Truly tragic circumstances aside, it’s likely that some of the events on your list of worst life experiences will be breakups. (Although if you’re reading this on Christmas Eve, I bet you’re pretty bummed right now.)
I remember my last breakup. I’ll never forget it, actually. It was awful. But, looking back on it, the worst part wasn’t the breakup and the immediate aftermath, but the time I wasted wallowing afterward when I could have (and should have) been getting on with my life. If you (reasonably) do not believe in fate like me, then the more time you spend sitting in the dark weeping and drinking tubs of ice cream you melted in the microwave, the less time you have to find a person you want to spend a significant chunk of your life with.
Here are a few quick tips to help you get over a breakup.
- If you don’t work out, start. If you already do, ramp it up or try something new that is going to give you positive results. Anything you can do to look better, and in doing so boost your confidence, will likely make you feel a little better following a breakup. (If you think this is vain, you may be right. But I don’t care.) You’re going to have to lose that Boyfriend 15 if you want to get back out there and be successful.
- Give yourself a makeover. Again, this is vain, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The better you look, the better you’re going to feel. And people will notice if you look snazzy. Some of them will even compliment you on it.
- Gather as many little victories as you possibly can. They add up, and quickly. If you’ve been meaning to clean out your closet or clean your apartment, do it up. I’ve found that some of the best little victories are cleaning-related. There’s something meditative and extremely rewarding about cleaning up a mess, even if it’s not tangibly related to the messy state your life is currently in.
- Play with a dog. Because dogs are amazing for morale.
- Count the pros of being a single person. There are so many worse things than being alone.
- Do something you never would’ve done while in your relationship (that you want to do). It might be skydiving or buying a motorcycle. It might just be sleeping in your bed with the fan on high when it’s cold outside. In the time following a breakup, it’s crucial to remind yourself in whatever way possible that you are your own person, and that as a grown ass man you can do literally whatever you want (within reason, mostly).
- Go out with some friends and get good and hammered. It’s likely that your pals are encouraging you to do just this already. Take them up on it. Remember that there is great love in this world that is not romantic.
- Get good and drunk by yourself. Most people tell you not to do this, but I find it therapeutic on occasion, especially when you’re sad. (Note: whether you’re drunk alone or in company, do not drunk dial or text your ex. This is almost always a bad idea.)
- Hit reset. After my worst breakup, I found myself listening to the song “The World At Large” by Modest Mouse way more than is reasonable necessary. I especially liked the final words of the song: “I know that startin’ over’s not what life is about, but my thoughts were so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth.” Even if it’s metaphorically, try to start over. Meet new people. Do new things. Move on with your life.
- Do something that trivializes the whole thing. One time, I gave a girl a ring. When we broke up I sold it to Cash4Gold.com so I could pay for spring break. In retrospect, this was a ridiculous thing to do. But also cleansing in a way. I’m not saying you get as extreme as selling jewelry, but I’m sure there’s something you can do that convinces you things weren’t as serious as you may have thought they were.
- Have sex with somebody else. People always say that the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody else. I do not believe this to be true, but it can help. You may even get extra lucky and find the love of your life by doing this!
- Limit or terminate contact with your ex for as long as you need to. I’m very good friends with a few of my exes, but with all of them there was a period of time where we stopped speaking. Sometimes that period lasts forever. And sometimes that is for the best.
Do everything you can to have a little bit of fun. Fun is a great way to produce happiness (obviously). And the littlest things can make you crack up, especially when you’re feeling relatively melancholic (which is obviously a combination of melancholy and alcoholic).