your attention should be firmly on this new person. As for the hate mail, just know that your crazy psychobabble will be shown to all of his or her friends.
Why do you need to see each other? Do you even need to see each other? What good could come of meeting up?
Acceptable: If you have to give each other your old belongings, then one more face-to-face can happen, but that doesn't mean it should. I'm sure you have friends to help you out, and there is always the mail.
Unacceptable: If either one of you is with someone new, you do not need to see each other. You should only do so if your new partner knows and is secure enough in your relationship. Seeing someone that you have history with can stir up feelings of nostalgia or pure hatred.
If you don't end up hooking up, you might go into a blind rage and kill someone — probably your ex — and how are you going to explain that? At the very least, you will end up confused, torn between those extremes and unaware of where you stand.
3. Family And Friends
This is difficult, especially if you share mutual friends (think Ross and Rachel from "Friends"). An appropriate amount of time should pass before meeting with your ex's family. It's great that you felt close enough to them to keep in touch post-apocalyptic breakup, but if you choose to keep in touch, do so without involving your ex.
Acceptable: Exchanging the odd text or meeting up for a coffee, away from the home they share with your ex.
Unacceptable: Going over your ex's house to watch "EastEnders" with his or her mom every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. How is your ex supposed to move on if you are always there?
Don't talk to your mutual friends about your ex. You'll begin a vicious cycle of Chinese whispers, or worse, you'll hear something that you were not ready to.
4. Social Media
Social media lets you peep into someone's life undetected. That sounds a little stalker-ish, but let's face it: As soon as a friend tells you about the new office crush, the first thing you do is cyber stalk that person.
There was a time when you were the one in all of the pictures, and you were the one your ex sent funny memes to. Now, you want to know who and what is happening in his or her life, so you go ahead and peep away.
Acceptable: Have a cheeky browse when you feel like it, but eventually, you won't feel the need to at all.
Unacceptable: At no point should you ever "like" or comment on something, especially if you are in a relationship. All that does is make your ex aware that you are interested in what he or she is doing.
Why are you interested? Is your new love not all that you thought it would be? Are you missing what you once had? Even if your ex is not thinking this, your new partner probably would.
For those of you who are dealing with the "extreme ex," the girl who sends you Instagram collages of when you were happy together or the guy threatening to beat up your new boyfriend, why are you even entertaining this behavior? Block and delete this person from your life.
The "jack-in-the-box ex" (the kind that likes to pop up whenever he or she feels like it) can cause so much drama when you are seeing someone new. Receiving, reading or responding to these messages encourages this person, making him or her think there is a chance to win you back or destroy whatever you have now.
Your ex is your ex for a reason. No matter how it ended, your relationship was not working, and neither one of you were willing to try anymore. Respect each other and what you had enough to leave each other alone.
It goes without saying, but once you have really moved on, there is no need to contact the person you once shared everything with. You will have someone new to share things with.