this isn’t a post about being WOOHOO, single and ready to mingle!! it’s not about burning everything your ex ever gave you and doing tequila shots to the tune of the inferno. it’s not about plotting revenge or spending an entire week fall-down drunk and sloppy at the bar every night, announcing your single-hood to everybody in the vicinity.
it’s about how to pick up the pieces, carefully, of all the parts of yourself that shattered when you took your ring off and pushed it into a box in your drawer. it’s about making the transition as smooth as possible; walking in slippers over pebbles rather than barefoot over broken glass. it’s about finding peace.
all of this isn’t true for every person. i was blessed to be in a beautiful, amazing relationship for nearly 2 1/2 years. its dissolution was slow and painful, but this isn’t a case of abuse or infidelity. if it were, i’m sure this list would look different. so take from it what you will.
- change the speed dial on your phone. if you’re like me, the first speed dial is your significant other. and if you’re really like me, they’re listed in your phone as “<3.” change it, and leave that speed dial number blank. because chances are you’ll reflexively dial it several times in the next few weeks. i already know that i’m prone to texting k accidentally when i intend to text somebody else, so i’m going to go ahead and just remove that option.
- get used to the naked finger. i have what might in fact be a permanent indent in my left ring finger from my engagement ring. i’ve only taken it off two other times since we got engaged in november of ’10: when we took a ‘break’ over easter weekend, and for my surgery last month. my hand seems incredibly empty without it.
- write write write. or run. or beat up a punching bag. or just yell a lot. whatever works for you. yes, i want to get through this gracefully, but to me grace is not acting like a jerk in public. in the privacy of my home, i believe i have full license to be less-than graceful. so you do what you need to do to get this sadness, anger, frustration, and anything else out of your system. if i wasn’t gimpy, i would be running all over lexington right now. instead, i’m writing a blog post. later i’ll probably throw stuff and yell a lot, and then eat some cookies.
- add wedding.com, The Knot, David’s Bridal, and all of that other crap to you “blocked senders” list. your spam folder can deal with that shit; don’t torture yourself and be reminded of it every day.
- allow yourself to lean on friends and family. they might not always say the right thing, or know what to say, but they’ll be there for you regardless. if they want to take you out for ice cream to cheer you up – go, even if you would rather mope in bed. if your uncle tells you that he knows how you feel because he broke his arm senior year of high school and couldn’t play baseball and was devastated but he joined the astronomy club instead and now is an astrophysicist and See? Everything works out in the end – let him tell you his story and thank him. you’ve very likely just lost your best friend with this break-up; let yourself be held up by those around you.
- bake some cookies. can you tell i believe in the healing power of cookies?
- keep the photos. i know it may be tempting to burn them or cut them up or delete them, but for now, if you really can’t look at them without being overcome with anger or sadness…squirrel them away somewhere. a shoebox in the attic, a folder in your computer, a jump drive. you were together for a reason; don’t throw the good memories out just yet. time heals a lot.
- use the empty space and time you now have to do something new. get a new hobby, or pick up an old one that maybe you haven’t had much time for. go try out a yoga studio, learn to play chess, organize your closet (yes, i’ll be doing this). volunteer somewhere. bake cookies. write. writewritewrite.
- remind yourself you’re a good person. it takes two to tango, and you weren’t the sole reason this relationship didn’t work. you aren’t satan’s spawn, nor are you worthless or unlovable.
- give yourself time. nobody expects you to bounce back in a day. let yourself grieve and adjust. there’s no timeline on this.
- do what feels right for you. some people are able to stay friends with their exes – they chat, text, and can maintain a healthy relationship. that’s awesome. but it might not be for you. maybe you need to cut all ties – delete them from your phone, unfriend them on facebook, unfriend their family on facebook…you get the idea. but do what feels right for you. just because it worked for your best friend (or because some lady blogger suggested it – you might hate cookies, i dunno) doesn’t mean it’s best for you and your situation. do you.