The Breakup Detox

Breakups are devastating; losing someone you love is objectively terrible. The end of a relationship causes you to lose a lot of things at once. Maybe it’s losing someone to watch trashy television with, or maybe it means you lose your best friend. Regardless of what those specific losses are, their absence leaves a gap in your life. A significant other gets weaved into your daily routine and emotional anticipations. When the person that you carved out space for in your life leaves, the now empty spaces where they used to be feel glaring. It’s natural to want to hold onto the things you can: their old sweatshirt, the playlist that reminds you of them, their voicemails, the pictures of the two of you together, and the movie you watched on your first date. But the best thing to do after a breakup is to let it go--all of it. Holding onto the small keepsakes of your relationship only extends the terrible process of moving on. It’s time to detox.




Step 1: Delete them on everything. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook--block, unfollow, and unfriend. This may seem immature, Can’t we stay friends? I still care about them. I understand the desire to want to keep things civil, and an unfollow can feel like a slap in the face. But in my experience, “being friends” after a breakup never, ever works. It’s better to rip off the band-aid and just delete them on social media. Post that cute picture of you and your friends because you like it, not because you want them to see how much fun you’re having without them. (And I think we can all agree that Snapchat stories are just brewing with passive aggression and things intended for your ex to see. Just delete them.)

Step 2: Delete and block their number. This is really, really hard to do. But you’re not going to be texting them about your weekend plans together or the stressful day you’re having anymore, so it’s time to delete their contact. Plus, it’s a good safety precaution not to have their number on hand for those times you’re drunk and without the supervision of a good friend. Trust me, you’ll be thankful you blocked them when four months later you come home from a date and don’t receive that “Hey, how’ve you been?” text message that throws you back down the abyss of post-relationship hell.

Step 3: Delete your photos together. Don’t allow yourself the opportunity to scroll through them in the middle of the night. All they can do now is hurt you.

Step 4: Throw away their things. Stop wearing their old t-shirt around the house and crying while watching You’ve Got Mail on a loop. We both know you’re better than that. (If you’re really pissed, consider tearing up their favorite t-shirt! It’s great catharsis, plus an arm workout.)

Step 5: Because desperate times call for desperate measures… delete their email, too. Don’t risk it. Cut off all contact. Wipe them from your hard drive.

After my most devastating breakup, I strained myself over trying to keep things friendly and my emotions towards that person positive. The friendship evidently failed, the post-breakup months of sporadic calls and “I hope you’re doing well!” texts made it nearly impossible to move on, and the entire ordeal of working towards ‘friendship’ and having it fail hurt me almost as much as the actual breakup did.

It wasn’t until I let every piece of them go (their contact, their belongings, the photos of them,) that I stopped thinking about them. The friend thing never worked. The only thing that allowed me to get over it was to just let it go, to let them go, and accept the failure of the relationship--in every sense.

Embrace the empty spaces your ex left behind by seeing them as an opportunity to fill them with better things. (You broke up for several reasons, good ones.) Invest in yourself, invest in your current friendships, you might find that life is happier without them. Good luck on your detox. I believe in you, and it will be worth it.