- Don't do anything drastic. Any big changes right now are a bad idea. You may be lonely, but you may regret that new puppy really quickly. And why the sudden need to build schools in Guatemala? I'm not saying you shouldn't do these things, but wait. Wait at least a couple of weeks. Really think about why you want to do these things. Make sure your motives are true. The last you probably want is to think about your ex everytime you look at your new puppy because its fuzzy butt was a substitute for his.
- Get a haircut. It's a cliche for a reason; it works.
- Set up a reliable lifeline. Have that go-to friend who you know will be there for you when you need them. When I broke up with my ex, I had a friend who was supposed to be there for me. She was great at cheering me up and knew what a hard time I was going through. But she was also a flake. A huge flake who wasn't there for me. She cancelled our plans without rescheduling and constantly blew me off. It hurt almost as bad as the breakup. I'm not saying you should call her at all hours of the night sobbing, but you should have someone lined up for nights on the town and to rent chick flicks and do manicures. Take my word on it, someone reliable.
- Take some sort of exercise class. Whether it be dance, spin, yoga, or a running or training group that meet at a local park, exercise with other people. There are a couple of reasons for a class. First, it forces you to be on good behavior. You can't break down in the middle like you might when working out by yourself. It also forces you to look a little cuter. You really shouldn't wear your crappy workout clothes out, right? And lastly, it kind of holds you accountable to working out. Say you go to the class and like it. Afterward, introduce yourself to the instructor. Introduce yourself to several people in the class. Do it each time for a couple of classes and people will start to expect you to come. Can't disappoint them, right?
- Get out of the house every day. EVERY DAY! Make an effort to change out of your pajamas, clean yourself up, and get off the couch. Even if it's just to get more chips from the local gas station, don't become a hermit.
- Box up everything that reminds you of him. Absolutely everything. All the presents he ever gave you. The movie you used to watch together all the time. The sweater that still smells like him. Even write down his email address and cellphone number, put them in the box, and then delete the electronic copies. Now, take that box and put it somewhere you will forget about it. In the closet that you barely use. At your parent's house. In the trunk of your car. I don't care, just get it out of sight, but don't throw anything away. After two of three months, go through it. Anything that doesn't make you nausea anymore, feel free to keep, but trash what you need to. There will always be some stuff that makes you sick, but weigh its importance to you versus the negative associations.
- Avoid people who ask the wrong questions. We all have those friends who, although they mean well, will probably inadvertantly make you feel crappy. "Why couldn't you make it work?" "What are you going to do to try to win him back?" "You can't just forgive him for that one, little mistake?" Why put yourself in a situation where you just want to scream, "Mind your own business, you dumb bitch!"? It's ok to avoid people. Just tell them you are a mess right now and don't want to burden them and when they are annoying and persist, avoid their phone calls.
- Don't be afraid to do things by yourself. After my last break-up, I kept trying to get out of the house by inviting people to dinner and movies. When the plans would fall through, I was just left at home, feeling sad and lonely. Eventually, anytime it happened, I went by myself. It's so liberating doing things by yourself. No need to worry about laughing at the correct time or sharing the bread basket. You can see whatever movie you want. You can flirt with the cute waiter or ticket seller. Don't let your life stop because you're a single rather than a double.
- Make a list of everything you want to get done. It can be long-term like 'get married and have kids' to things like 'organize my dresser', but think about what you really want. Write down at least five things and make it your goal to get one of them done within the next two months (so make sure one of them is more short-term). Focus on who you are and what you want rather than your former relationship identity and the chaos that's probably your personal life.
- Write down how you feel every day. For a couple of weeks, at the end of each day, write down how you feel. It doesn't necessarily need to be about the break-up, but write about whatever is on your mind. And keep it private, don't blog it or put it on facebook. Just reflect on how you feel and write it down. It's ok if you're angry or hurt or sad or relieved, but it'll help to process your emotions by actually thinking about them.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
10 Tips to Get Over a Breakup
This list was posted by a guest columnist on one of my favorite sites and, let's be honest, it wasn't that innovative. It's cliched and vague and I think I can do better. So here's my list for healing, whether you were the one who chose to end things, you were blindsided, or it was fairly mutual.
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