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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014
The BrunchQ guide to ex-lovers
Saudamini Jain, Hindustan Times
February 09, 2013
First Published: 17:09 IST(9/2/2013)
Last Updated: 18:54 IST(9/2/2013)

We all have them. It’s time we learnt to deal with them. 

A Break-up is a dead albatross around your neck. It is tubs of chocolate ice-cream and whisky by the gallon. It is countless cigarettes smoked in succession. It is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan playing on loop. A break-up is when nothing will ever be all right, when nothing can possibly be the same again. How can it? It is loss, it is numbness. It is a broken heart. It happens when two people (or more) attempt to love each other and fail.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/430_img2.jpgEveryone has a stack of old, broken relationships in their closet, starting with the boy who gave you a rose when you were 16 or the shy girl who sat next to you in class through middle school. Then there was the torrid college romance, the secret affair at work and half a dozen in between. Even until a generation ago, that boy with the rose and the girl with the copious notes were the ones you would end up marrying (if you were lucky enough to choose your partner yourself). A string of past relationships wasn’t just rare, it was actually a source of embarrassment – a sign that you couldn’t make it work. Couples did let their eyes wander but for the most part you stuck to what you were stuck with. 

Happily ever after was once upon a time
“Today,” says Madhuri Banerjee, relationship columnist and author of Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas, “everybody thinks they can get away with anything. And they know [that even after a break-up], koi na koi toh mil hi jayega.” People now want more passion in life and find it easier to go and get it. Psychoanalyst Dr Madhu Sarin points out how social norms are changing. “Pretty much every decision a modern couple makes is up for negotiation,”  she says. And when you can negotiate, you can walk away. You can pick up the pieces, rally the buddies, bawl your eyes out, play Adele till the neighbours complain, finally turn a corner and start over. And when you keep walking away (or be the one who keeps getting walked away from), the exes start to pile up. You find yourself with more baggage than Jennifer Lopez’s entourage: a minefield of memories, three-month anniversaries, learnt-by-heart phone numbers, “our” places, his buddy who’s still your buddy, her cousin who’s now your honey, well-remembered favourites and long-forgotten reasons for why you broke up (or got together in the first place). It can be quite a bit to manage, no?
Breakin’ up is hard to do
Being yourself is complicated enough – there’s an uneasy mix of emotions, temperaments and quirks. “When you talk about two individuals interacting it gets even more complicated,” says Dr Sarin. “It’s like two universes colliding, creating excitement, often friction.”
And if being in the relationship was bad enough, the aftermath is even worse. Being dumped is the pits. But even if you’ve done the dumping, you will end up feeling like the victim – there will be a sense of failure, another unsuccessful project to add to your emotional resume.  “That person has huge feelings of guilt and sadness,” says lifestyle management expert Rachna K Singh. “By taking the onus, the responsibility [of the break-up] shifts to their head. But sometimes this step is for the better,” she adds.

Make it work
Ultimately, it’s not how many Minus Ones you had before you settled down with The One that affect your chances of happiness. It’s how you’ve viewed, accepted and made peace with all the broken pieces of your heart. Adman Prahlad Kakkar, who has a relationship advice column in a magazine and has been married for several years, admits he carries a little bit of every woman he has ever had feelings for. “You change as much as you allow the person access to shaping you – like clay on a wheel,” he says. “By the time you’re 50, you’re a sum total of all the people who have touched you.”
Of course relationships change you. Like Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, author of You Are Here says, “If each person doesn’t bring out a different person in you then you might as well be with the first person you ever dated.” All old relationships cast a hue on your current one.
That’s the way the brain works. Says clinical psychologist Dr Pulkit Sharma, “We all carry a blueprint of relationships deep in our unconscious. How we express our feelings, how we react to separations, what we need, how we bond are to a large extent fixed. That is why you see people making the same old mistakes in and across relationships.”  How much you can change depends on how deeply motivated you are.

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For stand-up comic Abish Mathews (who painfully counted his five relationships – he was dumped thrice), one break-up was motivation enough. He had just started comedy and he couldn’t stop talking about it and about himself. “At some point, I stopped listening. So eventually we broke up. But the next time, when I was seeing somebody else, I took an effort to make sure to listen too.”
In his book A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes wrote, “The lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.” Just don’t wait too long, or you’ll miss the boat. And the ride is where all the fun is. n

How to make the most of a break-up
You! Yes, you. We know you have a murky past – all of us do. So we’re drawing on our own experiences, getting help from the people in white coats and dipping into a dozen or so self-help books, to help you get through, and get over every past relationship that refuses to stay in the box. Closure is a wonderful thing, and here’s how to find it with every kind of lover:

