Retaining dignity can be tough during breakup

No matter the sordid reasons behind any breakup, a certain level of respect between the two parties involved should be maintained at all costs.

A breakup, between lovers, business partners, or even friends, is often messy and painful. The longer the relationship has existed, the more intimate and intricate the partnership, the more difficult it will be to separate. What doesn’t make sense to me is when two people who are at the end of their relationship act as though they are bitter enemies.

I don’t expect all exes to remain best friends, but basic civility isn’t too much to ask for. Or is it?


One man I know decided he was finished living his life as he had done for a dozen years, so he left a note for his wife, simply saying that he wasn’t coming back — ever. He took his favourite clothes, his computer and his car — and hasn’t looked back once. Two years have gone by and he hasn’t once reached out to his preschool-aged daughter or his ex. Talk about cutting all ties!

Another man heard through the grapevine that his wife of five years was having an affair. Without hesitation — or confirmation — he changed the locks on the doors and threw her clothes out in a pile on the front lawn. She was stunned at his behaviour, especially since the rumours were unfounded.

An old friend of mine, a young, single guy in the prime of life, simply decided to stop speaking with any of his good friends. There was no explanation (five years later it’s still a topic of conversation among us) — he just walked away from his group of pals — and none of us has ever understood why.

And another woman I know told me that her best friend once pretended to go out of town and then just never, ever called her again. It’s several years later, and after multitudes of attempts at getting in touch with her friend, she has never figured out why the friendship was ended — especially like that.

I’m aware that some breakups are extremely painful — for example, when one business partner steals from the business, or when one spouse runs off with the other’s best friend. However, despite the urge to lash out, or do something drastic, it’s far better to dish out silence and reserve, and walk away with your dignity intact.

After all, after spending years of your life with someone, whether as friends, lovers, or business partners, you’ve invested so much of yourself, it would take more energy to be nasty and rude than to just be honest and classy.

At all costs, you want to be the one who took the higher road, the one who held his/her head high. You want to be proud of yourself for your behaviour and not regret any nasty words said or actions taken. You want to retain your self-respect.

Lisi Tesher is a much travelled freelance writer who has studied art history, photography, languages and pop culture. She is also a constant and fascinated student of relationships, maintaining contact with a worldwide network.

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