When it’s All Over

No matter how your relationship ended, there is no denying that break ups are hard and can create all kinds of painful feelings. While saying goodbye is never easy and moving on may seem impossible, there are many positive things you can do to help the healing process along. Now is not the time to lay blame. The arguing is done. Its really over. Though tempting, now is not the time to get even.

Get selfish

Do something truly for yourself. Is there a hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try, rock it. That gig you wanted to go to but your ex hated the music? Buy a ticket and spend your Saturday night dancing it out. Do all of the things you have been denying yourself for his/her benefit.

Get help

If you left your relationship because of abuse or addiction issues, take the time now to seek the appropriate help. Toxic relationships are that much harder to leave completely, particularly if control or violence was an issue. Keep a grounded friend around to be a voice of reason that keeps you strong. Manipulative partners make hellish exes. Having a sounding board will help you navigate any backsliding. If addiction is a problem for you, seek counselling and support to help you adjust to the major changes that are now occurring in your life.

Get healthy

Join a gym. Go to the pool. Take a boxing class. Work on you in a fun social. Start that health kick but don’t crash diet yourself into the veritable new and improved you overnight. If you can’t yet face a meal, (it happens) stay hydrated, drink any alcohol in moderation. Make small meals and make them special -just because you are now cooking for one doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on quality.

Get in touch

It is common for friendships to fade off or slow down as romantic relationships develop. Now is the time to reconnect with all of those who were there before your ex beloved and have remained after. Surround yourself with supportive people who understand your situation, know how to listen and recognise when it is time to drag you off of the couch and take you out.

Get focused

Looking to take a next step in your career? Now is the time to start focusing on self-development. Reevaluate your goals. Are there leadership opportunities at work that you haven’t considered because of the extra hours required? Perhaps you’ve been considering going back to study or studying abroad. Now is the time to work out what you want to achieve for your own life. Leave it up to others to work out where they fit in. The more you build now, the more you’ll have to share when you decide it’s time for another relationship.

Get free

Block your ex on social media. I know you think you can be friends, but all it is going to take is one photo of your ex with his arm around a random to undo all the hard work you’ve done. If you’re still facebook friends with all of his friends, consider whether you want to see his face popping up in their photos. Make your own call on whether to unfriend them but at the very least unfollow their profiles so no stray photos pop up in your newsfeed. Replace your bedding. There is nothing worse than coming home to the sheets that once accompanied Sunday morning cuddles. Box up your mementos and leave them with a friend until you feel more able to have them around you. Untie yourself from the possessions of the relationship and start creating your own place that reflects who you are now and who you hope to become.

Get away

Running away will not solve any of the feelings that you are struggling with. Trust me. But some time away may help to gain some much needed clarity. Consider volunteering abroad. Put all of that energy into something positive. Always wanted to take that girls trip to Fiji, now is the time. If an overseas adventure is not on the cards, take a daytrip out of town. Take the train and your iPod somewhere scenic or road trip it out of town with your nearest and dearest and a playlist of your favourite belters. Split the cost of a cabin or camp out by the sea. A change of scenery will do wonders to clear your head and will keep any urges to pack up and move permanently to South America at bay while you mend.

Get angry

I’m not suggesting you go on a texting rampage but don’t underestimate the power of a solid scream into nothingness. Get out of the house or bury your face into a pillow. Get it all out then let it go.

Get some perspective

Go to ground, as my aunt would say. I tend towards continual forward movement until I burn out to avoid unpleasant feelings. Take some solo time out to really sit with what has happened. Evaluate your part in the breakdown of the relationship and what think about you would do differently the next time around. Keep the lessons, make room for the nice memories while still being aware of the bad. It is healing to forgive not only your ex but also yourself, but don’t feel that you have to forget. Work out your mistakes honestly, without too much self-criticism and take stock for next time (there will be a next time, even if you’ve sworn off love for life). If you can recognise behavior patterns before they become an issue, you’ll be less likely to repeat your mistakes.

Get ready

You’re hurting. You’re making huge changes in your life but don’t close yourself off to opportunities that may come your way. Go on dates. Go out with friends. Join a book club or a film society. Try new things and know that as you change, your path will to. Prepare for what’s ahead without focusing too much on what has passed. Find your passion.

This is a time for reflection, some self-love and a chance to re-evaluate what you want for yourself and for your life. While it may not feel like it right now, the end of your relationship is not representative of some epic personal failure. It’s an opportunity to do all of the things you couldn’t do before, to meet new people, to address parts of yourself that you’d like to change and leap at opportunities you may have been closed off to before. Simply put, it’s your time. Embrace it.

