Francesca Donovan | Contributing Writer | Friday, 14 August 2015

How To Deal When Your Mate (Finally) Breaks Up With Her Dickhead Boyfriend

How To Deal When Your Mate (Finally) Breaks Up With Her Dickhead Boyfriend

The Debrief: Get ready to bite your tongue. Lots.

At some point, every woman goes through a messy break up with a horrible boyfriend. It’s basically a right of passage and we’re all pretty clear on the steps to take to get over it: ice cream, weeping, denial, more weeping, anger, The Notebook, moving on so you’ll be available when bearded Ryan Gosling finds you and asks you on a coffee date. You know, the gospel according to Cosmo. 

But what happens when it’s not you that’s going through the break-up that hit 73 on the emotional Richter scale, but your best mate? It’s not your heartbreak; it’s your BFF, your partner in crime, your sista from another mista who’s diving for the hankies and gin because she’s split from her douchebag of a boyfriend (hereby referred to as The Dick)? 

Forget the inevitable helplessness and anguish you feel on her behalf, deep down inside, you’re popping the champagne because that guy was a twerp of the highest order. You’re glad they split because she deserves so much better. 

But your BBF is pining for The Dick, she still holds a flame for The Dick, she wants to feel sad and be allowed to feel sad, she wants to listen to Sam Smith songs on repeat even though her music taste is usually on point. Maybe she wants to wear The Dick’s shirt because it smells like him and the smell of his aftershave (probably of the Lynx variety, if the guy’s a Sleazy Dick/Cheap Dick/Young Dick) makes her miss him less. Perhaps she wants to carry around a photo of The Dick in her purse and occasionally take it out and stroke it? I’ve never actually seen this happen IRL but break-ups are rough, I don’t judge. 

And all the while, through the late night phone calls and cups of tea and countless packets of Hobnobs, there’s a voice inside your head screaming ‘WHY ARE YOU SAD? HE WAS AWFUL, YOU SHOULD BE WELL SHOT OF HIM!’

Well, here’s how to retain your sanity while taking care of your best bud. Hint: it’s really similar to a normal break-up but with heaps more tact and a consequentially sore tongue, thanks to all the biting. 

DON’T be a hater

Do not, I repeat, do not go all Charmed on The Dick and try and punish him with voodoo and burning effigies and stuff. Don’t call him or his behaviour out. You’ll alienate your mate and she’ll feel as though you’re delegitimising her relationship. It’s her that should be mad, not you. This is about your friend.

If you start to lose your shit over how terribly he treated her just think of it this way: The Dick is no longer in your girl’s life – or your life for that matter, hoorah! – and instead of focusing your anger on him, you should spend time picking your mate up and dusting her off. 

NB A ritual burning is OK on two conditions: 1) it was her suggestion and 2) you burn responsibly, taking care to avoid dry woodland.

DO bite your tongue

You shouldn’t be the one to tell her she needs to get over The Dick because he was a rubbish human being. She’ll only resent you because you’ll seem unsympathetic and impatient. Your BFF will realise he was a bad egg in her own time. Wait it out.

DON’T be an enabler

Meanwhile, you need to become a word ninja. Drop some tactful comments here and there suggesting The Dick wasn’t all that. For example: ‘Oh that doesn’t seem right’ and ‘That’s incredibly unfair of him’ or ‘Yeah, you’re right, it is a bit weird that he had naked snaps of other girls on his phone’. That way you’re not encouraging her to jump back into bed with him and deluding her that he was an alright bloke.

Added bonus: you also avoid comparing this man to the spawn of Satan and vicariously offending your friend because, after all, she did love/still loves The Dick. You smarty pants.

DO stop her drunk texting

There’s nothing more annoying than a pal trying to control who you talk to. Period. Don’t be that guy. But inevitably, during a break-up with The Dick, your friend will want to get #whitegirlwasted. This is, I believe, a good sign. Booze is our generation’s way of throwing caution to the wind and saying ‘I’m over this shit!’

But be warned: when the drinks begin to flow, in the ominous hours between 1am and 4am when all bad decisions are made, she will try and make contact with the Dark Side aka The Dick. So shake off the tequila haze, make like the clappers and snatch that phone right out of her shaky drunk hands. OK, maybe don’t snatch; we don’t want to be rude. Just get the phone off her with any diversionary tactic in your repertoire before she persuades The Dick to take her back so he can continue his game of cruelty. Relapse averted.

DON’T be her replacement boyfriend

You don’t want to replace this guy. He was a dick, and you’re not. So don’t try and assume the boyfriend role by being at her beck and call constantly, stroking her hair and kissing her head. A little TLC is a-okay but don’t devote all of your time to her because it’s not healthy: you’ll resent it and she’ll get reliant and miss you when you resume your normal activity. 

By all means, help her replace The Dick with a hobby (I suggest kick-boxing; she’ll be really good if she visualises pummelling The Dick’s face) or a Nice New Chap or the joy and stability of single life when the time is right. And when that time comes…

DO celebrate!

You have permission to be happy (for your mate mainly, but a little for you because now you don’t have to deal with The Dick and the fall-outs of his Dickery) when the time is right. You’ll recognise this moment by any variation on this cue: your mate breathes a deep sigh of relief, goes ‘God, he was a bellend, wasn’t he?’ and chuckles bashfully.

This wonderful occasion marks the triumphant return of your fave person in the world, riding her majestic steed of happiness towards the years AD (After Dick). That, in its self, warrants a bloody good celebration.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

How To Make Your Friendships Last Throughout Your 20s

A Modern Woman’s Guide To Having Sex With The Same People As Your Friends

In Defence Of Staying With Your Uni Boyfriend

Follow Francesca on Twitter @Francesca_Don

Picture: Maggy Van Eijk