Jessica Delfino is a critically acclaimed musician who has performed on Good Morning America, the Russell Brand radio show, Opie and Anthony, and more. She has also written songs for “What Would Jesus Buy?” a feature film produced by Morgan Spurlock, and regularly performs at NYC venues like Joe’s Pub, UCB, and Ars Nova.
Ugghh, there there, little lamb. I’m so sorry if this article strikes a chord because you, right now, in fact, are going through a breakup. Though you know that almost nothing can take that “I lost my keys/soulmate” feeling away, consider this: no human has ever not been broken up with. Marilyn Monroe, Megan Fox, Ryan Gosling, Michael Cera: dumped, ditched, quit and buh-byed. According to an internet statistic that is sort of made up, 531,024 people PER DAY in the USA alone get dumped, and that doesn’t include Bangladesh, Antarctica OR France. So, take solace in knowing that at least half a million other sad sacks are also out there suffering.
And if that doesn’t bring you a slice of peace, here are a few tips that might help.
1. They are over it. Whoever broke up with you is not sitting around thinking about you and what you’re going through. They’re probably not thinking about you at all. They’re thinking about other things, like, what they’re going to have for lunch, or what funny animal videos are on line, or what work they have to do to keep their job. Those are all fine things to think about. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Move on.
2. Affirmations: Not just for weirdos. Every time your ex comes into your head, go somewhere private, look into a mirror and tell yourself to stop it. Come up with a comforting mantra and live it: “It’s OK, it hurts a teeny little bit now, but it will go away.” It works for Stuart Smalley. Jim Carrey, Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith are also fans of self big-ups.
3. Pick a date in the distant future. Time is the greatest healer. Feeling totes bummed? Select a date in the future from 3-30 days. Try to promise yourself not to think about your break up until that date. If it comes into your head, just think about your end date instead. When you get to the date, go on, revisit your break up all you want to, but betcha you won’t want to anymore.
4. Get a friend. If you have a buddy who will listen to you, designate them as your personal boo hoo therapist. Just like AA peeps have someone they can call when they’re thinking about drinking, this will be who you will call if you’re thinking about thinking. Have them set a 5-10 minute mental bell, rant and rave all you can in that time, then hang up and go back to your life. Do this no more than 3x / week.
5. Run. Working out is a great painkiller. In addition to being legal and easy to score, it actually releases endorphins to give you lots of happy time feelings. Plus, there is a metaphor in there somewhere about running away from your problems. At the end of a workout, you will feel better about yourself and the healing process for your emotional boo boos will be in full swing.
6. Talk to mom or dad. Ultimately, their job is to coach you through the hardships of life, right? It’s really not your friend’s job, though if you have a good friend who will listen, you’re a lucky duck. Plus, your mom and dad love when you call, and you probably don’t call them enough. Go on, tell on that mean jerk to your parents. It will make you feel better, promise.
7. Write that jerk a mean letter. Maybe that spineless weasel text dumped you, or just didn’t contact you ever again, or cheated on you or was actually really great to you but you guys just didn’t work out for whatever reason, but you still can’t help but feel bummed. Write them a letter that they’ll never read. Let me repeat that last part, “they’ll never read”. Don’t send it to them, don’t email it to them, and don’t have it messengered or delivered. DON’T. It will make you feel so dumb later. Put all your feelings into it. Get sappy. Cry on it and circle the tear drops. Kiss the bottom with lipstick. Burn it like a witch. Do whatever you gotta do. Just write it, then forget about that turkey.
8. Delete your ex’s phone number from your cell phone. Oh, no, you memorized it? WHY DID YOU DO THAT??? That’s the beauty of a cellphone. It remembers things for you. Don’t memorize phone numbers so that you can later delete them, completely cutting people out of your life for goodsies.
9. Go do stuff. Yes, it may feel better to just lurk around your room, stalk your own memories, listen to sad music and drink wine or eat something comforting, and that’s OK to do for a little while, but it’s best you get out there and do things. You don’t pay rent/mortgage so that you can stay in your house. You pay it so that you’ll have a home to come to after the fun is done. See something new. Get new stimuli into your brain. Pick up any newspaper and peruse the events section. I don’t recommend comedy — comedians are very sad people and might remind you that you’re deep in a pool of mournfulness. But anything else is good! Music, a movie, hell even the holocaust museum is better than staring at the sad wall. Whatever you do, do NOT simply “accept that you have emotions and then fall into them.” That’s terrible advice.
10. Don’t compare yourself to your grandparents/parents/neighbors/old couple across the hallway. They grew up with a different set of rules and life events. There is a lot of debate about whether the nuclear family even works. Just look for reasons to be happy. There are a lot of them. Some people don’t do marriage or long term relationships. No big deal. If you think there’s someone out there for you, there probably is. So, go about your daily life and stop looking but don’t lose hope. Just chin up, butterfly. Breakin’ up is hard to do, but there is an end in sight.