One minute you’ve got a boyfriend/girlfriend and a best friend, and a few minutes later, you’ve got a stranger. And you go from signing emails with “love” to “good luck.” And that’s the hardest part, that strange new world you’re in where everything is different and you’re just trying to see what life will bring in the next 5 minutes because thinking of anything beyond 5 minutes is just too much, too much, too much.
Tolkien once wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost” but some of us are, some of us are really fucking lost and are checking Google maps while texting our ex.
So here’s how to get over a breakup.
1. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Listen, the old cliché of “time heals all wounds” is particularly helpful here. I’ve had so many people tell me, “you’ll hurt and you’ll hurt until it doesn’t hurt anymore”, or something like it. I see their point. It sucks, because as I mention in my video about how to get over a break-up, it’s not like you can call time and say, “Hey, Time, I’m really hurting, could you come over here if a jiffy? Thanks!” You just have to live. You have to separate yourself from the pain, and time is the best way to do that. Vodka works too (also in my video). Just don’t go overboard. Pro tip: if you’re stumbling through “She’s Always A Woman” at karaoke night, single tear gliding down your cheek, you’ve gone too far.
2. LET YOURSELF FEEL.
Let yourself feel the pain. As much as I joke about drinking into oblivion, don’t try to permanently numb your pain with booze or drugs or anything – just open it all up, and let yourself feel it, and then move on. You’re allowed to have a mourning period; careful that your mourning period isn’t the rest of your life, because you’ll be doing yourself, and everyone around you, a huge disservice. Let it all out.
3. GET CREATIVE
This is the time to explore new hobbies and get to that list of Pinterest crafts you’ve been meaning to start. Start cooking. Write that screenplay. Make a “Break-Up” playlist and rock out. Dress up your cats like the cast of The Royal Tenenbaums and photograph it. Oh My God, please do that last one. For the good of your country, I beg of you. The point is to take your pain and make it worth something good instead. You know, take a sad song, and make it better. I made a break-up video. It’s no “Hey Jude” but it’s something. That’s how low the bar is, guys. Something is better than nothing. So do something.
4. FIND SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
Maybe now is the time to plan that Disneyland trip. Or maybe you just have a new episode of Mad Men to look forward to. It doesn’t matter what it is; the point is to keep going, to have something on the horizon that makes you breathe that much needed sign of relief.
5. WEAR A WIG
Now is the time when you’ll be tempted to drastically cut and/or dye your hair. Don’t do it. Buy a wig instead. You may think this is crazy, but it’s crazier to permanently eff up your hair because of an ex. Rarely does the post-breakup haircut look good. So just save yourself and don a wig instead. Pretend you’re in a 1960’s spy film. Change your whole identity for the day. Go by the name of Natalia. Accent undetermined.
6. GO OUT WITH FRIENDS.
I am fortunate enough to have some friends and roommates who told me, “We’re here for you. Take our hand, it’s time to rock and roll.” Well, they didn’t actually say that, because they’re not George McFly. But going out with my non- McFly friends really helped me out. Grab a good buddy, go to a bar, and demand a milk, chocolate.
7. CHANNEL YOUR INNER FAYE DUNAWAY
Didn’t you know that everyone is born with a little sassy Faye Dunaway inside them, ready to take the wheel when you need some help? Dunaway was always in control, even when she was working on a project that was doomed to fail (I’m talking Mommy Dearest of course.) But did The Dunaway slink off into the corner and cry about it? Hell no! She straightened her shoulders and said, “Don’t fuck with me fellas — this isn’t my first time at the rodeo.” I always like to think about that when I need confidence. Mostly because it’s such a stupid thing to say that it makes me smile. It helps to have a sense of humor about yourself.
And finally, paradoxically enough,
8. DON’T FEEL YOU HAVE TO TAKE ANYONE’S ADVICE.
I had people tell me, “Don’t talk to him, delete him from your phone and your mind, but I know myself, and I know that doesn’t work for me. The best way for me to get over things isn’t to stop thinking about them, but to confront them head on. So we met for coffee. I know this may sound insane to some people, but the thing is, my ex isn’t a bad guy. It just didn’t work with us. So do what you have to do. There is no “should” in relationships, and there is no “should” in breakups.
It’s going to suck for a really long time. And then it won’t suck anymore. And that’s all there is to it. I’m here for you. Take my hand, let’s rock and roll.