Getting Rid Of
Mr. Wrong in
Ten Easy Steps

Step One: Be Positive.

You’ve probably shared some special and intimate moments with this man. So, if at all possible, it’s best to end the relationship on amiable terms. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll part ways in a better state of mind. The worst breakups occur when both parties exacerbate the pain with poor behavior.

Step Two: Set a Timeline.

The sooner you accept the “officially broken up” status, the better. If you are living together, you need to come up with a firm deadline (no more than a few weeks) for making separate living arrangements.

Step Three: End the Physical Connection.

If you haven’t gotten to moving-out day yet, you still need to sleep separately. So many couples get back together because they resume their sexual relationship. If the temptation is too strong, find a friend’s couch to sleep on.

Step Four: Don’t Flaunt the New Guy

Don’t bring a third party into the equation. If you’ve already started to date, that’s fine, but avoid exposing your

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ex to your new life. If your partner cheated on you, you may be tempted to pay him back, but you are only demeaning yourself by stooping to this level. Treat your ex the way you would like to be treated.

Step Five: Don’t Bad-Talk Him.

Even if you’re justifiably upset at his philandering, deceptions, or other unacceptable behavior, confide only in close family members and best friends. Don’t make public the sordid details of your breakup. Spreading dirt about your ex will keep you from getting over the relationship. It can also backfire and make you look bad.

Step Six: Agree on Property.

Be fair. Ask yourselves, who brought what into the relationship? If he paid for everything, you may be at his mercy. He owns what he purchased. If you shared costs, establish need versus want. With animals, consider who had the pet first, who was the “primary caretaker,” and where the pet would enjoy a better standard of living. If children are involved, this is a whole other issue. The best interests of the children come first. You may need to seek legal counsel.

Step Seven: Agree on the Division of Assets.

Divvy up bank accounts and investments properly and completely. Do not continue to share a financial connection. If you purchased property together, you either must buy your ex out, let him buy you out, or liquidate the asset and split the proceeds fairly.

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Step Eight: End Privileges.

Don’t swim in his pool. Don’t let yourself into his apartment to use the bathroom whenever you’re in the neighborhood. Don’t run up a balance on his credit card. Taking advantage of these pre-breakup perks can range from territorial (you’re checking up on him) to unfair to illegal.

Step Nine: Avoid Attorneys.

Lawyer fees range from $150 to $350 an hour, billable in quarter-hour increments. Attorneys operate with a win–loss mentality. They’ll advise you to go after the maximum possible, knowing that compromises will occur. This can transform what could be an agreeable breakup into a war.

Step Ten: Forgive Yourself.

You may not have been perfect, but relationships are really tough! Not many of them succeed. Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. An even higher percentage of premarital relationships won’t last, but that doesn’t mean the individuals in them are failures.

Once you’ve done the deed and left him, avoid breakup remorse. You may experience regret, be haunted by memories from a happier time, and be tempted to reconcile. Don’t! You didn’t do all that work for nothing.

You may also be suffering from shaky confidence. Use this feeling of insecurity as a motivating force for self-improvement.

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Getting Back
Into the Game

Now that you’ve made the break, it’s time to think about dating again. You’ve learned a lot already about how to spot Mr. Wrong. But how should you act when you’re looking for Mr. Right?

Dating Protocol

Q: How quickly should I call, text message,or e-mail him back?

A: In the same amount of time that you would want him to respond to you! Don’t keep him waiting just to try to establish the upper hand.

Q: Do I let the call go into voice mail, even though I know it’s him?

A: If you’re available and he’s phoning at a reason- able hour, take the call. If you’re too busy or rushed or he’s calling too late or too early, return the call later.

Q: Do I make him repeat his attempts to contact me?

A: You shouldn’t. But if for some reason you didn’t return his call within a reasonable amount of time and you are still interested, be honest, sincere, and apologetic.

Q: Will I appear too eager if I tell him that I want to see him again soon?

A: Possibly. If he takes the initiative to ask you out,

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Nicholas Aretakis, author of Ditching Mr. Wrong: How to End a Bad Relationship and Find Mr. Right.

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