1. Feel it. All of it. Let it wash over without consuming. Let it batter you without beating you. It’s 2014 and we’re allowed to have feelings now. Thanks, Obama!
2. Admit it. If you got dumped, you got dumped. It is not the damning personal indictment that it feels like. I promise, fellas. For a relationship to work, it has to be the right person at the right time. No other formula can be successful. Too often we focus on just the right person part. The right time is at least as important. The timing being wrong probably isn’t your fault. Isn’t it great when things aren’t our fault?
3. Enjoy the “I’ll show her!” part of it. Become someone she kicks her ass for letting go. Because, even if she doesn’t come back, you’ll actually be a better person, and eventually attract somebody great. Yay!
4. Respect Karma, son.
5. Remember that is probably hard on her too. If you really care about this person, you don’t want to make this worse. You can express your thoughts and feelings without being a dick about it. You may need to practice that one.
6. Realize that break-ups somehow add extra hours to the worst parts of your day. If bedtime was your favorite time with your ex, that rough time of night is going to drag on forever. Plan accordingly and behave like a well-adjusted adult. Good idea: marathon The West Wing, and dream idealistic dreams. Bad idea: try to convince attractive platonic friends to dress as French maids and beat you with badminton rackets.
7. You should treat a dumping as if you know that someday you’ll get back together. Don’t burn bridges by being petulant. Assume that someday she’ll tell this story to your kids. Wouldn’t you want to be the hero in that one? It may not actually happen, but at least you’ll have behaved like someone who was raised right. Your mom will be so pleased. I mean, not nearly as pleased as she’d be if you’d just give her some damn grandchildren already, but still.
8. Stay busy. Reconnect with the friends you neglected while in your relationship. Jump into hobbies. Exercise. (Bikini season is right around the corner!)
9. Don’t give a fuck how it looks to others. Who cares what it does to your ego? It doesn’t matter if your pride takes an ass-kicking. Listen, if you disagree with the dumping, state your case. State it as eloquently as you can. Be as respectful and as understanding as you can muster. If it works and you win her back, live up to the promises you made. Surpass them. And do your Snoopy Happy Dance. If it fails, take the hit. Take it like a man. Take it with honor. Respect their woefully misguided decision, and pick yourself up and dust yourself off.
10. Remember that you love them for a reason. Remember that someday the shittiness of the break-up will fade and they could end up being one of your best friends again. Remember that it doesn’t cost you anything to not be a raging asshole.