12 Steps For Getting Over A Devastating Breakup

You guys, I thought I was getting married. I thought I had found the one. The way I felt about him was something out of a movie. We loved each other so much. We loved each other’s families. We had it all figured out. We had a plan. We were going to get a dog. And then one day, two months ago, he didn’t feel the same anymore and I legitimately believed my life was over. But I survived. Scratch that, I thrived. And for anyone who’s going through something similar, here’s how you can thrive too:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

1. Find a new show to watch. For me, this happened because I was on a season of Gilmore Girls where the Lorelei’s both happened to be in happy relationships, and it made me nauseous to watch post-breakup because they were so happy and kissy and I was so sad and binge-eating popsicles in my bed. So, I switched to the West Wing where the romance scenes average around 1-2 per season. Find something to get emotionally involved in that isn’t romantic. For me, it was the Bartlett Presidency. Bartlett forever, guys.

2. Give in to contacting them, but not every time. Let’s face it, you’re going to text them. Maybe you’ll do it sober or maybe you’ll do it drunk, but as one of my wise friends said to me post-breakup, “if you have something to say, say it.” Maybe you need closure. Maybe you just need to tell them you faked your orgasms every time, just to make them feel like shit. I’m not saying you won’t regret it after, because you will regret it after, but you’re going to do it anyway. It’s inevitable. Unless you have super-human willpower (and I applaud you and envy you if you do), you are going to talk to your ex. For me, it’s like what T. Swift says: “the high was worth the pain.” Sometimes the short-term high of talking to them is worth the pain when they eventually don’t text back. Sometimes reopening the barely healed wound makes it scab over faster the second time around (gross, but we’ve all done it). Just don’t make it a habit of giving into the “contact temptation” every time you feel a twinge of missing them, cause then you’re losing the classic “who’s happier without the other person” contest with your ex, and that makes you lame. And I’m here to tell you, you are not lame.

3. Make a new schedule. I was so depressed the first few weeks after my breakup that I had to make a rule in which I made myself to get out of bed two times a day besides going to class and work. This forced me to see my friends who would make sure I was eating/breathing and also make me laugh in the process. Get out of bed: the world without your ex is in fact still turning, and it can be amazing to rediscover that every day. Eventually, you won’t have to make yourself get out of bed and suddenly you’ll have a whole new life without them — which is a beautiful thing, because you can spend your money on fun things like manicures and massages instead of dinner dates and anniversary presents.

4. With that being said, give yourself some time to dwell. I did this, and I wish I had done it a little more of than I did, because I didn’t realize what a necessary part of the breakup process it is. As the one country band I actually like (dixie chicks holla) says, “you have to feel the pain when you lose the love you gave someone.” Have to. There’s no choice here. It’s gonna hurt like a bitch, and if you try to suppress that in any form it’s only gonna take that much longer to get over it. Give yourself some days where you come home, turn off your phone at 6 pm, get in bed with Netflix or a good book, and cry. Sundays are always the hardest for me, because I was used to spending Sundays with my ex. The first sunday post breakup I woke up, walked upstairs to my roommate’s room, and cried in her arms all day between naps and episodes of Parenthood (thank you Emma). I needed to mourn and dwell that day, because I had spent the earlier parts of the weekend distracting myself with dancing and alcohol, and now the pain had caught up with me again. This will happen a lot. So I cried, and you should too. Cry because each tear shed is one tear closer to feeling a little better. Cry because you got fucked over by someone you trusted and gave yourself to and that sucks so much ass. Cry because it’s okay to cry. Tell yourself this whenever you feel that lump in your throat that means you’re about to lose your shit even though you’re in a public place and there aren’t any sunglasses within reach: It’s okay to cry. I promise.

5. But, don’t let the dwelling become out of control. The first week, I was a mess. I barely showered, barely ate (except popsicles), and my usually pristine room was quite literally disgusting. A few days after the breakup, I looked at my sunken face and greasy hair and realized I did not want people to see me like this and tell my ex “yeah, she looks/smells like she’s been living in an underground post-apocalyptic bunker for the past week” (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, anyone? Obsessed). So I got up, showered, did my roots, trimmed my nails, plucked my eyebrows, and deep-cleaned my room. And guess what? Immediately after, I felt better. Like that moment when you eat Whatabuger after a night of vodka-redbulls, things became a little clearer and a little less shitty. So go fucking shower.

6. Find someone who has gone what you’re going through. I was lucky enough to have had several friends who had gone through breakups similar to mine. I remember two days after it happened, one of these friends asked how I was feeling and before I could answer, she said “I know how you’re feeling. You feel like you’re actually going to die. Like there’s no way life can go on. But I’m living proof that it can and it did.” The fact that she knew that I had indeed been contemplating if death by heartbreak was imminent and the fact that she had felt the same way made me feel better. And there was also the fact that I had witnessed her become 10,000x happier without her ex in her life in the previous months. She gave me hope. Find someone who can do that for you.

