October 17, 2009 / 0 COMMENTS
Don't Believe the Reverse-a-Breakup Hype
A lot of people looking for help or advice about a breakup search for it online; that might be how you found me in the first place. Unfortunately a lot of the "help" offered is a marketing scheme designed to prey on the vulnerability and insecurity that we naturally tend to feel in the midst of a breakup in order to squeeze us for some of our hard-earned cash.
If you try googling or doing a twitter search for phrases like "breakup help" or "ex-boyfriend", here are some of the most common results you'll get: "Proven techniques to reverse your breakup for just $19.95!", "Get your ex back in your arms in 5 easy steps!", or my favorite: "Dirty psychological tricks to get your ex-boyfriend back". Oh great, sign me up. Using dirty tricks to try to get someone to fall back in love with me sounds like a fantastic idea. With a foundation like that you're sure to build a healthy relationship (you can't see me so you'll have to just picture me rolling my eyes). And of course I'm sure it's foolproof, because when do deception, manipulation and desperation NOT pay off in relationships, right?
So let's say I go to the site to find out more about this brilliant, amazing, can't-fail system, what then? Usually I get something that looks sort of like an advice site, but which basically is funneling me toward buying a downloadable eBook for somewhere between 11.99 and 29.95. In it I'll find some really cutting-edge strategies like playing it cool and making them jealous by flirting with other people. These original gems will be served up in a typo-filled document that looks like it took the author a couple of hours or so to write.
The fact that this kind of stuff populates the internet and clogs up the "breakup" search column on my tweetdeck speaks to how vulnerable and, yes, desperate many of us can feel at one point or another during a breakup. The fact that there's so much of it out there means that someone is buying this stuff, even though a) it's not particularly insightful or useful and b) even if it did work it would at best be a temporary fix that would backfire in the long run.
To continue with a cigarette analogyused in a previous entry, these pitches are kind of like offering to sell you a 75%-off coupon on a lifetime supply of cigarettes while you're trying to quit but are currently in serious (and temporary) withdrawal. Just when you're having a major jones for those smokes, even though you know they aren't good for you, up pops this tantalizing offer to give you all the butts you'd ever want at a serious discount! Why not pony up a few bucks for it? The problem, as I've mentioned, is that even if the store accepts that coupon (which it almost definitely won't), you've just bought an express ticket to lung cancer, heart disease and premature wrinkles. And no, trying to trick your ex into taking you back won't give you lung cancer, but it sure is likely to give you heartbreak and a few new worry lines.
It's such an obvious truth but one that bears repeating: if your ex broke up with you, it was for a reason. If you broke up with them, it was also for a reason. Maybe, and it's a BIG maybe, in some cases, once in a while, there was a misunderstanding or conflict that the two of you might be able to resolve. But that stuff doesn't get fixed by using strategies or tricks; it requires communication, negotiation, and openness. And it almost always needs to start by giving each other some major space for each of you to sort your own heads and hearts out.
And in the vast majority of cases the solution is to take some space, learn from your experiences and mistakes, and move on. It may hurt in the short run, so take care of yourself and get support from people who care about you. Use other resources like the books I recommend here. Hopefully some of the advice I offer (along with other reputable sites out there) will help too. Just try to avoid the snake-oil internet salesman if you can and use those bucks to treat yourself to a pedicure instead--it'll do you more good.
You're so money and you don't even know it,
The Breakup Coach