Open Thread: What’s Your Best Post-Breakup Advice? I’m Asking For A Friend.

What Is Your Best Breakup Advice? I'm Asking For A Friend

Yesterday, my partner and I broke up. Yeah yeah, I know: first world problems.

At some point, I’ll likely write about this again because right now, it is very fresh in my brain so most of what will come out will just be sad, desperate, cliche metaphors that pour like Syracuse in April (see? Awful!). I briefly contemplated trying to make light of it in all the regular BuzzFeed/Upworthy ways:

  • 10 Things So Wrong With Me, I’ll Be Alone Forever
  • You’ll Never Believe How Disgusting My Contacts Look After I Cried For 4 Hours
  • The Definitive Ranking Of Cry Faces, According To My Cry Face
  • He Texted Me Something Adorable, But Then This Happened & Changed It All
  • 25 GIFs Of All Our Mementos Being Thrown Out Last Night

There is a special brand of deep, sick pain that comes from a breakup. Sure, I’ve been in more physically painful, frightening situations, but that doesn’t mean my insides don’t currently feel like someone’s poured rum on them and lit a match. (Again with the awful metaphors, Sam!) I can’t eat, I woke up at 5 in the morning, I cried to my mom on the phone all night and all morning.

So, y’know, things will get better and I realize that, but they just really, really suck right now. And while I understand that only time will make that feeling subside, I do want to either numb it as much as possible or speed it up or something. And that’s where you nice folks come in!

Tell me your best breakup advice. I am fortunately not the type of person who lurks exes on Facebook/social media, but other than that, I am admittedly stumped on anything that really helps. I feel like an idiot asking this, though, so please be gentle with me.

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    • Lindsey Conklin

      I’m so sorry :( I said this on mommyish and it remains true:
      After hours of rocking me in her lap, allowing me to sob and binge on cookie dough, my sister quoted Oscar Wilde: ”Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary,” she’d said. This helped me let him go. Be selfish and focus completely on that which makes you so extraordinary

    • Mandie

      SEX TOYS. But seriously, I like to alternate between wallowing in my misery alone on the couch with my cat, cheese fries, and a movie (Winter’s Bone, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Factory Girl are all good choices) and spending too much on a trash-talking brunch with the ladies.

      • Mandie

        You will also need an oversized sweatshirt you will not take off for 48 hours and a sexy party dress for phase 2 of your recovery.

      • Colleen

        Oversized sweatshirt! Yes! And yoga/sweatpants, comfort food and good friends/family to talk/cry to when needed.

    • CMJ

      Friends. Be around awesome friends.

      • LaLa

        After particularly bad breakup in college I used to sit and listen to Accidental Babies on repeat and sob. Just sob uncontrollably.

    • Olivia Wilson

      Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this, Sam!

      I always recommend really letting yourself cry for a few days, but after that, focus on moving forward. That is, don’t feel like you have to immediately forget the breakup, but don’t let yourself wallow in it.

    • Joanna Rafael

      I’m so sorry, Sam. My only post-breakup advice is this: get drunk and slam dunk like a punk.

    • CaitlinCorsetti

      I’m so sorry. It is the worst :( Everything is going to be okay.

      Feel your feels, talk to your mom. Do things that make you happy, take good care of yourself and try not to isolate yourself. Lean on the people in your support system as much as you need to and know that it will pass.

      When you’re feeling up for it we will get all the drinks and go to that bar we said we could never go to again. WE ARE GOING BACK.

    • keanesian

      Here’s the most important thing: The right person doesn’t break up with you. That person is excited and in love and awesome and wants to be around you all the time. So don’t stress out about someone who had good qualities or seemed like a catch, but for whatever reason it just didn’t work out. Because he’s just a distraction from who you’re supposed to be with. When you meet that right person, it will be glorious. And it’ll be hard to even remember the could’ve beens.

    • FemelleChevalier

      I have a friend who told me to just let myself be sad for a while. She said that it’s natural and suppressing it early on is unhealthy. Then after that, she told me to find something to distract myself from bad thoughts. At this point, I surrounded myself with friends whose idea of consoling is drinking ’til we pass out, watching trashy movies, and karaoke/singing with a guitar at hand.

      In short, let yourself be sad but don’t wallow in it. Then surround yourself with people who cares and find yourself some distractions.

    • Junie

      Watch/Read something funny, as in laugh-out-loud-pee-in-your-pants funny. I have my arsenal of books/movies I go to whenever I need to escape. Ask your friends for recommendations.

      Just no romantic comedies (I couldn’t watch romantic comedies for a year and a half after one particular train wreck).

      Definitely DO NOT watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (referring to the photo above).

      • LynnKell

        I find the pet videos on youtube to be the ultimate remedie to depression.

    • Cate

      I’m really sorry this happened. Breakups are so rough, however they go down, and it seems like everybody is breaking up these days.

