Listen, no one’s perfect here. You’re going to experience some embarrassing, even deplorable urges in the wake of your personal “it’s not you, it’s me” episode. If you tuck these feelings away during the immediate aftermath, they’re likely to rear their ugly heads further on down the line, when you least expect (and want) them to. You have 24 hours to 7 days, depending upon the length and severity of your relationship, to revel in the dirtiest, ugliest, most pathetic desires of your heart. Indulge in a few good crys. Inundate your mom and/or bestie with “BUT I LOVED HIM” texts. Listen to Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough” on repeat while drying out a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the tub. Do whatever you need to to get such behavior out of your system — because after a few days, it’s simply not acceptable anymore. If you don’t comfort yourself in the beginning of your post-breakup season, you’re bound to sneak those buried feelings into every booze-fueled conversation you have for the next sixth months — and come on, girl, you’re too poised for that. Let the weepy, dejected, pitiful you out, so you can leave her behind for good.
As a born-and-bred millennial who owns at least five Apple devices and is employed by an e-commerce startup, I will freely admit that there are a wealth of reasons why the Internet is a positive addition to our society. There are, however, many reasons why it absolutely sucks — and staying connected to ex-boyfriends, awkward flings, and dumpers is one of them. The very first, and most important step in moving on after being left behind is freeing yourself from the slavery of constantly knowing what your ex is up to, and who he or she is up to it with. Many have said it before me, but I’ll say it again: you cannot be friends with your ex. This means Facebook friends, Twitter pals, Instagram followers — it’s all a one-way ticket to holding on far longer than the necessary and healthy timeline. As the dumped party, it’s natural to feel inferior to the dumper. When someone walks away from you, despite their reasons, it’s human nature to analyze all of the things that are imperfect within yourself and amplify all of the seemingly perfect aspects of your former partner. Social media posts are the most contrived bits of reality in existence, and if you’re constantly faced with someone’s edited version of the best morsels of their life, you’re going to continue to believe in the illusion of who they were when you were together. It’s important to view your ex for who they were within the context of your history, not who they are in their social media posts. Plus, after disconnecting, you’ll be less tempted to blast an embarrassing subtweet after too many half-price margs — which, trust me, you will ALWAYS regret.
What to do with all of the time you’ve freed up since blocking your ex’s Kelvin-filtered gaiety from view? It’s time to start investing in yourself again! Relationships are about sacrifice — and a lot of times we subconsciously (and consciously) abandon the things that made us happy in order to spend time with or tend to our romantic partners. Being happy with them is effortless, so we forget the things that take a little bit of work, but ultimately fulfill the parts of us that exist separate from our significant other. Join a book club. Hit the gym. Spend four hours working on a craft you saw on Pinterest. Do things for the sheer purpose of experiencing joy. Feeling sorry for yourself can take up quite a bit of time, but if you designate some of those free evenings for doing things you choose to do, with people you choose to do them with, you’ll get to know yourself in such a deep way that no one will be able to drag you from your individual passions in the future. Once newly-single you starts discovering all that you’ve missed out on or overlooked, your perspective on being dumped will begin to change, and you’ll start to see it for the blessing that it truly is — which brings us to our last step.
4. Be grateful
After one of my least enjoyable breakups, I called my mom in a cab on my way home and tearfully told her what had happened. She responded with a nugget of life-altering wisdom that I hope to never forget as I charge on in the mission to eventually uncover Mr. Right. After I told her I had been dumped, again, she told me that he had just done me “the biggest favor of my life.” It may be tough to choke down in the minutes following a breakup, but it really is true — not a single one of us wants to waste our time with someone that just doesn’t want to be with us. Letting us go and giving us an opportunity to meet someone who truly loves, cherishes, and wants to be with us is the biggest solid an ex can do us. One of the most difficult realities of being dumped is the feeling that your emotional health and circumstances are completely out of your control — one person decides that the relationship is over, and according to law, it must be so. But the truth is, you’re not out of control. You may not have had dominion over when the relationship ended, but you have dominion over yourself — and that’s the greatest power any of us can hope for. If someone doesn’t want to be with you, they’re just not worthy of you. Be grateful that an unworthy suitor has let you off the hook, and move on toward greener pastures, my friend.