We’ve all been there: unceremoniously dumped, and in spite of the searing heartache and the steady diet of pathetically melty frozen desserts and crunchy chippy snacks, life (technically) goes on. There are a few ways to get back on a diet of solid foods, though, and to make the aftermath a little less nuclear:
We all do it, especially after a breakup. But for your own peace of mind—and before your jealousy-stricken filters start system-failing you (WHO’S THAT GORGEOUS BLONoh, that’s your sister, sorry)—you’ve got to eject.
To pave the way, get it out of your blood. Set yourself a deadline—think two weeks, not two years—to gorge yourself sick on a B-quality Chinese buffet of creepery. Trawl every single photo, dissect every golden-age email, run a full background check on every person who posts on your ex’s wall. Stalk yourself sick. Wallow in stalk. And, after your deadline is up, no more. Not less—NONE. (And no under-the-table requests to friends to tell you what they’re seeing, either, or else they get to deliver you a series of electric shocks.)
Remember what’s yours.
Oh, so you really loved chess and string cheese and fart jokes, too? Deep in your heart you were always staunchly Team Edward, even without her encouragement? Honey, please! Be ruthless—recognize which loves are genuinely You and which were adopted in an strategic bid to make your evil, evil ex-beau a perfect fit. If you learned new things from your ex, or that band you saw together really is your favorite now, brilliant—that’s growth, and you’re better for it. But be honest: if your insistent focus on JV lacrosse is really your soul crying out for communion with your crush, let it go.
Morph a little.
Shake it off and treat yourself to a little something to show yourself, and the world, that a new era is dawning. Get a dramatic haircut, or pick up that gorgeous shirt you’ve been eying. Shower again. Whatever it is, freshening up your look in a dramatic way will remind you that you’re lovely, that you’re on the up and up, and that you deserve to be treated well. And at least when you cry by candlelight into a cracked mirror, you’ll look really nice doing it.
No, I’m serious: do not follow your ex to college. Do not stay at home to be close to your ex because “college stupid.” Don’t even hang around once they’re gone in order to wallow in the stagnant memories. Pack up and go far, far away and breathe some new air. You don’t want to share real estate with this person in the long term, however much you might think you do now, and you don’t want to perma-tour the tear-jerking “this is where we looked at each other’s shoes for the first time,” circuit, either. Travel. See the world. It will open your horizons, introduce you to new people, and shrink all that nasty heartache right down to size.
Old emails, supercute photo booth photos, the closest thing you ever got to a love letter ("I wish I didn't dump you the first time, boo"), postcards, gifts—evict! Not some of it, all of it. I don't care if you live it, wear it, sleep with it under your pillow to voodoo them back to you, or if you're keeping it just in case because THEY'LL BE BACK TO HAVE YOUR BABIES—no, trash it all, right down to the box you’re keeping it in. Besides, you're packing to leave town now anyway—you want to travel light, right? Trash it ceremoniously if you have to, but trash it you must.
Win at life.
Success is the best revenge. Start by topping your personal best at whatever you love to do, and add a new dimension to your success by thriving at your (YOUR) new hobby. You’ll be surprised how refreshing the positive attention feels, and how many new people you’ll meet. Try not to do it solely because it will make your ex crazy with jealousy—but it’s okay to smile on the inside when it does.
PUT DOWN THE FACEBOOK AND WALK AWAY, SPARKLEBUTT. How do you deal with breakups (aside from the relentless interwebs stalking)?