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Breakup advice you should ignore

Jenna Birch is a health and lifestyle writer, lipstick enthusiast, aspiring yogi and diehard Wolverine based near Ann Arbor, MI. For more information, visit jennabirch.com or follow her on twitter @jennabirch.

The art of breaking up, 21st century style

Breakups suck, and everyone seems to have an opinion about how to handle them.

And while there are plenty of old rules we all seem to follow when we're trying to make a clean split, some of 'em are getting pretty tired if you ask me — and aren't always the most effective ways of dealing with a breakup.

#1: Break up with your guy face to face.

In an ideal world, you could say what you need to say to your nearly-ex in person. But in practice, telling a person you no longer want to be with him is one of the harder things you're going to have to do. Ever. In fact, I've chickened out and failed to end a relationship the second I witnessed the pain I was causing, even though I knew deep down it couldn't last (as much as I wanted it to).

If you know the right decision is to end things (even though your heart wants to hold on), or you've tried and failed at breaking up in the past, you may have to resort to a phone call to actually go through with it. And I say, if need be, that's OK. In the long run, you're doing the right thing by not prolonging a dying relationship.

#2: Eradicate him from your life. Delete his number, unfriend him on Facebook. No contact.

While I agree that you shouldn't contact your ex initially, until you have grieved the relationship and feel totally moved on, I think it's childish and silly to completely eradicate him from your life. Unless he's exhibiting toxic behaviors, in which case... ditch him. Otherwise, he was still an important player in your world — at least for a time — and might be again in the future.

You're probably never going to be besties, but you don't need to burn bridges. You can keep his number (as long as you don't drunk dial it) and stay friends with him on Facebook (as long as you're not stalking his current dating status 24/7). You never know what the future will hold.

#3: Be honest about why you're calling it quits.

I'm all for honesty, but brutality is totally unnecessary. If you can't stand the way he chews his food, don't jive with his sense of humor or don't want to spend another minute with his friend circle, you don't need to lay it all out there. Ask yourself: Will this explanation in any way help his future relationships? Sometimes his character traits or lifestyle isn't wrong; it's just not for you.

Don't hurt his feelings further if it's not ultimately helpful. A simple, "I can't see a future with us" will suffice and you can leave it at that. No need to pour salt in the wound.

#4: Reach for the Ben & Jerry's, pizza and cabernet.

If you absolutely need indulgences, do it, girl. (Because breakups hurt and you deserve an indulgence every now and again.) But at the end of the day, regressing into the all-too-common post-breakup bad eating habits is just a Band-Aid. If you can, consider first the benefits of opting for healthy habits instead.

If you choose exercise over Netflix on the couch, an avocado salad over pizza and green juices over copious amounts of wine and margaritas? Well, you're going to look and feel totally awesome. Your heart might hurt a little still, but your mind and body will be in tip-top shape — especially relevant when you decide to check out the dating market again. (Because although the sweatpants are calling to you now, there will come a day when you'll want to do that. *wink, wink*)

#5: Make a big change.

Lots of women think they need to go big after a breakup: get a drastic new pixie cut! move to another city! seek out a new career! While fresh starts can be great, you need to make sure any change is about you and not what you're feeling toward your ex.

While you're still hurting emotionally and missing your guy, it's tempting to completely distance yourself from all memories of the life you had together — but that isn't always the best tactic for long-term happiness. Resolve to consider any major changes super carefully and consult with close friends and fam before diving in. Look before you leap.

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