Today coach Anna and I are going to be talking about how to handle holidays and special occasions with your ex.

In other words, if you’ve ever gone through a breakup and wondered,

What do I do about Christmas?

What about Thanksgiving?

What if my ex has a family member that passes away?

Am I allowed to break no contact in those specific circumstances?

Well, that’s what we are going to be talking about exclusively today.

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Here’s Exactly How You Should Handle Every Holiday After A Breakup

Chris Seiter:
Alright, so Anna, today we’re going to be talking about holidays, and we were having an interesting discussion on what dictates a holiday before we started recording so actually, it’s one of those situations where you start talking and you sit there and think, maybe we should’ve started recording this a lot earlier. Because you get into these interesting discussions before you start recording, but anyways, Anna who’s our head coach at Ex Boyfriend Recovery, Ex Girlfriend Recovery, and soon to be Marriage Recovery. We’ll talk about that in a bit, but okay, so holidays/special occasions. How do you handle breakups in those circumstances? Let’s define some of the special occasions though so we include everything here.

Anna:
Right. Well, for me, holidays include Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s. Various festivals, and I’m thinking specifically Middle Eastern cultures and Asian cultures, like the Mooncake Festival out in Asia, right? Normally you give mooncakes out of respect to elders and to other people. Divali. That’s another one. Eid is another. These are important festivals or times of the year that people interact with one another and if they don’t it’s often considered rude.

Chris Seiter:
And that’s where the rub lies. So special occasions, so holidays we kind of have covered. We have the basic US ones. We have some of the European ones and some of the more interesting ones like the Mooncake Festival which I have never heard before, but I will be looking that up because that sounds-

Anna:
It is awesome. I mean, every Asian person loves Mooncake Festival because basically you get desserts.

Chris Seiter:
That’s amazing. They should make that an everyday type occurrence here in the US. Anyways, special occasions though are going to be things like how to handle birthdays, how to handle anniversaries.

Anna:
Right.

Chris Seiter:
Anything else special occasion that we’re missing here?

Anna:
I think the big ones are basically holidays of all kinds, and then birthdays and anniversaries.

Chris Seiter:
Right, so there’s a lot to unpack here.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris Seiter:
I mean, we’re doing an all-in-one, inclusive like holidays … I’ve actually done podcast episodes and YouTube videos on birthdays specifically because it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. People breaking the no contact to wish their ex a happy birthday. We’ll talk about that because I hate that so much.

Anna:
Yes.

Chris Seiter:
But where do you think we should start here with some of the big, burning questions with regards to holidays? Like, what is the protocol someone should be using if they’re going through a breakup?

Anna:
Well, okay. If you’re coming up on a holiday and-

Chris Seiter:
Let’s use Christmas as an example, because Christmas is literally in two days.

Anna:
Yes. So as we know, I’m pretty organized, right?

Chris Seiter:
You are overly organized.

Anna:
Well, I mean, it’s part of what I do in my job.

Chris Seiter:
Though she forgot to wear her super cool eye contacts today.

Anna:
Yeah. I mean maybe next time I’ll wear them again.

Chris Seiter:
Okay.

Anna:
But in thinking about this, it’s like, oh, so … And it comes up a lot in coaching sessions, so I actually wrote it all out. There are two main categories. When you reach out during the holidays, and if your ex reaches out.

Chris Seiter:
Okay, I love it. Already I love it. We should be using this framework for the program.

Anna:
Well, we probably will, and we’ll talk about it later.

Chris Seiter:
I think during the next update we’re probably going to have to stick that in there, because I don’t think there’s a holiday in there.

Anna:
There really needs to be.

Chris Seiter:
There should be.

Anna:
Because people get so hung up on holidays, so, okay. So in the category of when you reach out, like when do you reach out during holidays, right? So, for your ex, if you’re building rapport … Okay, one. For your ex, do not reach out during no contact, alright? If you are building rapport, you can reach out, alright?

Chris Seiter:
So those are the two different categories. If you’re in no contact, pretty simple. Don’t reach out.

Anna:
Right, right.

Chris Seiter:
But you can reach out if you’re in the rapport building phase.

Anna:
Right, and the amount that you reach out with depends on where you are in building rapport. For example, if you’re at the start of building, one, your first text should never be on a holiday, alright? That said, assuming you’ve already sent out your first text and then the holiday happens, you want to keep it very simple. Merry Christmas. That’s it. No emoji. Maybe an exclamation point, and that’s it. You should never expect a reply. Even though that could be rude, the fact is that you’re trying to take the high road, be the bigger person and say, “Look, no harm, no foul. Here you go.”

Anna:
Now, it’s different for sphere of influence in my opinion. During no contact and building rapport, I do think it’s appropriate to reach out to sphere of influence, specifically for Asian or Middle Eastern cultures where familial respect, respect for elders, forgiveness and well wishes are culturally and religiously important. So for example in the Mooncake Festival, right? Or in Eid, right? You want to extend well wishes for the festival or the holiday.

