Don’t sex the ex: Nana D’s rules for breaking up and staying apart
By Nana D
Just over two months ago, my three-year-old relationship came to an end. Or more accurately, I ended the partnership I had been in. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. We had been planning a future together, we had been actively trying to make a baby, and we were planning to move to Nairobi with our baby in 2020. And then he said something to upset me over whatsapp, something that triggered my long held insecurities over our relationship. Questions flooded me, questions of whether this relationship was really right for me, whether he deserved better than what I was offering, and my answers were ‘No, I don’t think this is the right relationship for me anymore’, and ‘absolutely, he deserves better’.
Break ups are hard. They are so darn hard. I wish they could somehow be easier consisting of a mutual drifting away, a recognition that this is no longer working as it should, or that it could be better somehow for both of us. But somehow, I have never experienced those kinds of breakups. Mine always seem to always involve a lot of pain and guilt.
So how does one move on when they find that somehow a relationship is no longer working for them? My rules are as follows:
No regrets – if I have an anthem that’s it! Don’t regret anything you chose to do consciously. When a relationship comes to an end value the time you spent with the person, no matter how long or short a period it was.
Hold on to the happy memories – you won’t find me deleting happy pictures of my ex and I from my Instagram. On the contrary, I sometimes look at these images and smile at the happy memories we shared. Yes, it sometimes makes me feel a pang of sadness for what we no longer have but that too is part of life. Of course, this may not work for everyone. For some people moving on may mean deleting pictures of them and their ex and that is OK. But if you can move on without erasing try to (this leads back to the idea of no regrets).
Don’t sex the ex – I learnt this experientially. When my first significant relationship ended I would occasionally sleep with my ex. We would plan to have dinner together and end up in bed. He would pick me up from the airport because I didn’t have a car, and then we would pass by his house and have sex. Needless to say, this was very unhealthy, and made him think we would end up back together. I on the other hand was quite sure I didn’t want to get back into a relationship with him. Eventually we had to stop seeing each other all together.
As hard as break ups are in the moment, one gets better in time. I remember thinking around the time of my separation from my ex-husband, ‘this is the worst period in my life. If I can get through this I can get through anything’. And I did get through that difficult time, and I draw upon those memories whenever I am going through a difficult time to remind myself that, ‘this too shall pass’.
This was first published on Adventures From The Bedrooms of African Women
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