Let's all admit one basic fact about humanity: getting broken up with is one of the worst feelings in the world. Most of us would gladly submit to a month's worth of voluntary colonoscopies than deal with the emotional turmoil that stems from human rejection. And regardless of if you saw it coming or secretly believe it's probably for the best, having another person decide they don't want to be with you anymore is a major blow to a person's fragile little ego.
And in the frenzy of emotions, we often deal with our new-found feelings of dismissal in all the wrong ways. We pine, we struggle to keep strings attached, we booze and sex and after-sex-sob our way through break-ups. And in an attempt to make sense of all of it, we listen to outdated advice on how to, "Love like you've never been hurt before."
But screw that. We Torontonians are badass, beautiful, tough-as-nails creatures. We don't need some scripted, inspirational poem about falling down and getting back up. We are not emotional basket cases who concede our power to another human to control. NO, we are powerful. We deserve some realistic advice reflective of the time and place we live in.
So to all the dumpees out there: let's suck it up, know your worth, revel in the beautiful mess of it all and get your freedom dance on. Here's how to deal with getting dumped while keeping your class and pride alive and in tact:
1. Try to not light anything on fire.
We know, the first few weeks are awful. You’re such a bundle of raw animalistic emotions you don’t know which way is up. At any given moment you’re being pulled in six different directions. Are you angry? Upset? Hurt? Relieved? Homicidal? A combination of all of the above? And in this stage, people tend to get…dramatic. We lash out; we pull down pictures, we sing loudly to some sort of Beyoncé anthem one minute and sit in our bathtub cradling our childhood teddy bear and crying the next.
But one day, when the bathtub sobbing sessions have ceased, we’re going to want the pictures, the keepsakes and the gifts. If only to have physical proof of what a damn idiot the other person was. So when on the emotional roller coaster of the immediate post-dump, try to curb the instinct to bonfire everything and do the emotionally stable thing: put everything in a giant box marked “PURE EVIL” and shove it to the darkest corner of your closet.
2. Stay away from Quote of the Day websites.
This point cannot be hammered in enough. It’s true that when dumped, you end up in this little self-involved cave of emotion that you can’t imagine anyone else being in or dealing with, so you go searching for words or poems or song lyrics that make you feel like you’re not alone in your sorrow. But when quotes like, “God is closest to broken hearts” and, “In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing” actually start to resonate with you, you're about one viewing of the Notebook away from falling into a pit of absolute self-pity and despair.
But hey, if you’re REALLY in need of some relatable words to get you out of the fetal position on your living room floor, my sole recommendation is Ben Folds Five, Song for the Dumped:
So you wanted to take a break
Slow it down some and have some space
Well fuck you too
Give me my money back
Give me my money back
Getting a bit pissed off and righteous is always more fun than melting into a puddle of Boyz II Men-inspired tears.
3. Stay far FAR away from Tinder.
Don’t launch yourself into the dating Apps right of the bat. Unless you’re using them solely as a means of comedic distraction or to avoid drunkenly text messaging your ex 17 times a night, then Tinder is only going to make you feel more hopeless about the human species than you already do.
Have you seen some of the things people deem appropriate to say on that thing? Offers to get slapped with an avocado or 11 too many penis references probably isn’t going to be the path to believing there’s still good, datable men and women out there. Stick to the old-school basics: meeting horrible humans in bars and laughing in their face instead of over texts.
4. Decide early on that beer is your friend and Jack Daniels is not.
Whiskey tends to bring out the angry in the recently dumped, while the worst thing beer can lead to is one too many, “What went wrong?” texts and/or phone calls to one’s ex. Better to look vaguely tragic than to wake up and realize you blasted “YOU’RE AN ASS” across his or her Facebook wall at 2:30am, followed quickly by, “GOD I MISS YOUR ASS” at 2:35am and then a final status update of, “Listening to Dashboard Confessional, thinking about how nothing good ever lasts because he/she is just such an ass” at 2:37am.
5. Recognize that even the best of us are replaceable.
So much of ourselves gets wrapped up in relationships, including a tremendous amount of pride. We are proud that someone loves us, that another human sees us as deserving and loveable. When that relationship ends, it is difficult to separate what is genuine pain and what is just our pride screaming, “Am I not worthy?!”
Once you are able to step outside the situation a little, and view it logically rather than emotionally, much of the time its less about how much we miss this other person and more about feeling slighted and rejected.
