After four years of dating, complete with rumors of infidelity and premature posts of breakups, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel decided to call it quits a few weeks ago.
While their reps are saying that the breakup was mutual, I'm hoping that it went down like this: Biel made the tough decision to kick him to the curb because he wasn’t treating her the way she deserved to be treated. That plus living with all of his rumored lovers.
Deciding to break up with someone is never easy, especially if your relationship has the longevity that theirs did. But using the age-old method of listing pros and cons can make the process easier. You list the pros of being with the person: great cook, good in bed, kind-hearted. And then, you list the cons: poor hygiene, disrespectful, and, yes, infidelity. And if you end up with a longer list of cons, pull the plug. Simple, right?
I've used this method with great success. Like the time the threat of a clown pushed my list of cons to the point of no return.
I was dating a guy, post-divorce, who kept wanting the relationship to be more serious than I did. The list of cons was pretty long and I was close to calling it quits. His nail in the relationship coffin came when he decided to have a formal surprise birthday party for me, invite my parents whom he had never met, and arrange child care for my young children. All without my knowledge. The child care? A clown. One who would entertain them while the grownups, in black tie and cocktail dresses, sipped champagne and ate lobster in another room. I never liked clowns.
But making the decision is the easy part. The actual breaking up is trickier. If you genuinely still like and respect the person, then the breakup should be kind, honest, and handled in person. Do not take a cue from the Sex and the City episode where Berger breaks up with Carrie via a Post-It note. Your blunt honesty will help their acceptance occur more quickly, say in a month or five.
And though it may make you feel better temporarily to be vengeful or mean, you want to be able to walk away from the relationship with your head held high, knowing that you were a good person and handled it properly. Plus, you never know when your paths might cross again, say in 10 years when you’re applying for a new job and the person interviewing you is his wife. (True story.)
What's your best breakup story?
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