Nursing a broken heart is a difficult but inevitable challenge. Some cope through the use of drugs, alcohol, destructive behavior, or even suicide, but there are good and healthy ways to deal with a breakup. Sure, she’s perfect and irreplaceable (now), but you will soon make it to a new and brighter day.
1. Cocoon for a little while.
There’s nothing wrong with going underground for a day or two — maybe two-and-a-half days if it was a long-term love and a difficult breakup. Be alone, grieve, cry a few man tears. But don’t fill your time with fist banging, too many beers or self-pity.
Denial is typically the first stage of grief, so take some time to deal with the reality of it. Is it really over, once and for all? If the answer is yes, then start a plan for moving on. If you’re not sure, then figure it out.
On day two, you have to answer calls from friends and family. They’re worried. They need to know you didn’t hang yourself from the ceiling fan. You don’t have to go out with them this time, but it’s not a bad idea if you’re up to it.
If it’s really over, then the sooner you quit denying it, the better. “Hi. My name is Joe, and I’m broken up.” Say it in the mirror. Admitting to your situation is the first step to healing and acceptance.
2. Get mad.
You don’t want to be alone for phase two. The stinging kiss from the cold, wet fist of fate left you reeling and unsure of what was really happening. Now it’s time to get together with your best friend or confidant and talk about it.
It’s important to let it all out. You’re mad at her for not understanding. You’re mad at yourself for screwing up too many times. You’re mad that you can’t take back that one day or date or hurtful phrase that turned the world upside down.
Of course, this has to be a controlled anger, but you have to purge your soul. Your friend is there to support you. He or she will be on your side. They will tell you that you were a jerk, but now you will know better next time. Or they will tell you that she wasn’t good enough for you and you deserve a lot better.
Just lay the pieces of your heart on the table, ragged edges and all, and let the pain out. Then let your support system massage it so that it starts to feel better.
When you are in the earlier stages of recovering,
it’s still OK to have some “mini dates,” as
long as your dates understand your situation.
3. Win her back?
The next step is bargaining. You still wander in and out of denial and anger, and you still have to know for sure if it’s over. If you are going to beg and grovel to see if she will take you back, then wait until your head is clear and all of the tearful slobbering is out of the way.
Get up fresh, do a few pushups, shower, dress up nicely and go to a coffee house or restaurant to call her. Don’t let her picture you in bed in your undies with your mascara running. If she answers, just try to get her to sit down for a post-mortem over a cup of coffee so you can have closure. Text if she doesn’t answer.
Any appeals for salvation should be made face to face, mind to mind, and in the sobering light of day. The suave, slithering, sensual effort to win her back with your physical charm will just make you seem needy and sleazy.
If she’s moved on, then you will have to move on, too.
4. Paint the town.
Before you can really accept your loss, you will fall into a feeling of despair and depression. This can be the most difficult and dangerous time in your healing process. The only way to combat it is to be ready for it and better than it.
When the Royal Wedding was going on last year, it was hard to avoid the specials on Kate Middleton, especially if your wife wouldn’t let go of the remote. Well, there was a time when Prince William had broken up with her. Rather than become a shrinking violet, this strong young woman put on her sexiest dress and her most winning smile and was seen around all of the nightspots dancing and having the time of her life.
Of course, William saw the folly of his ways and won her back, but that’s not the point. The cure for depression is (duh) happiness. Slay the beast of despair by having fun. Get back together with the gang, wear your best clothes, get your hair styled and charge back at life.
It’s a fact that smiling actually makes you feel happier. Pick a few endorphin-releasing activities and live life like you’ve never lived it before. Jump out of an airplane (with a parachute), go water skiing, jog a couple of miles, and go out with your friends and paint the town red.
5. Moving on…
Gene Pitney said it best with his love song back in the 60s: “Only love can break a heart; only love can mend it again.” If you have been taking a healthy path to recovery, you’ll know when the time is right to focus your attention on a new woman.
No doubt, the news of your availability on the market will bring out some young lovelies who are dying for some of your attention. If you jump in with both feet (and no pants) too soon, you run the risk of experiencing her charms in the diminished capacity of a rebound fling, which is not fair to her or to you.
When you are in the earlier stages of recovering, it’s still OK to have some “mini dates,” as long as your dates understand your situation. It can help your process and even speed things up to know that life still has much to offer you. Just take your time, be smart, choose well, and don’t make the same mistakes you made last time.