It’s not as if you’re going to feel it less, just because you’ve been there before.
18: Oh my god, WHY ARE THEY NOT ANSWERING?! You should call/text 16 more times just to make sure their phone is working.
28: Oh my god, WHY ARE THEY NOT ANSWERING? Swirl yourself around in a silent, sickening garbage gyre of suspicions while definitely not texting more than twice, just so they don’t have the satisfaction of knowing for sure that you’re actually batshit insane and they were so right to stop calling you.
18: Eat 3/4 of a cherry pie in one sitting. Drrragggg out your misery slowly and intentionally, like a ten-foot tapeworm. Stay in bed for weeks or months, passing the hours by staring at the wall. His Wall. Or Instagram, or Etch-a-Sketch, or whatever.
28: Give your relationship a proper burial and mourning period. Say, a couple of weeks in which you slink around town with black bags under your eyes and a haunted expression. There’s definitely some time spent lurking on pictures and statuses. You can’t get around feeling this, no matter how many times you’ve been through the cycle. Even at 28, your soul’s outer layer has still been breached and you are going to feel the sensations of a skinless chicken breast on a hot grill. But by now, you are able to recognize and control the obsessive compulsions of love. You now equate checking and re-checking his social media profiles with scrubbing your hands over and over until they bleed. Gross. Stop that.
Also, exercise. Exercise is terrible and sometimes embarrassing, but especially in this case, a hard workout will clean you out, body and soul. And then at the end of it, you’ll be too exhausted to channel Swimfan. You will sleep and dream of victories.
18: This is the most important, intense, highly unusual breakup circumstance that will ever be. Test the outer bounds of your friends’ patience by talking about it every time you hang out, oblivious to their increasing boredom as you revisit the same themes and hopes in an ever more desperate tone.
28: We should all be there for our friends in times of need, but there are limits to human patience. You know the Song That Never Ends? Know how you feel when anyone sings it for more than two verses? That song was written as a metaphor for people who won’t stop talking about their exes. Bitch to your friends a few times and get their advice, which will be roughly this (if they’re calm and happy people): If a person wants to break up or have some space, or otherwise requests time off from you specifically, then back off. Don’t call. Don’t text. Don’t email any pathetic little missives. Just…back…off. Respect that person’s wishes and respect yourself, all at the same time. Nice.
Don’t pee on anyone’s toothbrush, ever, no matter what they did. It doesn’t even make a good story about your wild youth later. It just makes you look like a crazy asshole.
18: Ponder the things you did wrong and what they hated about you so much that they couldn’t even contemplate spending eternity by your side.
28: Realize that at heart, we are all essentially unknowable to each other. People change their minds every damn day, for reasons that you can’t comprehend. The chances of your relationship lasting for a lifetime are pretty abysmal, so why is it the thing that everyone thinks they want? Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to break up. Maybe in the end you might even be happier with the chance to get close to more people.
18: Announce that your soul needs renewal. Address this by eating Molly or shrooms in anticipation of many hours’ otherworldly insights. Colors…colors, and warmth. You’re sitting on the dock of the bay, and there’s a dinosaur sucking your cock. Possibly an allosaurus, judging by the crest. Oh shit, will you look at the TEETH on this thing…
28: Drugs are fun and can help break you out of a funk, but you’re aware that your experience on psychedelics is often heavily influenced by the mood you’re in when you consume them. Be careful with dosage if you’ve been depressed for a while. Feel the cold specter of your last Suicide Tuesday breathing down your neck. Keep your friends and some dank greens close by.
18: Go out and fuck whoever, just to get a few yards of genitals between you and your ex.
28: Go out and fuck whoever you find sexy or attractive by their own merits, not because you need their boner to help prop you up, or their soft pillowy boobs to weep into. Don’t be so drunk you forget the condom. If you’ve made it this far without contracting herpes, congratulations.
18: Slowly return to life.
28: Slowly return to life, but maybe a little faster this time.