Chris Seiter:
The one important thing that I think I’d like to expand on there has to do with what the sphere of influence is, which is essentially for anyone listening who’s kind of a newbie and they’re like, “Okay, this sounds interesting. What the heck is a sphere of influence they’re talking about?” It’s basically the people that your ex surrounds themselves with whose opinion matters to him or her. That’s it.

Anna:
Right. It could be family. It could be friends. It could be coworkers. Children, right?

Chris Seiter:
Children. True, yeah.

Anna:
If you are in no contact and the family knows of the breakup, you want to send the well wishes, alright?

Chris Seiter:
So no matter what the circumstance should be, you should always be reaching out to the sphere of influence no matter what category you find yourself in.

Anna:
I think so. I mean unless you know for example that sphere of influence hates you. Then you don’t.

Chris Seiter:
Yeah. You know, it was interesting. I was interviewing a success story a couple of months ago and there was a very clear indication that the ex boyfriend’s mom hated the girl, and I gave her the advice of just saying, “Look, try to go high with it, but don’t reach out to her.”

Anna:
Right.

Chris Seiter:
She had asked me after the interview, because they still hadn’t patched things up, but that’s an example like Anna said were you should not be reaching out.

Anna:
Yeah. I mean, this all assumes that you had good relationships with the sphere of influence, right? So if you don’t have good relationships with them, you should not be reaching out, right?

Chris Seiter:
Yeah, and I think that’s a pretty common thing most people run into, because most of the time the sphere of influence isn’t going to be their family. It’s going to be more of the mutual friends that you have.

Anna:
It also depends on the extent that you’re friends, right?

Chris Seiter:
True.

Anna:
So if you were obviously friends before you were even in a relationship with your ex, or if you became very good friends, almost besties with their friends along the way, certainly yeah, reach out, but if you didn’t become friends and you were just like, eh, right? Just like regular friends, I wouldn’t reach out. Now, if you’re in no contact, going back to the family, and the family does not know of the breakup, you want to ask your ex first for permission.

Anna:
Honestly, the reason why I say this is because I had a client who wanted to send mooncakes to the mother for the Mooncake Festival, and I was like, “Well, I think it would be good as a sign of respect,” but the mother did not know that they were broken up, so I think this falls under an exception for breaking of no contact because it’s a highly personal or business related matter, right? It’s like a cultural thing, so I had her ask her ex, “Is it alright if I send your mother mooncakes?”

Chris Seiter:
The only thing I will say to that, at least my perspective is I can see people trying to abuse the rule. This is only in situations where culturally it’s a big deal, where you should show respect to family members. This isn’t like-

Anna:
If we’re talking about Christmas or New Year’s, then no, do not do this.

Chris Seiter:
So basically, most of the holidays you’re not going to be having to do this. This is the crazy exceptions we’re finding to the rule.

Anna:
Right, right.

Chris Seiter:
[inaudible 00:08:48]

Anna:
But we always get clients both within the Facebook group and within coaching sessions who are always looking for the exception.

Chris Seiter:
Oh, right. They’ll find any exception they can to kind of squeak through, you know?

Anna:
Right. So obviously if the ex says yes, send the well wishes. If the ex says no, do not send the well wishes. Again, then if we go to family, like mutual friends, or again if you were good friends with the family before the relationship, you can certainly send well wishes. Just don’t mention the ex.

Chris Seiter:
I’m just naturally following my curiosity here. You said your client asked permission. Did the ex give it?

Anna:
Yes.

Chris Seiter:
That’s great.

Anna:
She got him back.

Chris Seiter:
That’s great.

Anna:
And it was through the mother.

Chris Seiter:
Interesting. So the mother had a real impact on it.

Anna:
Yes, because the mother was so impressed that she showed respect and that she thought of her that she kept telling the son, “Look. Look at her. That’s so respectful. That’s such a … Why aren’t you together anymore? She would make a wonderful daughter-in-law. Someone so thoughtful, why would you ever break up with someone like that?” It worked in her favor.

Chris Seiter:
It’s interesting because for newbies here, the sphere of influence like we said, people your ex surrounds themselves with whose opinion that they care about. It is such an underrated factor. It’s almost like if you get other people working for you to help you get them back. It really can work, especially if you are on good terms, for example, with family where the mom’s just constantly like, “Why aren’t you with her? Why aren’t you with her? Why aren’t you with her?” Now that can backfire sometimes, but most of the times it doesn’t.

Anna:
No. I mean, there are three channels that you can leverage when trying to get an ex back, if you think about it in marketing terms.

Chris Seiter:
Right. You have social.

Anna:
They are social, so social media, honestly sphere of influence is another, and then your interactions with your ex.

Chris Seiter:
That’s it.

Anna:
So if you don’t take advantage of all three, you’re honestly just cutting yourself off at the knees for no reason.

