Notify your breakup friend. It doesn’t have to be your best friend, it doesn’t have to be a mutual friend, it just has to be the friend who slowly and gracefully replaced your ex as they became less available, less involved, less in love.
Hesitantly allow yourself to feel relief for having escaped a relationship that only the darkest places in your heart know was wrong for you.
Have a passing moment wherein you believe that you could be friends, that you should be friends, that you will be friends, someday — even if it isn’t true, even if you were never friends to begin with.
Struggle with whether or not you should reach out and ask for the things you left behind, your watch or your earrings or your sweater. Don’t ask them to return your heart, you’ll get that back on your own.
Spend entire weekends running errands, learning how to be alone again.
Look up the romantic prospects your relationship prevented you from pursuing and feel a vague combination of excitement and despair.
Vow to become better, to lose weight, to get published. Vow to make them notice.
Realize one day that the person to whom you could comfortably talk all kinds of shit is no longer on your team.
Watch films that make you cry because wallowing in someone else’s grief is preferable to wallowing in your own.
Kiss someone new and notice how plastic and passionless they taste.
Orchestrate jealousy-inducing schemes even though they leave you feeling vapid and transparent every single time.
Oscillate between pouring every ounce of yourself into work and staring blankly at a computer screen, watching your ex’s chat icon turn red green orange grey.
Revisit the wooded cafe where you passed Saturday mornings with books and coffee and each other; partially because you still feel safe there, partially because a small part of you hopes they do, too.
Find an excuse to make contact, ask a question you already know the answer to, conveniently forget the name of novels and songs and restaurants.
Explain to your parents that they will never again see the person you begrudgingly introduced them to, the person whose business card clings to their refrigerator in case of emergencies, the person whose food allergies they cooked around.
Tell your friends the things you never wanted to speak aloud before, your doubts and worries and dreams — dreams your ex had no part in.
Mentally decide who gets custody over your mutual friends, over your favorite bar, over that patch of grass at the park just to feel like you have some control.
Tell yourself that you’re okay. Eventually start to believe it.