Category Archives: Communication

Communicating with your Ex

A fan recently asked us a good question. This is notable because more often, fans ask us less good questions like, “I want to get marry can u help me please?” Anyway, the good question was: “How do you tell your ex you’re involved with someone new?”

So we came up with a guide for telling your ex that you’re dating again. It’s real life advice, but since advice for living a real life is often quite boring, we’re also giving you the more exciting alternative “if your life was a movie,” version as well.

A Guide to Telling Your Ex That You’re Dating Again:

1. If you have kids…

Real Life: Sharing children with your ex is the most compelling reason to tell them you are dating someone new. Why? Because kids are snitches. If you don’t tell your ex, they will. Which of these two options sounds like it will cause conflict: Your 5-year-old daughter telling your ex-wife that, “Daddy has a new friend who is prettier and taller and thinner than you,” or a calm, rational discussion with your ex that explains that you have been seeing someone, and you’d like to introduce him or her to the kids? Trick question. They’ll both cause conflict. But at least if you do the latter, you can pretend you’ve taken some higher moral ground.

Movie Version: Make sure that your new boyfriend or girlfriend has a spare kidney and is an organ donor match for your ex-spouse. Also, be sure your ex-spouse has a terminal kidney disease. I think you see where this is going…Ex-spouse is dying, new lover enters, lover offers kidney to ex-spouse, BOOM. Everyone is friends.

2. If you’re still “friends”…

Real Life: First of all, why are you still friends with your ex? If you’re one of those people who goes to the occasional lunch with their ex and says things like, “I don’t understand why we WOULDN’T be friends – we were MARRIED after all!” then we have no respect for you and don’t understand you. You don’t need our advice. You’re such good PALS this shouldn’t be any problem at all. Just tell your ex-husband “friend” that you’re getting remarried over a beer, just like you would any old buddy. You crazy kids.

Movie Version: You’re out for tapas with your ex, like you do. And RIGHT when you are about to say, “Guess what? I’m dating someone new,” over a small plate of something wrapped in something else, your ex SIMULTANEOUSLY says, ” I’m still in love with you.” Uh oh. Guess you shouldn’t have tried to be friends after all! Dummy.

3. If you’re still “seeing each other” for some ungodly reason…

Real Life: Stop that.

Movie Version: Oh my god, an earthquake!

4. If you’re totally through except for the occasional email about insurance or bills…

Real Life: THEY DON’T NEED TO KNOW YOU’RE DATING SOMEONE NEW.

Movie Version: In the movie version, you are Reese Witherspoon and you occasionally email your handsome ex-husband, Matthew McConaughey. One day you sit pensively at your computer before composing an e-mail telling handsome-ex that you are now dating someone very handsome but slightly less likeable, like, Christian Bale. Upon receiving this email, handsome-ex sets off on a trip across America where he reflects a lot on the mistakes he made with you and, more importantly, learns to love himself. All the while, Christian Bale proves himself to be even less likeable than we originally thought. He probably yells at a waitress or something and you have doubts about whether he’s the man for you. Months later, you run into handsome-Matthew-ex–randomly– at a small Parisian cafe. He just so happens to have your favorite kind of flowers (orchids) which he presents to you as he makes a speech about his undying love for you, loud enough for everyone to hear. You smile and throw your hand up to your tiny, yet strangely pointed Reese Witherspoon-y chin. You tell Christian Bale to go be Batman somewhere else, and you jump into Matthew McConaughey’s arms and tell him you’ve always loved him, and then whisper in his ear that you’d really appreciate it if he would work on getting back into “Magic Mike” shape.

5. If you have deleted their number and blocked them from Facebook…

Real Life: We aren’t aware of any methods of communication that don’t involve Facebook or cell phones. We don’t know, maybe write your ex a letter? Do people still do that? Take out an ad in the newspaper? Rent billboard space? This could get expensive, so be sure to win the lottery first.

Movie version: This situation is too boring to ever be a sub-plot to a movie. Sorry that you’re so boring.

rotary-phone

If you’re one of those people who is too “cool” to communicate with Facebook or email or cellphones, just use one of these. Whatever it is.

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Eye Rolling and Other Bad Signs

Studies have shown that eye rolling is one predictor of divorce. So if you roll your eyes while your spouse is talking, or vice versa, that’s probably a bad sign for your marriage.

But it’s not just eye rolling you need to be on the lookout for. Here are some other negative interactions that could point to trouble in your relationship.