Chris Seiter:
Yeah, yeah. I mean there are certain complications there. Like for example if your ex doesn’t have any social media, then sometimes those channels aren’t available to you, but for the most part you want to use all the tools in your toolbox.

Anna:
Right. I mean, even if your ex doesn’t have social media, most likely his sphere of influence will, so you should be posting either way. And just because he or she may not have social media doesn’t mean that they won’t get curious and look you up.

Chris Seiter:
I think that almost happens all the time, especially if they’re hearing about it from friends or something like that, but anyways, holidays. Okay, so here’s an interesting question. This is one I had queued up. Special occasions. This is something I see a lot of, unfortunately. How do you think someone should approach a situation where their ex has a family member that passes away? What do you think the best approach is?

Anna:
If you hear about it and you’re in no contact, honestly, okay, it depends on who the family member is, alright? If it is an aunt, I mean, you should know your ex well enough. You should know if your ex, how close he or she is to their family. So, it depends on how close was your ex to the person who passed away? Now, if that person is a pivotal person in their life, like helped raise them for example, or is a cousin that’s so close to them they almost felt like a brother or a sister, certainly you need to extend your condolences and just say, “I heard about the passing of or the death of, and I’m so sorry to hear that. My condolences go out to you and your family.” And that’s it. You don’t say things like, “If you need anyone to talk to, I’m here.” That’s not what that is about, because the minute that you say that, you make the interaction about you and in trying to get an ex back, you need to make sure that what you’re saying is, “I hear you. I accept you. You have my condolences. This is not about me. It’s completely about you.”

Chris Seiter:
Yeah. I mean, really what we’re talking about here is the difference between sympathy and empathy. You want to be empathetic which means you want to acknowledge you understand what the person’s going through, but you’re not there to make them feel better. Which is kind of cold hearted because I think most of our clients are very sympathetic individuals. They want to make their exes feel better. That’s why you say that, “If you need anyone to talk to, I’m here for you.” Even though that sounded like a radio DJ voice right there. Sorry.

Anna:
I mean, honestly it comes off a little smarmy and disingenuous, right? It’s not very authentic sounding, so the fact that-

Chris Seiter:
This is ultimately the problem I have with letters. Okay, so I think I filmed a video a couple of years ago about like, here’s the one circumstance where I think you can maybe write a letter. It could help you. Which is essentially like, rapport building. You’ve almost gotten them back. Maybe that’s like an extra thing, but I am at the point where I’m like, I should delete that. Because people are always saying, “Well in this video you said not to write a letter,” because they don’t watch the whole video way through. My problem with letters is most of the time when you write it, it’s usually you find a way to make it about you. It’s just not written the correct way, and it always ends up poorly, so to me it seems like an essential thing which is like, you need to understand empathy is what you’re going for, not sympathy.

Anna:
Right. I mean I wrote a whole long post about this in the Facebook group a long time ago, about there are many reasons why you never write a letter.

Chris Seiter:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen it work before. I’ve seen some of our competitors actually talking about, “Well, you should write a letter before you go into no contact.” I think that’s the dumbest idea possible.

Anna:
No. [crosstalk 00:14:59]

Chris Seiter:
It’s almost like you just indicate what you’re doing to your ex and it’s like it tips them off of like, “Oh, she’s going to be ignoring me for 30 days.” It’s just the dumbest idea ever.

Anna:
Emotionally it makes sense, right?

Chris Seiter:
It does. Yeah.

Anna:
Okay, emotionally it makes sense, so I don’t want to discount what our competitors are saying.

Chris Seiter:
I do.

Anna:
It definitely will make you feel better if you write a letter, right? But if your goal is to get your ex back, writing the letter and sending it is the worst idea.

Chris Seiter:
I’ve never seen it work.

Anna:
Because you put into writing all the things that essentially your ex-

Chris Seiter:
Caused the breakup.

Anna:
Yeah, found wrong with you and the relationship, and it solidifies in your ex’s mind why they should never get back together with you. Even if you’re saying you’re sorry, it says a whole bunch of things that just will be really difficult to overcome. Letters work to do the following. They work to get your ex’s attention and to push them away, alright? That’s what they do. I have yet to see it result in a reconciliation.

Chris Seiter:
I want to say I’ve never seen it result in a reconciliation ever before, but I’m sure it has happened.

Anna:
I’m sure there have been a few.

Chris Seiter:
But not in my experience, and I don’t know if that’s a function of like, I don’t recommend letters, so the people who are going to be listening to our advice aren’t going to be doing letters, but every time I’ve seen someone do a letter it really ends badly.

Anna:
How many people are in our Facebook group?

Chris Seiter:
5,300 or something like that.

Anna:
Something like that, right? And if all the success stories stayed, we’d be seven, eight thousand, right?

Chris Seiter:
I think more. I think there’s a hidden-

Anna:
Number.

