I often ask the internet for life guidance. Recently, that guidance has been googling “coping with a break up” and reading as much as I can on the topic.
Well, I have recently stopped googling and am now watching a lot of Desperate Housewives and trying to find reasons to leave my bed/the internet. (I am blogging from a coffee shop so its okay, I left my bed). I stopped reading break-up self help articles because I found them to be really heterosexual, really boring, and above all, victim blaming.
Let me define victim blaming.
Victim blaming occurs when the victim(s) of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment are held entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them. (wikipedia)
I know what you are thinking. “Parks, you are not a victim. Relationships end. Calm the fuck down and get out of bed and be a productive person.” And I agree with you! That is excellent advice for my life right now.
The trouble is, according to most break up advice sites, there is always something that you could have done to avoid this terrible break up or divorce. As if the ultimate goal of all of life is to be in a relationship forever and to be with one person and to be in love and have kids and back and forth forever.
And to that, I say pshaw.
I pulled this from a site about dealing with a break up/divorce.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Step back and look at the big picture. How did you contribute to the problems of the relationship?
- Do you tend to repeat the same mistakes or choose the wrong person in relationship after relationship?
- Think about how you react stress and deal with conflict and insecurities. Could you act in a more constructive way?
- Consider whether or not you accept other people the way they are, not the way they could or “should” be.
- Examine your negative feelings as a starting point for change. Are you in control of your feelings, or are they in control of you?
These questions seemed aimed at finding out where you went wrong, what you could have done to avoid failing. Its so simple to say, yes, it is my fault that I keep on ending up with the “wrong type of person”, I could have done things differently, it is my fault.
But that is ridiculous. It takes all parties to come to a point where the relationship is not working. (community accountability in romantic relationships)
Relationships happen because we as humans are sexually social, and we find safety and comfort in communities. None of my partners have been the “wrong type”, they were and are all wonderful people, who I am blessed to have spent time with.
Just because the relationship did not work out does not make you a failure.
Let me repeat; breaking up does not mean that you failed.
It means that the next life step for you did not include this particular relationship, and right now, at this moment, you chose to change things and end the relationship. Break ups are an oppurtunity to be alone (a very special thing) and are never one person’s fault.
I know you may say, well, what about cheating? Isnt that one persons fault?
it may have been one person’s actions, however the only difference between cheating and consensual sex outside of monogamy is communication and consent.
So cheating may just be a lack of communication in a lot of ways. And it takes all parties to not communicate. (I know its subjective, but try to work with me here)
Break ups are never one person’s fault. It is not your boyfriends fault just because he dumped you, it is not your partners fault just because she was the one to change her facebook status to “single”, and it is not your dads fault because he spends too much time at work. It is not your fault, even if you feel that if it is your fault you can have control of the solution. Calm down. You are not in control of that anymore. You have not been for awhile. Thats why you broke up. It is no one’s “fault”. These things just happen.
And thank goodness that they do.
Breaking up is really rough, But its a step forward. Or at least in a new direction.
And if you find yourself needing advice on how to break up, I suggest a few things.
- Emily Nagoski’s awesome blog post about attachment
- Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Eat something.
And above all, don’t be mean. (also self-care)