Author Topic: Bean dipping a break-up?  (Read 7334 times)

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takeheart

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Bean dipping a break-up?
« on: November 07, 2012, 12:21:47 PM »
Background: Cousin and BF were together since she was 19 or 20, which was for about 6 years. She broke up with him after realizing that their relationship wasn't headed in the same direction, among other things (e.g. she wanted to get married eventually and he didn't). She confessed that she had been depress for the last year with him and he replied that he had been discontent for the last two years with her. She moved out immediately afterward and is currently living in our guestroom to save up money for her own place.

We both work 8-to-5 jobs, so we're usually home at the same time, especially since DH and I are homebodies during the weekday. Whenever I talk to Cousin, she always brings up ex-BF. For example, I mentioned there was a lot of bacon in the fridge that was given to me by MIL, so she should help herself. She replied with a story about how she can't eat bacon on its own and ex-BF loves bacon because this one time she made him and his best friend turkey sandwiches with bacon and so on... We talked about what our families were doing for Thanksgiving, because we usually get our families together. Her response included letting me know that she texted ex-BF about what his plans were for Thanksgiving; he's going with his mom to her cousin's house, whom Cousin has only met once but knows ex-BF won't have a good time.

As of right now, I just smile and nod, which is followed by awkward silence. I know breakups are hard, especially after being with someone for almost six years, but I feel insensitive bean dipping. However, I don't want to encourage her to talk about her ex-BF and their 'fond' memories together if she is suppose to work on being independent from him.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 02:53:46 PM by takeheart »

NyaChan

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Re: Bead dipping a break-up?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 12:25:00 PM »
How much time has passed since the breakup?  If it hasn't been all that long, I'm thinking that you are being a bit unfeeling here.

Your cousin is grieving the loss of someone she's cared about for 6 years and also the loss of the life she thought they'd have together.  Some people can't just flick a switch and shut those feelings away.  They need time to think it over, talk about it, and let it go.  Your cousin is bringing things up to you to get it off her chest and you are pretty much just shutting her down, hence the awkward silence. 

takeheart

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Re: Bead dipping a break-up?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 12:35:36 PM »
They have been broken up for a couple of weeks.

My response of awkward silence isn't to intentionally "shut her down," but I honestly don't know what to say. I mean, when she starts talking about how she used to do their laundry on Sundays or how ex-BF likes this show too, what do I say? I'm not mean about it; I don't tell her that she needs to stop talking about him. Like I stated, I feel insensitive about bean dipping, but I don't know how to respond when she does start talking about him randomly.

Kaymar

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Re: Bead dipping a break-up?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 01:12:18 PM »
Only a couple of weeks out of a breakup of a six year relationship.... I'm not surprised that he's still a constant reference point for her.  I get the sense that you think it would be healthier for her to just purge all of this and move on, but that's not always (maybe not ever, but I don't want to go that far) the best way.  How I'd respond is to just talk to her about how she's feeling about him, herself, the breakup, the new stage of her life she's entering.  She's probably pretty scared and adrift and could use someone caring to talk to.

EmmaJ.

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Re: Bead dipping a break-up?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 01:24:58 PM »
Oh, she has all my sympathies.  Several years ago, my s/o broke up with me, with no warning, after 8 years.  I was beyond devastated - I was nearly prostrate with grief.

I didn't know how to be "me" again.  We'd been "us" for so long that every sentence, every thought, every waking moment was "John and I.... oops, there is no John anymore" and the tears would start again.  My friends and family didn't know what to do with me either.  I didn't know what to do with me!  I had to learn to be single again.

Be gentle with her.  Tell her you understand she misses him and its hard to let go of him and the memories and history together.  I missed being touched.  Give her a hug now and then.  Don't berate him to her - that just adds to her pain.  Let her talk about him.  Eventually, she will get him out of her head.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 06:15:59 PM »
As someone who was in the opposite position of EmmaJ - I broke up with my s/o of 8 years - it's really difficult to talk about anything without referencing the ex. They spent all their time together. Even now, a year and half later, there's no way for me to talk about those 8 years of my life without talking about ex.

My most recent bf (now also an ex!) hated hearing me mention any past relationships - he thought that ex's should stay in the past and not be talked about. Which meant that I could not talk about a significant portion of my past without some very awkward conversational transitions. 

Just let her talk about him. No need to bean-dip or respond differently - just act like she's talking about an acquaintance or something. If she mentions that BF liked a certain TV show, just say: "Oh, me too! I love Main Character, although I think the storyline is getting a little boring lately." Or how she used to do their laundry: "Ugh, I hate laundry. I always put a movie on when I fold to help make the time pass." Respond the way you would respond any other time.

