When people break up, they talk about how to split the couch, the cats, the CDs. But you never really hear about: how to split the hangouts, the music venues, art galleries, restaurants, bars? Who gets the Turf Club in the breakup? What’s proper etiquette, if any, when you think you gotta see a show at your ex’s fave digs when you know it’ll cause them pain? How do you act when you plow through and go there? Should you be dismayed if she throws a drink in your face?
Ha! It’s true. You hear about troubles splitting friends, too, in some cases, but never really “Whose turf is the Turf Club?” or “Who gets Bedlam in the divorce?” I don’t think it’s something couples think or talk about in the throes of a big split. Minneapolis (and St. Paul) suddenly become small towns when you’re hoping not to run into our ex. It’s inevitable that you will run into your ex at some point, as likely you shared at least a few similar interests and tastes in music, art, bars, etc.
First, you have to accept the fact you’ll run into your ex at some point unexpectedly, and brace yourself for it—if you feel it’s likely to see them because you know they love the band you introduced them to, don’t let it stop you from going out and living your life. Bring friends for comfort.
If you were the one who was left—broken up with—I think the culprit has some ethics to consider as they ponder going to your favorite bar or to see your favorite bands. (It’s particularly like salt in the wound if you introduced them to your favorite band, and now they’ve usurped not only your passion but may encroach upon your territory.)
If you are the initiator of the split, and you know your ex absolutely loves a venue, so much that they go there sometimes three or four (or more) times a week, I say, leave the turf to the ex. You’re free to go there, but do you really want to go there and open up old wounds, potentially causing significant pain just as your old sweetie was in the process of healing? Really? If so, perhaps you are a sadist. Consider making some compromises.
On the other hand, if a band who are from out of town or who rarely play are performing at your ex’s favorite hot spot, I say go for it. Just be prepared for a little drama—maybe even a drink in your face—for having the balls to show your face there. You might think that part of the healing process is for your ex to learn to confront the source of pain and move on. And so you’re helping them, right? Well, maybe. But this confrontation may involve a right hook, wine on your favorite shirt, or a sly stomp on your foot—or even a suspiciously surreptitious posse of people scattered around the bar hip-checking you and spilling drinks on you—but take comfort in the fact that’s likely a fraction of the pain your ex-S.O. feels.
If you’re going to go to there (as Liz Lemon would say) then be kind, be civil. Hell, buy her a drink. It’s the least you can do after breaking her heart. Bringing the new girlfriend? Tacky. If you must do this because she loves the band you introduced him to (yuck), then make a nice introduction, be real, and then move away. Find a nice little corner to hide so she doesn’t have to see you and feel like ripping your heart out.
Two. If you and your ex equally enjoyed the restaurant, bar, venue or gallery…I think it’s an open field. No rules. Each can feel good about going there whenever. You’ll run into each other to be certain. Just try to remain civil. If it’s too painful, pick up your toys and go home. It’s not worth the pain, or drama. Spare everyone else the big public scene.
Three. You feel like a beer at his favorite bar, or your friends are all going there, and you’re the one split up with. I say, if you’re surrounded by friends, this could be okay, especially if you’ve expressed different options and they insist, “No, no, it’s the best patio in town…” Well, go for it. Going alone? Find new places to hang out. It’s fun.
So, now you’ve seen your ex, you feel like you’ve made one step forward, two steps back in healing and perhaps are confused about the status of your relationship? I say, let it rest for a few days to a week, avoid a kneejerk desire to call/text/reconnect, and see how it feels. Spend time with friends, call them instead when you feel like drunk-dialing him/her, and explore new worlds. You may be surprised to learn how quickly you can get back on the road to getting over the creep, and continue to move on.
If you’re the one broken up with and you see the d-bag at your favorite spot? You get to choose to be civil, or throw a drink in his face. It’s up to you. Personally, I think picking a fight can either be eviscerating or pointless. and just digging your heels into staying in old patterns…it’s situational ethics here, no holds barred. One thing you might want to do is show him how wonderfully happy you are now that he is gone. Cuddle up to cute guy friends at the bar. Ask them to act like your boyfriend for the evening, to show him you’ve moved on, perhaps make him jealous and inflict maybe 50% of the pain you feel. Trust me, your guy friends will be more than happy to assist, and you may wind up with a new boyfriend in the deal!