Take all the time you need and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
There is a scene very early in season one of Sex and The City where Miranda tells Carrie that the rules of a breakup are as follows: You have half the time of how long the relationship lasted to get over it. Meaning, if you were in a relationship for a year, you have six months to get over it; if you were in the relationship for two months, you have one month to move on.
I often think about this scene when I’m giving my friends advice after a breakup. I used to follow Miranda’s mantra very closely in my early twenties. I assumed the gospel of SATC was without fault; it was gospel.
As I’ve gotten older and gone through many a messy, dismal, hellish breakup, as well as guided my wayward girlfriends through a slew of miserable relationship disasters, I’ve learned that Miranda’s advice could not be more false. If anything, putting a timeframe on the allotted period one has when getting over a breakup only adds more pressure and therefore, makes it harder to move on in any real way.
There is no timeline on getting over a breakup and it is high time we all accept that. Here's what you need to remember.
1. We need to acknowledge our feelings.
I recently discussed the importance of acknowledging one’s feeling on an episode of my podcast, as it pertains to breakups. We need to learn to approach ourselves with empathy.
So often we push our feelings away. We live in a society where being numb to emotion is considered “cool and sexy.” We’re focused on being the “cool girl,” a girl who doesn’t have a complicated mindset or emotional spectrum, and instead just wants to play pool and listen to Led Zeppelin.
If we have emotions, we’re crazy. We’re not “fun” if we are sad. This is a damaging and depressing way to think about relationships and ourselves. To move on from a breakup, you have to acknowledge your sadness. It doesn’t matter if you were in a relationship for three years or three months, rejection f*cking sucks. We want to be loved and having something taken away that we thought had potential hurts.
The first step to getting over a breakup is admitting you’re hurting. You can’t let go of your sadness if you don’t even accept that it’s there. Pushing it down where you can’t see it doesn’t make it go away, it just forces it under the surface, leaving it to fester and eventually explode.
2. Partying away the hurt doesn’t help.
To say that raging away your sadness doesn’t work is too simple and explanation. When you’re sad, sometimes getting wasted and having fun does make us feel better, but only temporarily.
Getting drunk, having casual sex with strangers, and making reckless decisions makes us feel alive in the moment, but in the end, it will just make you feel sh*tter. You must allow yourself to grieve a breakup like you would any other loss. You have to give yourself that.
Your logical brain can tell you there is no way you should be upset over some loser who dumped you, but our hearts don’t follow the logical brain. Accept yourself and give yourself time to grieve — as much time as you need.
3. Stop listening to bullsh*t advice.
The first place we run when we’re broken up with is to our girlfriends. We try to take their advice, scroll through Tinder, take tequila shots, and insist everything is fine.
Your friends say, “He was a scrub, now move on!” As if that is all it takes. Poof! You’re supposed to be over it. “You weren’t even together that long!” they tell you, as if that will make you feel better; as if negative reinforcement and the validation that your feelings are worthless is going to make you all better, just like that.
Nope. That is not how it works. Stop taking advice from people who have no f*cking idea what they are talking about. Don’t listen to your girlfriends. Don’t set unrealistic expectations that make you feel like sh*t when you can’t accomplish them.
4. Every relationship is a learning experience, so let yourself learn.
Expecting to get over someone in 24 hours and hop into a new relationship is ridiculous. Stepping onto the rebound track is a surefire way to confuse you and hurt someone else.
So, stay the hell out of the dating game for a while. Rebounds are toxic. Delete the dating apps and take some time for yourself. Don’t stress about “being alone forever.” Don’t listen to that bullsh*t advice from your mom gives you about how you need to find someone or you’ll “wind up a spinster.”
That is complete bullsh*t. The path to getting over a breakup starts by looking inward. You can’t get over someone by putting a band-aid over your shattered heart and trying to pretend everything is OK.
If months and months have passed and you’re really worried that you’ll never get over this, stop beating yourself up. You need to create your own timeline, do some self-reflecting, and learn from this experience.
Don't f*ck yourself up by lamenting over what a waste of time this relationship was. That is the kiss of death. Absolutely NOTHING is a waste of time. We are the culmination of our many, messed up, tragic, disastrous, wonderful, fabulous experiences. Human beings are walking baggage.
If you take the time to internalize the lessons that your previous relationships have taught you, you can move into the next feeling confident and strong. Baggage isn’t bad; baggage makes us stronger.