The Sociology of the Breakup

Written by Rolo

The Ideal Relationship

Break ups are fun. No. I'm lying. They are a pain that is unmistakable and unimaginable unless you are actually experiencing it. The emotional pain of breaking up is unlike any other pain that you can feel. No nerve being shred, nor severance of flesh that can ever replicate the feeling of a break-up. You can have an open wound surgery without anaesthetic and it would still not equal to the softest psychological sundering of a relationship between two people. Whether it be heterosexual, or non.

With the recent spat of break-ups of those people I know, and through recent articles in CoN, I myself have experienced this once again. Being a half-assed sociology student and hardened veteran of several campaigns, I submit this article for your viewing pleasure.

The Ideal

The real dilemma is, should we, as mature human beings, demand an Ideal?

The sociologist and philosopher Max Weber postulated that to study and come to understand a social fact (Translation: Shit that happens) we truly have to compare it to what is known as an Ideal Type. In terms of sociology, Max Weber applied this to understanding larger sociological concepts such as bureaucracy or a university. I am sure everyone has an Ideal gal or boy floating around in their head. Its only natural. In fact, its healthy. I for instance would be quite happy with a gal with an odd sense of humour, is quite fair in appearance, with no major deformities and is definitely not a head case.

If you are dating someone who does not have at least some vague Ideal, that's a red flag.

At least in some lesser or greater form, a person should have a vague Ideal. How can you possibly know what one likes or dislikes, or for that matter if you like to pee sitting or standing up? The question remains then, how do you know that you are in a truly bad relationship or if you are in a "Ideal" relationship? To a lesser degree having a lower Ideal generally means that as long as the guy or gal doesn't beat the living snot out of you when you do or say something wrong, its an okay relationship. Some people would just enjoy the company of "A girl" or "A boy".

To a greater degree, we as humans complexify the Ideal by what we learn from past experience. However to be fair, we also draw from other sources, such as media, and socializing. Hence if you think being beaten is okay then you tend not to mind so much when your beloved feeds you their fist.

Digressing, we as humans are only as good as the sum of our experiences, the rest is up to our luck, wit and intelligence. The only way to know if you are in a bad relationship is after the fact. A concrete Ideal in our minds is a natural ?fail-safe?. Its our "gut instinct" so to speak. It can generally be characterized by such thoughts as: "Wow, she is really making me feel like a used piece of crap." "Oww. I wonder if his fist is a way of showing me he loves me?"

In creating a Greater Ideal we make things harder for ourselves when we approach others. This is the danger of having too high an Ideal. Yet at the same time it is a safeguard to prevent us from falling into situations which we know we will not enjoy.

For instance. I have learned that in my quest to seek the Ideal girl, being exotic doesn't necessarily mean dating an Afghani chick. Playing Covert Ops is only fun when you're playing a game like Spec Ops or Metal Gear Solid, not when you're trying to dodge a girl's seven big mean brothers. In addition to any possible terrorist links they may have.

An Ideal of any sort is necessary for us to have some direction in our lives. Without it there are no expectations on what to seek. No guidance. Hence if a gal tells you she doesn't have an Ideal, it's a good precursor that she may not entirely have her head screwed on tight enough. GTFT my friend. Get the Fuck Outta There.

Trauma Stages:

The basic psychology of a break-up can be broken down like any sort of trauma we, as humans, suffer. These stages happen in the general order, though it can be alternated, switched, or reversed.

The first stage is Utter Shock: "You bastard."

It is at this moment when the emotional Hiroshima happens. It usually sounds like "I don't love you anymore." Or in some cases, it is followed up with a Nagasaki of "I left you for Bill/Jane." Or in some rare cases; "I left you for Bill & Jane."

Utter Shock is perhaps one of the most rare extremes of human emotions any person will feel aside from death, marriage and child birth. Revel in it, soak it up poor puppy. Once you hit ocean bottom, it only gets better.

Reflection: "Why the hell did this happen?" This stage occurs after the initial shock subsides.

You search yourself for reasons why this happened and reflect upon it. Sometimes it comes to a point where you make up reasons, or convolute reasons on why this happened. Often this is an attempt to insulate the hurt mind while you weather the pain of the break up. This can be related to an "emotional coma" of sorts. I find that not planning anything beyond the scope of a daily basis is the only way to survive this self induced emotional coma.

You can tell when you're better off when the other person can't own up to their mistakes that lead up to the utter execution of your relationship. Time is best spent surrounded by friends who will not saying stupid things to you like: "Oh well." "Deal with it."
Longing: "Shit I miss him/her." "Wanting them back... take me back please?"

It is at this stage the human psyche experiences an intense feeling of loneliness. Regardless of their faults, or the faults in oneself, the person wishes more than anything to be with that other person. This is often a phase where post break-up sex tactics are employed. As if breaking up were not any easier, either party may or may not "prolong the magic". Awkward visits, stalking and abusive and continuous phone calls predominate this. This is one of the most dangerous stages as most couples will regress into their previous relationship.

Repression: "Screw it. I hate their guts."

It is at this stage that a method of coping is dealt with. Nothing can be more therapeutic than realizing how much the other person was a fuck-nut case. Usually one realizes how much stupid shit and hoops you jumped through to gain, maintain, and sustain the love you felt for this person.

Moving on: "Yeah, Fuck it. I'm better off without them."

This is the final stage of a break up. Only after a passage of time will this come. I have realized that there can never ever be set length of time to get over someone. Pack your lunch, its going to be awhile.

One of the major hurdles that needs to be crossed is the reestablishment of what can be called Belief in Self. In a break-up there is an immense amount of psychological damage. This damage is dealt as both sides try to reconcile their differences and place blame. Much of this results in depreciation of the other half and self-depreciation.

Its fair to note that both sides suffer the same ill effects. Both parties suffer the same stages. Though to be fair, the one that "does the damage" suffers less from Utter Shock than the victim does.
The most obvious danger posed to most victims is to fall into another relationship. Aptly known as "Rebounding", this effectively retards the recovery stages to a point where a person does not fully "find themselves" after the breakup.

Conclusions: Karmic Mysticism

There is something Karmic about break-ups. I'm a profound believer in the theory of Karma and I think relationships are of no exception. What you do will eventually come back to you. I have found that if you break up with someone for a particular reason, it will come back to you. It will generally be so painfully obvious that my reaction is to giggle like a school girl and think. "Damn, serves me right."

I have also learned that the amount of time and effort you put into a relationship is directly proportional to the amount of pain you will wallow in later. Hence, a half-assed relationship, will result in half-assed break-up with little closure. Surprise! The end result is a bittersweet lesson for you.
Suffice to say, relationships and their enfolding slaughter-like ends are social facts. They exist and will always happen regardless of how we map our life to avoid them. It?s only through surviving them and in what we do with ourselves afterwards that matters the most.

Next up: The Aftermath, and Baggage.