How did you respond to your last breakup? So often people experience that the worst part of a relationship ending isn’t the split itself, but rather the embarrassing ways that we react, often noisily and publicly. After your last breakup, did you do any of the following things?
- Write an angry email to your ex
- Post on Facebook about what a terrible person your ex is and how they’ve betrayed you
- Write a pleading and emotional email to your ex
- Left nasty comments on your ex’s social media feeds
- Posted flyers around your ex’s home or workplace telling everyone how much you hate them or revealing embarrassing information
Perhaps you didn’t do any of these but you did something worse? For so many of us, staying silent after a breakup is a seemingly impossible task, but the truth is there is a lot of power in such silence. In today’s blog, we’re sharing why silence is so powerful after a breakup.
Why Stay Silent After a Breakup?
To be clear, when we say “silence” here, we don’t mean saying absolutely nothing at all to anyone, including your ex. What we’re referring to is essentially the discreet opposite of what we described in the introduction. Any communication that does happen with the ex in question would be functional, and carefully considered, such as arranging to pick up items from a shared accommodation, for example.
The “silence” refers to a lack of noise on the subjects of your ex personally, your relationship with them, your sexual history with them, and so on. Let’s now look at some of the best reasons to stay silent after a breakup:
Your Silence Says Everything Required
It doesn’t feel like it at first, but when you can stay silent, you are actually speaking volumes. You’re saying a number of important things to your ex, such as “I have nothing more to say,” and “For me, this is completely over now.” You’re also saying that you refuse to engage in any open exchange of angry or bitter feelings. None of this will necessarily stop your ex from speaking out and breaking their silence, but you shouldn’t think that your own silence means you are saying nothing at all.
You’ll Avoid Long-Term Embarrassment
All the “zingers” and pithy put downs that might emerge from a noisy and public breakup might feel satisfying to say at the time, but over a longer period of time that will change. After some time, you will start to feel embarrassed about the things you said, wishing you could take them back, or at least wishing that no one else saw them. In some cases, people may lie away at night cringing at themselves for these remarks, while those who stayed silent sleep more soundly. A good general rule of thumb is to never say anything that you think you might ever regret.
There Can Be a Chance for Some Reconciliation
When you stay silent, you leave the doors open potentially for some level of reconciliation with an ex in the future. That’s not to say the noisy and public breakups don’t sometimes end up with the same thing, but your chances increase greatly when you remain silent. What’s more, such reconciliation is easier for you as the silent party since you have nothing to apologize for when the time comes.
For clarity’s sake, by “reconciliation” we don’t necessarily mean that you get back together with your ex — far from it. In fact, what we mean for most people is perhaps reconnecting with them as friends, or at least to establish civil dialogue so you can share space with each other when mutual friends invite you to parties or other events.
It Makes You the Bigger Person
One of the reasons we come to regret angry, loud and bitter comments that spew from us after a breakup is that we come to see how petty, false and meaningless they really are. Those who can remain silent avoid these feelings because deep down they come to know they have done the right thing. They aren’t kept awake at night replaying the embarrassing moments in their mind (not about the breakup at least); they don’t feel they have to apologize or grovel if and when you resume communication or reconcile with an ex as friends. This is because they took the high road.
The Negativity of It All Consumes You
Some relationships don’t just end badly, but in a spectacularly awful fashion, leaving one or both parties consumed not just with immediate angry feelings about what’s happened, but an outward desire to hold that grudge and keep pushing out the negativity about their ex. The problem with that is while it may seem cathartic at first, ultimately it just takes over your life. It will poison your personality, even rendering you unable to make romantic connections with others because your grudge becomes an obsession that no new partner could accept.
Tips on How to Stay Silent After a Breakup
As we’ve already mentioned, staying silent after a breakup is no mean feat. It’s more than just will-power that you’ll need, but a solid vision for the longer term, and a firm understanding and conviction that you’re doing the right thing and must stick to it, no matter how hard. Those who have kicked a previously addictive behavior such as smoking or excessive social media will understand the feeling better than most, in all likelihood. For those who are facing this trial, we’ve prepared a few tips to help you through it.
Erase Their Contact Info
Having their number, email, Messenger contact and more is all a terrible temptation to get in touch and break your silence. If you’re serious about staying silent and committing to things being over between the two of you, then you should erase any and all contact information. Furthermore, you should instruct your friends and family who might still have it for one reason or another not to give this information to you.
Some might point out here that certain contact details are committed to memory anyway, so what good will deleting them do? In fact, deletion is a good way to provide yourself with enough of a thinking “buffer” zone before you actually act. Having to input the number or email annually without any shortcut can sometimes just provide you with the extra seconds you need to restore your resolve.
Avoid Favorite Public Spots — But Have Fun
The two of you might have shared a number of spots that you often frequented: bars, restaurants, park benches and more. If you’re going to be the silent one after the breakup, then you should accept — at least for the time being — that these are best kept as no-go zones for you now. By no means are we suggesting you become a social recluse, but perhaps find some alternative spots to enjoy while the aftermath of your split steadily corrects itself over time.
You never know, it could be in one of these new spots that you meet someone new and better; someone who will make you realize that not only your silence is a good move, but the breakup in itself. Even without meeting someone new for dating, going to fun places and occupying your time with enjoyable activities is another sure-fire way to help you avoid breaking that silence.
Block Their Social Media
Further above we talked about removing their contact information from your devices. This is one step, but the truth is that you have to stretch it to social media as well. It’s not enough, either, to simply “unfriend” or “unfollow” them on social media. Such action leaves the door wide open for social media stalking, perhaps one of the unhealthiest post-breakup behaviors that exist. So, the solution is to block them.
When blocked, you don’t see anything they post, and they see nothing you post. It’s about as silent as it can get in the realms of social media, and it will help you to maintain your own sense of peace and quiet. But couldn’t you just “unblock” them again? Well, yes, in theory you could, but just as having to manually input their memorized contact information provides you with crucial seconds to come to your senses, so too does the act of having to go deep into your settings to take the necessary steps to unblock people.
Channel Negativity Into Private Writing or Speaking
For those of a very passionate disposition, remaining silent feels completely unnatural. This is totally understandable, which is why we recommend that in this situation you don’t remain entirely silent. When the negative feelings are bubbling up and all the things that you’d like to say to your ex are swirling around in your mind, write them into a private diary, or say them to yourself in a mirror, or just aloud to yourself when no one else is around or within earshot.
Unleashing these things into the open air, or onto the private pages of a diary is extremely therapeutic. Very quickly they start to lose their power and you become even more glad that you never said them directly to your ex.
Don’t Reach Out Via Friends
Finally, you must also avoid the temptation to try reaching out to an ex via their friends, or your mutual friends. This is sometimes a risk for people who have taken all the steps we’ve mentioned above, but still get to hear about some nasty things that their ex has been saying about them online or elsewhere — perhaps one friend mentions it or shows a screenshot, for example. In this case, in desperation to get in touch no matter what, one might unleash a tirade at one’s ex to be relayed by another friend.
This is a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons. The most important reason is that you aren’t just breaking your silence and voiding the many benefits of being silent that we’ve talked about already, but you’re putting yours and others’ friends in an awkward position, and that’s not good. What right do you have to drag other people into it, perhaps potentially threatening friendships between them and your ex, the status of which is really none of your business?
Think about that!