Just thinking about my first breakup makes me cringe. I made every mistake in the book. But we’ve all been there. A guy puts our heart through a paper shredder and suddenly we become one with our couch, buried under piles of blankets, clinging to a giant stuffed teddy bear for comfort. We spend our days watching romantic comedies through tear-muddled vision and eating our body weight in ice cream only to come to the realization that the calories we’re consuming aren’t filling the empty void our ex has left us with. When we’re in this pathetic state, we tend to make a few bad judgment calls.
Now that I’m better acquainted with rejection and loss, I know how to navigate the post-breakup waters without shipwrecking my recovery. So, when I see other girls making the same mistakes I’ve made, I just want to grab them and shake the stupid out of their sad, delusional skulls. But, obviously, this would be rude and probably ineffective.
A broken heart is hard enough to mend without sabotaging its progress with silly mistakes. So don’t be like me. Avoid these 5 very common and very destructive breakup mistakes:
1) The Denial Mistake
I know what you’re thinking. It’s not really over. It can’t be over. He said he loved me. We were so happy. It can’t be over.
STOP. IT IS OVER. ACCEPT THAT IT IS OVER. HE IS NOT, NOR WILL HE EVER AGAIN BE, YOUR BOYFRIEND/HOOKUP BUDDY/FLING.
This is the first mistake girls make, waiting for the relationship to miraculously re-spark, convinced that he’s going to come crawling back. We all want that cliché movie scene: he drives to your house in the middle of the night and proceeds to give the most beautiful speech you’ve ever heard about his never-ending love for you. I’m sorry ladies, but I have to keep it real here. Your life isn’t a romantic drama film and you weren’t dating Ryan Gosling. In real life, the relationship has ended and it has ended for a reason. Stop waiting at your window until 2:00 in the morning.
It’s one of the hardest things a girl will ever have to do to let a relationship go. To move on, you have to realize the relationship ended for a reason and that it is probably for the better. Sometimes things just don’t work out. But never fear! Other cute guys will like you. And one of those cute guys will be boyfriend material. Trust me, it happens all the time. But before that can happen, you need to accept that your terminated relationship is not going to be resurrected. It’s the past. Let it go.
2) The Recluse Mistake
When a girl is feeling miserable, she tends to curl up in a ball, shut all the blinds, and put Adele on repeat. I know you’re staring at the wall, lip-syncing “Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you….” The drama. This reclusive method of coping is actually quite counterproductive. You’re alone and marinating in your own misery. So, put down those pictures of your ex, brush you hair, put on something other than sweatpants, and go out! Not sure where to go? Try hitting the gym. Indulging in any physical activity will help you feel better almost instantly when those endorphins kick in, giving you a natural boost of happiness and confidence. See that? That’s science. So get out there and give your endorphins a chance to cheer you up.
Its also beneifical to surround yourself with positive people. Hang out with your friends, vent to your friends, and let your friends console you. You need someone to rant to and cry on. That’s what friends are for. Friends are also useful for a stress-relief method called shopping. That’s right, a little retail therapy never hurt anyone. Go buy a new dress or a new shade of lipstick. Wearing a cute new outfit will help you stand a little taller, smile a little brighter, and feel a little sexier. Truly, any activity that you enjoy can healthily distract you from the nagging depression you would otherwise be sulking in. Just don’t lock yourself away from the world and melt into a puddle of your own tears. You have to prove to yourself that life is still fun and exciting, and that you don’t need a man to make your life worth living.
3) The Facebook-Related Mistake(s)
Facebook in general is just not helping you right now.
Your first mistake is post-breakup statuses. Either you’re quoting Marilyn Monroe, making bitter statements about how men are all Satan incarnate, or you’re posting Whitney Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” Either way, it’s only coming off as a cry for attention and you’re giving your ex the satisfaction of knowing you still care. What you should be doing is carrying on with your account like nothing has changed. Put up pictures of you and your friends, make witty status updates, and click that “Attend” button to an event you’re invited to. It’ll show that you are getting on just fine without him.
Your second mistake is profile stalking. Girls are notorious for snooping around Facebook profiles, jumping to conclusions, and sending themselves into a pit of depression. Instead of checking his page every two seconds, stalking every girl that likes his profile picture, and interpreting his every status as having to do with you, you need to completely ignore that his profile even exists. Unsubscribe from his updates. Unfriend him if you need to. Even block him if that’s what it takes. But whatever you do, stay off his profile. Nothing good will come of it. NOTHING. The best thing you could do is keep him as a friend, but keep his updates off your newsfeed. That way you don’t have to see what he’s up to you, but he’ll still be subject to your I’m-happy-without-you picture updates. This will, however, require a certain amount of willpower on your part. Resist the urge to stalk him. You can do it.
4) The Rebound Mistake
A guy breaks your heart, so you jump into the arms of the first guy who says you’re pretty. Contrary to popular belief, this does not work. Just because you indulge in another man’s attention for a while does not make the heartache disappear. In fact, it can make it worse once you start comparing this guy you don’t really like that much to your old boyfriend who was oh-so-amazing.
What you SHOULD do is enjoy being single. It’s You Time. Time for you to get involved at school, study hard, and reconnect with friends. Time for you to enjoy not having the stress of having a boyfriend. And if a guy happens to come along that you really like, then great! Get it girl. But don’t get involved with a guy just to get involved with a guy. It’s not fair to that person, who may actually like you and is unknowingly condemned as a transitional man. And it is also not fair to you, because you’re depriving yourself of that much-needed You Time. In the long run, a rebound isn’t going to be very beneficial. So don’t jump into a relationship just because you’re lonely. Enjoy being single!
5) The Let’s Be Friends Mistake
Imagine your relationship just got hit by a bus. It’s mangled, bleeding, and dying in the street. You have two options. You can let it writhe in pain, gasp for air, and desperately cling to life until it finally dies an agonizing death OR you can shoot it right then and there, sparing the poor thing from hours of suffering. If you’re still talking to your ex, you have chosen the first option. You are choosing to make the death of this relationship a slow and painful one.
Let me explain this (hopefully not too demented) metaphor. Right after a break up, there are probably going to be some lingering feelings. If you decide to be “friends” with your ex, those lingering feelings aren’t going to go away. How are you supposed to get over a guy if you’re still texting him every day? It’s impossible. You’re putting yourself through a slow, painful, unnecessary process. It may sound harsh, but you need to cut him off. No texts messages, no phone calls, no Facebook messaging, no letter writing, and no Skype chatting. He is excommunicated from your life starting….NOW. This doesn’t mean you can never be friends with him, of course. You just need space right now to get over him. Once you’ve accepted the breakup and moved on, there’s no problem maintaining a polite relationship with your ex. But until then, having him in your life is only going to prolong the process of letting go. So don’t put yourself, your ex boyfriend, or your relationship through that grueling process. You have the gun. You have the bullets….
One Last Piece of Advice: Don’t Lose Hope!
I know during the crushing breakup recovery phase, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know the thoughts that go through your delusional head: I’ll never love again. I’ll never find someone like him. I’ll always love him. I’ll never be happy. I’m going to die alone with thirty-seven cats. I’m going to get fat because I’m eating too much ice cream.
If the above italicized statements apply to what is going on inside your emotionally frazzled brain, listen up. I was you once. I was delusional too. I was convinced I was just going to shrivel up and die. But after all that heartache, all those tubs of ice cream, and all those tissues, guess what happened? This amazing guy walked into my life and—BAM—I was happy again.
New love awaits you! I couldn’t see it back then, but someone so much better was waiting for me at the end of my heartbroken struggles. And someone is waiting for you too.