 
HAYLEE READ - CONTRIBUTOR

HAYLEE READ - CONTRIBUTOR

 

A Preliminary Investigation into Tinder

Love can be an inconvenience. And for career driven young professionals, dating can be the last thing on their minds. This is where online dating comes in. In the growing age of technology, hastags and @s, likes and follows, people can meet virtually anyone and everyone on the internet. Sites like OkCupid, Match.com,

and apps like Tinder and Grindr have flourished, encouraging dating that is convenient, when and where you want, with no strings attached. And yet, even though social media plays a growing role in our lives, some have found online dating not quite acceptable for something as ‘organic’ and ‘authentic’ as true love.

When I asked my proudly single, not ready to mingle friend if she would ever use Tinder, she yelped an explicit, resounding “no!” This wasn’t a demonstration of her antediluvian ways, no, it was something that many friends, when pressed, demonstrated the same repulsion, embarrassment, at the sheer thought of using social media to find love. These were friends who regularly Snapchatted me, who vocally questioned governments on Twitter and posted (sometimes) embarrassing updates on Facebook. These were people fully, and wholly ingrained into the social media net, so much so it became a norm for communication. And yet, they were hesitant about using such norms to find love, and to be precise, unironic, genuine connections with other human beings. Why?

My friend said, quite bluntly, “It’s love. Something as artificial as tinder isn’t going to work for something as natural as love.” Her implication was, love was supposed to happen naturally. She wasn’t showing an abhorrence with technology, but an abhorrence to the well-orchestrated connection technology created with two individuals. There was a machine behind that program, calculating the likes and dislikes of individuals, and pairing them up. Yet at the same time, how natural was love to begin with? If you liked someone, you found reasons and common ground to talk to them. You, in your own calculating way, orchestrated a connection between yourself, and the object of your affection. Two people did not simply fall together, in the way Hollywood romances showed it, but met each other depending on well-orchestrated variables of mutual friends or mutual classes. Love, in this way, could never be as coincidental and “natural” as people presumed it to be. How was that any different to Tinder finding mutual friends for you, and orchestrating a connection between an individual and yourself?

My other friend admitted that what stopped her from using Tinder was the subsequent story she would have to tell to friends, if it turned to be a success story. “We met on Tinder,” didn’t have exactly the same ring to it as, “We were stuck in a lift and one thing led to another.” How did a successful tinder couple negotiate their tinder going history? These were questions I posed to friend, and regular Tinder goer Allison *(name changed). For her, telling peers that she had met her date on Tinder wasn’t awkward at all. Sure, it didn’t have the same undertones romantic comedies had, but Tinder was still, to some extent, normal. It was the older generation, parents and relatives that she revised her history for: “I will always say we met through mutual friends – either at a party, or bumped into them at the club,” essentially, the acceptable, conservative way. As for Tinder conversations, these can actually help meeting in person for the first time. “I always bring up stuff we’ve talked about…it gives you a springboard for conversation.” *It’s less painful than a blind date, because at least you know what they’re interested in. What scarce conversation you had, may be useful material for face to face conversation. However, this can backfire when conversations on Tinder are simultaneously happening, and one is going on said numerous Tinder dates. People can mix up conversations they’ve had with the wrong person, which happened to Allison when she mistakenly brought up a different person’s conversation, who was not the one she was on the date with. “I’m like, ‘oh yeah, you won that swimming competition,’ and they were very confused.” Apart from being a fantastic anecdote, did any of these dates turn into real love? Allison actually met her ex-boyfriend on Tinder. She also met a really wonderful person “which could have kept being something really special,” if there weren’t other factors like distance and university. What I get from Allison is the insistence that Tinder is used for fun. This is what she knows Tinder is infamous for; drunken hook ups and late night ‘fixes.’ But between the gaps, I hear a longing for real, meaningful connection, for things to progress further into a “real relationship.” She knows of people in long term relationships, who met on Tinder. There is a certain layer of façade involved. Tinder is ‘just a bit of fun,’ but at the same time, there is a possibility it could evolve into something more.

