I have recently been drafted by the break up party, as a free-for-all consultant on how to deal with crappy relationship situations. The thing on my mind now is this whole idea of having and being an Ex. There is an art to maintaining this title without it becoming the devil’s stamp on your forehead. It can be done with some level of grace and dignity for both sides of the broken heart.
So let’s start at the centre of the issue: intentions. Can you have good intentions when hurting someone? Heck yeah! It’s called tough love and sometimes it takes the better, stronger person to inflict this particular brand of affection. Seeing straight, beyond the glaring lights of love and the subsequent psychotic tendencies that come with the territory, is a hard thing indeed; coupled with the guilt of teary eyes and desperate innuendoes, the ‘bigger’ person has his or her work cut out for them.
Despite how long you chose to dog paddle around in the sinking ship you call a “relationship”, at some point, you’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that man’s (or woman’s) about to go overboard. Now it’s either sink or swim baby. If you chose to sink, you’re an idiot; taking yourself and another person with you. Never mind that, that other person refuses to put the life jacket on when you try to reason with them. The reality is that someone has to put an end to a self-destructive relationship.
It’s not the nicest hat to wear and for a while that brave soul becomes the devil incarnate by a variety of make shift support groups (aka Facebook) that a broken heart usually rallies around it. Now, that’s not to say that all Ex’s deserve an invitation to the pity party; cheaters, narcissists, and users deserve no sympathy or regard. But the truth is, many breakups aren’t as “soap opera” as the person being broken up with may make them seem. It’s a simple matter of “we aren’t good for each other anymore.”
In the Desi culture, break ups are tricky. We Asians are a habit-forming subgroup that generally gets over comfy in social situations, even if they are no longer relevant to our feelings. Perhaps this is because many of us go into relationships with the intent (or expectation) that eventually they’ll result in marriage, thus qualifying all those years of messing around (tsk , tsk).
When that doesn’t happen you have to explain yourself why were you dating to begin with? Just for fun?! (God forbid). If you’re a female, add an extra exclamation mark to that. If you’re engaged, add two more exclamation marks, and if you’re married and have the audacity to say the “D” word (yes, divorce is still taboo in South Asian culture) you’re really in for it.
This combined dose of social and cultural guilt is often enough to make a sensible, self-actualizing human being forfeit their happiness and stay in a loveless relationship. Considering the long term ramifications of such a surrender, it’s safe to say that this is relationship suicide; ironically, we do it to survive.
So excuse me while I say a clichéd “hat’s off” to those who have the guts to stop fighting, crying, cursing, and denying and instead chose to wo(man) up and take a hard but necessary decision for the betterment of everyone involved.
You know it’s time to break up, when breaking up is not as hard as staying together.
— Summer Yasmin
‘No Sex in the City’ is inspired by the popular TV show Sex and the City, and is a voice representing Desi romance and culture in all its complexities!