Recently, a friend of mine went through a breakup. That isn’t unusual in this day and age, where ghosting and breakups playing out on social media are practically the norm. What is unusual is that she hasn’t said one bad word about her ex. She isn’t planning on bashing her ex, thank you very much.
I think we’ve all seen it in romantic comedies. Guy dumps the girl. Girl goes out with friends and proceeds to insult and bash him about things such as physical traits and personality quirks. Usually, after that scene, the woman emerges triumphantly confident enough to move onto the next love interest. There’s never any pause about the ex-bashing—everyone involved in that conversation contributes almost gleefully and it looks therapeutic and cathartic.
In practice, though, it’s useless in helping you get past an ex. It’s one of those things that people do to instantly feel better, a sort of self-gratification fix. Afterward, though, there’s a chance that you feel worse.
No matter how the breakup went—you broke up with them, they broke up with you, or it was mutual—it’s going to be hard. Bashing your ex is something that is going to make it harder. After all, when you bash your ex, you are:
Doing a disservice to yourself
As in the movies, we usually expect to get our spunk back after complaining and gossiping about our ex. We expect confidence and closure to come in spades. That’s not how it works, and it’s not fair to you. You were awesome before and during the relationship, and you’re still an awesome person in the aftermath of a breakup. Tearing someone else down to make yourself feel better won’t help you re-assert your awesomeness.
However, building yourself up and focusing on you will give you that confidence back. Try writing out a list of things you love about yourself whenever you get the urge to talk sh*t about your ex. Chances are you’ll get some confidence boosting without dragging anyone down.
Doing a disservice to them
After a relationship ends, tensions and feelings will be high. You just lost a person who figured majorly in your life and contributed to your experiences, and it’s completely valid to feel angry and hurt.
However, this isn’t a one-person journey, because your ex is going through the same thing. Even if they were the dumper, they still will be processing the same emotions that you are. Maybe at different levels and at a different pace, but the emotions are still there. No one deserves to be kicked while they’re down, even if you think they deserve it.
I’m not saying that you should comfort your ex instead of bashing them—I’m saying to leave them alone. Let them do them as you do you. It’s hard, I know. But part of being an adult is dealing with a relationship’s end like an adult. Do as your mom says and be the bigger person. Let them recover and you’ll recover too. (Who knows? After it’s all said and done, you may be one of those rare people who could be friends with their ex if they wanted to be.)
Doing a disservice to the relationship
Sometimes when going through a breakup, we forget that there were good parts in the relationship. When you’re bashing someone, you’re not going to focus on the good parts. You’re just not. You don’t have to look at the relationship as the best thing that ever happened to you—but don’t dwell on the bad just to bash your ex. You’ll never truly get over the relationship or them if you dwell on finding the bad.
Try to recognize that it was an experience that was shared and had ups and downs like so many other experiences—and then move on. You deserve that much.
There are more things that can be said about breakups and the strategies that we use to get over them. In the case of the time-old tradition of ex-bashing though? Well, some things are better left unsaid.