Sure our exes are going to move on, be attracted to new people and create new memories with someone else. And let's not sugarcoat it: watching it happen is going to be a wholly miserable experience. But human beings are meant to withstand loss and heartache. So yes, they'll move on, but the beauty in realizing this inevitability is: SO WILL YOU. And once you know that, you're just one sweaty, 2am, hands-in-the-air freedom dance-off away from finding true happiness again.
6. Stop following your Ex on Instagram
Sure, maybe we all know somewhere deep down that eventually our ex is going to move on and find someone new, but that doesn't mean we have to torture ourselves by playing witness to it all.
Breakups have always been bad, but social media makes them SO much worse. Following your ex's life through Instagram is like watching a tiny, square photo version of a 1980s John Hughes rom-com. Their life is always going to look flashy, exciting and romantic, and it's going to drive you absolutely.bloody.insane. Instagram creeping post break-up is enough to make even the most emotionally stable of humans burst into a 10-minute soliloquy of, "Where was that photo taken and who took it and why do they look so happy and who are all these people liking it and WHO IS THAT BLONDE IN THE BACKGROUND?!?"
So do yourself a favor and lay off the Instagram crack before you go all One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest over a kissy faced emoji directed at someone new.
7. Stick to make outs, stay away from one-night stands.
Make outs are the high five of the 21st century. No level of emotional turmoil is going to come from putting your mouth on another person’s mouth, so go forth and kiss everything you spicy little minxes.
But dealing with a bad breakup by bed hopping is like using sex as heroine. We do it to numb ourselves, to feel wanted and attractive again. And hey, it may even feel like it’s working for a half-second (or more likely, around 7 minutes). But things always look different in the harsh light of the morning after, including that beer gut you mistook for a 6-pack.
99% of the time the post-breakup one-night-stand makes us feel more powerless than powerful, so stick to high-fiving people the adult way… with your tongue.
8. Remember to eat.
Photo cred - mindofanadolescent
The wheat in your beer and grapes in your wine doesn’t count. We’ve all had one or five of those friends who break up and go through the, “Divorce diet” which is really just code for, “Emotional starvation.” Sometimes breakups seem to be a competition in who can get skinniest the fastest, with the most emaciated person winning.
You broke up with a human, not with carbs. Keep fueling yourself. No one is going to want to date the human equivalent of a tumbleweed - so light and weak you can blow away in the wind at any given moment. Being able to lift yourself up isn't just a metaphor people; some soft serve ice cream never hurt anyone either.
9. Exercise a normal, healthy amount.
Photo cred - A Million Books and Too Much Coffee
Fitness is great. It releases endorphins and has the ability to make you feel like the wicked little sexpot you are again. But do not make the gym your new significant other. If the point is to look good and feel great then please, treadmill away my friend. But when you find yourself eating a spoonful of peanut butter then running 16K in the Toronto humidity, there’s going to be some major issues of the low blood sugar variety.
Lift weights; feel strong. Rebuild yourself; don’t waste away into gluten-free, LuLu lemon oblivion.
10. Surround yourself with friends.
Photo cred - reddit
This is the one piece of cliché break-up advice that actually holds true. The whole post-dumping, “Living in your PJs alone, eating Cheetos and making sweet sweet love to your couch” is no one’s path to happiness.
You have to get out there, absorb some Vitamin D, and hang out with all the people who love you regardless of the time, place, and how many times you’ve binge watched A Walk to Remember. Sure to get over someone else you really have to let yourself feel it first. But ruminating on it solo can lead to a dark, DARK headspace. Hanging out with people who know what a wonderful badass human you are is always a solid pick-me-up. Plus, most of us only have to be told about 18 times that our ex really isn’t worth the pain before we actually start to believe it.
11. Once you’ve boozed, dieted, exercised and kissed your way through the dark times, consider the alternative.
Photo cred - Urban Cocktail
Although getting broken up with is the worst, think of the idea of being with someone who secretly doesn’t want to be with you. We’ve all watched our friends decide to break up with their significant other and then wait 6 months to actually go through with it. Or worse, have stayed indefinitely out of some misguided feeling of loyalty or convenience.
Having someone leave you is awful - no one is going to debate that- but at least it’s respectful of us as a fellow human. Infidelity, or not really wanting us but staying anyway – that’s the true kick in the proverbial relationship balls. When the alternative is having someone sitting across from us, pondering somewhere else they’d rather be or someone else they’d rather be with, getting broken up with starts to look like a (albeit really shitty) walk in the park.