7. Don’t hook up with someone until you’re ready. I’m so serious about this one. Kissing is fine. Literally go kiss a random hot guy right this moment, cause that rocks and that will make you feel better. Other stuff, though, like bringing someone home after one too many drinks will not make you feel better. ”But I’m lonely!” you argue. So go adopt a puppy (but actually don’t, unless you really want one because I did this and I love her with everything I am but puppies are like babies and involve quite the time investment and lots of carpet cleaner and patience). But seriously, having sex with someone else just to say you’ve had sex with someone else is not worth it. You are in too vulnerable of a state right now, so either you will start crying in the middle of it (not cool) or get randomly angry at your chosen one night stand for existing and scream at them to get the fuck out of your bed (speaking from experience here; needless to say we haven’t spoken since).You aren’t proving anything to anyone by doing it (even if your ex hears about it) and you especially aren’t proving anything to yourself except that you can get someone to have sex with you, which, I’m sorry to say, in this day-and-age, is not an accomplishment at all. Wait until a significant amount of time has passed (more than two months) and wait until you meet someone you actually want to have sex with soberly, not just because you’re drunk and sad and they’re there.

8. Make a playlist of music that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be breakup music, but listen to music that keeps your chin up. For me, this includes a lot of Katy Perry (because I am a firework), Nicki Minaj (I actually made it one of my goals to memorize her raps cause she’s a badass and I want to be a badass too), Dixie Chicks (seriously, Fly is the ultimate breakup album. Even if you hate country music like I do, give it a shot), Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz (because it covers every single emotion you could possibly be feeling right now), and T. Swift’s 1989 (see #9).

9. Put it in perspective. While listening to the aforementioned playlist, I realized that all of these people had felt the exact same pain I was going through, and now they were rich[er] and [more] famous because of it, and most of all, they had gotten through it. One of my favorite phrases became “If T. Swift can get over Harry Styles, you can get over this loser.” Think about it. Harry fucking Styles. He’s like the world’s hottest 20-something and all Taylor did was love him with all of her heart and he ditched her on a boat and now she’s living her life happy and single in New York City and selling like 10 million copies of 1989 a day and meanwhile Harry’s sending her 1,989 roses to try and win her back. So who’s clearly winning the “who’s happier without the other person” contest here? My girl Taylor. On a more serious note, my mom’s best friend lost her husband almost two years ago, and it is a constant reminder that this could be so much harder and so much more unfair. This guy chose to walk away from me, and as often as I [jokingly] [sorta] wish he would die, things could’ve been so much worse. A breakup is the kind of pain that has the power to transform you and make your life 1000x better. Death is the kind of pain that never leaves you and never gives you closure. So just keep it in perspective.

10. On that note, realize this is not the worst thing to happen to you. Maybe you have experienced a death that is much more painful and complicated to deal with, so you know. Maybe like me, you’ve experienced a much more painful breakup. I didn’t realize this until about a month in to my current breakup, but the breakup I went through before this one was a lot worse, mainly because that guy started fucking my former best friend and roommate at that time about a week after we ended things and now they’re still happy and together. So as much as this hurts right now, that hurt way more and yet I still got through it and was able to fall in love again and even laugh about what happened, and not in a bitter haha-I-got-fucked-over way but a full on LOL-how-did-that-even-happen way. And now I know that once again, I will get through it and be able to laugh about it and fall in love again. It’s like a win/win/win situation.

11. Also remember that you had a life before your ex was in it. I don’t care how long you were together, but you were a complete person before your ex came into your life. The first discovery of this for me was realizing that I loved One Direction before I loved my ex. Kinda stupid, but also kinda freeing. Now every time I discover something that was a part of me before my ex was, I write it down. It includes things as simple as my love of Captain Crunch, to more serious things like my plans to move to New York City after graduation. He wasn’t anything to me before we met, he wasn’t everything when we were together, and now he is nothing. Nothing but a closed chapter. Pretty neat, huh? I can still love Captain Crunch and One Direction and I’m still going to New York City, and he has nothing, and I mean nothing to do with any of those things.

12. Know that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. After he walked out my door, I thought that there was no way I could feel any worse than I did in that moment. Well, there was. The next day, in fact, I felt worse because it felt more real, and this continued for about a week. The pain will ebb and flow. I’m almost two months out of my break up and there are days where it still feels like it happened yesterday and the amount of missing him I feel seems like an unbearable weight I can physically feel on my heart. But there are also days where I know I am so much better off without him, and the pain of missing him has become just a random twinge instead of a constant ache. It sucks to be fine one day and and then spiral backward the next, but don’t beat yourself up for it. It’s a grieving process. You will jump from sadness to complacency to anger to bitterness to actual happiness and then back to sadness again, sometimes all in one day. It sucks. It sucks so much ass, guys. But just know that pretty soon, the good days will outnumber the bad. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. I’m right there with ya; something amazing is coming our way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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