If the euphoria of falling in love is pop music’s #1 topic then the anguish of breaking up has to be #2. It’s painful like going through drug withdrawal, rarely clean cut, and it affects every aspect of our life – spikes or drops in weight, insomnia, pet visitation rights, possibly slicing social circles and divvying up furniture like in When Harry Met Sally.
Then there’s getting dumped. It’s all the bad stuff of a regular break up plus your ego gets crushed as a bonus. It fucking sucks.
It usually doesn’t take long for the sadness to morph into anger and it’s hard not to want to get back at him. You know, exact a little revenge.
People like to say living well is the best revenge but when you’ve been dumped sometimes you feel like something a bit more tangible is à propos. Like showing him you’re “winning” the breakup.
Show him how better off you are without him. Prove the hole in your heart is hardly visible. Maybe casually let him know you’ve got a whole bunch of men sliding into your DMs.
Is that how you feel? Do you hate him and want to give him a taste of his own medicine? Do you want to show him he’s the real loser here and you’re the winner?
If that’s the case then I’m sorry but it really is best to stick to “the best revenge is living well” because…it kind of is. Planning how to make him feel like shit is only going to make you feel three times worse and lying to him about the pain disrespects your healing process.
Here’s the thing. There is no winner or loser and breaks up aren’t for winning. They’re for learning. And enduring. But, most of all, learning.
Whatever he does with his life from here on in is of no consequence to you. All that matters now is you getting back on your two feet, figuring out what went wrong, and learn from it.
So while I don’t have suggestions on how to “win” the break up I do have some ideas on how to get over it:
1. Take a break from long-term/committed relationships.
It doesn’t matter if you decide to be celibate for six months or try casually dating several dudes at the same time for a few weeks. Just take a break from the wifey thing so you can focus on you. 100%. Don’t be scared to be selfish.
2. You can use this past dating patterns worksheet…
…to understand your relationship with men (which means starting with your dad) and how to select a better beau next time. It will only take you a few minutes and it really makes the trends pop out at you.
3. If he couldn’t commit to you the least he can do is commit to staying broken up.
By getting back in touch soon after the break up he’s only making things worse for you (and for him too but we don’t care about that). Do your best not to pick up his calls or reply to his texts. For how long? As long as you can. Difficult, yes, but necessary. If you’re dying to get something off your chest, draft your message but don’t hit send. Getting your fury and sadness out is super beneficial but you won’t make things any better by sending it to him.
4. Don’t disconnect from your friends, family and the things that are important to you.
This is when you need to tap into your social capital (e.g. the charity you volunteer at, the school you go to, your place of worship, or anything that makes you feel like you are part of something greater than yourself). These people, communities, and beliefs are what give your life meaning and purpose, especially when you need to be resilient.
At first, I only suggested this because when I was going through a particularly bad break up I somehow started reading a book about the history of democracy in Germany and it really lifted my spirits. I guess knowing that people were willing to fight (and die) so others might have freedom and liberty gave me hope. Sound wacky? Well, I googled it and it’s actually a thing. Check out this article in Fast Company that says, “Reading can offer richer, broader, and more complex models of experience, which enable people to view their own lives from a refreshed perspective and with renewed understanding…This renewed understanding gives readers a greater ability to cope with difficult situations by expanding their repertoires and sense of possible avenues of action or attitude.” So yeah. Read.
6. Don’t mope on social media.
Delete and block him on all accounts. Your friends can give you updates but resist the urge to creep. Obviously, super hard considering break ups are as painful as drug withdrawals and you’re going to want a quick fix but you can do it.
I know, I know, so cliché but it’s true. Go be fucking amazing.