The One True Love
The odds are, your story isn’t a Casablanca. But if you’ll always have Paris (or Bangkok or even Goa), you’ve come close.
This is going to hurt. Everybody has a story about that one person who could be ‘IT’. It was the boy who made you soup when you were sick, the girl who put you to bed when you had too much to drink. It’s the person you wanted to kiss even when you thought kissing was gross. You romanced like they did in black-and-white movies and made out to love songs from the ‘80s.
Even now, when it’s all over, a little part of you believes you’re going to fix the differences years later. You fantasise he’ll come crawling back. That she’ll magically be single again just when you decide you’re ready to wed.
We’re not going to burst your bubble. But repeat after us: “If Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman couldn’t fix it, we may
not either.”
There. Now you still have your love story and your ending.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/430_img3.jpgSafety Information
l Your ex’s friends will not fix things for you. They are not your friends. And no, you cannot steal them. Lose an ex; lose his or her friends.
l Having sex with your one true love is always going to feel like candles and clouds. But it will always be followed by despair. It’s not worth it. 
l Talking hasn’t helped? Abandon ship! Abandon ship!
l Evaluate what your true love has turned into. Most past loves can’t survive the present, or adulthood. Or an eventual sprouting of stubble.
 
Warning
Unless both parties get attached elsewhere, staying friends with this one is hazardous to your health.
 
Please note
If more than five people have made you feel like forever is forever and love is thy name, you may want to settle down with the parents’ pick.
A pocket guide to getting over someone
This here is a comprehensive day-by-day manual to moving on. For every day, there’s a new lesson. So tear this page along the dotted line and keep it safe. You may need it when you’re least expecting it.

Day 1: Call your most comforting friend. Cry, swear, feel like shit, talk about your ex, be mean. The day you’re single again is like your birthday, you can get away with anything. Take advantage of that. 

Day 2: Add the prefix ‘Don’t Call’ to your ex’s name on your phone’s contact list. Follow it.

Day 3: Manage all digital records: Unsubscribe from their Facebook newsfeed, save old emails in a folder marked ‘Crap’.

Day 4: Return all their stuff. His old Beatles’
T-shirt doesn’t smell like him. Her 1TB hard drive was with you only so you could watch Downton Abbey. 

Day 5: Solve math problems. It’s the best distraction and it’s good for your brain.

Day 6: Call in sick. Sleep.

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Day 7: Make lists. Things you hated about your ex, things that make you happy, things you should do anyway, places you’d like to visit... a bucket list. Tackle them one by one.

Day 8: You’ve had a week to wallow. Henceforth, every time your brain starts thinking of the ex or the break up, sing the first song that comes to your mind.
 
Day 9: Buy a good book. Then go to a coffee shop and read it all by yourself as you sip on something yummy.

Day 10: Walk. Run. Swim. Hop, skip and jump. Get those legs moving however they like.

Day 11: Eat lunch with your favourite aunt. Pay for lunch. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to an old lady.

Day 12: Think of the top three people you’re attracted to: an actor/model, a colleague, a friend of a friend. That’s what’s out there waiting for you... among other things.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/430_img4.jpgDay 13: Every relationship changes you. So right now, you’re a couple of versions of yourself (and your exes). Customise?

Day 14: Join something. Anything. French classes, a book club, a DVD club, a band, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Day 15: Spend fifteen extra minutes grooming yourself. Smell good. Dress well. Get someone to compliment you (without asking them to!).

Day 16: Make new friends. You’ll need them. Especially since you’re probably driving all your friends up the wall with the moroseness.
 
Day 17: Adopt a pet or volunteer at an animal shelter. Or teach your five-year-old niece an old song. You don’t have to be in a relationship to feel emotion, to gush.

Day 18: Cook/garden/fix. Whip up a mean pasta, plant a lemon tree or change the fuse.

Day 19: Dance around in your underwear when you’re alone. Unless of course, you have that kind of company available. And if you do, you’ve already graduated to Day 21.

Day 20: Still think your ex was God’s gift to mankind? Good. It’s nice to have a well-accomplished ex. It’s good to have standards. Especially in exes.

Day 21: Kiss someone new. Teach them how.

Day 22: Pick your best feature, admire it.

Day 23: Become an ace at work. Put in more effort. You’ll thank your ex when you get that bonus or that promotion or both.

Day 24: You know those places that remind you of your ex? Visit them with a bunch of friends, make it a night to remember. Overpower those old memories.

Day 25: Clean your room, get your bank work done, fill that form. Run errands.