I felt there was only one thing left to do. I signed up for Tinder, and deleted it shortly after. For me, Tinder was like op shopping. You had to sift through a lot of crap to find some gems. And as crass as it sounds, people became objects. I knew nothing about their personality, about their dreams and failures, what made them tick at night; I knew nothing except the pixelated 4 pictures I saw of them in house parties, and trekking in the outback. There was an animalistic shopping in Tinder, at the range of choices, at the sizing up of some (did they fit?) and the brutal rejection of others. There’s also the fact New Zealand can sometimes be uncomfortably small. Meeting singles in a metropolitan city like New York may offer a plethora of exciting, unknown prospects. But in New Zealand, there was always a danger that my neighbour, childhood friend, even tutor, may pop up next. There’s also safety concerns behind online dating. Allison herself admitted that safety measures were in force whenever she went on a Tinder date. She often asked to meet in a public place, she told her friends where she was going and for how long, and she would ask for a photo of the person to match their Tinder pictures. The same dangers women face in reality; misogyny, harassment and abuse are the same dangers Allison, and other online daters are constantly aware of online. These may differ to men’s experiences of Tinder, and what they fear in online dating. As Margaret Atwood said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

It would have been interesting to go on a Tinder date, but there was something innate in me (too romantic? Too squeamish?) that bulked at the thought. There was also the additional factor that I was a young, Asian woman. “Yellow Fever” is an oriental fetishism pervasive in online dating, which affirms skewed ideas of the sexual appeal of Asian women. The assumed stereotype of Asian women as exotic, docile and subservient have rendered them the “most popular” race on OkCupid (AYI Survey, 2015). In contrast, African American women were seen as feisty and argumentative, and were statistically the least desired ethnicity. Bias and prejudice are hugely influential in online dating. I didn’t know if some “super liked” me because of who I was, or because of the delusional ideologies I represented. Allison, and other Tinder success stories show the appeals of online dating; its convenience, its comfort (as opposed to a blind date), and its accessibility. But for me, Tinder was like a game; and I would be always questioning the rules.

*Note: *JAGGAR understands that a great many people have found great and true love on Tinder, this is an opinion piece and is not intended to offend either the application or the people who have found love through it.


Wen-Juenn CONTRIBUTOR

Wen-Juenn CONTRIBUTOR


How to Break Up When There's Nothing Wrong But Also, Not Right

It's a difficult prospect. There's nothing wrong. He's a wonderful boyfriend- he says all the right things at all the right times, he's good to you and treats you well, you fight just enough to keep it interesting but not enough to make an impact, he's supportive and kind, giving and thoughtful - he's everything you wished a boyfriend could be -and yet something just isn't right. 

While he's thinking marriage, you're still thinking of it as temporary, you know it's not forever-you just haven't mentioned it because some part of you wonders if you're simply self-sabotaging, that perhaps you're measuring your relationship against those in chick flicks, that maybe relationships aren't meant to be what you thought they were, that there's always one person more in love than the other. 

You start to disconnect yourself and he feels it, your emotional unavailability makes him feel rejected, dejected, unwanted. You try to make up for it by being over-the-top romantic, even though it's not your style and everything seems okay for a while-maybe you just need to try harder- but sometimes, it's better to simply let go than to deprive him of a chance to meet someone who can love him with the same fire with which he loves you. 

It's a difficult prospect but it's a very real one and an increasingly popular one as women find themselves focusing on their career path over their relationships. It's not a commentary on how career women have to be 'hard', it's just that now with so many opportunities, we're no longer transfixed by the idea of a big wedding to a dreamboat husband who will work to support his family while you tend to the home and children. 

Ending a relationship that is from outward extern, entirely wonderful is possibly the hardest thing to do, but once you're outside of it, it will be clear as day that it was the right decision - even if he or she can't see it immediately, down the track, they'll be grateful that you left so that they could find something better suited. It's the actual break up that's the hard part. 

Here are our tips for doing it with minimal fallout: 

Planning

When there's nothing wrong, the thought of choosing the words to end it seems impossible. You'll summon up those cliched lines from films and the person will find it insulting. If you've been having problems that aren't really improving or if you've noticed the person has been unhappy (or vice versa), make that your starting point, let them know how much you care about them, let them know why you're doing this but leave out anything that can be construed as judgemental or blaming. If you're legitimately doing this for them, because you can tell they're not happy, then tell them that but if that isn't the truth, it can shut down the conversation pretty quickly. 

Choose your location wisely. Unless you're a complete lunkhead, don't take them to a public place for the sake of them not making a scene, they will always make a scene if taken to a public place because you're not giving them the opportunity to truly take it in, you're more likely to elicit an anger response through such an impersonal scenario. Always choose somewhere private, whether that's a room in your house where you can shut yourselves away and be uninterrupted or a place you both know and feel comfortable.

