I am a good friend, but good friends don’t always tell the truth. There are some things you can’t say, and these are the things I don’t say—but want to—when you are going through a breakup.
1. It hurts and it’ll hurt for a while.
It’s a physical pain, buddy. I can’t do anything for it. I can tell you that for a while, there’s nothing that will make it any better. There’s just nothing for it. I can bring you ice cream, I can buy you wine, vodka, hell I’ll rope down the moon for you to make you smile, but once the novelty of that wears off, we’re back at level 10 pain. I’ll tell you watching a sad film, a comedy or a horror flick will make you feel better, I’ll extol the benefits of going to the park to pet strangers’ dogs, but honestly, it won’t work. I can go to Krispy Kreme with you and watch you down coffee after coffee, paired with half a dozen Original Glazed. And I can take your phone from you so you don’t fire off a poorly worded text you’ll regret. I can’t change the fact someone broke you, and they’re not coming back to pick up the pieces.
2. They’re not coming back.
I wish they were. I wish they’d turn up in the middle of the night and ring your doorbell and explain how they made a mistake. How some neuron misfired and they did the wrong thing. That won’t happen. They didn’t make a mistake. I don’t mean they didn’t make a mistake in letting go of you. I mean when they broke up with you, that’s exactly what they intended to do. And they’re not going to take it back.
3. Crying might not make you feel better.
You know, they say crying is cathartic. It might not be. It might be. I want it to make you feel better, but it might make you feel worse, but you need to cry all the same. You need that outlet. Just do it, and I’ll keep handing you tissues until you dry out.
4. You will make mistakes.
You’ll start smoking again, or you’ll accept a few too many shots. It’s okay. It won’t make you feel better, and I’ll try to stop you from taking home someone you just met for the 3rd consecutive night, but you’ll do things you regret. You might send a letter filled with incomprehensible ramblings that make you seem a little unhinged, you might send vodka stained texts and make slurred phone calls. You might be perfectly sober and still make angry phone calls. You will regret all these things you did in a haze of emotions and damp fog of alcohol.
5. Just don’t get up, if you don’t want to.
I’ll probably insist you have to come to work, go to lectures, see people but really, I want to tell you to just go stew. Just sit in bed and cry. I don’t give a fig if it’s unhelpful or if your grades are going to suffer or if your boss will lose their shit that you’ve taken sick days for a breakup. You need a break, you need to be alone, you need to be away from work, school, whatever. Going to work or school or social events and seeing all those people is exhausting. What you need is time. What you don’t need is a whole receiving line of people offering their sympathies.
6. Sleeping with random guys or girls does not make you look like you’ve moved on.
It does not impress your ex or make them want to get back together with you. It does not accomplish anything, other than get you laid, which is fine, if that’s what you want. It’s not what you want, though, is it?
7. This obsession with ‘winning the breakup’ isn’t fooling anyone.
Maybe you’ve found someone to act as a decoy duck, but you’re the only one playing a game of one-upmanship. Your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend isn’t spiting you with everything they do, and I wish you’d stop trying to do the same. They screwed you over, but you’re just distracting yourself with shiny new people. Oh, I’ll debate the virtues of each date you could invite to the next birthday party, wedding or funeral but this is a game you’re playing with yourself, against yourself and by yourself.
8. You’ll have lots of brilliant ideas that will fall flat.
Like going to Saint-Tropez and acquiring a tan, becoming a workaholic, making drastic life changes, joining a gym, and developing abs—they’re like New Year’s resolutions. They’re good ideas but not realistic ones. I’ll be the first to nod and agree that endless stomach crunches are a good idea, but if I had a dollar for every time one of those plans fell through, I’d be a millionaire.