We have all read the blog post, Cosmo articles and watched Jennifer Anniston pie Vince Vaughn enough times to know what we should be doing after a break up. It’s all about the self care, loving ourselves, and time…always lots and lots of time. But let’s be honest, how often do we scour the internet for such advice only to completely ignore it and begin the slow and painful journey to post break up madness? Anyone? So rather than pretend to you that I follow a single piece of my own advice, here’s 5 things we (and me) actually do following a break up.
We Don’t Take Time
Time. No matter the circumstance, the size of the idiot you’ve just pied or the length of the relationship, we are always told, “You’ll feel so much better if you just give it time.” The problem is, we didn’t believe that statement when our Mum’s whispered it to heartbroken 12 year old us when Robbie left Take That, so we are certainly not going to believe it now. Because when your heart feels like it’s been punched out of your chest (and it’s difficult to breath without bursting into snotty tears), time, just isn’t going to hack it.
We’re millenials baby. We like quick fixes and Deliveroo dinners and spending the next few months feeling like our stomach now lives in our throat, is not the one. So we rush to make it better. We download Tinder, we hook up, we cover the scars with fake smiles and we try and be ‘A OK’ within a week. We get frustrated at ourselves for crying, or for feeling blue and we say to ourselves we can’t talk about it because we should be over it. We get scared of not moving on and of not finding something ‘better.’
We want to move on without really going through all that grief of feeling stuff. It’s not until 6 months later, when we’re on our 265th Tinder date, covered in the remnants of a streaky tan and glitter from that impromptu PR gig in Magaluf, when we realise; we probably should have just taken some time.
We Try and Get Their Attention
Don’t mind me, just over here perching on this balcony, bikini half way up my arse crack as I gaze hopefully into the distance looking at my bright future. Now let’s just refresh that Insta feed 100 times in the next hour to check if that one person you posted for has even seen it (not if the Instagram algorithm has anything to do with it they won’t, amiright?).
Whether we’re sharing inspirational quotes about fresh starts or ending every post with #bestlife, we’re kidding no-one but ourselves that we’re not out here to get our ex beau’s attention. Sure, distance makes the heart grow fonder but are you even experiencing a break up if you haven’t updated your Whatsapp profile picture 5 times in the last ten minutes?
Sure, them viewing our Snapchat story isn’t exactly them confessing their undying love for us, but it’s close enough.
We Stop Looking After Ourselves
Break ups in movies are either all sofas and litre tubs of ice cream or bathing in rose petal milk baths whilst sipping prosecco. Never has Cameron Diaz been dumped only for 3 hours later to be slumped in a Karaoke bar singing Akon’s ‘Lonely,’ necking a pint of Snake Bite and demanding a kebab.
Getting dumped, parting ways, or making ‘the right choice’ just isn’t easy. And whilst we know the ‘BEST’ advice recommends solid routines, juice cleanses and regular walks for Vitamin D, trying to look after yourself during a break up is hard work. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a win.
You know what you should be doing, sleep, rest, reflect and repeat. But down wine, hysterically cry, scoff KFC and repeat seems more of a realistic lifestyle choice.
We Don’t ‘Block and Delete’
A social media clearcut is highly recommended after a break up. The ex partner? Bye Bye. Their Aunt Teresa? Ta-ra. That little B&B where you had that couple’s retreat in 2014? See ya.
Every relationship expert will tell you after the love of your life is physically gone, you should probably rid them from your online life too. And yet here you are, 2am on a Sunday morning, examining one of their best mates Facebook uploads and querying if that arm around your ex partners hip is a man or a woman’s. You screenshot it and filter it through 5 different WhatsApp groups;
Does anyone think that looks like nail varnish on the hand on Gary’s hip?
You know you’re out of control and every new post and like and added ‘friend’ gives you sudden heart palpitations and a thick layer of underboss sweat, and yet, you can’t stop looking. It’s like picking the layer of a scab off slowly, it’s painful, you know it will scar and yet you keep on scratching.
We Don’t Stop Talking About Them
Talking is of course a good thing. We are encouraged to talk all the time. Reach out and talk they say, it will make you feel better. And of course, there is a certain truth to this. It offers us the time to process the pain and share our hurt and create elaborate plans for singledom. But what about when we don’t stop talking?
We pretend to invite our friends round for a cuppa, only to edge the exes name into the conversation sometime between the second or third Custard Cream. Like Miss Marple, hyped up on cream and sugar, we’re interrogating our mutual friends on shared dinner dates, and planned night outs. Dropping their name like a Z list celebrity, seeking any tiny bit of information which will tell us how they are, if they’re happy and the real question;
DO THEY STILL LOVE US?
And much like picking that scab, we keep on digging.
Breaking up is hard to do, and sometimes it’s a necessary evil and occasionally it’s the best thing we’ve ever done with our lives. But doing a ‘break up’ right is never easy. For all the advice and guidance we are given, a little self destruction is inevitable. Sometimes it will be all ‘fresh starts’ and positive mental attitudes and occasionally it will be crying on the kitchen floor about half a bottle of ketchup they left in the cupboard.