Thursday, January 31, 2013
How to Get Through A Break Up
For most of us, break ups are just one of life's inevitable experiences. Of course, there are freaks out there who find their one true love in high school and are married in a field of wildflowers as harps softly play in the background and a family of deer lap up water from a nearby babbling brook, and guests quietly murmur to each other "These two are the picture of true love." But seriously though, fuck those people. KIDDING, kidding. My parents are high school sweethearts, so I have a soft spot in this blackened heart of mine for young love. Unfortunately for me, my high school/college boyfriend high tailed it out of my life right around the time that I started taking a Feminist Theory course and began saying things like "Gender and sexuality are both just cultural constructs- everything is fluid!" and contemplating my greater purpose on this Earth. While I still say things like that and I am most definitely still mid-ponder, I have come a long way since that original break up. In fact, I dare say that from every break up I have ever experienced, I have actually learned a thing or two- AND matured.
As a new member of the "single girls club" (It's not really a club. No one hates themselves enough to actually start a club with that name.) I've been reflecting a bit about break ups, how they affect us all in different ways, and how they're one of life's necessary evils. I'm going to break this down, step by step and tell you how (in my opinion) to get through a break up. Leggo!
Why Break Ups Are Necessary
I know a few of you, like me, have been through a break up or two that were one sided. That is to say, your ass got dumped. It's okay! Admitting it is the first step in accepting it. Of course there are others who are the ones doing the dumping, and in my opinion, sometimes that can be even worse. Whatever side you're on- whether you've recently dumped or recently been dumped, 9 times out of 10, it's for the best. No matter which side you're on, you're likely to automatically feel nostalgic and look at the relationship through rose colored glasses. Can I just say... STOP. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. He (or she) wasn't that great, and you know it. Secretly, you hated the way he slipped into a French accent when ordering wine, and the way he sometimes farted in bed but didn't even have the courtesy to cough in an attempt to cover it up after you'd only been dating for a month, and you REALLY hated his taste in music because we all know Coldplay is NOT an acceptable answer to the question "Who's your favorite band ever?" All of those little things, combined with the fact that he always kind of belittled your existence and said it's "too soon" for you to meet his parents, even though you've been dating for 8 months, well my friend, that all equals time for a break up. Don't fight it- don't second guess it.
The truth is, break ups are necessary so we can find someone who actually fits with out weirdness. You want someone who will get all of your Judge Judy references, or at the very least play along, and you want that person to be the same person who will help you move apartments, even if it's a walk up, and get drunk with and do the dishes with. Dating allows you to find that person, while weeding out lots of guys who are "almost" right. Embrace the break up! It's how you find your person.
Step 1: Give In
I'm a big believer in crying. I pretty much cry all the time. Usually at least once a day, on occasion even multiple times- sometimes because I'm sad, sometimes because I'm happy, but most times lately because I'm watching American Idol. When going through a break up, I say give in to the cry. Sob hysterically if need be. Get it all out of your system. Cry until you reach that point where you look in the mirror and you look like a demon from a child's nightmares. And then cry some more. Until you're, as I call it, "all cried out" and you just can't even cry anymore. (Also known as: dehydration.) After a break up, I like to give myself a set time frame of sadness and tears. Each relationship is different- a longer relationship might require a whole week of sadness, sometimes more. I tend to err on the side of sanity and give myself two or three days to just really wallow in it. Over-analyzing it with friends, deconstructing every detail of the relationship, sobbing while eating ice cream- do it girl. Treat yourself like someone who has just experienced the most tragic, Earth shattering event ever. And if you feel so inclined (I always do), eat your weight in comfort food.
Step 2: Get Up
After your allotted time of sadness has passed, the hope is that you've gotten most of the break up juju out of your system. You've given over to sadness, but now it's time to reclaim your life and put on some damn pants. You need to wake up and greet the day like your new life is about to begin, like you're Stella and you just got your groove back. (Dated movie reference FTW!) Put on some Robyn or Icona Pop and dance your way through getting dressed. Will yourself to be in a good mood and refuse to let this break up take over one more second of your life. Then, go out and DO SOMETHING- specifically something that makes you happy. Get brunch with friends if it's the weekend, or treat yourself to an after-work manicure if it's a work day. Surround yourself with people that make you happy and just try to focus on moving on. The more energy you put into finding happiness post-break up, the better you will feel.
Step 3: Put down the phone/computer. NOW.
Hey guess what? I've got a really novel idea for you- if you're broken up, maybe you SHOULDN'T stalk your ex-boyfriend or text him in the middle of the night "What are you doing?" I know, it's a revolutionary idea, right? Okay, seriously though. What is with girls continuously calling and texting post-break up? This is NOT a good look, ladies. I know, I know- you need "closure" to move on. I've heard that a million times. And you know what? I call bullshit. 100% bullshit. You don't need to have a conversation in which he bullet points why he broke up with you, or in which he explains how terrible he feels after the way things ended. This won't actually help anything, and it's actually more likely that it will hurt things. Closure is just a fancy word for "getting your shit together and moving on." You don't need to have yet another conversation with your ex to accomplish this, you just have to make a decision. Take control of the situation and make the conscious decision to not dwell on the past, but look forward to all the new hotties you get to date. Duh. Movin' on.
You also don't need to stalk him on every social media outlet possible. Get off his damn Facebook page- ain't nothin' for you on there anymore! The only reason you should be on his Facebook is to make fun of the fact that one of his interests is "Hanging Out." Same for Twitter and Instagram. I mean, you don't have to immediately unfollow him on everything, especially because that looks like you're at like a level 10 on the anger scale. Do it at your own pace- or don't even do it at all if you think you might be able to remain friends. Just don't continue to look at his profiles every 12 minutes to check for updates like a stalker. It's just going to cause you pain. Let him live his life. You no longer give any fucks. Right? Right.
Also- LOL inducing story regarding the dangers of stalking post break up. This did not happen to me (and I'm not just saying that. It really didn't.) but I heard about a girl stalking her ex's new girlfriend on Instagram. While she was scrolling through her feed, she accidentally double clicked a photo and Liked it. THE HORROR. Even though you can un-like it, the notification still pops up. Her stalker ass got caught stalking. DO YOU WANT THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU? Didn't think so. Don't stalk.
Step 4: Live. And Be Happy Doing It.
Look, break ups suck. Nothing you can do will change that. The only thing you can change is your behavior throughout the break up and after. Let go of all the anger (maybe take it out on a punching bag or aggressively dancing at a bar), let him live his life, and go about living yours. In a month or two (maybe longer), you'll be happier than you ever could have expected. The best thing you can do is focus on yourself, your happiness, and your next (way hotter) love interest. Well, that last one is for another post, another time.
NOTE: There are, of course, situations in which couples break up and get back together, a la Cory and Topanga. If you are Cory and Topanga, listen to none of my rules and GET BACK TOGETHER, PLZ. If not, see above.