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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Lapierre

How to Survive a Heartache



A couple not getting along

"I can't do this anymore."

"It's not you, it's me."

"We need to talk."


Ugh. We all know what's coming when our significant other utters phrases like these. Breakups suck. We've all been through it. Some are devastating, and while it's awful to be on either side, it certainly harder to be the dumpee than the dumper. The pain, frustration, sadness, shock, anxiety, nervousness, and depression can make you feel sick.


Over a decade now, I've been counseling people on getting through breakups. I've heard every breakup scenario under the Sun and I've had my fair share of them, too. Over the years, I've accrued some good tips on how to survive a heartache, so here they are, in no particular order.


A Little Help from My Friends.

Your most valuable resource right now is your friends. It is not the time to be alone for extended periods of time. Yes, you'll need some solo time to ponder, to cry, and even to grieve. If you shut yourself away, however, you will be prone to more depression and your breakup will seem all the worse. Get out there, be social, and live, even if you have to force yourself to do it. Know when to pick up the phone and tell your friend, I need to get out of the house, or let's take a little road trip this weekend. And since heartbreak happens to all of us, you'll most likely be able to return the favor in the future.


Get Out of Your Head.

Women tend to overanalyze our relationships and breakups. And we often think it was something we did or didn't do or said or didn't say or some sort of shortcoming of which we are unaware that resulted in him dumping us. Nope. Do not go there. Usually that's not the case, and even if it is, so what? It's not like you need to go around changing your intrinsic self in order to keep someone around who doesn't really want to be around in the first place. Most times, there was nothing that you could have done differently. And even if there was an alternative action that you could have taken or a better decision that you should have made, it's not like you can jump into the hot tub time machine and go back and change it. Asking yourself, "Why? Why? Why?" is only going to make you bananas. And for the love of God, don't drunk dial your ex and ask him or her the dreaded why why why. It's only going to be pathetic.


Be Kind to Yourself.

If you need to be a glutton, give yourself a timeline to suck down cigarettes or vodka or tiramisu or whatever your vice is, but really, try to cap it after a week or so. Overindulging is only going to make you feel worse and you will dislike yourself -- which is the exact opposite of what you want to feel post-breakup. If you can muster going for a jog, going to the gym, even going for a walk, try to do it. Exercise is proven to make ourselves feel better. It pumps up your endorphins, your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters. If you can force yourself to exercise even when you crave just crawling into a ball and hiding under the covers, you will be happier!


Try New Things.

Now that a relationship is no longer on your priority list, start doing things that you weren't doing before. Take a class, get a hobby, travel. You're likely to discover that as you get over the painful breakup, you'll discover a whole new side of yourself. Who knows, maybe you'll look back on this painful time as the unexpected catalyst that propelled you into the art school class, which opened up a new world of oil painting, where you met a new circle of contacts, one of whom introduced you to a gallery owner, who later invited you to hang a piece in a group show, and during the art show's opening you met that handsome stranger who you are now sharing a loft space with and who sexily introduces you at parties as "my lover."


The upside to your breakup – and yes, there is one – is that you will emerge stronger, having learned a thing or two, and be a more experienced, fully-formed person. Don’t look at the breakup as a failure. Instead, take the viewpoint that it provided you an opportunity to learn some valuable life  lessons which you can carry with you into your next relationship, which hopefully will be an even better one.


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