Chris Seiter:
We’ve had maybe 20 to 30 million people come through our digital properties total, so that’s a lot of people.

Anna:
Alright, so I mean, if we think about it and during this entire time that we keep talking about don’t write letters, someone in the Facebook group would have said, because we encourage free speech in the group, so someone would have said, “Well, it worked for me.” No one has yet written, in the thousands upon thousands of people in our group saying, “It worked for me.”

Chris Seiter:
I’m sure it exists. It’s just we have not seen it. If it worked, we would be saying like, “Do this. Do this.”

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris Seiter:
“Write a letter.”

Anna:
Or if the percentage was high enough, right? So I’m sure, again, I agree with you. Yes, it probably has worked for some people, but if we compare the number of the people in the Facebook group to the people that it’s probably worked out for, we would probably, the percentage-wise would probably be around, what, .006% or something like that.

Chris Seiter:
I mean, to me even if it’s like, 3%, it’s still low, as compared to some of the stuff that we recommend doing.

Anna:
Would you rather go with a 70% success rate, or a .006% success rate?

Chris Seiter:
That’s it exactly. I mean also, I’m just not a fan of letters, period, and another thing I’m really not a fan of, swinging this back to the special occasions, is birthdays. Specifically one of my biggest pet peeves, because people ask it so many times, is, “My ex’s birthday’s coming up on day 23 of no contact. Can I wish them a happy birthday?”

Anna:
Nope.

Chris Seiter:
And my answer to you is no. Somehow, I guess I understand emotionally they think like, “Okay, if I send my ex a birthday text, it shows that I care, that I’m thinking about him, and then he’ll notice that or she’ll notice that,” but I’m telling you for me, when people send me a birthday text, it’s like, “Oh, thanks.” Then I never think about it again.

Anna:
I think there’s only one time where I have said yes, do it, but then I had that person restart no contact, and the reason why I had him say it to her is that she had a history of literally cutting people out of her life who did not wish her happy birthday. She cut out her own dad and didn’t speak to him, and hadn’t spoken to him for seven years already because he did not appropriately celebrate her birthday.

Chris Seiter:
That sounds like the problem doesn’t lie with our client but lies elsewhere.

Anna:
Right. But we’re hired to help them get their exes back, right?

Chris Seiter:
Which is a challenge sometimes, with situations like these.

Anna:
Right. So with that, when he told me that, I said, “Okay. You need to wish your ex a happy birthday, because ultimately you want to get her back.” But, if your ex does not have a history of cutting people out for years, there’s no reason for you to wish that person a happy birthday.

Chris Seiter:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, ultimately the rules are different. Like she said, there’s two categories. You got the categories of people in no contact and basically the categories of people who are trying to build rapport. If you’re in the middle of building rapport, wish your ex a happy birthday. That’s cool. We’re talking specifically about no contact, because Anna can back me up on this. She already did. Basically anyone will look for any excuse they can to break no contact, because no contact is hard. Anyone who says it’s easy is lying. It’s hard.

Anna:
Right. I mean, you need to spend as much time as possible getting emotional control, right? Getting yourself as emotionally regulated as possible, because building rapport is at least ten times harder than no contact. If you can’t keep a no contact, how are you going to be not anxious or how are you going to be secure during building rapport? And anxiety is going to push your ex away. It’s going to make you do weird stuff.

Chris Seiter:
The way I’ve always looked at it is actually kind of what Navy SEALs go through. So Navy SEALs enter BUD/S, like the basic Navy SEAL training. You hear like Hell Week. You know, the week where they don’t get any sleep and they’re screamed at. Everyone always looks at that type of a training and think like, “Oh my god, that looks miserable. I could never survive that.” But you ask any Navy SEAL who’s survived the training and gone to real war. They tell you, “That training was nothing compared to the real thing.” That’s kind of what no contact is. It’s like the testing, proving ground to prove, “I’m strong enough to make it through,” but then the real challenge begins when you have to start building rapport, because like Anna said, the emotional control, if you don’t have it under control or at least some type of discipline with regards to it, you’ll be eaten alive just for focusing on your ex too much on Facebook.

Chris Seiter:
I was talking about this today actually, the concept of so many people Facebook stalking. It’s actually worse than it … The last statistic I saw on it was in 2012 there was someone from Toronto who did a graduate study on college students who had gone through breakups, and 89% of them admitted to stalking their exes on Facebook. But I actually think the number’s worse now because of the advent of Instagram or Snapchat or there’s so many things that we’re connected to our phones all the time. Imagine, we’re always looking and it’s like that hit. It’s almost like an addiction in and of itself and if you don’t have that under control, why would you think you’d be under control when you’re actually talking to the person?

Anna:
Exactly. I had some notes written related to birthdays, so you may like it.

Chris Seiter:
Let’s go.

