Don’t let the smell of his cologne linger on a t-shirt you kept in his apartment. Wash it. Make the scent yours again.
Don’t associate him with those songs anymore: the one you used to love, the hidden one from that band you both listened to, that one playing in the background during your first time. There was a time when those songs made you think of nothing but perfect melodies and touching words and bliss. Go there.
Don’t stop watching that show you used to watch together. You love it, with or without his hand slowly sliding up your shirt or his lips kissing the back of your neck. Watch that movie, too. The characters and dialogue are exactly where you left them.
Don’t change your walking route. If that’s your most efficient way to get to class, or to work, or to the gym – keep it. Don’t let the fact that he might cross your path on that trail inconvenience your morning. Sit in your favorite spot in the dining hall, despite the fact that he used to sit with you. Run down the blocks you love, even if the one two streets over happens to be his.
Don’t think about him when you meet someone else. (And you will meet someone else). Avoid using generalizing phrases like “Men suck.” The fact that he’s a man didn’t determine his disrespect or dishonesty or deceitfulness. “Man” just didn’t do that. HE did.
Right now, it’s raw. He’s everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone. But your mind will only keep him there for as long as you let him stay – and he must go. He’s hardening you, and he’s affecting the beauty you once heard in songs and the joy you once felt from exercise and the compassion you once found in people. You must disassociate him from these things. He is not the melody or the route or the new man, and when he forces himself into crevices of your life like this, he has unimaginable power over you. He makes you resent your daily routine and your favorite hobbies. He makes you resent possibility and hope and optimism. Above all, he makes you resent love. And all of these things are far, far worse than a single broken heart out of the – let’s face it – multiple that you’ll probably experience before you meet The One.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Too often, girls (and boys) become jaded by love. However, it is not love that causes heartache nor is it men that cause heartache. It is HE that caused heartache. He – a singular person on this planet of six billion who represents nobody but his own self – is what hurt you, what has created the anguish and the frustration and the tears. Love did not do that. And he does not exemplify every man you will ever meet or every experience that love will bring you. It may not feel like it at the moment, but there are people out there who aren’t him. Believe in the opportunity to meet them.
You are allowed to grieve your relationship. This is a sad time in your life, and you can be upset and angry. Cry to your best friend, cry to your mother, cry into your pillow. But do not grieve your life, for you’ll still pass those beautiful brick buildings you admire on your running route, and your spot in the dining hall will still be just as close to your next class as it was when he shared it with you. Do not grieve possibility: all the songs you love still have your favorite verses to lift your spirits and all the men you meet are still capable of kindness. Love is still out there. Everything is exactly as it was before your relationship, and it will still be that way after its demise.
All you have to do is let it be that way.