I don’t think anyone’s going to disagree with the statement that break-ups are pretty much the worst. Getting dumped sucks, particularly when it’s out of nowhere and suddenly you’re left with things like concert tickets to a band you don’t like, or scrambling for a date to a wedding. Your plans are a mess and your life has been turned upside down, and you got no say in the matter.
I don’t think doing the dumping is that much better, because the thing is, when you’re the dumper, there’s been no surprise, you were the one in control, and there’s this expectation that your mourning period will be minimal. Friends are immediately on your case to get back on the proverbial horse, to go out and meet people. Locking yourself in your room with DVDs and a box of Cheez Its is frowned upon. I think it’s become this way even for dumpees. No one wants to admit they’re hurting. Everyone wants to put on their game face and carry on with things.
I think it’s ridiculous. I’m not saying everyone going through a breakup needs to wear all black and mope around for months, but let’s all at least allow ourselves a week where inconsolable weeping at inopportune times is appropriate. Other things that are totally allowable:
Watching your favorite movie on repeat. I love the part in the pilot of New Girl where Jess is just like “I’m still a little emotional because of the breakup, so probably I´ll be watching Dirty Dancing six or seven times a day.” Go ahead, pick your movie of choice (mine is Waitress), and watch as many times as you need to.
Eat all of the carbs. I kind of adore the scene in Grey’s Anatomy after Addison and Derek have broken up, and Addison’s just sitting in a bar with a basket of muffins, eating them one by one. Breakups are the one time when no food should be off limits.
Not leaving your bed. I was never that into the whole ‘sorority’ concept, but I do appreciate living in a house full of girls who will bring you smoothies when you choose to stay in your room for a week watching soap operas, a la Elle in Legally Blonde.
Let person hygiene slide. Sometimes showering just feels like too much effort, and you end up like Robin, walking into McLaren’s looking like you haven’t washed your hair in a month.
Whine constantly to all of your friends. While going through a breakup, you’re allowed to act just like Aria on Pretty Little Liars, and think that your relationship is the most important thing in the entire universe, even when your friends are having actual problems, like having to constantly worry about getting murdered.
Travel. While we may not all have the budget to take Paris by storm as Blair and Serena do when they both find themselves single, breakups are a perfect time to run away from your problems for a bit and get a change of scenery.
What I’m saying basically is this: post-breakup, everyone is entitled to a week of moderately slovenly irresponsibility, no questions asked. A week is about it, because after that, people are going to start asking questions about why you’re showing up to work late wearing the same yoga pants as yesterday. (Also, you’re definitely going to want to start brushing your hair within a week because accidental dreadlocks are no fun.) But I think it’s sort of important to have your time of disgusting self indulgence. You’re going through a loss. You’re allowed to mourn it, and to spend a couple of days wallowing is to acknowledge that something bad happened, and start dealing with it, rather than sweeping your emotions under the rug. The latter, in the experience of both myself and my friends, only leads to some combination of worse emotional upheaval down the line, or to a tragic backslide involving 3am text messages to someone you broke up with for real reasons. The good news is, we get a finite number of breakups in life, so embrace them for what they are, then use them as a springboard to bigger and better things.