After 20 years of marriage with actress Robin Wright, Sean Penn is now officially a single man. Though Penn has historically tried to keep his private life under wraps, Penn opens up about the end of his relationship in an interview with Vanity Fair, even going so far as to say his ex-wife is “a ghost” to him. Penn added that being single will give him more time to fully commit to humanitarian work.

After the end of a marriage, what is acceptable to talk about in public and what matters should be held sacred and private?

Cupid’s Advice:
Penn crosses a line in his interview, making comments that were unnecessary, like insulting his ex-wife, and nonsensical, like implying that his marriage kept him from doing humanitarian work. When talking about an ex, you shouldn’t reveal anything you wouldn’t want revealed about you.

1. Don’t name call or place blame: No break-up is the sole responsibility of one party, and it looks childish and inconsiderate to point fingers.

2. Keep private things private: If it wasn’t spoken about when together, why air your dirty laundry?  Some things, like sex, money, and family issues may be better kept under wraps.

3. Never look back and regret: Every relationship is a learning experience, even if it requires sacrifice.  Sure, you might have turned vegetarian for an ex, or slowed down volunteer work to start a family, but you gained much more through the experience than you lost.  Take time to finally enjoy what you couldn’t while in your relationship.