7 Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

7 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way: Breaking Up

Breaking up ranks right up there with moving as one of the most awful experiences we can through. After careful study of how I have coped with my own failed relationships, I present to you the top 7 lessons I have learned about breaking up

7. Facebook un-friend him. Do it right now. If you think, “We are totally cool and chill and it would be weird and dramatic to un-friend him” then you are sweet and wonderful but mistaken. Facebook is an un-natural, forced reminder of your ex’s existence that will turn you into a stalker. Soon you will fancy yourself a CSI style forensic scientist going through his latest photos looking for the hint of a new lady and trolling his status updates for evidence that he is thinking about you. Save yourself hours, if not weeks of your life, and un-friend him.

6. If you find yourself loitering on his block and looking up at the window of the apartment you used to share, ask yourself this: am I a crazy person? If the answer is “no” then you should leave immediately.

5. Do not listen to anything Fiona Apple. She will call to you like a siren’s song, urging you to wallow in the despair of your failed relationship and yet you must stay strong. No Fiona. Actually – you should also stay away from Beck’s Sea Change.

4. His boxers and band t-shirts are no longer suitable pajamas. Store them somewhere safe but out of sight so that in a year when you are dating someone else you can semi-weirdly start wearing them again. NOTE: This same rule does not apply to gifts and most certainly does NOT apply to the amazing Cleopatra style arm cuff he bought you from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nobody, not anybody, messes with my jewelry. And yes I did just slip into the first person.

3. Tell the critic in your mind to shut the eff up. That voice that’s asking, “Why didn’t you break up with him two years ago in Paris when he read your diary?” That voice that’s yelling, “How could you have said those horrible things to him when you got too drunk on your birthday and ended up belting the soundtrack of Stephen Sondheim’s Company while he fed you oatmeal?” Silence those negative thoughts being nice to yourself. Buy yourself that Frederic Fekkai hair conditioner, get a pedicure two weeks in a row and add on the ten minute foot rub, play hookie from work and take a hike, treat yourself like a princess because you are a princess and the universe is not respecting fact right now.

2. If you are in bed weeping, utterly drunk, clutching an over-sized coconut water and wishing he would just come over and watch Netflix, you need to remember that your sober self is a pretty smart cookie and she knew it was right for you to break up. Trust yourself, kiddo.

1. You might cry at work. You will definitely cry at a bar. You might send him an e-mail you regret. You will send him a drunk text. You will get weirdly boy crazy some moments dating just about anyone on OKCupid and then weirdly celibate at other times saying out loud that you are “done with dating” and “never want to get to know someone again. ” These moments, though painful and terrible, and even embarrassing, will pass. Given enough time they will even become funny and one day they will be great fodder for a column on breaking up.

Bonus Lesson: You don’t need to have a justification for breaking up. Just wanting to break up is enough of a reason to go.

Tell me what you have learned about breaking up in the comments or Tweet me. I wanna know!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656651364 Lee Beth Kilgore

    What about if you were the one broken up with? :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6308075 Carissa Duran

      I’m pretty sure all but #3 and #2 can apply equally well to both the person initiating the break up and the person broken up with. Good luck to you. Breakups suck, no matter which end you’re on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Lee- I think these tips can apply to anyone. Or at least I wrote them thinking of both sides for each tip. #2 can even apply if you are broken up with because a lady has to trust that everything is going to end up okay. xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6703855 Andrea De La Rosa

    Thanks for the tips! I actually don’t agree with number 5. I know many girls and women out there think it’s bad to cry and be alone for a while after a break up but it’s actually good. Sadness, although it is not a great feeling emotion, is just as valid an emotion as any other. It’s okay to be it when you feel it. How else are you going to move on? Pretending your relationship never happened won’t better prepare you for the next. Better to grieve it and not bring it with you to the next relationship.
    Beck’s Sea Change was my album for my first ever break up. I love the album even more now that it has meaning to me. Listening to album allowed me to make sense of my feelings since I had never felt that way before. It was also a reminder that millions of people out there have felt the same way I did. What’s the point in artists writing break up albums in the first place when we’re only going to listen to them when we’re happy, right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      I totally agree you have to feel the hurt! For me Fiona just brought me down too much! xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6308075 Carissa Duran

    Great article! Very accurate, in my humble opinion. #7, #3, #2, #1, and BONUS….totally on point in my personal experience.