      My breakup recovery steps go like this:
      1. Get rip-roaring drunk with your best friend(s). Probably do this at home for safety of your person, dignity, and wallet.
      2. Buy things. Buy all the things, everything you want. There will be time to regret these purchases later, when you are eating one avocado for every meal and wondering if you actually needed that dress/pile of lingerie/pair of shoes/couch/set of vintage luggage/&c.
      3. Go on dates with guys you aren’t really interested in. Make them pay for everything. Conspicuously fail to go home with them. Tell them you will call, and don’t.
      4. Throw yourself into your work so you can stop eating nothing but avocados.
      5. Realize how awesome and self sufficient you are by yourself and vow never, ever to date anyone ever again because you are the most awesome and no-one can ever deserve you.

      When you have achieved step five, you know you are okay.

      BONUS STEP! If you have trouble expressing emotion, even when you are actually feeling emotional, read pretty much anything by Richard Yates (especially The Easter Parade) or watch either Closer or Atonement for fast, cathartic crying

    • Jessica

      I’m sorry Sam :( My advice would be: don’t get too drunk right away like I once did. it might make you feel way more sad. Don’t feel embarrassed about crying or being sad in front of other people, because it’s okay for you to be upset. And be with friends or family as much as possible, but also know you’ll need your alone time once in a while. I also agree with everything Meghan said. Feel better!

    • Bunny Lou

      RUN AWAY! Seriously though, go to a foreign city you’ve never been to before, stay in a hostel, make friends, experience life. That’s how I got over my latest, and it was all under $400 for six days. It was seriously so lovely to get away and not worry about it.

      But once you get back you might want to avoid the old places that you two used to go to/they still frequent. Just to stay away and move on.

      If you can’t run away, go look up new things to do around town. Go experience something new every day. Go to a concert for a band you’ve never heard of before (That has good reviews, though! Don’t go to a shitty concert because then you’ll just be in a worse mood). Go eat at a place you’ve never been to (THAT ALSO HAS GOOD REVIEWS, Food poisoning is not a good way to get over someone!)

      • Crayzcheshire

        After 2+ year relationship ended I (coincidentally) spent the next 4 weeks in India, and can attest to what you say! Submersing yourself into a shockingly new environment drastically sped up the healing process for sure.

        Although after a different breakup when I was much younger, I did the opposite of your second suggestion… I purposefully went back to the places where we made memories and consciously overwrote the old memories with new ones. It was mental, and it totally worked. When we reconnected as friends many years later, I couldn’t recall the specifics of special places or times- but he could. HA.

    • Samantha

      Bleh, sorry to hear this. You are such a fun writer and seem so lovely. So firstly, don’t forget that. Be nice to yourself.

      Secondly, go to the nearest Lush or fancy bath products shop of your choice, spend too much money on something that smells excellent, and soak and cry and watch terrible CW shows (or terrible reality TV or Tarantino movies or whatever is your thing), and have a cocktail in the bathtub. Mojitos are my soaking drink of choice, but anything that’s not beer is usually awesome. (Beer in the bath, though, will fill you with regret.)

      If you don’t have a bathtub, find a hotel or an AirBnB place that does.

    • Eileen

      Work out. Not like a normal work out, but like running-while-you’re-crying-until-you’re-so-physically-exhausted-being-sad-doesn’t-even-register. And then put all your favorite pictures of the two of you, gifts he gave you, notes, whatever, in a box and shove it in the back of your closet for when the day comes that you can look at them with fondness. Oh, and exchange any items you guys left at each other’s places right away, so you don’t have to look at them or think about them while you’re moving on.

    • DeanaCal

      Think of something you like to do that you didn’t get to do very much of with your partner around (different genre of movie, listening to a different style of music, something solitary like reading a book). Then realize how much you missed being able to do that thing, and do that thing. Then realize how much you enjoy doing that thing, and think of how cool it is that you can do that thing whenever you want.

    • Crayzcheshire

      Make a big long list of all the stuff that SUCKED about that person! And the disappointments, the lame character traits, the lies… all of it! Everything that made you upset or sad. (Even if it’s one sided and selfish, not the point!)… Getting it all out there like a big rant really helps make you feel better! xo. <3

    • OhOk

      List the things you didn’t like about him (don’t say “duh” yet). Instead of the obvious bitterness, try to focus on the relief that you never have to worry about those things again. All those stressors are gone. It’s really easy to let breakup tension turn you into a bawling stress monster, but focusing on all the stress you just eliminated can help calm you down. Remember that he isn’t the only person with the qualities that you loved him for and the right person will have those qualities too, as well as the ones you were missing in this guy. One day in the not-too-distant future, you will feel better.

      Drink irresponsible amounts of whisky while thinking these thoughts.

