What I have learned from listening to the Boston Globe’s podcast: “Love Letters” S1.

First off, I am not the biggest fan of podcasts. I had never been because it required attentive listening and I was the type of person who always had the urge to rewind “in case” I missed anything. However, my time at home made me reflect on the goals I had pushed aside for so long: learn more of Adobe Cloud, embroider, braid, data input, financial literacy, and listen to podcasts.

Love Letters was the first podcast that caught my eye. Actually, it was the first one recommended to me. Hosted by Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein, the podcast focuses on common questions about love and relationships every season. Currently, there are three seasons and a couple of bonus questions. Within each episode, Goldstein refers to stories from her sister, her peers, and from some specialists. Each episode focuses on the specifics of a question, like “How to get over a breakup?” but in the setting of social media, vague breakups, or in the terms of a friendship. 

I’m not an expert in love and neither does Goldstein claim to be. However, she cites specialists, her sister, and old experiences as evidence and contextual references to build an understanding of some of the most basic questions about love. And that’s where the learning began. Through the first series, which focused specifically on breakups, I was able to grasp a better understanding of all the questions my friends asked me for help with. From the first season, here are the top five things I learned from Goldstein.

1. Sometimes, it does help to get over someone by getting under someone else. And sometimes, it isn’t. 

Goldstein attempts to answer the long used, most common advice given to people after a breakup: the easiest way to get over them is to get under someone else. While it may work for some, it’s not a remedy for everyone. In her podcast, she talks about it being “an awakening” for some, while an awkward experience for others. In some cases, it wasn’t necessary; in others, it was the exact thing they needed to boost their confidence. 

2. Breaking up on social media is part of the entire process.

We live in a generation that is glued to our phones, laptop, and our social media accounts. In the age of the Internet, we are all connected through in-person interactions and digitally. When we break up with someone, it's common to unfollow or even block your ex on social media. But what about their friends? Or their family? While it’s not necessary, following those around your ex may mean he will pop up on your social media. Whether it be through Instagram posts and stories or his mom’s birthday post to him on Facebook, his face and name will be a random occurrence you scroll upon. If blocking him on social media meant not seeing his face, it’s safe to say that you must continue the breakups with his friends and family online if it is too painful to see his face.

3. Keeping mementos is okay.

This episode hits hard. 

When you’re in a relationship, there are gifts involved – maybe for your birthday or Valentine’s Day or your anniversary. Those don’t vanish into thin air the moment your relationship ends. There are still photos, videos, cards, stuffed animals, clothes, and other sentimental objects left sitting in your room collecting dust. There’s been a common, violent cure to burn them or throw them out. However, is it so bad to keep them? To keep the photos or the jewelry they gave you? In Goldstein’s episode concerning this question: it’s okay to keep them. In the episode, the memento being kept is 5 euros with the words “For coffee, in Paris” written on it. It symbolizes not just a plan for the future, but a goal. While it may bring back hurtful memories, it also demonstrates that there will be someone in this world who will treat you better than your past. That there will be someone in the future who will give you not just your coffee in Paris, but much more. While this object may not be as personal as a past photograph, it can still apply. You can keep the memories of your past, just not the person. But, you can use those memories as a defining line for someone who will give you better. Someone who will give you the kind of love you deserve – the kind of love that promises Paris.

4. A good and common post-breakup remedy? Reinventing yourself.

Sometimes, the break up is just the kind of push you need to pursue that lifelong dream or hidden desire. I’m not saying your relationship is holding you back. What I am saying is, that sometimes reinventing ourselves or reaching a specific goal post-breakup not only lifts our spirits but is proof that we are capable of much more. It is feeling validated because sometimes, a breakup makes us feel like our most shitty selves. 

5. Don’t wait for someone to come back into your life: keep living.

The common, lingering question: Are we ever going to get back together? There are stories of people breaking up in their teens and then finding each other again as adults. And it does happen. However, don’t ever wait for someone. Don’t stop yourself from falling in love again or finding someone new. If the person was right for you, they’ll appear in your life at the right time. It may be in a couple of months or it may take years. Or it might never happen at all. Don’t let the breakup hold you back, but build from it.

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