Anna:
Some more guidelines for people. So if you’re building rapport, yes. Wish your ex a happy birthday. Now, if you’re at the start of building rapport and assuming it’s going well, what you should do is wish your ex a simple happy birthday later in the day. Ask an open ended question. Do not get this person a gift. Now, if you’re at the start of building rapport and your ex has been cold or neutral, wait either until the evening of your ex’s birthday or until the late morning the next day to wish your ex a simple happy birthday. Ask no questions, 100% no gifts. Now, if building rapport has been happening for a month or two and things are going well, wish more of a happy birthday. Like have emojis, ask a question, and send it in the late morning. Send a gift only if it’s appropriate, meaning you have to be really having really great conversations.

Chris Seiter:
Do you feel like it’s ever appropriate to record yourself sending them a happy birthday?

Anna:
I have had a couple clients do that, but they’ve been further along in the building rapport process and have been trying to find a way to bridge from texting to phone calls and video chats.

Chris Seiter:
Right, right. So all I can think of now is that Breaking Bad episode where Skyler sings that boss happy birthday and it’s like the most awkward thing in the world. Don’t sing him Happy Birthday. That usually doesn’t work out too well.

Anna:
I mean, unless you’re an amazing singer.

Chris Seiter:
Yeah. Unless you’re like Mariah Carey or something. Go for it.

Anna:
Yeah. Okay, but if it’s your birthday, okay, 100% do not expect a happy birthday during no contact. If you’re also building rapport, don’t expect a happy birthday.

Chris Seiter:
What happens if you do get a happy birthday though?

Anna:
Say thank you.

Chris Seiter:
What if you’re in no contact?

Anna:
Don’t say anything. What you do is you say on social media, “Thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday. I got so many well wishes. I just haven’t been able to get to everyone, but thank you.”

Chris Seiter:
You should tag all of your friends except your ex too.

Anna:
Yes.

Chris Seiter:
I was literally just kidding, but I think that’s actually kind of a fun idea.

Anna:
I’ve actually had clients do that.

Chris Seiter:
There you go. There you go.

Anna:
It depends. If your breakup was really, really bad where you were [inaudible 00:25:05] and you both were fighting a lot, certainly don’t tag him or her. If it’s a child’s birthday. If it’s a child that you share together, you want to work with your ex obviously to arrange the birthday party, presents, et cetera. Now, I have some clients who they’ve been together for so long that they’re like a mother figure or father figure to a child of their ex. Unfortunately, in the breakup, you’re not the kid’s mother or father so you should not wish the child a happy birthday, or help the ex with a party or presents. As the biological mother or father, that is their responsibility.

Chris Seiter:
It’s also kind of a form of emotional support. To me it just indicates that they can take advantage of you. I just think that’s what will end up happening.

Anna:
Right. Now if you’re building rapport and your rapport is going well, certainly you can partake. But what I just said assumes you’re at the start or you are in your no contact.

Chris Seiter:
There you go.

Anna:
Now if it’s a close family member … I’ll just do this one more thing.

Chris Seiter:
No, no, no. Go for it.

Anna:
If your close family member, like let’s just say your ex is really close to her grandma and her grandma’s celebrating her 100th birthday, if you were not close to Grandma or did not meet Grandma, do not extend birthday wishes, and certainly no gift. But if you met Grandma and were pretty close to Grandma, certainly wish Grandma happy birthday.

Chris Seiter:
That’s so funny. 100 year old Grandma. I feel like you’ve earned the happy birthday at that point.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris Seiter:
Though it would be a little weird if you’ve never met 100 year old Grandma and you sent her flowers or something.

Anna:
If you’ve never met 100 year old Grandma, the 100 year old grandma will be like, “Who is this person?” Like, “Okay.”

Chris Seiter:
Maybe not. Maybe her memory is so bad she’s like, “Oh yeah, it’s Chris, or Anna.”

Anna:
Yeah, maybe. “That person was so nice to get me things. Why’d you break up with him or her? That person was so nice. She’s lovely. She’d make a great granddaughter-in-law.”

Chris Seiter:
That’s how it goes in your head, but then reality hits and they’re like-

Anna:
It’s not. It comes off as crazy.

Chris Seiter:
We’ve done birthdays. What about anniversaries? Pretty much same rules apply there?

Anna:
Same rules. Same rules. I think we need to go back though to holidays, because we still have to address, what happens if your ex reaches out to you?

Chris Seiter:
Right, so let’s tackle that. So let’s say it’s Christmas. Your ex wishes you a merry Christmas on Christmas morning, or even Christmas Eve.

Anna:
Honestly, if you’re in no contact, you don’t respond. You just can’t. I mean, in the wake of a breakup, your ex goes from being your best friend to like an acquaintance, and acquaintances don’t get the privilege of a response like that. It’s just too weird.

Chris Seiter:
Here’s a curveball.

Anna:
Okay.

Chris Seiter:
You mentioned the kid’s birthday, right?

Anna:
Right.