THINGS IN ADDITION TO EYE ROLLING THAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO WHILE YOUR SPOUSE IS TALKING:

  • Twirl your pointer finger in a circle at temple, i.e., make international ‘cuckoo’ sign
  • Cover your ears and hum/loudly speak gibberish
  • Answer pretend “phone call” and proceed to have a long conversation with what sounds like a lover while really only holding your own hand to your ear
  • Tie an imaginary noose
  • Pantomime vomiting
  • Induce real vomiting by ingesting harmful chemicals
  • “Call” poison control on aforementioned “hand phone”
  • Die, because you can’t really call poison control from your hand

“Hello? No, no, I’m not busy. Just listening to some boring weirdo yammer on about something or other.”

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Internet Breakup Lingo

Even the best of us tend to be pretty insufferable when going through a big breakup. You feel like no one in the history of the world has ever felt the pain that you’re feeling and for that reason, you find yourself utterly fascinating. You want to talk about it. You want to text about it. You want to sing about it. (Right, Gotye?) And you want to gchat about it. And that’s fine. For a little while. (After more than a little while, your friends will start avoiding you.) But until then, here’s a helpful guide to talking about your breakup in internet lingo.

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Mad-Libs

Chances are, if you’re reading this website, you’ve attended a wedding before. At the very least, you’ve attended your own wedding, and so you intimately know that weddings can be a horrible, horrible mistake. Maybe someone told you before you walked down the aisle that it was a bad idea, but maybe not. Even if someone did, you clearly didn’t listen (dummy!). So what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? When you are expected to attend—or even participate in—the wedding of one of your friends or family members, even though you KNOW they’re making a mistake. What can you do? Probably not much. But you can try. Here’s a Mad-Lib style form letter you can send to your loved one, to warn them. It’s the right thing to do:

 
Dear _____(name of friend or family member),
You know how much I _____(verb) you. We’ve been _____(relationship) for ____(number) years, and we’ve had a lot of ______(adjective) times together. I hope you know that I only have the ______(superlative adjective) wishes for your happiness and _______(feeling). I know that you and ______(fiance/e) have been together for _____(number) ______(years/weeks/days), and I think that’s ______(adjective). And I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics–you know that _____(number) percent of marriages end in_____(divorce/murder/murder-suicide). Now, it’s not that I THINK this will happen to YOU TWO! (lie). You and____(fiance/e) are SO much different than everyone else. But maybe, you should consider that there are still so many other people out there, like______(name of someone more attractive than his/her fiance/e). Or even, _______( name of his/her highschool boyfriend/girlfriend). Also. don’t forget that when you’re married, you will probably never be able to ______(name of his/her favorite activity) anymore! Like never again! I was talking to_____(fiance/e) the other day, and _____(he/she) told me that ___(he’d/she’d) never let you do that anymore. Anyway, I’m not trying to rain on your______(name of festival/parade). Want to come over later and we can talk about this over a pitcher of______(gin/rum)?
______(loving word),
______(your name)

I just really want a cupcake right now.

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Decoding Your Spouse

You should know when things aren’t going well in your marriage. But sometimes it’s hard to face it. And people don’t always say what they mean. That’s why we’ve created this handy decoder. Use it. Trust it.

When they say: “I think we should take a break.”

They mean: “I want a divorce.”

When they say: “I don’t think we should buy that house.”

They mean: “I want a divorce.”

When they say: “I’m just not sure what I want in life.”

They mean: “I want a divorce.”

When they say: “Our son really doesn’t look anything like me.”

They mean: “I want a divorce.”

When they say: “You don’t like spaghetti???”

They mean: “I want a divorce.”

When they say: “I feel like you aren’t happy anymore.”

They mean: “I’m not happy anymore. And I want a divorce.”

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Ex Encounters

There aren’t many good reasons to see, speak with, or think about your ex, but from time to time, it does happen. “Why does it happen?” you ask. Let us tell you.

Type 1: Business Transaction

This is most common in the early stages of separation. Breakups are a lot of drama, but there are still a lot of boring parts. Getting your mail. Discussing utility bills. Really, anything that involves paper. If you have children, the business transactions will be more regular and will also cover picking kids up, dropping kids off, and appendectomies.

Sample Encounter:

“Did you take care of the thing with the insurance company?”
“No. I’ll do that Monday.”
“Ok. Let me know when it’s done.”
“I will.”