Day 26: Get hooked on to a new TV series. Aim to finish all its seasons.

Day 27: Adopt a pet.

Day 28: Plan a holiday. Book tickets. Get happy for the early booking discounts.
 
Day 29: Self-help books. Make fun of them.
 
Day 30: Write all about it. Don’t post it online.

Day 31: Still feeling a little twinge? You’ll always feel it. Just not as often.

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The Obvious Misfits
He read Kafka, you loved Mills & Boons. She was glued to BBC, you to Bigg Boss 6. You were never a match made in heaven. You were together because all your friends were seeing someone, because she was pretty or he could play guitar and harmonica at the same time. Months have passed. You manufactured a semblance of love. Then it ended.

Safety Information
l This break-up sounds easy but is scarring beyond belief.
l Shrinks disagree but post break-up sex is a thumbs up. Tried and tested.
l If you annoy your friends with break-up sob stories, they’re going to leave you too.

Warning
The worst thing people do after these relationships is to share intimate details publicly. There’s a loose sense of loyalty, so they think it’s okay to talk about you.

Please note
Pssst… you can totally date their friends after you split. They’ll get over it. Eventually.

The One That Moved Away
You watched Love Aaj Kal together. And like most of us, you were inspired by the ending. Let’s break up till you get back from New York. We’ll see after that. But when the plane takes off, when you’re lonely every minute in Manhattan, what do you do?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/430_img5.jpgSafety Information
l If you plan to get back together, fix a date. It’s not, “if you ever come back…” but “you better be back by August next year and you better have stayed in your pants.”
l If you don’t have the degree of self control to exercise restraint during their absence (and you probably don’t), just call it off and pretend to be friends. In fact, you actually have a very good chance to stay friends with this one.
l  Whenever you’re in the same pincode, you can put on your birthday suit.

Warning
You may follow our safety guidelines, but your ex may not. They may fade away or abruptly sever all ties. Distance doesn’t make every heart grow fonder.

Please note
Long Distance Relationships are hard work. But if they work out, you feel like you’ve conquered the world. On the other hand, if you fail attempting to make it work, things can get pretty bad. You’ve got to take a risk.

The One That Had to End
This relationship was wrong from the beginning. This isn’t what you were looking for. But good girls love bad boys. All boys love a lost cause. She’s messed up, he’s got issues. Bad medicine is what you need.

Safety Information
l It was fun. Everybody deserves to have some fun. Don’t kill yourself over making the wrong choice.
l It would have been worse if it had lasted, nein?
l You’re not your ex’s mother. He or she doesn’t “need you.”
 
Warning

Revenge sex is great, angry sex even better. But the only person getting hurt will be you.

Please note
You need to introspect. Why did you go ahead even when you knew it won’t work out? You’re going to feel like crap. But, say the shrinks, after you understand this, go right ahead and forgive yourself and get rid of guilt.

The One You Were Married To
Everybody thinks you should give it one (more) last shot. For the kids, for the house, for something is
better than nothing. Or they’ll say, go for the blood. An eye for an eye! File a case against them! Get a
fabulous lawyer and reduce them to shambles. We say, keep your calm and maintain your dignity. You’re the best judge.

Safety Information
l It’s hard but be amicable.
l Respect each other’s space.
l If you’re separated, there was a huge reason or terrible compatibility. Until and unless you sort these out, it’s a bad idea to get back.
 
Warning
His mother may be the world’s biggest female-of-canine and her dad the dirtiest child-born-out-of-
wedlock but keep the parents, kids and pet out of this.

Please note
Sex can be complicated when you have shared a bathroom and a courtroom. A pocket guide to getting over someone . This here is a comprehensive day-by-day manual to moving on. For every day, there’s a new lesson. So tear this page along the dotted line and keep it safe. You may need it when you’re least expecting it.

Day 1: Call your most comforting friend. Cry, swear, feel like shit, talk about your ex, be mean. The day you’re single again is like your birthday, you can get away with anything. Take advantage of that. 

Day 2: Add the prefix ‘Don’t Call’ to your ex’s name on your phone’s contact list. Follow it.

Day 3: Manage all digital records: Unsubscribe from their Facebook newsfeed, save old emails in a folder marked ‘Crap’.

Day 4: Return all their stuff. His old Beatles’
T-shirt doesn’t smell like him. Her 1TB hard drive was with you only so you could watch Downton Abbey. 

Day 5: Solve math problems. It’s the best distraction and it’s good for your brain.

Day 6: Call in sick. Sleep.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/650_img4.jpg

Day 7: Make lists. Things you hated about your ex, things that make you happy, things you should do anyway, places you’d like to visit... a bucket list. Tackle them one by one.