Chris Seiter:
Then you mentioned arranging the birthday party and everything if you share the child together. What happens if you’re in a limited no contact during Christmas, a holiday, and your ex wishes you merry Christmas? Is it still same no contact rules apply?

Anna:
Well, that’s assuming your ex is reaching out to your kids, right?

Chris Seiter:
Okay. Well let’s say he reaches out specifically to you. Let’s make this as direct for people listening as possible.

Anna:
And you’re in a limited no contact?

Chris Seiter:
Limited no contact.

Anna:
I mean, you would respond with, “The kids say Merry Christmas back, Daddy, or Mommy.”

Chris Seiter:
You’re so clever. I would just tell people, “Uh, don’t respond to it.” That’s so much better.

Anna:
I mean, if you share children, you should. If your ex reaches out about the kids and you share children together, your response should always be from the kids’ point of view, right?

Chris Seiter:
Okay, so what if you don’t share kids though? Let’s say you don’t live together. Let’s say that for some reason you need to be … You’re work colleagues or something and you’re having that limited no contact about work. Let’s say that they attach the merry Christmas to a work message on Christmas Eve. Just ignore it?

Anna:
Well, I would answer the work message. I would answer the work question, and just say happy holidays in return.

Chris Seiter:
Perfect. You’re so much better at texting than I am. I’m just like, “Oh yeah, ignore that.”

Anna:
But make sure to end your email, like I’m assuming they’re sending this stuff by email, you make sure you end your email with, “Regards, your name,” right? Because that is the very nice “fuck you.” I’m sorry. I did, and [crosstalk 00:29:56] curse.

Chris Seiter:
That’s okay. Now we’re going to get explicit on iTunes. It looks like I need to go back into my automated email sequences and remove, “Regards, Chris Seiter.” You know?

Anna:
Regards comes off as a little cold, like very formal. That’s why on a lot of my emails-

Chris Seiter:
What’s a better thing to say?

Anna:
I say in my emails as a close, I don’t know if you noticed, “With warmth.”

Chris Seiter:
Oh, yeah. That’s pretty good. I’m going to steal that.

Anna:
Yeah, steal it. Take it.

Chris Seiter:
I totally interrupted your flow on holidays because I was just like, oh, what about this? What about … I was trying to think of the most difficult, convoluted situations as possible to trip you up but nothing works.

Anna:
Well sometimes our exes will try to reach out to our sphere of influence or to our family, and overall we cannot tell our sphere of influence or our family what to say and what not to say because they’re their own people. All we can do is ask them to not talk about us, and to not ask about our ex in return. That’s the best we can do.

Chris Seiter:
I literally just thought of a crazy personal life story of a special occasion. I grew up in Texas, and in 2008 we had a hurricane come through called Hurricane Ike, and the eye of the hurricane literally went over where I lived. I had literally a month ago gone through a breakup where I had broken up with my girlfriend at the time, and literally it was straight to no contact. There was no conversing between the two of us at all. After the hurricane she reached out, because she was trying to worry about my wellbeing. What do you do in that situation? You’re in no contact, and let’s say some event happens, a typhoon or a hurricane or something and your ex is worried about you. Do you let them know you’re okay?

Anna:
Well, now thanks to social media we have all these things where we can mark ourself safe.

Chris Seiter:
You’re so clever.

Anna:
And make sure you mark yourself safe, you know?

Chris Seiter:
So 2008, they had just released the iPhone. I did not have enough money for an iPhone. I mean, those things were like a thousand bucks a pop back then, so I had the flip phone, which means there was no social media. I think Myspace was the big thing back then, so there was no social media game happening at all.

Anna:
Yeah. Back then, I mean of course you would respond, but now we have social media where you can mark yourself safe, so just mark yourself safe.

Chris Seiter:
There you go. Okay, back to holidays, Christmas.

Anna:
Okay. Alright, so we covered if your ex reaches out, so I think the next one we need to reach is if a family member reaches out to you, or if your family member reaches out to an ex. Again, all that we can do is ask the family member to not mention you or talk about the breakup. If your family member reaches out to an ex that’s the best we can do, and then also not to hear about what they talk about. Now if your ex reaches out to a family member, again, ask that family member to not mention you or talk about the breakup, but we can’t dictate the relationships that other people have with one another, right? Now if an ex’s family member reaches out to you, I would say respond accordingly. Answer the question, but do not ask or respond to anything as much as possible regarding your ex. Make sense?

Chris Seiter:
We see a lot of that actually, which is like your ex will have a relationship with your sister or your brother or something.

Anna:
Or mom or dad.

Chris Seiter:
Right. You see a lot of that happening, and I see really varying degrees of how people respond to that, because sometimes people get really territorial over their family.

Anna:
Right.

Chris Seiter:
And sometimes, what do you do in the case of you have a family member who you tell, like, “Hey, don’t talk about me to them. It’s okay for you to talk, but just let me be me.” What if they don’t listen?

Anna:
What if the family member doesn’t listen and talks about you?

