Dear Em & Lo,
My boyfriend of 2 years just broke up with me. It came out of the blue, to me at least, and I am devastated. I thought he was going to propose and instead he told me he didn’t want to be with me anymore. Didn’t give “specific” reasons, just that he wants time, he needs space, blah blah blah — cliche stuff. So I feel awful and am not dealing well. I’ve been broken up with before, even divorced, but those I saw coming and could deal with, but this time…I’m just not sure what to do. I believe in the saying “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone” but I can’t right now. The thought of sex with someone else leaves me not far from disgust. So my question is how do I deal with this? Any tips or helpful trick besides “Just give it time” because time is killing me right now.
Come here, Lambchop, and let us give you a big hug. It’s going to be alright. Really. However bad it is, someone else has lived through worse before you — read our book “BUH BYE: The Ultimate Guide to Dumping and Getting Dumped” if you don’t believe us — and they didn’t lose their job or their marbles in the process. Sure, it might have been touch-and-go at first, but eventually they started bathing again. Some of them even got a promotion and fell in love with someone new. It’s the cycle of life! Remember, bad breakups don’t make you undateable, they just make you feel that way for a while — unless, of course, you lock yourself in your bathroom for the next year and refuse to answer the door to anyone except the Domino’s guy. Our patented ten-step process below will keep you out of the john and in the human race.
- Numb the pain…for approximately seven days (two weeks max, in extreme circumstances). Everyone needs time to hit the wall, overeat, drink themselves silly, and generally self-medicate. Rent Shirley Valentine with a good friend. Get drunk on box wine. Lean on your friends, especially those who insist on referring to your ex as Fuckface. Make a breakup playlist. Don’t feel guilty about crying yourself to sleep. Briefly consider sexual reorientation. Get drunk again.
- Cut the cord. As tempting as it may be to call your ex looking for closure, hoping to be friends (i.e. “frexes”), or conning them into second-chance sex, this is not the time to concern yourself with Fuckface. In fact, as with smoking, going cold turkey is often best.
- Think negatively about your ex, especially if it helps you manage step 2. Avoid looking back on your relationship with rose-colored hindsight or beating yourself up about what you did wrong. Learn from your mistakes (if you made any, which you probably didn’t), and move on. And while you may hate your ex for dumping you, it’s okay to claim to acquaintances, coworkers, and nosy family members that it was a mutual decision.
- Git ‘er done. After you’ve broken down, it’s time to rebuild yourself. You have it in you: start that political blog, dust off your bicycle, take that fiction writing class — after all, you’re more than someone’s other half. Haven’t you always wanted to read Anna Karenina? Never got around to painting your room because of all the time you wasted having sex? Do it now!
- Give back to the community. Nothing like volunteering at the local orphanage to put your heartache in perspective.
- Give yourself a “breakover.” If revenge is on your mind — and we know it is — get back at your ex by getting in the best shape of your life, getting the best haircut of your life, getting the laser hair removal you’ve always wanted ….
- Mark the occasion of moving on. Get a tattoo, whether permanent or henna. Have a breakup party with all your friends. Burn his effigy. Congratulations, you’re more than two-thirds of the way through the breakup grief cycle already!
- Go shopping! It may sound a little Tri-Delt, but retail therapy can work by temporarily filling up that void inside you just long enough to get you through the next day. Go on, you deserve it. You can catch up on bills next month.
- Go on the rebound. We know you’re not here yet, but don’t underestimate the benefits of distracting yourself with the joys of being single so that you won’t be tempted to indulge in any late-night Googling or other spying on your ex. Try masturbation, online dating (if only to get a few nice emails from strangers in your inbox), or flirting therapy (it’s like smiling — forcing yourself to do it will make you feel better). You don’t even need to have actual rebound sex with someone, though by the time you’ve gotten to step 9 you might feel differently about a palette-cleansing one-night stand (i.e. “sorbet sex”).
- Think positively. This is not the death of sex and love. This is the beginning. Say it again: This is the beginning! Now sing it: “I will survive!” Because you will survive. And you will metabolize. Closure will come. Hey, maybe you should even go on a “date.” Remember, dating– whether online or off — is your chance to find better sex and truer love. Fuckface was just a stepping stone on your way to self-improvement, personal growth, and true happiness with the person you were truly meant to be with. Take comfort in the fact that, with every passing day, as the pain subsides, you’re that much closer to your density. We mean, your destiny.