1. “Went to a therapist weekly after a MAJOR breakup. At our first session, she wrote down the 5 traits that I chose to be necessary in my next partner & she told me to keep the paper in a place where I’d see it frequently. I continued to see her until I finally met someone who checked off all of those traits. 5 years later, we’re married with a baby.” — Tenille, 32
2. “After a horrible, long-drawn out divorce, I moved back home, went to therapy, and prayed. A LOT. It took a couple years, but I’m back in my own place, with a fantastic career, newfound love of yoga, and an incredible circle of friends. I’m so much stronger and independent than I ever was before.” — Sarah, 37
3. “Sex, drugs, rock n roll baby! Then I realized those were my true loves in life.” —Will, 43
4. “I wrote many, many songs that expressed exactly how I felt. I drank a lot of alcohol. I spent a lot of time with an amazing friend who helped me out with tarot readings and finally I started dating. A lot. I played the goddamned field to the max. And then I found someone new and he helped me get the rest of the way through.” — Lisa, 42
5. “I made sure I had things to look forward to coming up soon, like a road trip with good friends. I read a lot of self-help books (not just relationship ones, but books about personal growth in general), and I tried to keep busy, e.g. got more involved with work, spent more time nurturing other relationships, like spending more time with friends I hadn’t seen much of, etc. Most of all, I tried to honor my own processing needs and not beat myself up if I couldn’t do what various other people or books advised (for example, no contact isn’t something that has been helpful to me in breakups, so even though a lot of people said I ‘should’ do it that way, I just did it the way I needed to. I also didn’t put myself back out there until I was ready).
“Oh, and finding a physical outlet that also lets you get out pent up emotion is great, I took Muay Thai and Krav Maga classes, got in great shape, too. Seeing a counselor is really important because if you only talk to your friends and family, they’re going to a) get sick of hearing about it and b) feel anxious because they don’t know how to help make it better. Preferable to talk to a professional and then talk about other things with friends/family as much as possible. Lastly, I tried my best to keep a positive attitude and keep an eye out for anything useful I could learn from the situation (‘when you lose, don’t lose the lesson’).” — Alison, 34
6. “Lost weight, acknowledged my depression, went to therapy, issued a no contract order, all in and went through a long divorce process. I smoked lots of weed, went on dates, focused on work and my kids, and slowly started putting myself back together piece by piece. Eventually I rebuilt myself, found the sexist guy alive, got him to take me on a date and the rest is history. We’ve been together ever since. We just celebrated one year together. I went through hell to not only find him, but find myself, and I’m happy I did.” — Teka, 29
7. “I shaved most of my head and dyeing the remaining hair blue! I think part of it was feeling like one my identities was lost (my identity as this person’s girlfriend) so I was looking to reinvent myself. It was really therapeutic, actually!” — Char, 30
8. “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone new! I’ve done it all, but I find that going out and ‘clearing out the cobwebs’ really seems to help hit reset. Also, online dating is a blast! I signed up for it after not one but two major breakups and lo and behold, that’s where I met my amazing husband. We’ve been married 4 years now and are currently trying for a baby!” — Tyleen, 35
9. “After one relationship I was super self-health focused and hiked/yoga/lost weight, after another I went on match.com to get excited about flirting/meeting other guys. But whooops I accidentally met my husband on said website while trying to get over my ex! For me, it was important to feel sexy and desired. Nothing wrong with dating after a breakup to feel empowered and desired.” — Laura, 34
10. “Listened to lots of music, started going to therapy, and rebounded into one of my best friends. Have now been with said rebound for over 6 years.” — Julia, 31
11. “Not a breakup, but a death from cancer. Music kept me sane.” — Carla, 50
12. “Moved to Colorado!” — Maggy, 43
13. “After my divorce, I went full bore into serial dating. Struck up a couple very intense but highly dysfunctional almost-relationships. Finally, hit my wall and retreated. I quit my job and took lots of trips to see friends from out of state. Cried a lot. Eventually met a man that I fell deeply in love with, but due to a job relocation out-of-state, having differing ways of expressing our emotions and ultimately just not wanting the same things out of life, that ended as well. We went back and forth for about six months after the initial breakup, and each time we broke up it was harder than the last. Finally I realized it was never going to work no matter how much love was present.
“Threw myself into work, got a second job, started rediscovering passions and hobbies that I’d let fall by the wayside, talked to friends and family till I was blue in the face, prayed, and slowly started to realize that my self-worth is not contingent on the love, affection, or opinion of another. I drank, cried, wrote, cried, slept, cried, wrote, masturbated, wrote some more, and finally, when the pain got to be too great, I had to come to the realization that if I was the one for him, we’d still be together. It hurt putting it in such black-and-white terms, but it was the only thing that allowed me to emotionally disconnect and move on.
“I’m still not quite over it, I sometimes wonder if I ever will be, but I’ve learned to be grateful for the love and special moments I experienced and also learned to re-evaluate my own boundaries and what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship. I recently started dating again, and while it’s hard sometimes, I’m meeting people that now vibrate on my same frequency, because I approach new people with a wiser heart and more honesty than I did in my previous relationships. I also started going to therapy so I could not only talk freely about how I was feeling, but learn techniques to avoid making the same mistakes twice.” — Hannah, 34
14. “Listened to the Cure. A lot.” — Marshall, 34
15. “Discovered online dating. Through dating, I noticed a pattern developed- I had no problem sleeping with people I’d never consider having a relationship with, but refused to let the people I seriously dated take things to a physical place. It was a long hard road to self-realization, but to make a long story short, I’ll be marrying one of the people I dated next year.” — Tricia, 30
16. “After breaking up with my boyfriend 4 days before my birthday I went full-bore into drugs and alcohol. What I’d reserved for the weekends quickly started spilling into my daily life. Once I got that under control, it was friends that pulled me through. Even old acquaintances that I hadn’t talked to in years started coming out of the woodwork. Situations like that make you realize that you have a lot of amazing people in your corner. “— Maria, 36
17. “Motorcycles! They provide open road, meditation, exploration, and community.” — Erin, 34
18. “Move 1,900 miles away, cut that hair, and start the fuck over!” — Erica, 40
19. “Sleep. Lots of sleep.” — Soni, 64