In How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, the main character, Rosie, is going through a tough breakup. A really tough breakup. As in, a series of bad decisions leads her to a temporary restraining order from her ex kind of bad. Rosie grows and changes throughout the book, but the beginning definitely serves as a how-to guide of what not to do in a relationship. It’s clear that Rosie makes a lot of poor choices, but all too often we find ourselves caught up in the intense emotions that come with being in a relationship and don’t give ourselves time to think clearly about what we really want from the relationship. So today I’m going to dispense some of my advice (it’s pretty golden). Check out the five most important pieces of advice on what not to do in a relationship below and then go read How My Summer Went Up in Flames to see how they can be applied to Rosie.
1. Don’t set your ex-boyfriend’s car on fire
This goes for cars and any other belongings a bitter ex might be tempted to destroy. It’s understandable that someone would want to take revenge on a cheating ex, but this is not only a dangerous idea for everyone involved—it’s against the law. Rosie had to learn this the hard way, but maybe we can all learn from her mistakes.
2. Don’t make your relationship your whole identity
Part of the problem for Rosie is that when her relationship ended, she lost a bit of her identity. She let herself get too wrapped up in being someone’s girlfriend that when things were over, it was hard to move on. Healthy relationships are not co-dependent.
3. Don’t drive past their house or work uninvited
This can actually make someone really uncomfortable and be considered stalking. Rosie, for instance, is served with a temporary restraining order. It might seem like fun and games to get in the car with a bunch of friends and go see what your significant other (or ex) is up to, but you have to consider the other person’s feelings.
4. Don’t snoop through their phone or computer
Snooping might seem tempting, but it is a definite no no when it comes to your significant other (or anyone, really). This can be very destructive to a relationship even if nothing incriminating is found. Everyone has a right to their privacy and though accidental glimpses may happen, it’s not right to betray someone’s trust like this.
5. Don’t hold on if the other person has already let go
Look, I know how hard it can be to give up on the person you love. You think that maybe if you just tried hard enough, they will come running back with hearts in their eyes. After all, isn’t that what happens in romantic comedies all the time? In reality, if the other person has let go, it’s time to move on. You deserve someone who will be able to give their all to the relationship.