Amelia Olson
September 23, 2014 7:59 am

Breaking up does to a heart what no sunlight does to flowers. One of my hardest breakups left me blue for what felt like at least a year. The aftermath of an otherwise sweet love was confusing, painful, and ugly. Watching my ex slowly remove all the traces of himself from our formerly shared house was like hiking a mountain with a broken ankle and no compass. I knew the breakup was the right thing to do, but still, it was hard to find any good in something that ultimately made me miserably sad and lonely.

Slowly I started building my heart back up. First with joining a karate dojo. (Have you done that? Oh, you really, really should.) Then I started running, pitifully, but running nonetheless. I also drank boxed wine with my best friend and watched every episode of Taboo Sex, which oddly soothed my broken heart.

Eventually, I started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and began appreciating my newfound time alone. Like, really appreciating it. It turns out, there are lots of perks to independence that you totally forget about when you’re first mourning the end of a relationship. It might take a while to get there, but here are a few things that are actually kind of great, and worth celebrating about breaking up.

1. Nobody tells you what to watch (or not watch) anymore

You don’t like Dawson’s Creek? Oh, ok. Doesn’t matter. Remember all those arguments over what to watch on Netflix? Or how after nearly an hour of browsing, you still couldn’t decide what you both were interested in? Doesn’t matter now! You can watch whatever you want. You can watch half an episode of a show you decide midway through that you don’t like it and watch something different. No one will be annoyed, no one will pitch an argument for why the movie you chose wasn’t good. You can binge on whatever you please, worry-free!

2. You get to hang out with only the people you actually like 

Even if your ex had great friends, there was still probably someone in the mix that you really didn’t like being around. I had an ex-boyfriend who had a friend that was so incredibly loud and crude. He mistook brashness for humor, and it drove me crazy the e-n-t-i-r-e relationship. Guess what? We broke up and I never had to hang out with that dude ever again. For now, it’s just you and your chosen group of friends, LOLing, and the entire series of Gilmore Girls.

3. No more parking lot arguments

Somewhere, at this very moment, there is a couple in a Target parking lot arguing. About what? It doesn’t matter. But they’re there, awkwardly sitting in the car as moms and strollers pass their windows, sheepishly trying to periodically smile and act normal, knowing all the while that it’s about to get real. Now when you go to Target, the only thing you have to worry about is avoiding the E.L.F. makeup display, because c’mon, $3 eye shadow is so hard to resist!

4. You get to decorate everything the way you want 

You know that giant oil painting of the sad Scandinavian-looking girl who is carrying a basket of puppies, the one your ex hated so much? Now you can put it above your freaking bed if you want to! Living with a partner requires a lot of aesthetic negotiation, which you no longer have to partake in. Get it, girl! Put that picture of Elvis Presley on your nightstand. Leave your messy clothes from last week on the bathroom floor! Who cares about that stack of dishes?! You can do what you want!

5. You can date everyone ever now, free of obligation or commitment 

When you feel ready, please, by all means, date every person ever. Learn what type of person you do and don’t want to commit to next time. Go on dates with people outside of your “type.” You owe nothing to someone you’ve just met. You can enjoy yourself and explore your sexuality and independence. This is a great time for you, and always remember, you are in charge of how you spend your time, how you share your body and how you choose to be happy!

It’s gonna be alright, I promise. Now go watch whatever you want in your awesome, newly-decorated apartment and just be.

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