By Katie Herzog
We all know that breakups can be brutal, and since my own messy inauguration into the world of the heartbroken, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn the best (and worst) ways to deal with the end of a relationship. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is a contest, so what follows are some tips on how to win your next breakup. These are generally written for the dumped rather than the dumper, who, while not immune from the sads, has a huge advantage. Good luck!
1. Embrace the pain. For one week.
You can’t think about anything other than how totally unfair it is she dumped you right after she got that job (like, right after, even though you were her shoulder to cry on after multiple rejections, and built up her self-confidence!).
Your pain is universal and understandable. Your friends told you to dump her months ago when you drank too much wine at dinner and told them how often you had sex (never).
But still, you’re sad, so for the first week, go on that liquid diet, listen to some blues music on repeat, and cry until your eyes are swollen. Draw the shades and chain-smoke, but after seven days, you need to put on some pants and leave the house.
The idea of sleeping with anyone but your ex probably makes you feel nauseous, but... find yourself a rebound. The purpose of a rebound is not to foster human connection or even to have good sex: it’s to remind yourself that you can still get laid. And you can!
You probably haven’t been eating since he packed up his half of his tableware, so chances are, you’re in tip-top shape for getting laid.
Once you locate your rebound, do not, under any circumstances, think of him or her as a potential replacement for your ex. Falling into a new relationship right away is like treating a hangover with the-hair-of-the-dog: the shakes might go away for the moment, but you’re going to have to deal with the dehydration eventfully. Rebound and move on.
3. Beware of Facebook.
There is no crying on Facebook.
Facebook’s purpose is to break up your workday, normalize stalking, and inform you who is going to vegan brunch so you can avoid that awkward one-night who looks at you like you put tap water in her fish tank when really all you did was never call.
Facebook is for laughs, not emotions — and let’s be real, you’re going through a break-up, feeling good is rare these days — but do you really want your coworkers, high school friends, and (even worse) your ex knowing that you turned his favorite t-shirt into a pillowcase just so you can smell his cologne while you sleep?
A public platform for your heartache is tempting because it’s all you can think about, but if you want to win this break-up, you must resist high drama and emotional over-sharing. No one likes that and certainly no one “likes” that. Change your relationship status and then continue as though nothing has changed.
Speaking of Facebook, it’s going to take an immense amount of willpower to avoid looking at your ex’s page. As someone without willpower, I recommend blocking him or her. While you might want him to see your life-affirming status update, do you really want to see him tagged at brunch with some girl you’ve never heard of? No, you don’t.
4. Do the things you want your ex to think you are doing.
Get your ass to yoga. Yes, yogis can be notoriously self-righteous about their chakras and menstruating in sync with the full moon, but no one has ever regretted finishing a yoga class. You might hate every second until the final resting pose, but afterwards, you’ll be glad you put down the box of wine and put on your stretch pants. And maybe the next time you to run into your ex, it’ll be after an hour downward-dogging your way to psychic balance and tight abs. When he sees how good you look, he’s going to feel bad, and that’s the goal, isn’t it?
5. Give it time.
The bad news about time is that it leads to hair loss, muscle degradation, the gradual waning of your sex life, and ultimately death. The good news is that it makes the poignant hurt of breakups temporary.
In the beginning, you’ll think about it before you open your eyes in the morning. You may wake up crying. But after the first week, you’ll be in the shower before you remember that you’re miserable. And after another week, you’ll be on your second cup of coffee before you think about it.
Eventually, whole afternoons will pass when you aren’t wondering about your ex at all. And someday, maybe a few years down the road, you’ll have to look at pictures to remember just how one side of her smile was always a little bit higher than the other. You’ll forget her smell, her voice, the way she looked at you in the beginning, and even how very devastated you were when it all ended. You’ll start new relationships and those too will end, and you’ll have more break-ups to win and lose.
Eventually, hopefully, you’ll find the one that lasts, and everyone else, even the girl you are sobbing into your mug full of red wine about right now, will be just be a memory.
In the meantime, try to keep a low profile — don’t perform confessional performance art, show up at his new girlfriend’s house, or be the guy who cries at parties. Just make some tea, breathe deeply, and be glad that every second that passes brings you one step closer to new beginnings.