The fact that I’m writing a guide to dealing with a breakup is reaching a level of irony that I assure you isn’t lost on me. Out of all of the things I’m bad at (sports, cooking, saying no to a drink, etc.), dealing with a breakup would likely be pretty close to the top of the list. However, when others go through breakups I’ve discovered I’m really damn good at giving solid, rational advice. Learning to take my own advice is something I’ll deal with some other time. So here it is: the ultimate guide to dealing with a break up.
Lose their number
And their Instagram, and their Twitter, and their Facebook, and their LinkedIn, or whatever other medium you use to stalk them. This may seem obvious, but it’s definitely the hardest part. Initiate radio silence, and stick to your guns on this. If you want it to be over, have it be over. Otherwise, let’s not bother having this conversation.
Retrain your brain
Every time I’ve been dumped, I sit and cry thinking about all the good things. I recall the cutest dates, the sweetest things they’ve said, and basically anything else that will make me cry myself to sleep while binge watching House in the fetal position in my bed. Every time I caught myself doing that, I would swap out that good memory for one of the multitude of not-so-good ones: a time they ignored me, or said something grossly insensitive, or dumped me on the side of the road at 4am, what have you. Instead of dwelling on the good things you think you’re missing out on, focus on the things you no longer have to deal with.
Own what reminds you of them
One thing I have the hardest time with is listening to music that reminds me of the person. After one particular relationship, there were two bands that he introduced me to that I would have rather sliced my own face off with a cheese grader than listen to after we broke up. One day I decided to be brave, and see if I’d be able to have a listen without physically feeling my heart rip in half. I told myself they’re just bands, and I had enough of letting him ruin them for me subconsciously. And guess what: the world didn’t end. Form new associations with all of the things that reminds you of them, and you’ll discover how much easier it is to go through life without side-stepping certain people, places or things. Except their old shirts. Throw those away.
Realize they weren’t your last chance at happiness
A very wise woman once said to me: “Guys are like cabs. If you miss one, another will be along in a few minutes.” Over the last few months, I’ve discovered this is very, very true. Every time a guy exited my life, I would hyperbolize in a way that only I can, and legitimately think there would never again be another human being who can make me feel that way he made me felt. But low and behold, I’ve always managed to find another taxi with its light on – it’s just a matter of showing a little thigh and hailing them down.
Listen to your friends
This one is vital, and as the community lifejacket, I can attest to this first hand. You have to listen to the people who a) love you, and b) are objective. I’ve been the naïve one who refuses to listen to everyone around me, only to find out they were right all along (shocker), and it has given me a lot of perspective. Your friends and family don’t badmouth Prince Charming; we badmouth Jafar. And we do it because we love you. I only have my friend’s best interests in mind when I tear apart the guys who are treating them like garbage, the same way they have my best interests in mind when they do it for me. I don’t tell you Jafar is the worst for the good of my health. Don’t date Jafar.
Get back out there
I hate when people say, “the best way to get over a guy is to get under a new one”! It’s trite, and weird, and makes me uncomfortable when people say it. But there’s an element of truth to it. The only way you’ll find someone better is to find someone. Go on a date, even one you may have never otherwise gone on. Don’t go intentionally breaking anyone’s heart just because you feel the world owes it to you, but don’t join a convent, either. There has to be a happy medium somewhere, right? When you find it, let me know.
Don’t sub-tweet about how heartbroken you are, don’t show up places you hope they’ll be, don’t drunkenly message them, don’t respond if they drunkenly message you (all of which I’ve done, by the way). Nothing heals hearts other than space and time, and you deserve to give yourself both, and nothing sets you back farther than seeing or speaking to them. Just take my word on that.
Fake it ‘til you make it
Even if your insides feel like they’re eating themselves, and you would rather lay in bed and cry while watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the 11th time, get up, brush your hair, and pull yourself together. Tell everyone you’re over them, even if you aren’t. If you say it out loud enough, it’ll start to come true.
Bottom line: you need to know that you will get over it. Even when you feel like you can’t even fathom going on without them, there’s life after jerks. Have a couple drinks and laugh with your best friends about that shirt they wore that you hated, or how they mispronounced words on a regular basis.
Just keep an eye out for that next vacancy light.
Header Image by Vanessa Vai