Type 2: Playing Nice

There are two reasons to remain friendly with your ex: 1. You want them back. 2. You feel guilty. In almost every failed relationship, one party feels immense guilt over ending it. Some people choose to swallow that guilt and wash it down with lots of alcohol or, in a pinch, Nyquil. But others maintain a friendly relationship with the person they dumped, in hopes of someday feeling better about it. These interactions are sort of like match.com dates. Lots of smiling and non-controversial chit chat. It’s disgusting.

Sample Encounter:

“I like your hat.”
“Thanks! I just got it.”
“That sandwich looks good.”
“It is! Would you like a bite?”
“No, I’m good. But thanks for offering!”
“Oh no problem. I’m glad you picked this sandwich place. You’re good at picking restaurants.”
“Thank you. You’re good at ordering sandwiches.”
“That’s nice of you to say.”

Type 3: Cyber Stalking

It can be hard to resist cyber stalking your ex. Whether you love them, hate them, or you’re just bored with everything else the internet has to offer, you’re going to do it at some point. If you’re still facebook friends, it’s pretty easy, but, in a way, less gratifying. The real prize is finding their online dating profile. And by “prize” we mean “terrible idea.”

Sample Encounter (with public part of ex’s facebook wall):

“Oh, wow. He commented on a Washington Post article. Isn’t that nice? He never read the Washignton Post when WE were together. What a phony. Well, well, well…became friends with Kristen Murray on March 31st. Moving fast, don’t you think?”

Type 4: Accidental Run-in

Even if you and your ex have mutually agreed to act like adults and pretend that one another never existed, there is a chance that the matrix will be shattered when you run into each other in public.

Sample Encounter:

::sees ex::
::pretends not to see ex::
::leaves::

Type 5: Horrible Failed Attempts at Making Ex Jealous

This happens. And it never really goes according to plan. Because if you’re the one trying to make your ex jealous, chances are, you care a lot more about them than they do you. Additional chances are you’re really drunk and you’re embarrassing yourself.

Sample Encounter:

“Yeah so, things are going really well. Like, really well.”
“Oh, ok.”
“I mean, with girls. You know?”
“I guess.”
“I’ve been working out a lot. Thinking about buying property. Might grow a mustache.”
“Sounds good.”
“Busy time though. Lots of social engagements though. You know?”
“Sure. By the way, why are you at my company Christmas party?”
“Why wouldn’t I be here?”
“Well, you don’t work here.”
“I’m going to go talk to those girls over there.”

Telling People and What They’ll Say

When you split up with someone, you have* to tell a lot of people.  Eventually, you’ll tell everyone from your closest friends and family to your former co-worker that you bump into at the grocery store. You will experience a variety of reactions from these people.  Here are some of the most common ones. (We’ve also gone ahead and rated them on a scale of helpfulness where 1 = “Great, now I’m getting divorced AND I have to murder you” and 10 = “Thank you, that’s actually very helpful.”)

“What happened??!”

This is what people say when they want to know who cheated on who. If no one cheated on anyone, they’re really not going to be satisfied.

Helpful score: 2

“Awwwwwwww… poor Ex’s Name.

This is what people say when they have no ability to filter their thoughts.

Helpful score: 1

“I’m sure you’ll work things out.”

This person doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Helpful score: 2

“God hates divorce.”

This person is trying to be helpful. God hates so many things these days, it’s really hard to keep track.

Helpful score: 1

“But you had such a beautiful wedding…”

This is a lovely sentiment to hear the day after your wedding.

Helpful score: 2

“You know, marriage is WORK.”

This is very true. And jobs are also work. But sometimes you get to quit them. And sometimes, you even get a cake on your last day!

Helpful score: 2

“Those poor kids…”

A wonderful reminder that you should feel guilty about what this will do to your kids.  And a very strange reaction if you haven’t any kids.

Helpful score: 1

 “Let’s get drunk.”

Yes. Let’s.

Helpful score: 10

*You do not have to tell people that you’ve split up if you don’t want to. However, if you don’t, people are just going to keep asking you “How’s Jim?” and “Where’s Jim?”  for the rest of your life.  And you’ll grow tired of saying, “I have no idea,” or “Probably with his new wife and kids.”

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Communicating With Your Spouse

Sometimes, you need to have a frank discussion about the state of your marriage. But often, it’s hard to find the words. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling!

divorce humor

divorce humor

divorce humor

everyone gets divorced

Jessica Schlegel

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