    • ScarletRegina

      Sing along to Tori Amos’ Boys for Pele album at the top of your lungs.

      But also remember that you are a whole person. It can be so easy to feel like we lose a part of ourselves when a relationship ends, but that’s simply not true. You are still the amazing person that you were before the relationship. You will continue to be amazing.

      As many people have already said, it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to mourn the relationship. Give yourself the space to do that.

      It’s also good to channel your emotions into something creative. I find that when I’m desperate, I can’t write. My writing comes out awful. So I draw or paint or make jewelry – whatever allows me to get the sadness out of my body.

    • ScarletRegina

      Sing along to Tori Amos’ Boys for Pele album at the top of your lungs.

      But also remember that you are a whole person. It can be so easy to feel like we lose a part of ourselves when a relationship ends, but that’s simply not true. You are still the amazing person that you were before the relationship. You will continue to be amazing.

      As many people have already said, it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to mourn the relationship. Give yourself the space to do that.

      It’s also good to channel your emotions into something creative. I find that when I’m desperate, I can’t write. My writing comes out awful. So I draw or paint or make jewelry – whatever allows me to get the sadness out of my body.

    • K Landoni

      I’m sorry :( Try to remind yourself that the worst part already happened. Today you probably feel a little better than you did yesterday, and tomorrow you’ll feel better than you do today.

      Listen to sad music, but not sad music you truly love because when you’re feeling better and you listen to it again, it’ll remind you of him and you’ll be disappointed in yourself for letting him hijack all the best sad songs.

      When you’re ready, make out with someone hotter.

    • LaLa

      First step is to get drunk, eat some ice cream (my go-to is cookies and cream by Bluebell but I think that’s only sold in the South), and watch a sad movie. But it should have happy ending. Like, it should make you cry but you want to actually feel better afterwards. I like Sense and Sensibility. Then after you’ve done that for a few days, give yourself a few weeks or so to feel like a person again. Then, go somewhere you’ve never been before. Doesn’t have to be anywhere crazy, just a new experience. Take a long weekend and go do something new.

    • diane kaston

      weird idea, go on tinder and reject every guy! it will cheer you up, do it with friends and giggle yourself silly, thank go buy new shoes while singing these boots were made for walking?? feel better i love this site your are truly funny and smart

    • JennyWren

      I think crying is a very necessary stage to go through- repressing your feelings will only make them hang around for longer, going sour.

      BUT in between the wallowing, keep busy. Dive into work, go shopping, redecorate if you can, move your furniture around if you can’t. Cook a new recipe, take up knitting. Turn a big, intractable problem into lots of little, easily solved challenges.

      If it’s possible, enter into a silence pact with your ex. Staying amicable is a great long-term goal, but at this early stage every text message or email is going to be a fresh source for confusion and pain and misplaced hope. If you absolutely need to be in contact (for the dividing of goods, etc), stick to the most impersonal format you can think of. Also, de-friend him on Facebook (it doesn’t have to be forever).

      Also, remember that soon it will be summer. You should book yourself a holiday, or even just make plans for lots of summer activities. It’s important to have things to look forward to.

      • her7

        Yes, definitely! Absolutely with the radio silence. It’s ok to cut him out completely right now, even if you end up being friends later. Ask your friends to police you on it, too. I saw good advice once that said make yourself a calendar and give yourself a gold star every day that you don’t contact him, look at his Facebook, etc.

        Just take care of yourself right now. Cry a lot, eat a lot, exercise, be with friends. And remember that it takes time to get over stuff like this. Hugs!

    • Valerie

      Oh, man. Breaking up is the most poignant-feeling cliché you’ll ever go through. When I go through a breakup, one thing that just sort of twists the knife is that even though it feels like it’s a deep, unique pain that only I can understand, it’s not. Everyone’s gone through it, and I’m not saying anything new about it that hasn’t been said.

      Still, it hurts a ton and I’m sorry. I don’t know if this person was or wasn’t the right one for you, but splitting hairs over that isn’t going to make you feel any better. Avoid that line of thinking as much as possible. It’s going to hurt for awhile, but hopefully a short while, and then you’ll feel better. And you’ll be happy again, and very, very likely you’ll find love again, and you’ll barely remember what this pain felt like. Because that’s what life is like–it’s great, and then it’s kind of meh, then it sucks hard, and then you get better. Rinse, repeat. Make the tough times something you can enjoy by finding that enjoyment where you can. Spend time with your family and chosen family. Pursue a hobby you let slide because “me time” had to give way somewhat to “us time.” Learn how to do something new. Buy new bedding (seriously, best post-breakup advice I’ve gotten). Change your hair. Paint your bedroom. None of these things by themselves are going to fix your pain–only time can do that–but they’ll give you some healthy distractions to help pass the time. Me, I spent my time working out and learning to bake things after my last breakup. Smart choice, if I must say so myself, because carbs are your best friend when you’re dealing with heartbreak.

