Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask Neil Sedaka. Or me, for that matter, having just gone through a particularly difficult breakup myself a few months ago. And it was difficult. Rough on the eyes, trying on the throat, and hard on the heart. Breakups always are – regardless of who breaks up with whom, especially if you really loved the other person, and still do. Because people are good people, y’know?
The hardest part, of course, is when you want to remain friends afterward. Which, of course, I do, because, you see, I’m a big believer in STAYING FRIENDS. I know a lot of people don’t believe that it can truly be done, but I assure you, from firsthand experience, that it can be done. It can, dammit.
But first, you need time and space to get over the relationship and the breakup. This is a very important step, my friends. I didn’t know just how very important until a few months ago. Suffice it to say that mistakes were made. So to make things simpler for all present and future sufferers of breakups, here’s a list of four things NOT to do while trying to get over a breakup.
1. DO NOT think you’re over it when you’re not actually over it
So this is a pretty basic first step – knowing yourself. And it seems fairly simple, right? Well, it’s not. Your emotions are working overtime right now, which means the treacherous, sneaky ones are also wired to the teeth for action, skulking around in the shadows of your brain, waiting for the chance to break free from the shackles of rationality and wreak havoc in your skull. I totally thought I was over my breakup a week after it happened. I was convinced that I was fine. But it’s only now – months later – that I feel like I really am truly getting over it, finally. So give yourself time, and if you’re not entirely sure if you’re over it, err on the side of caution and do not try to resume your friendship right away. Which brings me to my second piece of advice.
2. DO NOT try to resume your friendship right away
Don’t worry about your friendship right now – if it’s worth anything significant in the first place, it’ll keep. Right now, what you need is space and time, so stay far, far away from him. To force hang outs, study sessions, or whatever other contrivances you come up with so you can spend time with him is to do your future friendship a disservice. Fresh wounds can’t heal properly if you keep scratching and rubbing at it every five minutes; the sooner and longer you leave it alone, the sooner a scab will form for you to pick off when it’s ready to be picked off, revealing the pink, soft new skin underneath. Ok so that’s kind of a gross analogy. But it works.
3. DO NOT stalk him with all the various technologies we now have at our disposal to stalk people with
Facebook. Twitter. Wordpress. Tumblr. Blogger. Google +. Whatever else people use to surreptitiously moniter each other’s thoughts, faces, and actions these days. Don’t. Don’t type his name into the search bar, or if you know you won’t be able to stop yourself in those moments of soul-crushing weakness, then delete him off of your lists. You can always add him again later, when you’re back to feeling right as rain. In the meantime, don’t click through his facebook pictures, don’t read what people write on his wall, or what he writes on other people’s walls, don’t chuckle at his witty little tweets, don’t reminese over the two Google + updates he made back in June, and don’t read his blog. There are plenty of other interesting people out there for you to click, read, chuckle, reminese about. Go look at them. His life, for the time being, is no longer relevant with yours, and who he’s hanging out with, or flirting with, or chatting with, or eating with, or joking with is no concern to you. So don’t stalk! Stalking bad!
4. DO NOT second guess yourself
I do this all the time, especially when it comes to big decisions involving other people. There are too many possibilities, too many options, too many what if’s that can go sprinting through one’s head. And after suffering much pain, turmoil, regret, and general wishy-washiness over this terrible habit, I’ve finally decided that maybe the best thing for most people to do when it comes to life decision is just to follow the basic principle of Occam’s razor. (Unless you’re a tinker tailor soldier spy – in which case, second, third, and fourth guess away.) In general, if you feel like breaking up, or if you are broken up, then there’s probably a good reason why it’s happening. Maybe the specifics aren’t perfectly understood by either of you, but maybe you don’t need to understand all of the specifics to know that something is wrong; most likely, you don’t. So don’t second guess yourself. It’s simple: if it works, it will, and if it doesn’t, then it won’t.
By Helen Zou