How to Survive a Breakup, Big Girl Style.

The strangest part about being someone who regularly writes about relationships is that people actually assume you know stuff about relationships. (Really, it’s like the blind leading the blind here. I thought that was painfully obvious?)

So, when someone asked me this summer “What are your tips for getting over a bad breakup?” I actually had to think about it. I tried to think back to the last time I broke up with someone (6 months before my 25th birthday) and what I had done to move forward. I had visions of dramatic hair style changes, lots of vodka, weekend benders, random make-out sessions and long days spent laying out in the sun by my apartment complex’s pool. Oh, did I mention vodka?

Now that I’m actually in this exact predicament, I still don’t have any concrete answers. In the past, the guys I dated usually did me a solid and broke up with me or made it incredibly easy for me to walk away from them by doing something horrible like sleeping with another girl or peeing in my friend’s car… or something else that was so ridiculous, so atrocious my only option was to say “I’d be fucking insane to stick around for any more of this shit!” before fleeing the scene. Until a month and a half ago, I’ve never had to break up with someone that I loved, who I had a life with for 6 years, someone who is one of the good guys. I’ve never broken up with someone not because of some horrible reason but instead, simply because I knew deep down it was the right thing to do for both of us. I’ve never had to move out of my home I built with someone else and start over. Up until about 4 years ago I had never even lived with a man. I’ve never had to do any of these things and doing it all has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Everything just feels different now.

I haven’t gone out and purchased manic panic hair dye, or gone on a bender where I drank so much that I’ve thrown up in my co-worker’s sink. I have no desire to do any of these things… and thank god! The cast of Jersey Shore has already fulfilled the world quota of highly functioning alcoholics with bad hair. The reason everything feels so different is because for the first time, I am experiencing the aftermath of a break-up as an actual adult.

I’m still figuring this all out but here is a short list of some things that have helped me (as told through photos of Betty Draper)

1. Let yourself feel it. If you’re feeling sad, angry, lost – allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. Acknowledge it, have your moment & then move on. Everything you are feeling at this moment will in time pass.

Even Betty Draper is a hot mess sometimes.

2. Spend time with friends! This has always been a big thing for me. I’m really lucky that my best friend lives here and we’ve been able to hang out lots since I’ve been home. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. However, a few weeks ago when she wasn’t around, I started to feel lonely. I’m actually proud of myself – instead of moping, I reached out to a bunch of people I used to go to school with. I’ve been catching up with people I haven’t hung out with in years and it’s been really great. My social life is actually quite busy right now….in my hometown…who would have thought.

Friends and booze. Let's go with that.

3. Go to counseling. I started seeing a counselor a few weeks ago and it’s SERIOUSLY THE BEST THING EVER. It’s really nice to sit down and talk to someone about your life without any judgment. My friends are wonderful but sometimes you need someone who doesn’t know you to call you on your shit. I just started going but I already feel a lot calmer.

Therapy. Luckily, times have changed and going to see a misogynist prick who tells all your secrets to your husband is no longer your only option. My therapist is nice and she's a woman.

4. Take Care of yourself. In the past I thought this just meant getting a hair-cut, a pedicure and buying a whole bunch of new underwear. Although all of those things are great and do help to a certain extent, it’s also important to do the big stuff. When I got to my Mom’s place my feet hurt, my back hurt, my teeth needed cleaning – my body was basically a mess. Now, most of my mornings start with some kind of doctor’s appointment. I’m finally doing all of those long overdue things. For the first time in a long time, my body isn’t in constant pain.

Putting on the Big Girl Panties. Conquering the world.

5. Spend time working on you. In addition to what I’ve mentioned above, I’ve also made a huge to-do list of everything I want to accomplish from now through to January. I’ve divided it into three sections body/mind, career & personal development. I’ve already crossed off a few of the items which makes me feel really good. At the end of the week instead of taking stock of everything I didn’t do, I write a list of all the good things that happened during the week. The list is always longer than I expect it will be (and no, my therapist didn’t suggest I do this – I actually came up with this on my own.)

Personal development. It's a good thing.

6. Allow yourself to do that “One Crazy Thing.” When my room-mate separated from her husband she purchased a brand new TV, another friend booked a crazy all-inclusive tropical vacation, some people get botox. I haven’t done any of these things. Since everything has happened, I’ve got a haircut and bought two shirts – things I would have done anyways. Total damage: $150 tops. Not exactly crazy. I keep waiting for my “crazy moment.” It finally happened on Friday night. I went with my parents to my Dad’s friend’s place to hang out with a couple of their old friends from university. We had BC Salmon, BC Wine and (in true BC fashion) for dessert my Dad’s friend brought out a fat joint of BC Weed.

“It’s government issued. Medical grade. Want some?”

This scenario really isn’t that unusual. Growing up, there was always someone you knew whose parents had a stash of “Dad’s Surfer Weed”. It’s practically like having a wine cellar on the West Coast. My parents both declined the joint as it was being passed around. When the joint reached me, I looked at both of my parents and said,

“What the hell!”

