When I was twenty I got my heart broken. No, not broken, ripped out of my chest and thrown into the garbage. Simply put – I got dumped.
After eight months of what I thought was blissful togetherness, I knew that something was up when my boyfriend wanted to spend less and less time with me. He was ‘overworked,’ ‘busy’ and ‘tired.’ Then one day we hung out and I knew something was going to happen. He held my hand so tight and couldn’t make eye contact with me. We did all the usual things we used to do; browsing book stores, going for lunch, hanging out in the park. Eventually we ended up in the parking lot of a downtown high school in my car.
I remember he cried and I held him while he broke up with me (and he wasn’t even emo). When it seemed clear that we had nothing left to say to each other he got out of my car, leaned against it, sighed then turned around and walked away.
It wasn’t until he turned the corner and was out of my sight that I started to cry. And did I ever cry. I barely stopped for the next month. I couldn’t listen to commercial radio without having to pull my car over and sob on the side of the highway. The song that really got me was the poppy one hit wonder “Strange Disease” by Prozzak: “Two weeks ago you said you’d never leave me. Now here I am alone.”
OH GOD! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! I’d sob.
It was awful. A week after the break up I called him to ask for the real reason why he broke up with me; so that I could get over it and stop feeling sorry for him- poor over worked and tired him. It was an terribly awkward conversation and I wish I’d never made that call. It didn’t clarify anything.
Then a year later, yes about 365 days later, I found out that he’d been cheating on me with his ex. It was an awful time. Such is breaking-up.
One of my dear friends is going through a similar time right now and to her and all of you who might be nursing heartache, I give you this:
Five Tactics to Mend a Broken-Heart
What I Did When I Was 20 and It Really Worked For Me at the Time
1 – Delete him from your life! DO NOT CALL HIM. This means take his phone number out of your phone, remove his friendship on Facebook and every other social media thingy that you have connected to him. Give it a minimum of a month before you strike up contact again. You need your heart to heal before you even think about hearing his voice.
Use this time to get rid of everything in your home that reminds you of him. If you’re a memorabilia freak like me, just put everything in a box and hide it from yourself in some place that’s completely out of reach: under piles of papers, in your storage locker, or at a friend’s house. Five years later when you find it you’ll be more than ready to chuck it in the garbage.
2 – Find some power music that will get you through this time. During my aforementioned breakup I rediscovered punk rock; specifically Offspring’s song Bad Habit. For a week I had the seven seconds where he sings “You stupid, dumb-sh*t, goddamn motherf*cker!” on repeat. Yeah, it was a little psychotic but it took me out of sadness and self-pity and into the next stage: anger. After anger comes spite, then change, acceptance, moving on and over it.
3 – Change something. After you’ve purged your home from things that remind you of him, it’s time to focus on yourself. Many people change their appearance, their sheets, or their habits (I’m talking about taking a dance class not switching from smoking pot to shooting heroin).
Do something that makes you feel good about yourself like getting healthy. Or something that keeps your mind off your own problems like volunteering. Life goes on. Remember this too shall pass and in the grand scheme of things a break-up is a pretty first world problem.
4- Get a project and go for it. It worked for me and it became the main focus of the past decade. I’d had the idea for TeenAngstPoetry.com when I was with said heart-breaker but it wasn’t until four months after we’d broken up that it finally came to fruition.
Actually, if we’d never broken up I probably wouldn’t have had the energy and drive to accomplish this goal. See, wonderful things can come out of break-ups. Maybe you’ll finally take that trip you’ve been wanting to but delayed because your boy had a fear of flying or you’ll apply for jobs out of town that you want but haven’t bothered to because you were afraid your bf wouldn’t move with you. Now is the time to do what you’ve been holding back on. Boo-ya!
5- Give yourself some time. Cry if you have to. But for your sake and for everyone around you set a time limit. What’s the rule, 1/4 of the length of the relationship? If you’re not done crying by then, it’s time to mix things up. Maybe you need to change something else, set a bigger goal or actually stop talking to him and coming up with excuses to see him.
If none of that works you might consider talking to someone that isn’t a friend. There is no shame in that.
Other things that help: dancing, laughing with friends and having a rebound.