    • ZanBrody

      First off–sorry to hear that!

      Sounds like you are already avoiding this one, but my advice is not to fall into the trap of communicating with them through texts and emails in a bid to “stay friends”. Perhaps that will come in time, but then that shouldn’t be hurt by a few months of no contact. You can’t be comforted or supported by the person who is an integral part of the pain you are experiencing. It will just prolong the hurt.

      Beyond that…yes wallow for a few days and cry and be dramatic and eat pizza or whatever, but then switch over to taking walks and meeting friends for coffee and going out to places where you get to bust out your favorite outfits and makeup.

    • Katia López

      I’m sorry to hear that D: My boyfriend of one year and marriage plans broke up with me about a month ago. It took me an entire week of pure grieving to then start picking myself up and feel better. It REALLY sucks at first but it will slowly get better. What I did was seek comfort in my friends and family. Their support really does help! I hid every memory trigger in a box (or a file within a file in my computer) and just put it away in the deepest part of my closet. Then I just focused on myself and getting distracted. I did and still have my moments sometimes but, when I do, I write a list of the cons of being in that relationship and that would usually help. But it’s been a month and I feel way better.
      Let time pass and you’ll be feeling better in no time. You’re awesome, hope things go well! :)

    • J

      Cry, complain and eat all the ice-cream you want for a week. Then, decide you want to forget the person. And just fake it till you make it.

    • nataliezutter

      So much excellent advice in this thread already (realizing this person is a distraction from who you’re supposed to be with; diving into other activities), so I’ll just add one small–but, I found, helpful–idea for day-to-day coping: Find some cheesy, angry and/or inspiring song, and yell it in the shower every morning. Cathartic as hell, and after a few days/weeks you start to believe it.

    • Kat

      Just un-apologetically let your feelings guide you. Do whatever you need to do. If that means eating a bowl of KD in one sitting, do it. If you need a sick day (or two) take it. There is a different side to existing that happens after a breakup and you just need to feel it out. Everyone will understand. xoxo

    • kellyegan

      Embrace all emotions, good or bad. Do this for as long as you need.

      My only personal advice is: take up a new hobby. This sounds like a distracting technique, but it’s not if you embrace your feelings 1,000% along the way. After past break-ups I’ve taken up sports, cooking, and skills. Now I can play bike polo, bake pies, sew leather, spin fire, and shoot a bow. But more importantly along the way I discovered something new about myself which lead to rekindled self-love. It takes time! But you’re worth it :)

      (PS. Not to sound like a LUSH ad, but their bath bombs saved my soul after a particular nasty break up. Something about sitting in fragrant water heals.)

    • Alexis

      Best advice I heard is from Dan Savage – Every single relationship is doomed to fail until one doesn’t. He also reaffirms that there is no such thing as The One.

      And I also like the advice Science (just Science) told me – you feel empty because you had a routine with this person, and now they are gone, so try to fill that with something else for now until a new routine is formed.

    • Jess

      I (like all of us, it seems) went threw a wretched break up a few years back and my best remedies were baths, music, random roads trips and time spent with friends just being silly. The sun will still rise, no matter how shitty the night was prior. It gets better.

    • Justine Wilcox

      You are asking for a friend: that’s the best advice I can think – treat yourself like you are your best friend. Every time you might feel negative thoughts about yourself, remind yourself of lovely things about yourself. Have these worked out, maybe on paper, so they can appear without effort. Repeat them until they come naturally, almost as if from a guardian angel (sorry for the new age-ey imagery).
      After you have gotten drunk, eaten all the ice cream etc treat yourself really well, maybe meditation, yoga if that’s your thing. Maybe swimming (floating is awesome). Write down your dreams, look at the clouds – they never stay the same, and it’s a kind of nice…
      I really like your writing, and I hope you feel better soon.

    • LynnKell

      I have a playlist cleverly named “the playlist” (I’m so creative, I know) with heartbreak songs yet they are the “I’m gonna be alright” type.

      Mourn as much as you need to but keep in sight cheerful and optimistic stuff. Raid the pet videos on youtube (seriously, no one can be sad after watching baby goats jump around green fields). Learn to cook delicious and healthy stuff (post-breakup I get all un-hungry and need something delicious to pick me up) Exercise, take up some dancing class or just do something to sweat out the sadness. If you want to read, there is this wonderful book by Penelope Parker named (in Spanish, I think there isn’t an English translation) “Men (sometimes unwantedly) always come back” Every girl must read that book, helps a loooot when breaking up, even if you don’t want the dude back.

      And finally, please, please, please don’t fall back on nasty habits that you have previously written about around here. *big-eyed emoji*

      Here’s the link to the book

      Virtual hug.