Breakups are usually pretty messy and emotionally fraught. However, in today’s times, if you can keep your breakup amicable enough, forget about just changing your relationship status on Facebook. Why not make things easier on yourself and announce your split to the world through a somewhat light-hearted music video?!
That’s exactly what Jonathan and Ivory did. He wanted to have kids, and she didn’t, so they decided to end their five-year relationship like mature adults – on YouTube (video below)! The couple explained the reason for their split, asked their friends to be supportive, not take sides and continue to invite them both to parties, even if it is a little awkward, all through song.
We asked Debra Macleod, B.A., LL.B., and a relationship expert, to analyze Jonathan and Ivory’s requests to see if this is a realistic route for couples to take.
1. Is announcing your split publicly online better or worse than doing it in person?
While announcing your split amicably in a public forum does prevent people from drawing their own conclusions or starting rumours, some friends may find it a bit impersonal. Macleod acknowledges it lets the couple stay in control of their breakup, and eliminates the need to make it anyone else’s business. “You need to focus on what you and your ex-partner need to heal, and don’t worry about appearances. You don’t owe anyone a detailed explanation,” says Macleod.
2. Should you always tell friends exactly why you broke up?
Macleod is all for having a clear, concise reason for your breakup that doesn’t place blame or insult the other person. “It’s a good idea to give people a reason because it can limit their ‘guess-work’ and everyone can move on a lot faster,” says Macleod. “But the reason doesn’t have to be exact or too truthful.”
If you broke up on less than friendly terms, keep the reasons private so you aren’t airing dirty laundry in your social circle. “You’ll only become a source of gossip,” warns Macleod.
3. Is it unrealistic to ask your friends not to choose a side?
“In theory, your mutual friends shouldn’t need to gravitate toward one of you. In practice, however, they probably will,” says Macleod. Don’t be hurt if friends aren’t excited to hang out with both of you post-break up. “Your friends may not want to deal with the awkwardness of having both of you at the same party, so don’t be surprised if they ‘choose’ one of you. Plus, people often want to support a friend after a breakup. When they do, they may inadvertently ‘take your side’ even if they’re trying to be neutral.”
4. How much time and space do you need after a breakup before hanging out together?
Macleod recommends steering clear of your ex, and the places you used to go, right after a split, lest you be reminded of good memories from the past while you’re still trying to feel better about the present.
“Although the couple in this video ask their friends to keep inviting them to parties, they’re the exception and not the rule. Many, if not most, relationships don’t end with this level of maturity and respect. Many ex-partners find it excruciating to hang out together,” explains Macleod. Even if you think you can handle seeing them, be kind to yourself and try to get as much space and distance as possible first.
“There’s this idea that you have to remain friends with exes, and that you’re not strong if you can’t be around them. That’s nonsense,” says Macleod. “You’re perfectly normal if the idea of socializing with an ex-partner makes you feel like throwing up.”