I have been asked so many times: when will I get over this heartache? Sex and the City's Relationship Half-Life Rule dictates: it will take half the time you dated someone to get over the love you felt. Maybe it is this natural distancing in time that will alleviate the heart. Advice on the subject ranges from the shallow to the absurd...
"Trust me, a one night stand will do the trick. It's just the physical bond that keeps you hung-up on someone..." - Female Psychic and Palm Reader.
"It'll only take a week. Seriously, dude, just f*cking pretend like 'you're over it' and eventually you'll have to believe it!" -Male Peer.
"Just flirt with a ton of guys and make him think you've forgotten about him-- he'll come running back. And, if he doesn't? Well ... make a Plan B." -Female Peer.
"Just burn everything to do with her-- photographs, old tee-shirts, the lot! Pretend she never even existed! And, when that finally can't stop you from thinking about her? Hate her with all your guts!" - Female Peer.
"Just start dating right away. Rebounds are the new cure. Women are great, might as well meet them all." - Male Peer.
"Just f*ck someone else at the next party. How do you like me now __(insert ex's name)___ ?" - Female Peer.
Hmm... I think it's safe to say: None of the above. So, what advice can you really rely on to guide you through the underground of the broken hearted?
The answer is not simple and, in truth, depends on the individual's unique experience of the break up. But, there are some rules that can help anyone to move on:
First, only give yourself three days, preferably less, to behave in a mopey manner alone at home. Do you really think your ex is watching The Titanic and over-indulging on comfort food, trying to hold back the tears? As difficult as it may be at first, venture outside with friends and let yourself enjoy life in the moment. You're allowed to feel negative emotions after a breakup, but don't let it affect your social life or daily routine. Misery loves company, and in what seems like no time at all, you simply won't be miserable.
In the company of others and at the zenith of fun, it is easy to get lost in thoughts of "I just wish my ex were here too." Let yourself feel this way, but don't drown out the fun in exchange. Appreciate the moment, your friends and your family; these are the beautiful constants in life we too often take for granted.
Second, remember that it will be you one day, telling a friend, "it feels like the world is breaking, but you will be okay." Listen to your own words of wisdom: you will be okay! Life has a funny way of working itself out when you least expect it.
Third, don't fall victim to the Ex Paradox. If you are constantly telling yourself to forget about someone, guess what? You are inadvertently constantly thinking about that very someone, and this is what I call the Ex Paradox. An ex was once a part of all your future plans and past routines, without this comfort, of course you will miss your ex. It's only natural. Don't try to force yourself to move on. Whatever you feel, however irrational it may seem, is part of your natural healing process-- there's no use speeding it up. You may experience splices of anger, numbness, sadness, anger again, frustration, oddly-timed happiness, apathy... Acceptance of these emotions and the fact that you still have feelings for a person, however painful, is the first step towards moving forward. It seems contradictory, but eventually it will be your release.
Forth, remember why you broke up in the first place. If you were the one to do the breaking, remember why you did it-- even write it down if you need to! This will help you keep focused on hopes for the future rather than the past. If you were the one to be broken up with, realize that the other person was able to let go (your ex is an idiot). Even if you had the chance, would you really want to take someone back who discarded you? When a person really wants something, that person will do anything to make it happen. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise because it's easier. If your ex had really wanted to be with you? You'd be together still. However the relationship ended, realize it did indeed end. And, accept the whole truth of the ending, however hurtful.
Fifth, whenever you become so sad or angry it all feels impossible, write a never-ever-deliver-letter to your ex. I found this technique from a friend. Many scientific studies have discovered that women feel emotion more acutely and are more likely to feel it necessary to impulsively act upon these emotions. It's the heat of the moment, apparently, when we women cave. Well, there is a solution to this. Rather than leaving your ex messages or any other regrettable behaviors, write a letter to your ex divulging everything you've been thinking about and feeling regarding the break up. When you're done with it, either keep it safely tucked away or ... bonefire! Either way, don't send it. This is a great way to get things off your chest without censoring yourself.
Finally, it is important to remember that being single is not a terrible state to be in at all. You don't always need to be distracted by men to feel complete. Maybe you feel that you're already independent enough. Fine, but ask yourself: when is the last time you hung out with girlfriends and didn't talk about men (or women, depending on your preferences)? Ask yourself: how long, in your life's entirety, have you really been single and fine being alone?The answer might surprise you.
The only way to be happy with someone else is to first be happy with yourself. And, the only way to come by this happiness is to be independent; for many of us, this takes being single. It is not a good sign if you can't enjoy spending time by yourself. Embrace the deep thinking and feeling of being yourself that alone-time yields. Think about it this way: if you look around, it is the most confident women who draw in admirers, not necessarily the most beautiful. These are the women who are learning to truly love themselves for who they are. Ask yourself: if you can't love yourself, who else will?
In your current heartbreak, you might wonder, is the vulnerability of the heart a flaw of human condition? The Wizard of Oz himself pronounced that, "hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable." Or, is the experience of heartbreak something each and every one of us must go through to make certain realizations about our own, individual lives? Being in a relationship is like gliding through life while listening to loud uplifting music on an i-pod. The feeling generated is blissful, but we forget to listen to the silent murmur of our own thoughts.
So, take off those earphones! Tap your foot to the rhythm of your thoughts.
When you are least expecting it, life will sweep you off your feet.
Also, listen to this:
The Woman Behind Unleashed and the Words
I am a Practice of Art Major and Creative Writing Minor at UC Berkeley. My passions are writing and the arts in general. I created Unleashed for the empowerment and enlightenment of women everywhere. I am the editor, designer and contributing writer. I truly hope this magazine speaks to each and every woman. Sasha Martin