Sometimes I think I must be the only femme who is not friends with her exes and, thus, the exception to the unspoken lesbian rule. Am I able to chitchat and be friendly if they show up at a NYC Butch Femme Social or if I see them during Pride? Of course! But I don’t go out of my way for them and I certainly don’t make one-on-one plans with them. The fact of the matter is that I’m usually the one leaving and I do it because I’m sick and tired of them. If I didn’t want to keep dating you or be with you, why the heck would I want to be your friend?
If as a femme you want to end the relationship, don’t delay it. It’s bad for you to be with someone you don’t want. It’s impossible to change that. As for going No Contact, I don’t think staying friends is a good idea because it gives the butch hopes that it is possible for you to be together.
Some butches graciously accept a post-break up separation and you won’t hear from them until 5 or 6 months have gone by without having to take any extra steps. However, other butches twist what you tell them no matter how slow and clearly you say. They interpret the breakup and your asking them to lose your number as an invitation. In their butch heads, you are not breaking up with them: you are a femme doing what femmes do best (i.e. playing hard to get).
Assuming we are not talking about a serious situation where a restraining order is needed, here’s how to handle a stubborn butch/stone butch or go No Contact:
1. Do not text, call, or email her.
2. Unfriend her on Facebook, block her on twitter, and block her email address.
3. If you lived together, make sure s/he takes out all of her things when s/he moves out so that s/he doesn’t have an excuse to go back to your place.
4. Ignore her text messages, phone calls, private messages, and any other form of contact s/he may use to try to communicate with you.
5. If s/he tries to use your mutual friends as intermediaries to make you call her, tell your friends not to convey the message the next time they are asked to.
6. If your friends give you the 411 on her, ask them to stop informing you of your ex’s every move. If they keep doing it, reassess the friendship. Maybe they are not your friends but hers or maybe their 411 is a two way street and they’re also informing her of your every move.
7. Don’t fall into the trap of having to console her – let her cry to her friends. Let her tell them all about how cold and heartless you are. That’s what they are there for.
8. Don’t fall into the trap of having to defend yourself –s/he may write something on your Facebook wall if you haven’t unfriended her, talk about you at her AA meetings, and play the Scott Peterson card so that everyone thinks s/he is the nice guy and you are a callous bitch for dumping her. People who don’t know you well may feel the need to approach you to tell you what a cunt you are. Let it go. S/he is probably looking for some sort of reaction and s/he will use any emails or phone calls asking her to stop talking shit about you as an opportunity to romance you because, you know, you are just playing hard to get.
9. Don’t acknowledge anniversaries, holidays, or deaths in her family – again, let her go to her friends for emotional support.
10. Take down all the pictures of you two together and put them in a box with all her notes, cards, and different things that remind you of her. What you do with that box – bury it in a closet or burn it – is your choice.
11. Accept collateral damage – chances are you’ll lose friends and acquaintances in the process of going No Contact. Prepare yourself for it and don’t think there’s something wrong with you because that super friendly butch-femme couple you and your ex were friends with stops calling you or if all of a sudden you stop being invited to butch-femme gatherings. Even if you don’t understand it and some would never admit it to your face, accept that partnered femmes feel threatened by single femmes. It has nothing to do with you as a person.
12. Reconnect with your own friends – those you neglected because you were in a relationship or because they told you s/he wasn’t the one for you and you didn’t want to hear it. There’s no shame in admitting you were wrong.
13. As much as you need your friends, don’t listen to the romantic and desperate one who goes from on-and-off relationship to on-and-off relationship because chances are she will list all the things that make your ex look good on paper, tell you she thinks it’s a bad idea to let go of your ex as a friend, tell you she thinks you need to reconsider, and ask you to please analyze your feelings 36 times before going No Contact. No surprises there since that’s what she does with her partners.
14. Make a list of the things s/he does that make you cringe and keep it around for those times when you may start thinking you made a mistake or are being too hard on your ex. Remember (a) a leopard can’t change her spots, and (b) half of the times the feeling of being too hard on someone comes from the way we’ve been raised/socialized as women rather than with how we really treat that person.
15. Keep yourself busy. Make plans to see your friends and family, find new hobbies, take free classes, set new goals, and start tackling your bucket list. Even if it’s something small, every time you follow through on a plan or achieve a goal it builds confidence.
16. Practice the act of non reaction. If it’s been 7 months and you hear through the grapevine that your ex is still talking shit about you, let it go. Even if someone emails you an IM conversation where your ex says horrible things about you: Let. It. Go. Who cares if s/he’s spreading rumors or flat-out lying? Karma will take care of her.