It doesn’t matter who you are; a breakup is a shitty experience for everyone. If only all of the negative feelings associated with your ex could just magically disappear—but, unfortunately, they can’t. There are many things you should do to heal from a breakup, and there are many things you shouldn’t do. What’s one of them? Gossiping about your ex.
No matter how much resentment you hold toward your ex, you should avoid speaking badly about them. If you’re wondering why, look no further! We’ve consulted April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert, to spill the truth on this unhealthy habit.
1. Your ex is your ex for a reason
You’ve heard it before, collegiettes: leave the past in the past! By gossiping about your ex, you are inadvertently carrying him or her into your future, and you cannot successfully move on this way.
Masini reiterates this point. “Bringing your ex back into your life by gossiping doesn’t help you move forward,” she says. “Start spending your energy on new, fresh, positive people and things. Let your ex fade into the background!” When a chapter in your life finishes, don’t keep rereading it. Move onto the next one (hint: it’s probably a better one, anyway)!
2. It’s bad branding for yourself
You should always prioritize your relationships with other people, but never at the expense of your own reputation. After all, you’re stuck with yourself for life! When you gossip about an ex, not only are you hurting their image, but you’re also hurting your own.
Think of yourself as a brand and this gossiping as bad branding. “When you gossip about anyone, you’re speaking ill of them,” Masini says. “That ends up making you look worse than anything bad you had to say about that ex. Do you really want to be a person who’s known for spreading negativity?” No matter how much this person might have hurt you, you can rise above the pain by acting mature.
3. You could be distorting the truth
If you’ve ever had a rumor spread about you, you know that it is usually based on a lie someone made up to hurt you. You also know how annoying it can be to get people to believe the truth! Why would you want to distort the truth for someone else? Trust us, it is not worth it.
“Gossip is at least once removed from the truth—and often twice, three times or more removed,” she says. “You know what happens when you whisper down the lane: you get a distorted truth. Chances are, the gossip you are spreading isn’t true.” Stop with the lies and get off the gossip train!
Additionally, when you gossip about your ex, you become part of the gossip about your ex. “The story will be told that YOU said such and such about your ex, and now you’re not just listening or telling gossip, you’re part of the story,” Masini says. Once again, you’re hurting your own image.
4. It prevents you from actually feeling single
Think about it, ladies: how will you ever truly understand what it means to be single if you keep bringing up a previous relationship? Newsflash: you won’t.
By gossiping about an ex, you are engaging in his or her life. “In your mind, you’re back together in some form,” Masini says. “This keeps you from really feeling single and until you feel single, you can’t truly move on and find fresh, new love with someone else.” Stop the gossip and open your heart to someone new.
5. It can make things awkward
If you dated your ex for a long time, chances are you have mutual friends. Please, for the sake of everyone involved, don’t make it awkward for those people. Gossiping about your ex puts your friends in an uncomfortable position. No matter how much you dislike this person, it really isn’t fair to expect others to do the same.
For Kristen, a student at UNC Chapel Hill, speaking ill of your ex does nothing but foster bitterness. “Talking about your ex can be unappealing to people around you, and can make you look catty and spiteful,” she says. “If you and your ex have mutual friends, it may put them in an awkward position.” Just because you aren’t friends with your ex doesn’t mean you have to have bad blood.
Rachel Petty, a senior at James Madison University, feels similarly. “My ex and I are in the same friend group, so anything either of us says is bound to get back to the other,” she says. “Also, we used to be super close and still care about each other, so there’s no reason to throw around negativity!” We couldn’t agree more.
A breakup will never ever be an enjoyable experience, collegiettes. No matter how hurt you may feel, keep this in mind and understand that better days are ahead—but the only way to get to the good days is to let go of the bad days. You’re too good to be wasting your time gossiping about your ex, so just don’t do it!