While most breakups are guaranteed to leave you fitted for a straight jacket and begging for narcotics, there is a way to exit stage right from a relationship with your sanity, and dignity, intact. Just follow a few simple rules and you’ll forgo any obligatory Rorschach tests or psychologist visits.
1) Social Media Censorship. Right click them out of your life for the time being. There’s no need for their digital footprint to be stamped all over your newsfeed or flying all over your Twittersphere or posing all over your Instagram. If they’re lamenting publicly, every cyber syllable will sting you. If they’re carrying on as if nothing’s changed, every world wide declaration will crush you. In order to fully mend, you’ll need to get off at the information superhighway’s next available exit.
2) Contact Cancelations. Momentary lapses in judgement, whether they be alcohol or sleep deprivation or depression induced, are in your immediate future. While you have your wits about you, delete every possibility for future contact. Phone calls at 3 a.m. or text messages dipped in despair or voice messages you’d punch babies to delete will not aide your morose mental state. So, instead, just consider your current situation a mandatory gag order.
3) Liver Liquidations. Drink your hurt pain sorrow sadness rage embarrassment longing heartbreak hatred to the bottom of a bottle so you can then, eventually, pick yourself back up. Find yourself knee deep in whiskey and neck deep in a toilet so your head hurts as bad as your heart. Once you’ve paralleled your mental and physical beings, finding neutral won’t be so hard.
4) Reality Recoil. Get lost in a book or explore a movie or wander a city aimlessly. Plan a vacation or chart a course or connect two dots on a map and just drive. While complete avoidance isn’t possible, temporary avoidance is. Give yourself a much-deserved break from the weight of actuality and simply disappear.
5) Learn Loneliness. Unplug your computer and turn off your phone and disconnect from the world around you. Don’t leave your apartment for a weekend and cancel future plans and forget to RSVP to the latest party. Sink into solidarity and silence and yourself. Rediscover the quiet corners of your mind previously drowned out by another. When your skin feels as comfortable as your favorite sweatpants, you’re ready.
6) Selfish Simplicity. Do all the things you gladly sacrificed in the name of halfway. Watch horrible reality television or stay out late with friends or eat at your favorite restaurant they couldn’t stand. Take particularly long in the shower and turn up the music that made them cringe and wrap yourself in blankets you once shared. While their absence may be palpable, the space between can be filled with all the things you compromised.
7) Assured Affirmations. Fight the urge to buy into sweeping accusations and simple generalizations and cynical platitudes. Not all men are scum and not all women are evil and not every relationship is doomed. While moments may leave you genuinely believing such ridiculous, and truthfully annoying, statements, those moments are as fleeting as your previous relationship. Unless you truly want to accept your current situation as the norm, stop regurgitating woe-is-me vernacular.
8) Friendship Formations. Call in the calvary. Wave in your warriors. Seek advice from your allies. Without the endless support and patience of those who know you best, you’ll crawl away from any failed relationship in tattered pieces. Allow your friends to nurture you and distract you and remind you. They’ll nurture you back to health and distract you from the pain and remind you that, regardless of this ending, you’re only just beginning.