Maybe you knew it was coming. Maybe you didn’t. You’ve been dumped.
So, other than moping around in your pajamas, spending quality time with Ben & Jerry, what can you do? Well, clear away that mountain of soggy tissues, and I’ll tell you how to get through the worst of it, the first 30 days.
You need to do three things for breakup survival: Take care of yourself. Give yourself time to mourn. Move forward.
The first 48 hours.
The first 48 hours are the toughest. Give yourself at least one full weekend to cry your eyes out, eat junk food and lie around on your couch in a broken-heart coma watching sappy movies or a kung-fu marathon. Try to throw a few comedies into the mix if you can, laughter is good for you. If you want to be alone now, be alone. If you want to be with friends, by all means, invite them to console you. Whatever you do, don’t call your ex. Don’t e-mail your ex. Don’t see your ex. Turn your voicemail on and screen your calls. I’m not saying you should never talk to your ex again, but give yourself at least a month or so to build up your ego again. If you think you might be tempted, by all means, invite a friend over to run defense and keep you away from the phone. Next, force yourself to think of the relationship as over. I know that’s tough right now, but it truly is necessary. Grieve for what it was, and consider it dead and gone.
The first week.
After your first 48 hours, it is important to get off the couch and take a shower. Not just for hygiene reasons, (but trust me, by this time you’ll really need it) but because it’s now time to start taking action. Take down all photos that include your ex. If you need to have a ceremonial snapshot torching, by all means, go ahead. Put all reminders of your ex (letters, gifts, photos, etc.) in a box and stuff it way in the back of your closet, or better yet, your garage – someplace you won’t see it on a regular basis. If you feel yourself starting to idealize your ex, and feel the desire to call him or her, sit down immediately and make a list of all the things about your ex that really annoyed you – the more humorous, the better. Think hard, I know there’s something.
* The way he gave the exact same 22-minute response to every single person who asked how his job was going for three solid years.
* The psycho-squirrel noises she made when she laughed.
* The cheap, ugly, green, plastic phone he gave you for Christmas.
* The way she tried to hold in her sneezes, producing that imploding, snorty noise instead.
Whatever you do, don’t call your ex. Start returning to your normal life. Take an extra 20 minutes with your appearance this week. Sure, you may not feel like getting dressed at all, but trust me, if you look good, you’ll feel even better. Wear something that makes you feel stunning or confident. Nothing smoothes the ragged edges of a recent break-up like a few well-timed compliments. If your weekend on the couch still shows in your face, put some tea bags on your eyelids.
An important element of your breakup survival is to make plans with friends for every Friday and Saturday night for the next month, and stick to them. Get out and go dancing. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but you’ll find it’s a fantastic release. The music and physical activity will make you feel tons better. Speaking of which, exercise four times this week. Yeah, I know you won’t feel like it, but do it anyway. You need those happy endorphins that exercise brings. Do a little bonding with your pals. Go to a basketball game, or even bowling. Just get out of the house. One last thing for this week, schedule a massage. You need it!
The second week.
Whatever you do, don’t call your ex. Make a detailed list of all your good qualities. Remember, you’re a unique, wonderful, person, and someone (probably several someones) will fall madly in love with you, and you with them. Keep your plans with friends every weekend, and by all means, do something physical, or humorous, like going to a comedy club. Work out (three times this week, and for the rest of the breakup survival period), go rock climbing, or dance like the Backstreet Boys in your living room (nobody will see you.) Get your heart rate going. Aside from making your body look good, you’ll boost your mood as well. This week is all about pampering yourself. Get a pedicure, or sit in the sauna. You’ve been through a lot, and you deserve it. Spend some of your newfound time (and probably extra cash, too) on something just for you. Guys, you may be feeling the need for some type of electronic device you’ve been putting off. Now is the time. Girls, all I can say is, SHOE SHOPPING! Treat yourself to a little something nice this week, and every week for the rest of the month.
The last two weeks.
Whatever you do, don’t call your ex. You’re halfway through the black period, and the worst is over. This is the time in your breakup survival plan that you’ll start easing back into your pre-girl/pre-guy routine. Be a little selfish with your time, and do exactly what you want to do. You should be focusing on taking care of yourself right now. Now is also the time to start making long-range plans. Make two plans: One plan for a vacation (even if it’s three years away,) and one plan for your life. You have a clean slate, what do you want to do? Go back to school? Become a rock star? Learn how to make crawfish traps? No one is holding you back now. Write down your goals, and the steps you’ll need to take to reach them.
Holy Moly! Before you know it, the entire month has gone by. You’re through the thick of it now, and on the road to recovery. Sure, you’ll hit some bumps along the way, but you’ll live through this. You’ve made it this far, and you’ll be a stronger, wiser person because of it. Someday, you’ll meet someone who will love and appreciate you for the amazing person you are. And this breakup, which is so awful now, will just be one forgotten U- turn on your path to true love.
You might also like this handy dandy dating advice book, guaranteed to help you find your own happily ever after How to Date Like a Grown-Up: Everything You Need to Know to Get Out There, Get Lucky, or Even Get Married in Your 40s, 50s, and Beyond
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