Breakup 101: Immediate Action

Welcome to the happiest week of blog content I have ever put forth: BREAKUP WEEK! Yaaaas queen we're about to get wrecked. I have not personally been through a break up in quite some time. Micro-breakups - a concept I have invented and will be exploring in due course - yes, but proper, earth shattering splits, nah buddy. I'm good. However, I am superhumanly emotional and introspective, terrible at truly letting go of things and incredibly fantastic at devising strategies for any and all eventualities in this crazy little game we call life, so we're in luck regardless.

Today's fun lovin' feature is a game plan for the first few reactionary steps one should take after a breakup - expected or surprise, breaker or breakee - to make the overall ongoing process a bit easier. We're talking literal moments post-split. Immediate response. You're probably crying a lot and that's fine, but you can multitask. I believe in you.


Remove all photos, drawings and other physical/visual reminders of your relationship.
Yes, you're probably going to be #triggered by everything from trees to your favourite condiments right now, but there's no reason to make things harder than they need to be. Unless you're dead inside, we're all guilty to some extent of creating a (hopefully unintentional) shrine to our own relationships. This is semi ok whilst the relationship is alive and well, but once it has drawn to a close the continued presence of said shrine becomes at best depressing and at worst a somewhat psychotic cry for help. Seriously though, this is the first thing I did literal minutes following my breakup and I would recommend you do the same, because the last thing you want when you're trying to feel better is the constant danger of looking in the wrong direction and seeing a polaroid of yall smiling at the Trevi Fountain. You don't need to throw these things away (wouldn't recommend throwing anything away in the heat of the moment, you might end up getting back together or wanting to make a commemorative breakup scrapbook), just put them in a box and then put that box in a closet you do not often open.

Unfollow and mute.
Get that bitch off ur socials. This is my number one rule of breakups, regardless of circumstance. There's no need to make it dramatic (trust me, even if you're the single most OTT individual on this earth and you, like me, live for the drama and the drama alone, this is the time to go low-key), but you do need to do it. I would personally suggest unfollowing on instagram, twitter and ESPECIALLY snapchat (way too easy to ruin your life in one slip of the finger with that bad boy), and muting them on facebook, so you can still be friends but you won't see them popping up. If you're feeling particularly traumatised, consider also muting mutual friends who are likely to post things you may not want to see until you feel slightly more stable. I have an entire video on how to use social media after a breakup, which I very much recommend you watch repeatedly throughout this trying time to deter yourself from any potentially life-ruining behaviour.

Leave your house ASAP.
You don’t have to STAY busy after this, but I would suggest getting out and seeing your friends as soon as possible after the actual event so you don’t trap yourself in a cave of emotion. It’s nice to remind yourself there are other people in your life (and in the world) and that you’re still capable of doing things. Restore a bit of normalcy. After that you can lock yourself away and cry.

Cleanse.
Shower. Wash your hair. Clean your room. Air it out. Change your sheets. Light candles that preferably don't evoke a strong sensory memory of your (now) ex (I'm sorry but ur gonna have to get used to that term hashtag retrospective trigger warning). Physically cleanse yourself, your environment and your energy of any traces of the past. Bust out the sage if you have to.

Initiate the No Contact Rule. 
More on this tomorrow, but basically:
Do NOT contact them.
Do NOT tweet about it.
Do NOT take any kind of direct or public action because trust me you will regret it.
There was a phase after my breakup when I was actually considering making a video about it (not in a bitter way, just a really fuckin depressing one) and boy oh boy golly gee ma'am am I glad I did not do that. In a post-breakup landscape, less is 100% more on almost every level. Vent as much as you like to your friends, but when it comes to your ex, their friends and the public, zip ya lip sweaty.

Cry your frickin heart out.
Whenever you feel like you need to cry, just do it. Sob on your floor. Scream into a pillow. Weep at your mother. Shed a tear or two watching Frozen with your dog. Crying is cathartic, and if you do it hard enough you might end up exhausting yourself to the point where you fall asleep, so win win, really. Feel what you're feeling. Try not to do it in public, but a tactical bathroom sob is A-OK.

Don't expect yourself to cope in any specific way.
Some days you may want to go out and distract yourself, others you may genuinely just need to cry by yourself and wallow for a bit. Go easy on yourself and let yourself deal with things however you feel is best as the time. Unless it involves any of the things I mentioned specifically not doing, then remember your breakup brain is mildly unhinged and employ a little bit of logic.

Write a list of positive things you have to look forward to.
They might be things you categorically couldn't do before (if your relationship was healthy it probably wasn't stopping you from doing much, but I specifically remember being like "I guess I can date a bunch of different stereotypes for shits & gigs now", so there's always something), or they could just be things you let slip and didn't prioritise while you were in a relationship. They can also be existing events that are unaffected by the break up, although that can be a bit tough if it's something you were meant to do together.

Pick one thing that reminds you of your ex that you don't want to be ruined forever and watch/listen to it immediately.
This works better in some cases than others, so you'll have to approach with caution. I couldn't listen to the 1975 for months after my breakup, but I intentionally watched Frozen the day after the event and effectively desensitised myself to it, thus saving the day. Breaking the connection sooner rather than later is definitely the way to go, because right now you're already feeling terrible so it won't make that much of a difference, as opposed to a couple of months down the line when you're generally feeling fine until you see a gif of something you used to watch together and then cry so hard you almost throw up. Ya know?

Another example of this concept is the fact I refused to put my build-a-bears in the sadness closet with the rest of my physical reminders. They remained in place on my bed, and after a gut-wrenching heart-to-heart re: where their father had gone, all was well.
If you're normal you probably won't need to do that.

Accept that you're allowed to want to get back together.
You don't have to completely crush all hope of that happening, you just need to make sure you're not relying on it. A little bit of hope can motivate you to move in a positive direction, as long as you're not setting yourself up for more heartbreak later on.

Material distractions. 
Buy yourself a new candle, a new book, some magazines and at least one new item of clothing that makes you feel like you might not cry whilst wearing it. I find bribing myself with material possessions works for almost anything, which says a lot about who I am as a person, and it also really helps to just gently usher in a new era of your life in a comfortingly escapist fashion.

Resist the urge to do anything dramatic or drastic.
ESPECIALLY TO YOUR HAIR. DO NOT DO ANYTHING TO YOUR HAIR FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SAD AND ALSO HAVE AN UGLY FRINGE AND/OR SHAVED SIDES LIKE SKRILLEX.

Make a concrete future plan.
I tend to book international trips when I am going through emotional turmoil, but would also settle for a low-key weekend away. I don't really know what kind of plans normal people make. Concerts? Day spas are great. Hit up a massage & facial combo. Even if it's just a day trip with friends, having something new to look forward to is essential in order to create a sense of forward momentum and guarantee there's a point at which no matter what you'll have to wrench yourself from your wallowing hole and rejoin society.

So those are my handy hints for immediate action post-breakup. After this series of emotional bandaids comes the long-haul rebuilding stage, but we'll get to that later on in the week. For now faretheewell, best wishes and a very happy sadness to ye.
x0x0

3 comments

  1. I think making future plans is so important! It gives you something to look forward to and prepare for, and in turn distracts you from feeling (too) sad!

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