STAGE THREE: THE POST-DUMPING CHECKUP
Explains Lesley Dormen in "Breaking Up: A Protect-Your-Heart Plan," "Once the breakup has taken place...and you have the capacity to listen and speak calmly, talking things through" with your ex-boyfriend is ideal. According to psychologist Bonnie Jacobson, Ph.D., author of If Only You Would Listen, post-breakup conversations "can be an outstanding clinic for healing and learning how to love better." Oh, really?
A 45-year-old woman told me the following story about her son: He called home from college two weeks ago, very confused. He and his girlfriend had broken up, and it seemed she wanted to remain "friends," but he didn't. They were living in the same dormitory, which made it all very awkward. "Mom?" he asked her, his voice sounding suddenly faraway and boyish. "Mom? Is something wrong with me? I'm not sure I want to be her friend." I feel like I know his ex-girlfriend already, because she or someone like her has just written a letter to the magazine lying on my coffee table: "My ex and I were getting along great," moans 20-year-old "F.G." in a 1997 Mademoiselle, "and then he called me up and said he didn't want to be friends anymore! What happened?"
I'll tell you what happened, F.G. It's called human nature. You're concerned, I know, because you're not getting all the post-dumping checkups you were promised. I understand what you're going through: You're feeling kind of left out and strange. If your ex doesn't call you, how in the world are you going to get your "outstanding clinic for healing and learning how to love better"? But don't worry about it, F.G. It's not you who's strange; it's this post-dumping checkup that's strange.