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My Art of Letting Go: How to Recover After a Breakup

There are suggestions all over the internet on how to get over someone. Well, after decades of falling through the cracks, I’m going to tell you how I recover. In no specific order (actually, the last one is my favorite):

Don’t Look!
Let’s say you were like me and were too stupid to not “shit where you eat.” My first suggestion is to “not look.” Don’t look for him (or her). Don’t look down the hall, toward his office, around the lunch room, at the nearby deli, by the water cooler or the coffee press. Before you leave your office, arm yourself with thoughts of your current project. Talk to yourself if you have to. Don’t look for him — because, Honey, he ain’t lookin’ for you!

One of the smartest things my friend, Jen,  said was – when I asked her, “What do you think he’s thinking?” – she said, “Nothing. He’s not thinking anything.”And there’s a huge possibility he’s not looking either. If your ex was looking at you or for you, you would know. The last thing you want is to repeatedly feel your heart break every time he’s not looking.

Strike Out!
For some reason I continuously have a problem with this one, but it still holds true: strike him off every list you’ve got – delete him. Remove his numbers from your cell phone, remove his email addresses so he doesn’t pop up on iMessage, G-chat, y-mail or Instant Messenger. Remove him from Favorite lists and “important” tags. If you’re not important to him, he should not be important to you. This goes back to one of my Lessons Learned: Don’t invest any time in someone who’s unwilling to invest time in you. The simple act of removing him from sight will help you forget him.

Tally Ho!
You’d be surprised how much it helps when you keep a list of things that pissed you off about your ex. Remember, the relationship didn’t work for a reason! When you feel yourself getting weak, whip out the list and read it again. Suddenly it’s, “OMG that’s right! I can’t believe he did that to me!” Tally the things you aren’t willing to let-go and let the dirty Ho go!

Do the Laundry, List
Your laundry is stacked high, the closet door is falling off the rails, your car needs to be detailed… How much had been delayed while you waited for Mr Ex to pull his head out of his butt? I can guarantee that tackling the laundry-list of chores will not only keep your mind off him, but it’ll help you feel more in-control. And once each task is finished, you’ll feel renewed and refreshed!

Stop Refreshing
Speaking of refreshing — stop it! Stop checking messages and texts, and definitely stop compulsively refreshing email to make sure his lame excuses didn’t download after turning your head. If you need a cell for work, make sure to look only at your work account.

Once the messaging is organized, remove all notification pop-ups for any social account that Mr Ex may have. So if a message does come in, it’ll be hours before you realize it. If he doesn’t make you a priority, don’t make him one!

Sight Seeing & Site Seeing
The classic definition of this phrase – Sight Seeing – is still a great way to spend your time when Mr Ex has left you high and dry. Make a list of places you always wanted to go, and go. If you find yourself stalling, think about this: what if you meet a real dreamboat while you’re sight seeing? So put on those walking shoes and go!

If you’re a real homebody: Site Seeing. Remember all those websites you bookmarked? All those magazines piled high at home? Now’s the time to blow off the dust and dig in. Make yourself a steaming cup of coffee, put on your favorite feety pajamas and read. There’s nothing that will stimulate and tantalize you better than education.

Bucket List
I want to rock climb. I want to scare the hell out of myself while folks cheer me on – even if it is in downtown New York City on a fake wall while there’s a line of wannabe climbers waiting. What’s on your bucket list? Are you tired of waiting for the right partner to join you in memory making? Don’t wait! Make the list! Start the research! Then schedule the day and go. For all you know, the experience may open another world for you. A new world equals new people. New people… you get the idea!

Host a Party
My parents never hosted parties. They didn’t have barbecues and they never had bags of wine bottles to recycle the next day. What kind of world is that? I’m not suggesting alcoholism – Lord knows I’m not – but whats wrong with getting together with friends and family? There’s no better time to catch up than when you’re willing to absorb the love from loved ones!

Your closet is overflowing, food in the fridge has expired, the garbage under your desk still has last year’s receipts… Now’s the time to clean out the old and welcome in fresh air and clean spaces. Figuratively speaking, removing the old, useless or rotting elements from your life sure does feel good, doesn’t it? And if you’ve made the move to discard the dating trash from your life, you may as well go the full gamut and clean your home as well.

After The Evacuation, my apartment contained piles of boxes and bags of useful goods that I didn’t want or need. It took months, but I donated and sold until my apartment was relatively clutter free. So forget the crazy hair cut after a breakup – get yourself to Target or IKEA and organize!

Medical Mental Dental Vision
There’s no better validation for your mental state after a breakup than to have trained medical professionals tell you, “There’s nothing wrong with you. You’ll be fine.” Only recently did I realize that I make multiple medical appointments after breakups. Whether the symptoms are scary or not, it’s good to have an intelligent professional care and – quite frankly – tell me I’m normal. (Almost like an indirect, “It’s not you, it’s him.”)

Now, I’m not suggesting you waste time with fake problems. I’m saying if you’ve been putting off those heart palpitations or your eyesight is starting to fade, now’s the best time to take care of you.

Dating Sites eHarmony. Plenty Of Fish. I’ve had friends meet and move in with folks they’ve met online – it’s no longer tabu. From what I hear – and what I’ve been witnessing firsthand – you’ve got to stick it out for a while.

My babysitter, a 26-year-old introvert from Long Island, gave me her notice one fall day in 2013. When I asked her plan she said, “I’m moving in with my boyfriend, and he lives 30 minutes east of here.” Clearly her traveling would increase and she was looking forward to endless boinkfests, but I was shocked because she had never mentioned a boyfriend, let-alone moving in with him. But the need to research prompted my next question, “Where did you meet?”, she admitted. I was dumbfounded. I thought was a “meat market,” but apparently it still makes some worthy connections. If you can work around emails from questionable profiles, you may just meet your match.

