How to Fake Your Way To Surviving a Break Up
OR: How to get through a break up you thought you didn't care about but you do. Oh. Hey there, relationship failure. So nice to see you again. It’s been a while. Oh, it hasn’t, you say? We were here this time last year? Hmm. Well, time certainly does fly when you’re desperately trying to fit a round peg in a square hole, doesn’t it?
At any rate, glad to be back (we think). Being here means progress has been made. And your click-thru plus what Google Analytics tells me is a seven-minute pageview indicates that you’re making progress too. No longer are you subjecting yourself to a toxic-on-some-level situation. It’s not you, it’s him. Or it doesn’t even have to be him, per se, but it’s just not “US” anymore because “WE” weren’t working. No shame in that—you’ve made a sound decision with which you’re happy and to which you’re abiding.
That is until a built-for-two Sunday night beckons with a curl-up-worthy episode of Mad Men coupled with a bottle of red wine and a board of stinky cheese. Here is the moment when together, you cheered to Madison Avenue’s finest and, during commercial breaks, discussed how well the manchego paired with pears. Le sigh.
Buck up, kiddo, and stick to your guns. Here’s how to see it through to Monday morning (and beyond) without so much as a thought wasted in his direction.
1. First things first, pat yourself on the back for having the balls to remove yourself from a situation that you finally admitted is going nowhere. Not an easy feat. Some animals may have been harmed in the making of that drama, but let’s keep our eyes on the prize and think long-term. Bottom line, those brightly hued red flags (more of a blood red than a bittersweet, wouldn't you say?) that have so diligently been raised for the past several months (or years for those of you that have better (worse?) staying power/have mastered the art of sweeping things under the rug) aren’t going anywhere any time soon. If you’re here, you listened to your gut. That should be commended.
2. Immediately AFTER finishing this post, ahem, hightail it on over to Marc and Angel Hack Life and read through all 12 Truths to Tell Yourself After a Mistake or Failure. Every single one is extremely applicable to your current state, I promise. Gobble it up. Take notes. Spread the word.
3. Feeling better already, aren’t you? Now the fun stuff begins. Reconnect with all those friends you swore you’d meet for coffee, dinner, happy hour but never did. Remember what it feels like to feel empowered, loved, laughed with, respected, listened to, and revered by (gasp!) more than one person. I’m not saying he didn't make you feel this way, but if you’re here, I’m guessing the person in question also made you feel drained, discouraged, unproductive, unloved, misguided, duped, and the like at some point. PPS – If any of your “friends” make you feel that way, a break-up there may be in order as well (look at that, today’s life lessons are 2-for-1).
4. Make a list of all the things you wish you had had more time for when you were spending all those hours hanging out with your ex-significant other. Options may include gym-ing it up, reading a book, going to see all those movies he never wanted to, taking up chess, calling your mother, attending networking events, selling items on Etsy, focusing on your career, writing thank you cards (trust me, your friends deserve it after listening to your relationship woes), yoga, volunteering for a charity, enjoying the great outdoors, trying that new independent coffee shop that just opened, etc.
5. Do those things.
6. Go feel beautiful. Whether it’s working out, buying a new pair of shoes (within budget of course—nothing’s more depressing than buyer’s remorse), gettin’ your hair did, tanning on a nude beach (South Florida style, duh), do what it takes for you to remind yourself that you are, in fact, breathtaking.
7. If I were younger, I’d tell you to get out there and find another date because nothing makes you forget like a new prospect. But experience has taught me that if you do, you will only end up rereading this post in a year (see intro). Besides, you have better things to do, like, oh I dunno, focus on you for a hot minute. Hidden (or painfully apparent) in failed relationships are life lessons to be learned. Ignore them and you risk missing big clues that could help you become a better, more whole you, and instead, end up repeating the same patterns/mistakes in the next relationship.
8. Do, however, go out and enjoy life with good people. In the event that drinks are involved (and they will be), call a super friend and inform them that they may or may not be receiving a string of drunk texts from you this evening. Drunk texts to friends? Fine. Drunk texts to exes? Deplorable. Your brain doesn’t know the difference.
9. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND RIGHT IN THIS WORLD, do not stalk his social media feeds. Just don’t. Even if you think you’re not THAT GIRL, you might inadvertently see his newest status pop up on your feed. Then, and here’s where the real danger lies, you might proceed to click on said status update (becoming THAT GIRL) and mosey onto his page where you will have full rein of the going-ons in his life since that fateful day when you broke up. [Finds rabbit hole, proceeds to fall in.] Hide his feed, please. And if you can’t control yourself, defriend. (I know, I know, I would never suggest such a blatant act of caring, but if you can’t lock it up on your own, this is a must.) Otherwise, you just might…
10. In a moment of weakness, make a call you shouldn’t and wake up the next morning in his sheets. (HA. HA. KIDDING. Absolutely do NOT do that. Do the EXACT opposite of that. Doing that will only set you back years. Years that the lengthening crow’s feet on your face are telling you you don’t have. And not because you’re losing your “youth,” but because you’re just too damn old—some use the word “wise” here—to be making these same mistakes. Muster up all the strength and courage you can, channel Lethal Weapon's Danny Glover and move on because, dollface, you’re “too old for this sh*t.”)
Phew, that was a lot. Look, we all get caught in a glass case of emotion from time to time, and feelings that sneak up on you are the pits. But there is a way out and it’s guided by that lovely little voice you've come to know as your intuition. Listen closely and fake the ache until you’re good ‘n healed.