Chris Seiter:
Yeah, because I see that happen a lot.

Anna:
I see it happen a lot too. Unfortunately, we can’t control that. We just can’t. I mean, people aren’t robots that we can program, unfortunately.

Chris Seiter:
Well, you know, I don’t know. Maybe.

Anna:
Maybe one day.

Chris Seiter:
If Ex Boyfriend Recovery and our coaching lasts the test of time, this archived thing will … Okay, I’m … Christmas.

Anna:
Okay, so I think the last thing we need to talk about is if children reach out to you or to your ex.

Chris Seiter:
How old would these children be specifically?

Anna:
I mean, I’ve seen the oldest be around 13 or 14.

Chris Seiter:
So around a 13 to 14 year old. Do you ever see any younger kids?

Anna:
Yes, like little kids. Especially if they’re attached to the ex or attached to you, they will reach out.

Chris Seiter:
They have their own phones.

Anna:
Okay, that is completely a different conversation.

Chris Seiter:
Well, that is taking precedence for me right now.

Anna:
Right, but I do not agree with that at all. I do not think that kids should be getting phones unless you are at least 13 or 14 years old.

Chris Seiter:
I got my first phone at 16, so I was a real late bloomer.

Anna:
I mean I’m a lot older than you, so like I didn’t get my first-

Chris Seiter:
You’re not that much older than me. Come on.

Anna:
I’m a ton older.

Chris Seiter:
No you’re not.

Anna:
Anyway. I’m old enough to be your teenage mom or something like that.

Chris Seiter:
No you’re not. No you’re not. You’re like, ten years older than me. You wouldn’t even be a teen.

Anna:
No, I’m like 46, crazy.

Chris Seiter:
Oh, I thought you were 41.

Anna:
Oh no. I wish.

Chris Seiter:
Well, I can inflate my age. I saw I got a gray hair in my beard now, which was like, what the hell is that?

Anna:
Okay, so if your ex’s children who are not yours reach out to you, you should respond to them. Don’t mention the ex. Just have the conversation. Just ask how they’re doing, and then end it. Now, if your children reach out to your ex, allow them to talk to your ex. Unless your ex says to you later, “I don’t mind talking to your kids but can you please cut it short,” or something like that. Just try not to get in the middle of that unless your ex says, “Hey, I feel uncomfortable with that.”

Chris Seiter:
What do you do if they do say that though?

Anna:
If they say they’re uncomfortable? That’s when you have to have a conversation with your children like, “I know that we miss ex’s name, but ex and I are not together anymore, so you can’t reach out as often. So the next time you want to reach out to ex, tell me and I’ll tell ex later, okay?” Or, “Let’s try to record something and I’ll send it to ex at a different time.” Just try to have a conversation with your kid about it.

Chris Seiter:
I find it incredibly challenging for people who have kids that are especially attached to exes, because after that ex leaves, and I’m mostly talking about women here. After that ex leaves, you are left with your child who is always going to be constantly asking, “Where is ex? Where’s so-and-so? Where’s so-and-so?” And it’s almost like this constant reminder that can make no contact, can make the obsession about him more difficult because you see, it’s almost like they came into the life, they kind of threw this grenade into it, and left and you’re kind of left picking up the pieces, so I think that’s really where it helps to have some emotional control because you need to also approach the conversation with your child in a very clever way. How Anna’s suggesting is exactly how I think is probably the best way to do it, which is just, I guess I empathize with the women who have that situation.

Anna:
It is a really tough situation, but in the breakup, currently that person is no longer in a parental or father figure role or a mother figure role, so we have to explain that as best we can to the kids, that breakups sometimes happen and that that doesn’t mean that they’re loved any less. It’s just that for right now, you and your ex aren’t spending as much time together and just to make things a little bit easier, we have to stay quiet with one another for a while. Not forever, but just for a while.

Chris Seiter:
The way you said that is just so … Maybe you are the teenage mom. You know, I was really buying into it.

Anna:
Yeah. Maybe spiritually that’s what I am.

Chris Seiter:
If you can’t notice I tend to get a little off topic when I’m talking with Anna.

Anna:
But we have great conversations.

Chris Seiter:
We do. We do. We do.

Anna:
We have a great time, right?

Chris Seiter:
Okay, before we end the podcast, is there anything that we missed, before we start talking about cyberpunk robotic eyes and teenage moms?

Anna:
I mean, basically if you’re in a no contact, you generally just don’t acknowledge, right? And you don’t acknowledge the holiday, and if the person reaches out, you also don’t respond, right? If a family member reaches out, depending on your level of closeness to that person or a friend or anyone in the sphere of influence, you can acknowledge with a simple thank you and response in return. If a kid reaches out, for the most part you can still acknowledge and say thank you and have a conversation. So basically, you’re just being quiet towards your ex, and people who may not like you.