Professional Profiles
Speaking of profiles. What about yours? LinkedIn. Naymz. I dont even know what other professional sites exist because I’ve been neglectful. But it’s good to get professional profiles up to par now – Lord knows you won’t want to do it when your own boinkfest* comes to town.

* Remind me to add “Boinkfest” to my own 1YearOfSingle Glossary.

You Better Work! Workout Girl!
There’s nothing more addictive than looking hot so your ex chokes on his own tongue that dangles from his slobbering mouth when he sees you walk by in that smokin’ hot new outfit. Don’t go for just a head turn. Don’t go for a measly stutter. I want you to raise the bar – hundreds of times in the gym – and make him choke on his own stupidity till everyone around him notices that he’s speechless and immobile. Yeah. That’s it.

Clean Out Your Closets
I would have put this with the “Organize” entry, but it’s got a little zest to it. You need to comb through your closets and remove everything that doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks. Chuck it. I don’t care if you’re down to one thong and a pair of heels from * insert designer name brand here * – because right now we need to bolster your ego, and yesterday’s period panties aren’t going to cut it.

The first time I traveled by myself I was scared to death. Sadly, it was only to Pennsylvania and I was driving an old Ford, but when I arrived at my destination I felt like I owned the world.

Two years ago, one of my commuter friends (we’ll call her Mary) came to me with a problem. She was alone for the weekend, her kids were away at camp and her husband didn’t want to travel. He had sunken into a slight case of depression from losing his job and was currently majoring in Couch Potatoing 101. From her description of the tension caused by his job loss, I could tell Mary really needed to get out. And away. She told me that she was supposed to attend a friend’s wedding upstate New York, but was afraid to go by herself. After describing my trips to Pennsylvania, she decided to take a chance and drive herself upstate – without her couch potato husband.

Weeks later I saw Mary during our commute and asked if she took the trip. “I did,” she beamed. “And I left my husband at home. I was scared at first, but I did it.” She explained that all her girl friends gathered, drank wine and laughed – all without their couch potato husbands. Apparently Mary had such a good time that she returns every few months with a bottle of wine so that she and her friends can have a weekend without the entire Couch Potato class.

Serious Series
Does your brain burn with questions after a breakup? Do you wish you could spoon-out your cerebrum and fill it with Silly Putty, just so you don’t have to think about what the hell happened to your relationship? Enter: Netflix and Hulu Plus. I felt like my brain was on fire after discovering McDreamy was really married. But Netflix and Hulu Plus allowed the derailing of my thought process. I’m not talking cheesy romance movies – I’m talking full-scale television series like Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl, Glee, Mob Wives, The Walking Dead, Grey’s Anatomy, White Collar, and even Downton Abbey. No no – don’t just sit there and watch! I watched these shows while I cleaned, so my mind didn’t wander to Mr Ex. (The last thing you want is to obsess over an ex while organizing a lingerie drawer.)

Serenity Now! (Therapy)
God bless her little PhD soul. My therapist has worked through issues and is now helping me feel normal in serenity. Millions of us are raised in drama and chaos, so when our lives finally settle, the calm feels unnatural. Gone untreated, we recreate drama in order to feel “normal” again. If you feel like there’s an endless, uncontrollable amount of drama happening in your life, I suggest therapy.

Job Hunt
There’s nothing you can do if Mr Ex dumped you on the side of the relationship road, but don’t let your boss treat you like trash as well. Are you getting the salary that reflects your worth? Are you doing the job you were promised? If not, pull out the proverbial pencil, redo the resume and latch-on to LinkedIn, because you deserve more.

Journaling is the best way to say what you want to the dirty man whore without looking like a loser. Write it all down, let yourself go. Nothing is off limits and it will ultimately drain it from your cerebrum so you don’t have to think about him anymore. Did he get a lap dance from your sister? Journal it. Did you catch him licking the neck of a shot girl? Journal it. Is his dick the size of the score card pencil at the neighborhood miniature golf? Journal that shit. I’d say Blog it, but that’s my job.

I actually find myself accessorizing more after a breakup. I’m sure there’s some kind of psychological meaning to this, but I couldn’t care less. Just accessorize. And all that dangling and sparkling draws attention, and attention is what you need after attending a dry toast dinner in Splittsville. 

Hair and nails
So many of us cut our hair after a breakup. I’m not sure if that’s the way to go because after a few weeks I miss my locks. Better to get color and a trim, and spend the rest on a mani-pedi. The more “put together” you feel after a breakup, the more you’ll feel empowered. And the attention you’ll get from friends, family and co-workers tends to fill some of the void left by the ex.

Let the Music Play
Years ago I called this “Purging” because listening to sad music after a breakup would force me to cry, and crying would flush my system of negative hormones. Yeah, it’s actually a scientific theory. But it’s now 2014 and I refuse to give more time to any ahole who doesn’t give time to me. And for that reason I stock my iTunes with “F-U” playlists after breakups. Songs should empower you to feel better, not drag you down and feel sorry for yourself. And since this is one of my favorite breakup-recovery pastimes, I’ve dedicated space here on 1 Year Of Single just for F-U songs. Check it out… 

2 thoughts on “My Art of Letting Go: How to Recover After a Breakup

  1. So, you know every Black person watches BET, right? Lol, jk but there’s a show on there called, Being Mary Jane, and maybe you’ll enjoy it…married men. I don’t know what I’d do if I dated someone and found out he was married. I don’t ever, ever want to hear from him again. Don’t even save me from a burning building, lol…total exaggeration Really, you’re a stranger…and mama said don’t talk to strangers pahaa. 🙂


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