Break-ups [insert eye roll emoji here]. We can't help but sigh in pre-emptive despair at the thought of them. Nevertheless, they play as much of a part in the relationship process as drunken hook-ups, falling in love and even getting married. Yes, they're difficult and, true, they happen more often than our pals over at Disney Princess HQ prepared us for. But no, they're not always a bad thing.
You've been there. I've been there. Brit-nominated singer-songwriter Mabel (she's up for the public voted British Breakthrough Act this year) has gone through it too. "I think it's easy to look at a break-up from a negative angle whereas, actually, things happen for a reason," she tells me over the phone. Preach. But calling time on a relationship isn't always as easy as that now, is it?
Mabel's latest single "Don't Call Me Up" speaks to the phenomenon that I like to call Lingering Ex Stress – when you've gone through the process of ending the relationship and yet your former partner is still around. She tells me the song is pretty much about that tricky situation when "you've been with somebody who hasn't treated you how you're meant to be treated, you've left it and when you're over it, they start calling you again." It's almost as if exes suddenly earn the ability to sense when you're about to move on. And use that knowledge to slither back into your life and tempt you back to somewhere you don't necessarily want to be.
"It's about just staying strong and being like, 'Nah, you've had your chance, you can't call me anymore'," Mabel assures me, just as I wonder whether I have ever exhibited that level of willpower. My relationship history says no.
Needless to say, Mabel seems to have a far better handle on this sort of thing than I do, so in the spirit of the new single, I enlisted her as my agony aunt. "My love life is..." Mabel laughs. "I can't believe you guys are asking me about this but let's do it." So here we are. Read on to find her hilarious, practical and actually helpful advice for some of our (erm, my) biggest break-up dilemmas. Thank me later.
What do you do when an ex won’t take no for an answer? They’re calling your phone, double-tapping all your Insta posts and trying to wiggle their way back into your life?
This one I know the answer to because if you let somebody like that back into your life they’re pretty much going to do the same thing again. So don’t let the situation repeat itself. Don’t lose your power, just be like – nah. I changed my number! [laughs] Listen, sometimes you have to go to the drastic!
What do you do when you bump into your ex on a night out?
Don’t just air...unless they’ve done something really bad. If they’ve really fucked you over then obviously don’t speak to them. But if it’s just a weird situation, it's better to be like "Hey, you good?" and then just leave. Don’t linger. Don’t start some long conversation, just be like "Hey, you good, I gotta go, I’ve just seen some people over there that I need to go talk to…"
What should you do when you catch your partner in a lie? Call them out on it even though it’ll just result in an argument? Or quietly remember it for when you’re ready to deal?
It depends how deep the lie is. Right now I’m just causing absolute fucking mayhem. If somebody’s lying, fucking tell them that they’re lying! But that’s just me, I’m an honest person – I’ll always be like, "Why you lying for, bro?" But if it’s not deep, sometimes you’re more powerful to just remember. If it’s something deep, you have to tell them.
In my last relationship, I used to write notes on my iPhone and I'd write down every now and again when my boyfriend did something stupid…
[laughing] You know how many of these notes I have in my phone right now? I literally have a whole speech written to somebody right now! I’m not even joking, so I appreciate. Sometimes you just need to write it down.
How about when you wake up to find that you drunk-called your ex 16 times last night?
Oh my god, change your number! CHANGE YOUR NUMBER! That’s my solution to everything! Change your number, change your name, move to a different country! [laughs] I change my number constantly. And then you can’t get that text from your ex the day after being like, "Why did you call me at 4am?" You’ll never see that text.
How do you deal when you don’t trust/like your best mate’s partner but they’re all loved up and unaware?
Oh that one’s difficult, I’ve been there. You know what, you need to keep your mouth shut. I will just say that right now because people figure things out for themselves. Unless it’s really, really deep and they’re doing something really bad but if it's not that deep you need to let the person realise for themselves, otherwise it’ll put tension between you and your friend.
What’s the secret to getting over someone?
Oh my god, I don’t know, I’m trying to figure that out. I write songs about it and then I listen to them. "Don’t Call Me Up" is actually helping me now. Every time I sing it I’m like alright, cool, you know what, I’m good, it's going to be okay. Yeah, getting over somebody – I feel like every experience is different. For me it’s exercise, doing things for myself, just treating myself. You know, being nice to yourself – break-ups are fucking hard so just be kind. I’m always like, don’t talk to that person for a little bit. No matter how well it ends, it’s good to just have some space.