The importance of setting expectations after breaking up is not something that can not be overemphasized.
You have been in a relationship with this person for weeks, months, or years and now that relationship is ending and what is next? Life without the other person is uncharted territory, a territory that, believe it or not, if you manage it together, you will be able to get past and move on faster.
Setting expectations after breaking up can be complicated, especially when the emotions around breakups are so fraught.
Let me share with you 5 expectations that you can set TOGETHER that will help you both manage those crazy emotions and move on.
1. No stalking.
One of the biggest problems with social media is that, after breaking up, we have endless access to information about our exes.
Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc allow us to, from the comfort of our own home, watch as the life of our ex unfolds without us. Whether what we see posted is reflective of the truth or not, when we see our ex happy without us it cuts us to the core.
A client of mine knew that she had to break up with her boyfriend of 8 years and was ready to move on. And then he got a new girlfriend and she became obsessed with how the new relationship happily played out on Instagram. As a result, she was drawn more and more back into her feelings for him, missing him, and wondering if things could have been different. And then one day he called, told her he was miserable and she learned that all the posts she had been obsessed with were social media curated.
So, when setting expectations after breaking up, make sure that one of them is that you unfriend/unfollow each other immediately. If you can make that decision together, that you can disconnect from each other electronically so that you can get on with your lives, then one or both of you won’t be hurt when you are blindsided about an unfollow notification.
I can promise you, if you can do this one thing, you will be a long way along the path of getting over your ex and moving on.
2. No trash talking.
Whether you do the breaking up or are broken up with, the anger that occurs at the end of a relationship can be very destructive. The desire to funnel that anger somewhere, to put it out there to the universe, to let others know what a jerk your ex is, is almost irresistible.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you are setting expectations after breaking up is whether or not you BOTH can refrain from trash-talking each other. What happened in your relationship was between the two of you. Yes, she might have cheated or he might have been abusive but that is between the two of you. The impulse to get sympathy from someone else from telling a one-sided story is never productive and usually ends up with more acrimony and anger.
So, when talking through setting expectations after breaking up, agree that the issues that you had will stay between you and that neither of you will talk badly about each other to the world.
At the very least, not talking about your ex will help you move past them. Every time you rehash things with anyone, everything just gets stirred up again.
Want to know more about how you can move on after a breakup? Read Healing From Heartbreak: 5 Important Steps You Can Take To Move On
3. No yo-yoing.
Another very important expectation to set after ending your relationship is that there will be no yo-yoing.
Yo-yoing is a very painful occurrence when one person keeps coming and going in a relationship. One person says they want out of the relationship but then changes their mind, comes back and then leaves again. Or they drunk text for a booty call. Or they say they want to try again but not tell anyone.