Post Breakup Games: Fight Or Flight

by The Ambrose Girls
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life

Urgh, who likes a breakup? No-one. It’s no secret in our tumultuous dating times that games are rampant and we don’t just break up and go our separate ways anymore. We drag it out for weeks, months, and years because we just can’t seem to let the drama go. We thrive on it. It gives our lives excitement and a few great stories to share with the girls over wine. 

As a generation, we seem to just love the post-breakup games. After a breakup, there is always always always one person who instantly “moves on” in hopes of instigating a jealous fight. They do this in the form of bar flirtation, social media posts, or strategically introducing a “new girlfriend/boyfriend” to a group of mutual friends with their ex. After this happens, said party sits and waits… and waits… for an angry text, call, or home invasion over this new relationship.

We wait for that angry rage fest because we want it to happen, we want to see our ex jealous because they can’t bear to see us with someone else. This means they still care, that the relationship is still worth fighting for, and most importantly that you are still worth fighting for. It means that they are willing to suck up their pride and reach out in hopes of keeping anything going between the two of you. This gives us the validation that we so desperately seek after a breakup; your ex still cares and some kind of connection is still there.

But what happens if this angry rage fest never occurs? We anxiously refresh our phones for hours on end… surely they have to be upset enough to say SOMETHING… anything?! When you don’t get the reaction you want, you’re left feeling like you threw this huge manipulative move to the world and got nothing in return. It was all for nothing. You feel defeated, alone, and worst of all… you feel like your ex has moved on in a way you haven’t yet. They care so little that they don’t even bat an eyelid. But, like all things in love, it’s not that simple.

Now let’s examine the flip side of this, since there are two sides to every story. So now you’re the one whose ex is posting photos or is strategically flirting in your eye line at the bar. Your next choice comes down to our basic physiology: fight or flight. Your fight or flight response is triggered in situations that are perceived as harmful or threatening. Seeing your ex that you probably still care about with someone else fits quite comfortably in that definition. So what do you do? Do you run away or do you fight?

Our take on this is that whether you fight or flight actually has nothing to do with how much you care about your ex. It is solely based on you as an individual. There are several really great reasons to choose either fight or flight that have absolutely nothing to do with the ex themselves. 

Pride: Pride comes into every single decision we make as young daters. Choosers of flight most likely have a great deal of pride.They do not want to be caught up in a fighting game with someone who is purposely trying to disrespect them. Their pride just won’t allow them to even talk to someone who would treat them this way.

Pride is a tricky little thing though and can lead anyone to choose to fight just as easily. Your ex parading around happily with someone new is a huge blow to your ego; it makes you feel replaceable. There are plenty of people who wouldn’t take this lightly.

Selfishness: Some people just can’t bear to see other people using their things. Not to say that people are property, but some fighters will fight just to know that their ex is still “theirs.” It’s hard to see something that was once our best friend happily displayed with someone else, so the selfish ones just want it back no matter the cost.

Self Esteem: Those with a high self esteem will probably choose to walk away from a situation that is bound to hurt them like this post-breakup drama will. Sure they loved their ex, but they love themselves more and can’t let themselves be treated in such a way.

Stubbornness: Calling all Taurus’ or people that are stubborn… you are a fighter. When you see your ex with someone new you are bound and determined to get them back no matter how much you have to suck up your pride and fight. Bring it on, no one can stand in your way.

However, stubbornness can come to play for team flight as well. You can’t bring yourself to be the first person to break the ice on the communication that has halted between you. You will not be the one to come crawling back because you are SURE your ex will eventually come around, and when he does you will be waiting on your high horse.

Wits: Post-breakup games are essentially a game of wits… let the smarter party win. People who choose flight could very well be playing a major manipulative move. Throwing the flight “ignore game” at your ex who is “moving on” could very well be the equivalent of saying, “I know exactly what you’re doing so I’m going to deprive you of the exact reaction that you want”.

Arguably the game of wits gets a whole lot more interesting when two people are playing, cue in the fight here. Fighters will use any leverage, or emotional ties in the game of wits to sucker back in the good old ex.

The Inner Circle: Everyone in a breakup gathers a strong group of friends around them who are basically on call at all times. This situation will undoubtedly go straight to the “inner circle” and what the inner circle says to do – fight or flight – will be what ends up happening 99% of the time.

Like all things in dating these days, there really is no clear way to navigate this scenario. We’re sure plenty of people who have chosen either fight or flight have ended up working things out in the end. After all, if it’s meant to be it really will be, no matter what stupid games we play.

When you’re in this situation, the reasons that people do the things they do are sometimes part of a much bigger picture than just you vs. them. People make terrible decisions when heartbroken. There are no excuses for that, but it’s a truth we all must acknowledge. So are those terrible decisions worth the fight? You decide!

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