I inhaled deeply and after years of not doing this, it actually felt kind of nice in the moment.  To just say “fuck it” and do something anyways even if it’s a bit crazy.When we got in the car to go home, I said to my Dad:

“I know you probably didn’t want to see me do that but I’m 31 and going through big life changes…it’s about time I did something weird. Now I can say that I have”

“Are you stoned? Was the weed… uh, good?”

“I’m fine Dad. Let’s just go home”

“OK”

It's OK to go a little crazy....just maybe not this brand of crazy.

(Even though my parents didn’t indulge, I think my Dad caught a bit of a contact high. I haven’t seen him laugh like he did on Friday…in years. I think that was my favorite part of the whole night)

My life is not all sunshine & rainbows & getting massages while listening to new-age music – I’ve also had my share of moments where everything just feels uncertain. All I’m saying is that doing these things have helped me – even if it was just to be able to simultaneously add and cross off “smoke pot with my parents” to my life list.

What helps you get through a break-up?

  • I love this post. Well said, well written. And since you are in the hometown, we should get together for a drink or some BC weed 🙂

    • Skinny Dip

      Thanks Heather! I think I’ve had my fill of BC weed for now but I would love to get a drink 🙂

      • Haha, let’s do it over the holidays! Maybe you, me, Kate and Trevor Bowes!

        • Skinny Dip

          I like the sound of that 🙂

  • I can’t even begin to pretend that I know how to deal with a break-up. I have never been through a real adult break-up when there were so many things on the line. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I doubt all the right thing will make the pain go away but I am sure it will help. Hang in there.

  • This must be my fave post by you so far! Fabulous and such great advice (and giggles via the Betty Draper scenarios!). I’d say the thing that helps me get over a break-up is knowing that time will make all the hurt pass. So cliche’, but it’s also so bloody true! The hard part is finding ways to make that bastard time go by as fast as freaking possible! Friends that you haven’t seen in a while are great for this, as they tend to take you back to different times when HE or SHE weren’t even in the picture!

    Can’t wait for your next post!
    xo Cristina

  • So good.

    • Skinny Dip

      Thanks Almie <3

  • I really enjoyed this post. It made a lot of sense. Thanks.

    • Skinny Dip

      Thanks Roxanne! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • Excellent post. Being as I just did the first real adult break-up over a year and a half ago this post really spoke to me. Everything you listed is all things that I did too. Cheers to the therapist, TOTALLY worth the money and time. Good luck and I’m glad to know you’re looking after yourself.

  • I hate that this is something I need to follow right now. Hate times a million. I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking maybe 3 and 6 are needed, since I haven’t let myself think I should/could.

    You did great with this.

    • Skinny Dip

      Thanks Kanriah – I’m glad you could relate to this, although also sad about what you’re going through. These things are never easy 🙁

      I fully stand by #3. It’s helped me feel a lot more calm by helping me put things into perspective/solve my problems on my own. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding someone that you can connect with. Also, sometimes it takes more than one session to click with someone.

  • You covered it. Right on.

    You shouldn’t try and force yourself to feel happy when you don’t, but you do need to take steps to ensure you move on when you’re ready, that you’re not doing something to drag yourself back down. There *is* some work involved – hanging out with friends, taking care of yourself, seeing a counselor, etc, all help.

    Only thing I’d add? Do some deleting if necessary. Get rid (at least for the time being) of FB contacts, phone numbers, etc if you find yourself stalking away. I know I’ve had to do that in the past. If you think you’ll be friends with an ex one day, but find yourself wanting to text them after a glass or three, have a friend write down their number and keep it for you, and delete it from your phone. You can always re-add peeps in FB later.

    • Skinny Dip

      I agree – you shouldn’t force yourself to be happy and it *does* take work – you can’t just expect everything to just go away without you working through it.

      Although it doesn’t really apply to my situation, I think your second point is a really good one. It’s better to just delete (out of sight out of mind?) than to torture yourself with the temptation to stalk.

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  • This is an absolutely great list. I swear I am bookmarking it for future reference (I may need it very soon unfortunately but I am putting it off because I am in denial, which is another story entirely). Your smoking weed with your parents? Amazing (in an “I can’t believe you did that, it is bad-ass/hilarious kind of way). Hope you are doing better!! 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks TG! I’m doing pretty good 🙂

      I’m glad you liked my list but sad that you might have to use it. These things are so hard. Sometimes it takes awhile to make major changes because they are really scary. I’m sure you will figure out what you need to figure out *hugs*

      Haha, I’m still in awe that I did that in front of my parents but strangely proud of myself 😉

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  • City Girl

    Remembered reading this post before I RTed it. Great tips, girl!!! xoxo

    • Anonymous

      Thanks City Girl!

  • Nice post. ♥

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!

  • kmg

    I am feeling this post so hard right now- ending a relationship where one person hasn’t screwed the other over somehow.  It’s more painful than I anticipated, but I think your advice is dead on.