When I finally made the decision to break from my last relationship, I felt pretty good about it. I was a strong woman who didn’t need no man. The breakup blues would elude me. “I Will Survive” would play on loop as the soundtrack to my 5 a.m. gym sessions and first dates with handsome men. I didn’t expect to fall into the breakup cliches of yore–until I did. Some things you just can’t avoid, folks. Behold.
1. Struggle with insomnia
Based on the amount of coffee I’ve consumed as a newly-single individual, I advise you to buy stock in Starbucks. That shit will keep you runnin’, ‘cause you ain’t gonna be sleepin’. You might try to lull yourself to slumber with seven hours of infomercials, but it won’t work. Just don’t actually buy the Bumpits. They don’t work.
2. Watch more Netflix than you thought humanly possible
You might think you’re alone now, but you’re wrong. You have Netflix. Your relationship with the platform won’t be like that of those who are used to single life. Netflix will consume you. Have you caught up on Breaking Bad yet? Post-breakup, you’ll have no problem blowing through six seasons in two weeks.
3. Break into tears over absolutely nothing
If you’re not a crier, you’ll probably still cry. Over nothing. The most random, ridiculous things will remind you of your new ex-lover. “Oh my gosh,” you’ll say to yourself as you eavesdrop on a conversation in the Starbucks line, “She just asked her husband if he has change. I used to ask Mark if he had change all the time. We were so perfect for each other, and clearly headed for marriage.”
4. Eat the world’s crappiest diet
One of the first things you’ll vow to do as your strike out on your own is to eat better. This will last for approximately one day before you start ordering takeout from Mr. Yang’s. If you live in a city where Seamless exists, you’re basically screwed. Pizza, Chinese, and burritos will become the stars of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You won’t feel guilty. You deserve this.
5. Get a new haircut
Every time I get bangs, I immediately hate them. I still had to go for it post-breakup. Changing your hair when you’re newly single is basically a rite of passage. “Lisa told me not to get frosted tips, but I’m a free man now. I can do whatever I want. I’m going to bring them back. Fuck you, Lisa!”
6. Buy an insane amount of new clothes
No, you don’t need those new boots–at least in terms of filling a void in your shoe collection. Nope, you are filling a void in your soul. And you will fill it again and again and again with each swipe of the plastic. You already have 3 peacoats, but you need this one, too. You’ll buy a bunch of cute new shit–and never wear it, because you’re spending every single day in the same pair of sweatpants.
7. Seek actual, regular therapy
At some point, you’ll hit your emotionally fucked up threshold and you’ll seek therapy. The real kind, in a stuffy office with couches where a bespectacled doctor asks, “And how does that make you feel?” Therapy may or may not aid in fixing your broken heart, but you’ll feel like you’re doing something about it.
8. Adopt a pet
Symbolic of your new life, you will decide that it’s a good idea to assume responsibility for another life. My breakup happened to coincide with an Adopt-a-Thon at the local animal shelter. I now have a cuddly kitten to share in my 17-hour Netflix marathons. Even if it’s a fish, you will adopt a pet and spend a ton of money on pet supplies. Money that you don’t have after throwing down for a security deposit on your new place.
9. Stop leaving the house altogether
When your relationship ends, your single friends will secretly rejoice. They’ll think they’ve gained a new clubbing buddy. They are wrong. Not only do you not want to go clubbing, you can’t even bring yourself to visit the supermarket. You can’t even bring yourself to leave your bed. “But you have to get out there, meet new people!” No, sorry. The only new people I want to meet are the characters in How I Met Your Mother.
10. Be okay
Someday, eventually, you will be okay. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, you will be okay. Keep on keepin’ on. Your new pet needs you.