Logistics 

If you live with the person and it's more their home than yours (ie renting with their name on the lease or they own the home), plan to move out immediately or at least have somewhere else to stay that night. If they're likely to get angry to the point of destroying things you'll know in advance so start moving things out in small amounts that they won't notice over time so that you can fit everything in one car load when the time comes. Recruit friends to help if needed but make sure they come after the breaking up part is done and the person has migrated to a different area of the house, don't allow your friends to interact with the person unless necessary to ease the process. If the person isn't the angry type, plan to stay elsewhere that night and arrange a time to come back with friends to move your things out. 

If you don't live together, it's infinitely easier - well, logistically anyway.

Should There Be a Last Hurrah? 

It's common to think it'd make things easier and ensure things end on a good note if there's a final date, a last supper - however it just builds up in the person's mind that things are great before you drop them back to earth with the news that you're leaving them. 

If you're looking to break up, you shouldn't want to be liberal with affection anyway but don't put it on for the sake of an amicable split. It's confusing and unnecessary. 

Stay Strong

If you've gotten to this point, you must be pretty resolute, but even the strongest are still moved by someone crying, telling you they thought you were the one and how they didn't see it coming (even if you thought it was obvious). This is especially true when it's the woman doing the breaking - we're not used to seeing a man cry, especially so if he's not the emotional kind and in the moment it can be jolting and make you questions whether what you're doing is right.

Expect to Ride a Wave of Emotion for Days if not Weeks 

Image  via:

Image via:

You just left someone who was wonderful and a relationship where nothing was exactly wrong- it just wasn't right. You're likely alone, surfing couches or going it alone in a place of your own. This is where all the second guessing comes in and you'll find yourself surging between being adamant that you made the right decision and the overwhelming self doubt that you've just royally stuffed up.

Be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with friends who know your relationship, know you ex-partner and know what you need. Perspective is an amazing thing and most certainly everything you need right now. 

If you've moved into your own place, make it a 'home' - buy yourself flowers every week to make the house bright, furnish beds and sofas with comfy blankets and cushions, welcoming bedding and dot candles about the place for relaxing candlelight.  Hang artwork and make your new house a real home, even if it's just a temporary one. 

Don't Jump on the Tinder Wagon Immediately

While your friends will undoubtedly advise swiping right on as many potentials as possible right now to 'get your mind off it' , this leads to dangerous behaviour and scenarios and as well as being a bad move health-wise, mentally, you're not going to feel fulfilled (in a deeper sense of the word), you're more likely to feel devalued and look fondly on your fresh ex-relationship. This is where couples commonly get back together - either because the person who did the breaking has a freak-out about the decision and the new-found singledom or because the complacency of the known becomes too attractive in the loneliness of the single life.  This just starts a vicious circle and often, infidelity on both parts - the person who was broken sees it as a means of getting back at you or for evening the playing field emotionally and the person who did the breaking cheats because they never really wanted back in but they were too afraid/ timid/ complacent to go through it all again. 

Don't Focus on the Good Times

It's easy to look fondly on the good times, on the person's behaviour during the breakup, the things they say to try to fix it and the plethora of amazing things they've done but right now, this is not what you need. This is liable to just upset you and push you towards those negative behaviours mentioned earlier in the search for affection.

Don't necessarily focus on the bad points but remind yourself WHY you made the decision. It's not something you entered into lightly - if you were resolute enough to finally take action, there was a good reason , if not multiples smaller reasons why you felt it needed to be done. 

If you think you're likely to forget them, write them down - don't cast blame or make judgements, rather make the reasons about yourself - the way being in that relationship made you feel, the restrictions you felt, the emotional sway, how things feel now and your reflections on the break up and read them often, ensuring that each point is absorbed and reflected upon with each reading. 

Stay Friends But Not Too Friendly

You just left someone who has effectively been your best friend and partner in crime for the last however long. You can't lose a best friend and a partner in one go. Also, they didn't do anything wrong, they're hurting too and if they're not the type to share, they may need you to reaffirm the decision, let them know it's not about them, that it wasn't something that could be fixed. Help each other through it but don't lean on each other entirely. Certainly don't let it get to a more than friends stage and keep encounters brief. The point is to let each other know that you're there and keep conversation up, talk about your day, let each other know that things are ok and eventually taper off contact to a level where you're just friends, not as close as you were, but friendly. 

Take Care of Yourself

You made  a huge decision, it's going to be hard bu it's also going to be wonderful - it'll just take time to get there. Go easy on yourself. Try new hobbies and see friends to keep busy. It will stop weighing on you. You may not be grieving the relationship but you're still grieving a loss, a best friend, someone you'd usually turn to for everything, even just to tell exciting news to . Set a goal and start working towards to . Be kind to yourself and take it a day at a time. It will get easier and though it may not feel like it for a while, you did make the right decision.