    7. It’s been exactly one year since breaking up with my ex and we are STILL going through the break up phase…largely because we remained FB friends, which caused us to communicate too much and remain real friends and almost lovers.

    3. It took a year for me to finally say “I don’t want to be with you at this point in my life” which, I know, is still a little ambiguous and even misleading, but it’s the biggest step. I have no moved on to hanging out with friends and not just my ex on Google Hangouts.

    2. Self-doubt is probably the worst of it for me. What if I’m really supposed to be with him? What if there’s no one else? What if I die alone? I don’t know if this is the right decision…yuck. Painful questions, no good answer. I’m just ignoring them for now.

    1. Boy crazy doesn’t begin to cover it.

    Bonus: It just needed to be done. I’ll say this: the universe is funny and God has a plan, but if my ex is in my future, it’s definitely not the near future. I have no acceptable explanation for the breakup, except that I need it. Period.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Carissa! Girl, are you living in my brain?? I’ve had all of these exact same thoughts! For #2 – I found that being really, really nice to myself helped with the doubts. Like whenever I thought – “I’m never going to find someone I love” I would buy myself flowers or a fancy french candle. Eventually my room was full of little beautiful things that reminded me of how much I love myself. There is no better time to treat yo self. xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=631607583 Larah McKay

    Covered all bases girl, just one more to add…don’t ever go back!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Love that note tip, Larah. So hard though!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=569768140 Marc Allen Ortiz

    I’m an eighteen year old boy and boy, I wish this came out months earlier, the Fiona Apple thing hit way too close to home. Amazing article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Thank you for reading and for your generous comment. I know I feel better knowing other people can relate!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579971735 Verónica Vargas

    Also, we should stay away from all the songs ever made from Adele. I love her, but after a break up, we have to seriously avoid her.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Such a good point…love Adele but could not handle in a breakup context!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001395647671 Amadea Cortes

    I just broke up with my (ex) boyfriend a little less than a month ago. And you know what, finding online support was tough. I mean my friends and family, troopers that they are, came through. But online that slant almost always seemed to be he broke up with you, how to heal. What about those times when I broke up with him? You still need heal time, even if you were the one who called it off. So this article was a nice bit of support. Thank you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Hey Amadea, wow. Your note alone makes writing about my own break ups totally worth it. You’ve got TONS of support, lady! We’ve all been there. xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759294236 Gina Gomez

    awesome and hilarious advice …. i think everyone who is going through a breakup should know about the stages of grief. because quite frankly sometimes it feels like a death.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Such a good point! And maybe there are 12 steps to recovery? Thanks for reading, lady!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15917690 Rachel Nelson

    I think the best advice from my own experience would be to let yourself hate him. Even if you have to find reasons. Hate him good. Of course, I’m not saying to hurt him in anyway. That definitely helped me through it. It’s also time to empower yourself and claim all the amazing things you saw in him for yourself. They are there because you see them – you most likely have those same qualities within yourself, allow yourself to feel that!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000787306907 Tara Schuster

      Rachel, I think that is such good advice. You really have to let yourself feel everything and get mad/hate in order to move on. Or at least you do in my experience…also great point that getting mad doesn’t mean hurting another person. Thanks for reading, xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1576947673 Robyn Michelle

    Yes! delete him/her from Facebook, block them if you have no will power! Stop yourself from scouring through their friends pages of clues and hints as to what (or who) they are doing with their lives. I have been in the situation where I was at a good place and making great headway getting over an ex, then BAM, saw something that plummeted me what felt like 10 steps back. Back in our parents day, unless you ran into the person or asked mutual friends how they were, you were blissfully in the dark during the “getting over” them period. It’s better to be in the dark about the other’s life while you’re in the process of getting over them. If later in life when the healing and feelings are gone and you want to be cordial then revisit that avenue, but you gotta move on COMPLETELY before that can take place.

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