Breaking Up Long-Distance

Virginia Gilbert

You're home for the holidays, and your college boyfriend just called you long-distance to confess he strayed with a ski bunny. Or you knocked back one too many cups of spiked cider and rekindled passions with your high school flame. Or maybe the time apart from your other half has made you realize he or she just doesn't float your boat anymore. Whatever the reason, you've decided to deep-six your relationship, and you don't want to wait until school resumes. How do you call it quits when you're not face-to-face?

New York City psychotherapist Richard Wessler, Ph.D., offers these tips for the person initiating the break-up:

  • E-mail -- Why not? It's the 21st century. Besides, if you're sure you want to end things, an electronic break-up eliminates the argument and circular discussion that's likely to happen in person or over the phone.
  • Telephone -- Can't stomach the thought of cyber-dumping? Then go ahead and pick up the phone. But be prepared for the dumpee to try to lure you back. And remember to call in the evening or on the weekend when the rates are lower or else your parents might threaten to dump you!

Handling Holiday Heartache: Tips for the Dumpee
You went home over holiday break expecting to make merry until your campus sweetie phoned and dumped you long-distance. You're shocked, disappointed and humiliated -- you didn't see it coming. Or maybe you had your suspicions, so you're kicking yourself as well. How do you prevent your aching heart from ruining the festivities with friends and family?

New York City psychotherapist Richard Wessler, Ph.D., suggests the following:

  • Stay busy -- Avoid solitary activities such as reading. Instead, visit old friends, see movies, or attend holiday parties with the family. Use your time constructively to get perspective on your relationship. Next holiday season, you'll probably have forgotten all about that jerk and be with someone better.
  • Get rid of mementos -- Don't torture yourself by looking at photos of you and your ex in happy times: Pack up his old clothes, and turn off your favorite song.
Occasionally, it takes more than time to heal wounds. Wessler urges you to see a counselor ASAP if you experience any of the following:
  • Obsessive brooding about your ex.
  • Feeling that your life has ended.
  • Engaging in food binges (more common with women) or alcohol (more common with men).

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