How to deal with a break-up

1. Heartbreak is literally an illness. Love is a hell of a narcotic, and the withdrawal is a bitch. It helped to think of myself as literally heartsick. When you have the flu, you can do everything correctly (lots of rest, fluids, etc.) but ultimately, it just needs to work its way out of your system. You will heal, you just need time.

2. Don’t be afraid to feel. Thinking about your ex and the relationship is going to hurt, and you don’t want to do it too much, but not doing it at all will leave you with a wound that never properly heals. You want scar tissue, not a permanent scab. Don’t avoid the songs, the places, the TV shows… You’ll do plenty of thinking about the bad times, but you also need to confront the good times. Don’t be afraid to cry. You’ll feel better afterward.

3. Talk about it. I’d tell cashiers, taxi drivers, baristas… Any time someone asked, “How’s it going?” I’d be honest. “Could be better! Some chick stomped on my heart, but I’ll be alright.” Being open about your experience will help normalize it for you. Everyone’s been there, and everyone will have advice or perspective for you. It helps to know you’re not alone.

4. Drain the blood. Your heart is wounded. This isn’t a papercut that heals in a few hours. This is a deep fucking wound that’s going to keep filling up with blood. You need to drain that blood, and you need to do it healthily. Venting to your friends, exercising, writing out your thoughts. Those are all healthy. Things like alcohol and drugs won’t drain the blood; they’re just escapes. You’re allowed to have your escapes, as long as you don’t depend on them.

5. Introspection. Don’t let this experience go to waste. Think about what went wrong and why. I’ve grown tremendously in the two months since my breakup. I looked at the relationship from every angle, often with the help of my friends, who had clearer perspectives than me. I understand why we fell for each other, and I understand why it didn’t work out. I made a lot of valuable mistakes (e.g., getting invested too quickly, ignoring all the red flags), and I’ve learned a ton because of them.

6. Healthy living. You’re going to be really raw and unbalanced for a while, and as a result, your physical state is going to have a disproportionate impact on your emotions. Sleeping well, eating well, and exercising are going to be the keys to feeling as good as possible on a daily basis.

7. Self-awareness. By a similar token, when you’re feeling low, try to take a step back in your head and think about the reason why you’re feeling these emotions and thinking these thoughts. Do you actually miss her or are you just lonely? Do you actually hate your life or did you just not get enough sleep last night? A lot of the time, those types of thoughts are just a result of our brains trying to rationalize the chemicals in our bodies. Those thoughts aren’t real. Don’t trust them. You’ve already figured out that this girl wasn’t right for you. Hold onto that. That’s the rational part of you talking.

8. Enjoy it. This might sound dumb, but recently, it’s what’s helped me the most. Look, heartbreak sucks and it’s going to suck for a long time. It’s going to be frustrating. You’re going to master it too. You’re going to do all the right things. And still you’re going to spend a significant portion of your time feeling sick and insecure and lonely, and there’s nothing you can do about that. You have to go through it no matter what. So why not try to find a way to enjoy it? Relish it, even. Look at it as a challenge. Really, Life? That’s all you’ve got? Feelings? Emotions? This is nothing. You’re gonna destroy this. You’re gonna feel fucking great, even when you feel like shit, and you’re going to come out the other end stronger than you’ve ever been.

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