Deetee

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 06:34:04 PM »
I do not see the problem with her talking about him. He was part of her life. She has moved on to a new part but it doesn't mean that the previous life didn't actually happen. Also just because a relationship has ended does not mean it was a terrible mistake. It's one of the ways we learn and grow.

If someone goes to university for 4 years and the switches to a job, I would expect them to discuss and reference their university experience for quite a while afterward.  If they weitch jobs, I expect them to talk about old job. I know that a job change is not as emotionally loaded as a relationship, but it still has that sense of defining who you are and shaping your experiences.


TurtleDove

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 02:11:14 PM »
My most recent bf (now also an ex!) hated hearing me mention any past relationships - he thought that ex's should stay in the past and not be talked about. Which meant that I could not talk about a significant portion of my past without some very awkward conversational transitions. 

I think you can discuss your past without specifically mentioning the ex.  For example, if you went on a trip with your ex and had a great time, it would be normal to talk about the experiences with a current BF.  Same thing with practically any experience.  It depends how you present it.

This would be okay:  I've been parasailing!  I did that on vacation in the Bahamas a few years back.  I was a little nervous about the feeling of flying, but I would absolutely do it again - we should try it!

This would be weird and not okay: I went on a really romantic vacation with my ex to the Bahamas.  He was so sweet and got me a parasailing ride.  He held my hand the whole time because I was a little nervous about flying. Everytime I see a kite I think of how sweet he was on that trip!

Seraphia

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 03:25:00 PM »
If it's just been a couple weeks, it's not surprising that the Ex is coming up so much. I'd just keep the conversation going without reference to him. If she needs to grieve, let her talk about it for a bit. It's not going to stunt her independence to take inventory of the loss. It will probably take some time before the thing that's on her mind (the breakup) stops coming out with reference to everything, but it will go away.
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Bottlecaps

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2013, 05:25:14 AM »
Yes, let her grieve the relationship. I know when I went through a pretty bad break-up here a couple of years ago, I appreciated the people who would let me talk about him. It helped. Keeping things bottled up isn't healthy. Now if this goes on for too long, then it may not be healthy, but it's good to let her talk about it. POD to previous posters who said that maybe trying to keep the conversation going in a direction to where it hopefully won't remind her of him is a good thing. But do let her talk about him sometimes - we all get over things at our own pace, and it will take her time. I hope she's doing better now. :)
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onyonryngs

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 10:18:20 AM »
It's not up to you to decide that she shouldn't mention him.  It was her relationship and she spent a significant amount of time with him.  Let her talk about him without any judgement from your end.  Just because someone mentions an ex, it doesn't mean they aren't moving on.

Sterling

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 12:33:42 PM »
It was 6 years of her life.  How exactly is she suppose to NOT ever mention him?  I spend most of my 20s, from 21 to 27, with the same guy.  We broke up and have both moved on.  We have no contact.  When I talk about my 20s yes I still talk about him even though it has been 5 years.  When I talk about back packing through Europe how am I suppose to tell the story of renting a random man's couch with out mentioning the ex not being able to sleep because he became convinced we were going to be killed?  Or talk about my best trip to New Orleans without mentioned crashing a trade show with the ex and him getting food poisoning from eating all the free raw oysters?

Give her some time.
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TurtleDove

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 12:40:36 PM »
It was 6 years of her life.  How exactly is she suppose to NOT ever mention him?  I spend most of my 20s, from 21 to 27, with the same guy.  We broke up and have both moved on.  We have no contact.  When I talk about my 20s yes I still talk about him even though it has been 5 years.  When I talk about back packing through Europe how am I suppose to tell the story of renting a random man's couch with out mentioning the ex not being able to sleep because he became convinced we were going to be killed?  Or talk about my best trip to New Orleans without mentioned crashing a trade show with the ex and him getting food poisoning from eating all the free raw oysters?

Give her some time.

I agree with giving her some time, but I strongly recommend to everyone to not make any stories about the ex going forward unless the relationship truly is germane to the situation.  For example, here, you could tell the story as, "When I was back packing through Europe I rented a random man's couch one night and I thought we were going to be kiilled!  I was so scared!"  That makes it about the experience rather than the relationship.  This would have an entirely different and in my opinion, if told to a new suitor inappropriate, vibe to it: "When my boyfriend of six years that I thought I was going to marry and I backpacked through Europe he and I were sleeping together on this random man's couch.  My boyfriend was afraid we were going to be killed!  My boyfriend was.....etc."


gorplady

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2013, 03:05:13 PM »
Why would you think this is strongly recommendable?

TurtleDove

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Re: Bean dipping a break-up?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2013, 04:00:21 PM »
Why would you think this is strongly recommendable?

If the idea is to move on and form a new relationship, to make stories about YOUR life be mostly about "your life with the ex" does not signal , to me, someone who is ready for a new relationship.  I would think the point of the story is what happened, not that it involved the ex.