Did you WIN or LOSE your breakup?

Words by Michelle Andrews.

Thanks to the power of the inter-webs (ALL PRAISE THE INTERWEBS), you’re still privy to sneak-peeks of your ex’s life even after you breakup. Thanks to Snapchat, you know that they ate a chicken and mayo sandwich for lunch. Thanks to Facebook, you know what club they went to on the weekend, because Matthew, their token I-post-a-status-whenever-I’m-in-a-public-place-friend, checked in (chill, Matthew, you’re a social butterfly and we get it… but you’re also a Dickcake).

We thrive off these sneak-peeks into our ex’s new single life. The glimpses are effing scintillating. Why? Because they determine how your ex’s life is without you, how they’re coping in SingleVille, and most importantly, which one of you is winning the breakup.

I can hear the preachy readers crying out from behind their Toshiba Notebooks right now:

“Michelle, nobody wins at heartache. This is a highly immature blog post. You suck.”

To which I reply:

Hold up, Holier-Than-Thou Reader (who opted for a Toshiba and clearly doesn’t deserve to have an opinion, anyway). Think about every time a relationship has ended in your life. What did you do? You threw yourself into your career/into a hairdressers chair/into the gym/into another persons bed. Why? Because we are all desperate to prove that not only can we can cope without our ex, we can excel without them. They let go of the best, shiniest, most bitchin’ thing to ever grace this planet, and we desperately want to show them what they’re missing.

It’s the reason ‘the rebound’ is a thing – we want to prove to our ex that even if they don’t want us, someone else will. I mean, post-breakup-haircuts keep hairdressing salons in business. It’s the reason behind about 86% of gym memberships, 88% of Tinder accounts and approximately 98% of one night stands (these stats are TOTALLY legit and were thoroughly researched… totally).

And let’s face it, we’re in our twenties, so this isn’t something we go through just once. These are the years that we go through the most breakups, the most heartache, and we find ourselves in a pretty constant state of ‘The Breakup Games’.

breakup games

(Instead of fighting our ex’s to the death, we’re really just fighting them for bragging rights… And hotter Summer bods.)

I hadn’t really considered the concept of winning or losing a breakup until a friend – let’s call her Crabtree – broke up with her boyfriend. Her life post-relationship went like this: she dramatically improved her university marks, became renowned for her hotness, got a new job and rid herself of boy drama. Her ex’s life post-relationship? He spent months harassing Crabtree, which bordered on stalking (including sending voice recordings of other girls in his bed, passive-aggressive Instagram posts and employing his friends to annoy her on social media).

Let’s face it: Crabtree took the candy canes home on that one #4foryouCrabtree.



After witnessing The Crabtree Saga, I was intrigued. What factors determine who wins the breakup? Can you really ‘win’ at heartbreak? And, most interestingly, do we see ourselves as the winners, or losers?

So I took to Facebook and surveyed over 100 of my friends, because, you know, SCIENCE.

And what did I find? Drum roll, pls…

  • Whoever gets ‘hotter’ post relationship is, apparently, the most important determinant of who ‘wins’ (57%), followed by who texts the other the least (33%), who gets into another relationship the quickest (5%), and whoever succeeds more in their career (3%).
  • 57% of us purposefully made an effort to look happier and sexier via social media in the hope that our ex would see us as the ‘winner’.
  • 71% of us considered ourselves as ‘the settler’ in our last relationship and throughout the relationship believed we were capable of getting someone better.
  • 72% of us believe we ‘won’ our most recent break-up.

So, ahem, basically we’re all a bunch of self-lovin’ singletons who are full of confidence and are made up of 104% pure, A-grade sass.

That’s right, according to my super-dooper-professional-test-tubey data, we’re all pretty preoccupied with winning The Breakup Games. The Toshiba Fiends can try to deny it all they like, but the temptation we feel to compete with each other post-breakup is natural, and – to be honest – human.

Your ex being a rogue agent is a scary prospect. They’re drifting through life apparently armed with chicken-mayo sangas and without you. And that’s a little scary, even if you never want to get back together (which, according to my survey, 93% of us don’t). Regardless of how your relationship ended, you shared something with that person, and it was more than bodily fluids (gross, sorry). Once upon a time, they were ‘your person’, and you were theirs. Sure, most of us want the absolute best for our exes, but we equally want to show them that we are desirable, even if they don’t think seem to think so anymore.

We want to win, and that shouldn’t always be framed as a bad thing (unless you’re having a tonne of one night stands and, you know, handing out gonorrhoea like it’s a share-plate of lasagna… that’s probably not great).

But if playing The Breakup Games means that we’re concentrating on bettering ourselves and kicking some serious life butt, then I say play on, pals!

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