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The Heartbreak Manual.

October 4, 2018

Ladies (and gents)...you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say everyone has had a heartbreak legend will be written about. Tell me you didn't think of that one guy/girl who shattered you. The opportunity that passed you by. The road not taken.

 

The one you thought of even more when you tried to drink it away (and possibly drunk texted. No judgment.)

The one you tearfully told your friends, your parents, your cousins, your hair stylist, the neighbor, the mailman and the sweet retail girl at Express--who was just trying to help you choose a pair of revenge jeans--about.

The one you wrote pages of anger about (and possibly to) so s/he could know exactly what s/he did wrong and could take responsibility (Rachel Green, I FEEL YOU GIRL!).

 

Jokes aside, it's a garbage place to be. I mean...dating is hard enough nowadays. Call me a dinosaur if you want, but dating apps have a lot to do with it. It's easy in a world of instant gratification to swipe left or right and decide in a millisecond whether someone is worth pursuing. And more than that, the consistent quest for something better is at our fingertips. The options happen to be available, unlike when our parents were younger. Jobs, volunteering, significant others--hell, even Seamless--all at our fingertips when we want it.

 

But here you are...you found your penguin or lobster or whatever else animal is out there that mates exclusively. You have won the romantic lottery. Suddenly, your social media posts aren't of you looking wistfully at the horizon but looking at them...maybe with a sweet little caption or quote about life was never the same after you met them. Every love song has a person associated with it. You are no longer the dateless guest at a wedding because YOU HAVE BECOME THE PERSON WITH A PERSON.

 

And then it's over.

 

Talk about a buzzkill. 

 

So, in my wise wisdom and from insight gained watching friends go through their own heartache...here are some things that won't necessarily heal your heartbreak but will hopefully support you through it.

 

1) It really isn't you. It really is them.

 

Fun story: that time I was ghosted by the love of my life, and received an apology months later. So, when I did exactly what hundreds of other dumpees do and texted him about giving it another go, I figured he wouldn't make the same heartless decision to cold shoulder me. He said it was a mistake, right? Obviously, it was an error in judgment, not a mark of his character...VOILA, he even texted back! Progress. I waited for the message he promised, half-expecting him not to send one because heartbreak does (sometimes) teach you things...and lo and behold, it's been months and there has been no message.

 

What does that tell me? No. It's not me. I may have had a hand in our breakup--it nearly always takes two. But the decision to ignore, disrespect and generally be heartless...that's not me. That is all him. With the second time he ignored me, he proved that running from things he doesn't like is a characteristic of his personality. The bravery and dignity with which you handle someone else's heart is a mark of your character. Hold yourself to that standard--and just as importantly, hold others to it too.

 

You, beautiful one, do not need to give someone a second chance who has already proven it is in their build to treat you as a lesser human being. You are officially off the hook for blaming yourself. Go and set yourself free. It's them, not you.

 

2) The world keeps spinning.

 

How many days have you spent wanting the world to stop while you deal with your many, many feelings? "I JUST NEED A DAY OFF TO GET IT TOGETHER!" you want to scream, but let's be honest...a day off isn't going to fix this and the world keeps turning despite your many pleas that it stop.

 

But with that comes a little optimism if you let yourself see it...there's a little beauty in the idea that the sun keeps rising and the planet continues on with their lives. Everyone has been in your shoes...and somehow, things kept moving on. Which means that this horrible phase of pain is also transient. As the universal spin continues, so too shall you and your life.

 

3) Wallow. Then make the decision to get up.

 

You know how Bambi took tried to take his first steps and fell a couple times? You'll get up when you're ready. But determination is a significant part of survival. You'll have your rough days but the beginning comes with the decision to get up, and move forward. You don't have to throw yourself into anything you aren't ready for...but scheduling some laughter time with your friends, trying something new and throwing yourself into life? At the very least, you have some experiences worth remembering. They may even be wonderful distractions. But try...try to put yourself back into a normal routine of some sort.

 

4) Gain something. For the long haul. For you.

 

Almost all of my guy friends have told me that they've made career moves during a break up. Many of my girl friends agree. By not being impulsive, but throwing themselves into a work project, home project, drastic change, or investment, they have gained something for themselves. They have found a long-term satisfaction in the loss, and it'll make them proud. A little piece of light in a dark place--and sometimes, when you think back on the heartache, you remember the accomplishment as a beacon.

 

5) I'm going to have a serious moment here. Be gentle with yourself.

 

I tell friends that all the time on their quests for perfection--people will always fall short. Me, you, your family, our friends. There is always forward progress. Backwards steps also exist. Sometimes, it's okay to sleep off a weekend because it's easier than facing reality. It's okay to have a night with a bottle of wine, thinking about the job opportunity you passed up.

 

It's okay to fall. It's okay to wallow. It's okay to feel sad, sorry and sentimental. 

 

Just don't make it a permanent home. You deserve better than living in misery.

 

Are these methods fail-proof? Nope. If I had the art of getting over a letdown mastered, I'd be a millionaire who probably didn't need a blog to begin with. But everyone needs a first step...a place to start.

 

As I put my life back together, and use these tactics everyday, I hope they come to use for you too. Cheers!

 

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