How to Deal With a Breakup
The do’s and don’ts according to our Ask-a-Guy, Isaac, who has done (and not done) them all.
Isaac’s guide to breakups first appeared on his blog, IsaacLikes. Once he started doling out advice to MR readers (did you read this one about cheating and this one about how to tell if a guy likes you?), he kept coming across the same question: “Isaac, I got dumped. What do I do?” Below, Isaac’s updated, Man Repeller edition of the breakup do’s and hell no’s.
When you’ve been in as many bad relationships as I have, you’re uniquely qualified to advise other people what not to do.
You name it, I’ve done it — or had it done to me.
If there’s one area in my past where I failed the hardest, however, it’s the breakup. I could never seem to let go, no matter how awful the relationship had been. If she pulled away, I clung on. If I pulled away and she told me she missed me, I’d try to kiss her. If she told me to never, ever, ever try to contact her again, I’d show up outside her house trying to win her back at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Oh, how I’ve grown.
The following list of Do’s and Don’ts is the result of too many mistakes that I didn’t need to make. If followed, it’ll help you to get over your heartbreak in a far more timely manner than if you do the opposite. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.
– Surround yourself with people who care about you a lot more than they care about your ex.
– Separate yourself from your ex’s group of friends (your ex should do the same with yours).
– Throw yourself into work/school/the gym/learning a new language — aka anything that will take up a large chunk of your time and give you a sense of achievement in the process.
– Behave with dignity and self-respect.
– Go see a therapist. It will change your life, and they’re often not as expensive as you think they’re going to be. (Mine costs $100 per session, which, if you’re the average young person, is like one or two nights getting drunk at a bar except really, really good for you.)
– Cry. I always think it helps, just not in public or when you’re eating.
– Delete your ex on every social media channel. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Even Facebook. It doesn’t have to be forever — just until you can face seeing your ex without feeling terrible about yourself.
– Get yourself a wingman whose job is to make sure you’re having a good time whenever you guys are out.
– Enjoy being single. It’s extremely fun.
– Know that you’ll get over it. I promise.
– HAVE SEX WITH YOUR EX. EVER AGAIN. Sex does not equal love. In this situation it’s like a drug that will make you feel like you’re together again for the moments it lasts, and then tear you apart when your ex gets out of bed and tells you, “I just don’t think it’s a good idea if I stay the night, you know? We are broken up, after all.”
And if your ex does stay the night and cuddle you and make you feel safe and comfortable for eight hours, it’s no indication that he or she isn’t going to go out and have sex with someone else the next day. Also, STDs.
– Stalk or keep track of your ex’s movements. This includes talking to your mutual friends about what your ex has been up to, incessantly checking Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Snapchat for clues, or “turning up” to places where you know your ex is going to be.
– Try to be friends. I promise that you can be friends in the future but it takes a while to get there. Now is not the time.
– Allow your ex to talk to you about new people he or she is seeing, or problems, fears, aspirations, hopes, dreams, failures, or triumphs. You’re not together anymore — it’s not your job or duty to listen to this stuff anymore.
– Drunk dial. Put down the phone.
– Try and compete with your ex by hooking up with other people in an attempt to cause jealousy. This especially applies to your ex’s friends. Even if you succeed in making your ex jealous and he or she comes crawling back, you’re both still the same people and the same issues will crop up all over again.
– Meet up for coffee, even if your ex is the instigator.
– Talk about your breakup or heartbreak all day, errrry day with your friends. They’ll get over it really quickly and you’ll end up being kinda boring to be around. That’s what therapists, sisters, mothers and bloggers you’ve never met before are for. (Hello, new friend!)
– Think that there’s anything wrong with you. Because there’s not. The honest truth is that your relationship didn’t work out. You weren’t right for your ex, and your ex wasn’t right for you. I know your self-esteem has just taken a gigantic beating, but it doesn’t say anything about you as a human being — it is what it is. And “it” happens to us all. Breakups are incredibly hurtful and painful and devastating and sad, but they’re a part of life. This experience will make you a stronger person in the end; it’s just gonna take you a bit of time to get there.
Let me know how you get on. Keep in touch. And whatever you do, DON’T YOU EVER SLEEP WITH HIM EVER AGAIN!!!!!!!! OKAY!?
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis