How to cope with a break-up

Rothko, No 14

Rothko, No 14

i’ve had the good fortune to enjoy many breakups. many little ones, two not-so little ones and one whopper, which was particularly adventurous in its scope of pain.

eventually, you get the hang of them. the basic lay of the land so to speak: the shock, the realisation, the sad, the hoping period, the sad, the anger, the sad, the acceptance 1.1, the sad, the lonely, the acceptance 1.2 ad infinitum (or until you get closure or get bored).

you know, the basic five steps of grief.

anyway. as i have nothing better to do and i should be writing my column but i’m not and i can’t sleep, i’ll give you my list of how to break up.

(this doesn’t really apply to the whopper break up/break down types…generally those require therapy. mine certainly did. oh, and wine. and drugs hugs. you’ll know it’s a whopper because you won’t be able to function or breathe properly for weeks.)

so, onward and upward my plums … something of a kinda serious / cosmo-esque, ten-step list:

Dot’s Fine Art of Breaking Up Without Breaking Down

  1. Do try to break up on a friday. it’ll ruin your weekend but at least you don’t have to leave your bed for two days
  2. Be the zen. You can’t argue your way into someone’s heart. If you’re not there, you’re not there. sucks. but there you go; accept it.
  3. Find a friend. The minute lover has left the building you follow suit. Go to a friend, preferably someone at home with booze, a big couch, a caring shoulder and an internet connection. This also refers to moving out of the apartment if you share and bunking with someone until you’re in a position to venture out by yourself.
  4. Delete all stalker material. Delete all contact details – including messages and call lists – take lover off facebook (mxit, myspace, whatever) and clear out your inbox, outbox, sent folder and trash. Be ruthless. If you need to read something to remember it, it wasn’t worth remembering. do this in the shock phase before you start thinking of trawling their fb wall or smsing weepy/angry/whiny/drunken messages.
  5. Switch your phone OFF. Eventually you’ll forget to check it every 2 minutes for the messages you should know are not going to come. Because it is over. O.V.E.R. Note, that this fixation with your phone signals the beginning of the hope phase. It starts approximately 40 minutes after lover has left the scene. awesome.
  6. Feel exactly how you’re feeling. Don’t expect to feel good. there will be a lot of bad feelings — the sooner you accept this and embrace them, the quicker you can move through it. denying the kak only prolongs it; worse, can shove it into that little dark space we call the subconscious, emerging later as a bigger, nastier turd to fuck up your next relationship.
  7. Don’t become an arsehole when you get the shot of pseudo-confidence every 20 hours or so; you know, the ‘fuck, yeah, whatever, i totally didn’t want that stupid fucking relationship anyway’. I mean, feel it, just don’t go shouting it all over the city and thumbing your nose at lover if you happen to see them. Because that only lasts for just under an hour and then you’re back to being a weepy sack of shit. Unless you hit the anger…
  8. Be the rage. Draw it out for as long as possible – as long as you’re doing something about it. this ‘something’ doesn’t involve self-harm, drinking or drugs. Doing something about it means writing your anger the fuck away or doing something physical like running or boxing. as far as possible don’t direct this at anyone while you’re in that space. you’re not out to hurt anyone, least of all yourself.
  9. Get the hugs. your peeps will be rallying to fill up your calendar. let them. every time you freak out about the one person that’s not loving you, think about your family and all your mates that are. they don’t do that for nothing. they do it cos you rock.
  10. Do the cocoon. Sleep/cry/write/cry/write bad, meepy poetry/watch happy (or sad) movies/cry as much you can. it gets the hours ticking by and it allows the dust to settle. at least for a while.
  11. Be thankful. Just think to yourself, gosh, lover loved me so much she/he ended this because she/he knew, somewhere in that sad pathetic loser wise mind of hers/his, that there’s someone way fuckin better for me. what a swell gal/guy.
  12. Don’t dialogue! dialoguing is what i call it when you do those imaginary convos in your head – it’s always destructive and negative and wastes time. hum if you must. write them down preferably. or better, take the convos to a counsellor.
the red tree by shaun tan, he's one of my most favourite illustrators

the red tree by shaun tan, he’s one of my most favourite illustrators