To Save Face (and your Sanity) After a Breakup, here are 5 things NOT to do14comments
Life after a breakup is never easy, especially when it is your heart that’s been broken. Here are the top 5 things you are going to be tempted to do. Don’t. Doing any of these things will make your life even more miserable.
1. SEND AN ANGRY EMAIL
When we’re hurt, it is really tempting to lash out. It is natural to want to tell off the person who hurt you, the problem is the only person who really gets hurt by sending out an angry email is you. Unless he’s a complete ass, he already feels bad about breaking your heart, but sending bitchy, snarky emails just lets him off the hook. You might think the email will make him feel worse, but in fact, it will actually make him feel better – it validates any negative feelings he has about you. An angry email helps label you as the ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’. Sad to say, but people aren’t always honorable in breakup situations, and if you don’t want others reading your email as evidence of your craziness, the best thing to do is not send it in the first place.
SOLUTION: Write all the angry, hateful, resentful and yes, even childish thoughts and feelings you can think of in a letter, but do not send it. Let me repeat that. DO NOT SEND IT. Better yet, burn it – fire can be very cathartic. After a few glasses of wine that ‘send’ button on our computers starts to seem like a really good idea. That’s the really great thing about letters – particularly burnt ones – there’s no send button to regret later.
2. INSISTING ON EXCHANGING STUFF RIGHT AFTER THE BREAKUP –
If you’ve been together with someone for a while, you’re bound to have intermingled stuff: You keep some clothes and a toothbrush at his place, he keeps a razor and some CDs at yours. After a breakup, there are some legitimate logistical things that need to happen. Rarely do they really NEED to happen right away. Often we use stuff as a tether to the relationship – though we may not admit it to ourselves, a part of us is secretly hoping that when our ex comes over to get his Vampire Weekend CD, he’ll suddenly realize he wants to get back together. This impulse is understandable but totally self destructive.
SOLUTION: The reality is, you don’t need that toothbrush back. Let it go. Your sanity is more important than stuff. Box up his stuff, and put it in a closet. If there are items that really do need to be exchanged right away, box it all up at once, and find a way to make the exchange without having to see him.
3. HAVE MULTIPLE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHAT WENT WRONG –
When a relationship ends, you are going to be hurt and confused and want to understand what went wrong. How many times have we thought “But he just told me he loved me three days ago, how can he suddenly not love me anymore?” We feel as though we will hurt less if we understand more. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The reality is that nothing he says is going to make it make sense. The impulse to ‘understand’ is really about wanting to refute his arguments in hopes that it will change his mind – it all comes from not yet accepting that the relationship is over. Rehashing the reasons you broke up will actually make you feel worse, not better. It also reduces you to uncontrollable crying and that’s not attractive. The only thing you really need to know is that it is over, as difficult as that is. The ‘why’ really isn’t important. At least not right away.
SOLUTION: In time – we’re talking months later – understanding the why can be an important part of growing as a person and avoiding repeated mistakes. But right after a breakup you need to give yourself as much space between you and your ex as possible. That’s the only way to get over the hurt and be ready for the right man to come along.
4. MAKE A DRASTIC HAIR CHANGE –
This may sound like a weird piece of advice, but think about it. After a break up, many of us feel the need to make a big change, or do something drastic to look and feel like a new person. Maybe it is a subconscious desire to no longer resemble the person who just got dumped or to distance ourselves from the miserable person the breakup has turned us into. We’re so desperate to stop feeling miserable that we cling to the hope that changing how we look will change how we feel. Unfortunately, the tendency is to go extreme with a post breakup hair change and we may not make the best choices. Big hair changes can be traumatic even in the best of times. We all know how crappy it is to get a haircut or color we hate. When you are already feeling insecure and vulnerable, you don’t need to add anything that can potentially make you feel worse.
SOLUTION: When you are feeling the need to reinvent yourself post breakup, change your makeup. Go to Sephora and have someone make you over. If you’re normally an au natural sort of girl, get a sexy, smoky eye and nude lips. Or have someone help you pick out the perfect red lipstick. Try something you’d never normally try and have fun with it. Even if you hate the results, who cares? Washing your face takes 2 minutes. Growing out a bad haircut can take years.
5. STAY ‘FRIENDS’ –
The number one mistake you are going to make after a breakup is trying to stay friends with your ex. It is really easy to convince yourself that this is a good idea – you’ll tell yourself that he’s such a big part of your life and it would be worse to lose him from your life entirely. Wrong. The impulse to stay friends right after a breakup is your heart hoping that the relationship isn’t really over. A broken heart is painful, and we try to avoid the pain by not dealing with it. The only thing that helps mend a broken heart is time. It may be a cliche but it is 100% true. If you continue to hang out, text, or email your ex, you stop the clock on the healing process. And you are torturing yourself in the process.
SOLUTION: After a breakup, delete his number from your phone. If you are computer savy, block his emails. Do not see him, talk to him, text him, email him or look at his facebook page for at least three months. Yes, three months. After a relationship ends, you are convinced that you desperately miss him, but often what you really miss is having someone. Keep yourself busy with friends. Boredom can be your biggest enemy when it comes to getting over your ex. Give yourself the time you need to get over the sting of rejection. If, after three months of having absolutely no contact with your ex, you still want to be friends with him, have at it. But keep this in mind… a friend is someone who is genuinely happy when their friend finds love. Unless you can be happy for your ex when he tells you he’s found someone else, you aren’t really ready to be friends.
The bottom line:
The only way to recover from a broken heart is to let yourself start the healing process. The only way to do that is to stay away from your ex.