Day 8: You’ve had a week to wallow. Henceforth, every time your brain starts thinking of the ex or the break up, sing the first song that comes to your mind.
 
Day 9: Buy a good book. Then go to a coffee shop and read it all by yourself as you sip on something yummy.

Day 10: Walk. Run. Swim. Hop, skip and jump. Get those legs moving however they like.

Day 11: Eat lunch with your favourite aunt. Pay for lunch. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to an old lady.

Day 12: Think of the top three people you’re attracted to: an actor/model, a colleague, a friend of a friend. That’s what’s out there waiting for you... among other things.

Day 13: Every relationship changes you. So right now, you’re a couple of versions of yourself (and your exes). Customise?

Day 14: Join something. Anything. French classes, a book club, a DVD club, a band, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Day 15: Spend fifteen extra minutes grooming yourself. Smell good. Dress well. Get someone to compliment you (without asking them to!).

Day 16: Make new friends. You’ll need them. Especially since you’re probably driving all your friends up the wall with the moroseness.
 
Day 17: Adopt a pet or volunteer at an animal shelter. Or teach your five-year-old niece an old song. You don’t have to be in a relationship to feel emotion, to gush.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/650_img5.jpg

Day 18: Cook/garden/fix. Whip up a mean pasta, plant a lemon tree or change the fuse.

Day 19: Dance around in your underwear when you’re alone. Unless of course, you have that kind of company available. And if you do, you’ve already graduated to Day 21.

Day 20: Still think your ex was God’s gift to mankind? Good. It’s nice to have a well-accomplished ex. It’s good to have standards. Especially in exes.

Day 21: Kiss someone new. Teach them how.

Day 22: Pick your best feature, admire it.

Day 23: Become an ace at work. Put in more effort. You’ll thank your ex when you get that bonus or that promotion or both.

Day 24: You know those places that remind you of your ex? Visit them with a bunch of friends, make it a night to remember. Overpower those old memories.

Day 25: Clean your room, get your bank work done, fill that form. Run errands.

Day 26: Get hooked on to a new TV series. Aim to finish all its seasons.

Day 27: Adopt a pet.

Day 28: Plan a holiday. Book tickets. Get happy for the early booking discounts.
 
Day 29: Self-help books. Make fun of them.
 
Day 30: Write all about it. Don’t post it online.

Day 31: Still feeling a little twinge? You’ll always feel it. Just not as often.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/2/650_img6.jpg

Ex-rated
THE ONE TRUE LOVE
Is the one you planned a future with, the one that made your heart sing

THE OBVIOUS MISFITS
Opposites attract only so much. It was fun. For a while. Till it broke

THE ONE THAT MOVED AWAY
When distance breaks all hearts

THE ONE THAT HAD TO END
You couldn’t stand it from the start but stuck to it

THE ONE YOU WERE MARRIED TO
The perfect wedding? It doesn’t matter

Brad Pitt was Jennifer Aniston's one true love. Till he found someone else

Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman were just perfect together! We’d have said Katie too but we're scared of Scientology

Prince Charles walked into a marriage with Diana while still in love with his ex. No wonder it didn’t last

Now read
Want to get over a break-up quick? Read tales about lost love. It always looks worse than your mess

Like Medea and Jason
She helps him retrieve the golden fleece but he dumps her anyway for Glauce, the daughter of King Creon. Medea kills the princess and eventually her two sons. Greek mythology, go figure!

This was bound to happen. Mrs Jemima Imran Khan prancing around Pakistan could last only so long

Apparently, Heidi Klum slept with the bodyguard.

Seal had a temper. Hey, no one’s perfect, even if their bodies are

Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar’s has GOT to be the vaguest marriage in the history of marriages AttentionProduct may behot after handling.

Please read the safety instructions carefully

Anybody who marries Charlie Sheen is a moron.

Denise Richards should have known betterPost-split,

Ben Affleck said Jennifer Lopez ruined his career and that she used to make him miserable

It happened to me
The Why We Broke Up Project (whywebrokeupproject.tumblr.com) lets you share stories of heartbreak

Annie hall
Diane Keaton and Woody Allen’s relationship (and break up) in the film is one of the truest on screen

Andre Agassi says he shouldn’t have married

Brooke Shields at all. Love all? Not so much

LOVE AAJ KAL
Saif and Deepika break up because of the distance but get back together. This is not a typical outcome

GONE WITH THE WIND
When people as unpredictable as Rhett and Scarlett get together... it ends

KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA
India’s first real take on infidelity (one that leads to two divorces)

 


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