Break ups. We’ve all been through them. You lose 10 pounds because “break up stomach” gives you an intense aversion to food. Or, you gain 10 pounds because ice cream, soda, and chocolate bars never seemed so appealing in your life! You cry because you’re hurting. You also cry at things that probably wouldn’t usually make you cry, like the “sponsor a child” commercials. You just feel extra bad for little “Sarah” today; she just wants to go to school!!! You play love songs all day and night. That ache in your chest and stomach won’t go away, and you just want to lie in bed forever like Carrie Bradshaw in the “Sex in the City” movie after “Big” gets cold feet on their wedding day and forget that you are or ever were a part of human existence. So how the heck do we get through break ups without disfiguring our bodies, shutting ourselves off from the world, and wallowing in our sorrows? There are ways to get through it without shattering like a windshield a brick was thrown through.
First of all, you can’t play dead indefinitely. You can’t make your bed your coffin and love songs your funeral music. Yes, your love or whoever it was who you split with is gone, and will, if he or she hasn’t done so already, be with someone else. OUCH! It hurts like hell! I’m not going to say don’t do the mourn in bed thing. Do it. Shoot, sometimes you have to let the reality of the situation hit you, and when it does sometimes it knocks you down. So before you get back up and you’re all wobbly and can’t even see clearly, take time to recover from the blow. Stay in bed, cry, play loves songs, sing them into your brush or whatever you use as a microphone, watch old love movies etc. It’s okay to feel pain. Don’t let anyone invalidate what you are feeling. Breaking up is hard, boyfriends or girlfriends after a while become a major part of your life. Have a good cry; you know like the one Celie has in the movie “The Color Purple.” You know what I’m talking about! BUT, yes here comes the big but, SET GOALS. When the break up happens and you want to climb under your covers, put a time line on how long you will stay there. No, the answer cannot be “forever.” There is no way to put a time line on how long you will hurt, but mourning in bed, in my opinion, should not extend beyond a week if even that. If it does, I give your friend’s permission to do things like or rip the covers off and throw cold water on you. (As a side note, major life events can lead to depression, so if your pals missing for a month you may want to suggest they get professional help, nothing to be embarrassed about).
Here is an example: Tom breaks up with Sally on Tuesday after a six-year relationship. Sally is devastated. She immediately grabs the tissue box and heads to her bedroom, but she says to herself, “I will stay in bed until Saturday. Then I have to get up.” Give yourself a deadline, tell a friend about the deadline, so if you miss it they can intervene. Do the same kind of thing when it comes to food. Okay I can stuff my face for two days but after that it has to stop. Even if I’m still having an aversion to food in two days, I must eat such and such.
Saturday comes and Sally’s out of bed. Sally is still hurting. Tom and her were talking about marriage only 4 months ago. So now what? First of all, DO NOT I repeat, DO NOT go back to bed. Your own thoughts can be one of the worst things about a break up! You start replaying all the good memories in your head (torturous), you start questioning when the relationship started to go wrong, you wonder if it’s something you did, you can’t believe the person you loved could have done what they did, you imagine the future you planned (tortuous), you question if they ever really loved you, and then you imagine seeing them with someone else (torturous). Or, if you’re like Ne-yo you play the answering machine message just to hear their voice, or worse you call private and breathe into the phone like a psychopathic stalker, or hang up when they answer. Shut up! Don’t act like you’ve never done it! You all are well versed in the art of blocking your number!
So how do we stop torturing ourselves? Personally don’t enjoy self-torture, I mean some of you sadistic people might, I don’t know. We have to shut off some of those thoughts, I don’t say all, because you’re allowed to think and feel, its part of healing. Obsessive thinking on the other hand, is unhealthy. Distractions! If you already have hobbies, do them! If you don’t have hobbies, GET SOME! Try not to be alone, but don’t just invite a friend over so you can show them how depressed you are. It’s better you go out and do something. Go for a walk with them; take a dance class, anything! It’s okay to vent to friends, it’s actually very therapeutic, just don’t make it 100% of the conversation all the time. Stay busy, the less time you have to think about him or her, the less tempted you’ll be to call, check their facebook (yea it’s 2012 and you all know you check your ex man or woman’s page), and be sad.
“The best way to get over one man/woman is to do the horizontal tango with someone else!” NOPE! I don’t agree with that at all, in fact I am totally against it! Men and women are not replaceable. You don’t want a replacement when you date again, you want something new/different. Don’t you hate how when you break up with someone you love and people say “there are more fish in the sea.” If we JUST broke up I probably I don’t want those other fish damn it! I want the fish I had! I want the damn fish that I went deep-sea fishing for on a turbulent sea, caught, scaled, seasoned, and cooked to perfection! Now I’m not saying you should stay caught up on the person you split with. I just don’t think jumping into something with someone else, whether it is their bed, or their arms is a smart idea, especially a major break up. This is why we hear people say, “Oh, she/he was just a rebound.” Don’t use someone else as a mop to wipe up your tears, not fair to them, and not fair to you. It’s just not healthy. Worse if you jump into a heavy relationship you may end up really confused. Or it may mean you have underlying fears of being alone. You can’t stand with someone else unless you know how to stand on your own. When you do stand with someone else, stand like two pillars, you shouldn’t be overly enmeshed. Just keep it in your pants and hold off on the dating until you’re in a better place!
Here are some other things that might apply to some people. If you guys have a “song” STOP listening to it! If his or her name is your password to your laptop or email etc, CHANGE IT! If you have a picture of you two from your vacation in Hawaii as your screen saver CHANGE IT! If the picture is on your desk, MOVE IT! If you have articles of clothing for the person STOP sleeping in them! In fact, donate them to charity if they don’t want them back. I mean if their picture and name is a million and one places you might be borderline obsessed #I’m just saying. You don’t need a million and one constant reminders! “Hey here I am! Remember me! Remember when we were super happy and I wasn’t dumping you for the girl with the nice rack who lives in apartment 6A?” When I broke up with my first boyfriend I deleted every picture I had of us. It may have just been symbolic of me choosing to no longer mourn the relationship, and of me moving on, but it really made a difference in the way I felt. I mean if you’re a real psycho and want to burn stuff please just make sure you have a fire extinguisher present. Kidding! Do not do that. It’s not safe. Just throw it away.
For the most part break-up’s suck in some way or another. They just really suck. But they don’t have to be a massive tornado, hail storm, earthquake, tsunami, end of the world. Be aware of how you’re feeling, so you can work on healing. Keep some of the things I listed above in mind. You can and WILL get through it. We all do. We all will at some point have our hearts broken. It’s just a fact of life. Don’t have regrets, and don’t doubt yourself or what you had. Lastly, don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you’re worth less than you are. Mourning is normal and heartache is normal. You won’t die. My favorite line from “Sex in the City” the movie is “Some love stories aren’t epic novels, some are short stories. But, that doesn’t make them any less filled with love.” At some point when you go through all that hurt, you have to let it go and move on. Not everything was meant to last forever, but something that is will certainly come along, just be patient. Love is a crazy beautiful thing.