Chris Seiter:
I guess the one thing I would like to say is coaching with you. So if you don’t know, one of the reasons that I’m so proud of Ex Boyfriend Recovery and what it’s grown to be is this woman right here.

Anna:
What?

Chris Seiter:
She’s amazing, so if you want to coach with her, it’s actually pretty simple.

Anna:
Yeah.

Chris Seiter:
Just go by our website, ExBoyfriendRecovery.com, and literally click on the coaching button there and literally you can coach with, we’re actually bringing on Tyler who’s our new coach in January, so you’ll be able to coach with one of the three of us, but I don’t have much time to do that, so mostly it’s going to be through Anna or Tyler, and I’m telling you Anna, a lot of people sit there and think like I’m better than you, but that’s actually not true.

Anna:
We’re both great.

Chris Seiter:
Well, I’m sitting here and being like, “Oh man, that’s so good. Oh yeah, I need to remember that for a video.”

Anna:
Because I’m old enough to be your teenage mom, remember.

Chris Seiter:
There you go. There you go. But if you want coaching with Anna, actually you’re booked up totally right now.

Anna:
Yes.

Chris Seiter:
But come January she’ll be open and if you’re listening to this in the future, we’re trying to work on making sure that we don’t have to have coaching ever turned off, that we’ll always have demand, but one of the really cool things that I’m really proud of is the fact that we aren’t like some of our competitors out there. Some of our competitors do not hire people who know what they’re talking about is maybe a nicer way of saying it. Anna is extremely overqualified to coach.

Anna:
Are you saying that I’ve gone through lots of relationships?

Chris Seiter:
No. I’m saying that you have an MBA and you’re going to get your PhD, and that you’re one of the best PR people in the world and you’re awesome and you’ve been a member of the Facebook group forever, but before that you’ve gotten all your exes who you’ve ever gotten back have proposed to you.

Anna:
Every single one, and I’ve been proposed to five times.

Chris Seiter:
Five times.

Anna:
Yes.

Chris Seiter:
So this woman knows what she’s talking about, and Tyler who we’re going to bring on is actually about to, I think in a couple of months we’re going to have to start calling him Doctor Tyler.

Anna:
Yes, he is in medical school.

Chris Seiter:
Yeah. I’ll be the less qualified person to coach out of the bunch. I don’t have a doctorate yet.

Anna:
But you will be still amazingly awesome.

Chris Seiter:
You know, it seems like everyone around my life is getting doctorates. You’re going to get one.

Anna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Seiter:
Tyler’s going to get one. My freaking brother is going to get one.

Anna:
What’s he getting his in?

Chris Seiter:
History. History, but I’m definitely going to be calling him Doctor Tim and making fun of him.

Anna:
Doctor Tim. Good one.

Chris Seiter:
Anyways, if you want coaching with us, make sure you go stop by our website. We’re really friendly, and we’re actually moving all of our coaching calls to Zoom so that you can get a recording of your coaching session to watch it back.

Anna:
Or listen to it back.

Chris Seiter:
Or listen to it back. So, thank you for listening.

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2 thoughts on “How To Handle Holidays And Special Occasions After A Breakup”

  1. Avatar

    Lyndsey

    January 3, 2021 at 4:57 am

    EBR,
    Thanks for the great article! After a 45 day NC reccomend by your article on what to do if you got ghosted as the breakup, my ex and I have been in rapport building for 2 months. I followed all the tips and steps for the texting phase and got an unsolicited invite to his place (I didn’t go) and a phone call on the 14th day. In the friendly and flirty phone call, he changed the topic on his own to apologize for and explain ghosting me. He said I did nothing wrong, but his life was getting too hectic and listed a few family problems. He said he stills likes me, thinks of me often and misses qualities about me, didn’t want to lose me, didn’t want anyone else, but ghosted me because he really didn’t really know what to say. He claims this has been the most conflicted and difficult breakup since his divorce 13 years ago (he’s been with plenty of women since), he’s now in therapy, and “I hope I didn’t mess everything up,” referring to how he dumped me. He did add “I just can’t be in a relationship right now.” That was about 6 weeks ago and it’s been like pulling teeth to have a text convo ever since, though he’s still perfectly friendly and sometimes flirty and had implied in the call that he was sure we’d keep talking and I’d come over. We did have plans to meet Dec. 21, but I got nervous and canceled, saying I was too busy. I wished him merry Christmas that day, he said no worries and reciprocated the well wishes, but I didn’t respond and he hasn’t reached out since. On New Year’s day, I texted a very brief Happy New Year message and asked how his Christmas and NYE was, but he never replied. I texted a follow up, “That bad, huh? Lol” today and still nothing, but he’s been active on social media plenty.
    What do you advise? Thanks for any guidance you can offer!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      January 6, 2021 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Lyndsey, so as you are not getting any reply from a double text you need to leave him be for a few days (5-10 days) and then reach out again with a different style of text that should capture his attention, please read some of Chris articles about texting to understand what those styles would be