I haven't written anything for CoN in a long time, so I suppose that if my last article was about the happiness Internet dating had brought me, it's only fitting that my next should be somehow related to the end of said relationship (and the horrible, unrelenting pain associated therein). The last few weeks have been an interesting emotional roller coaster ride filled with peaks and valleys, during which I've found some spare time for reflection and the usual philosophical musing as to 'what it all means'. While I've yet to discover my life's purpose or why this ever had to happen to me, I'm pleased to offer some valuable advice to the countless other suckers out there caught in the same sorry situation.
You see, with another failed relationship plus a massive 23 years of life experience under my belt, I feel I'm more than qualified to guide you through the breakup recovery process with a six step guide I like to call... 'Breakup Recovery in Six Easy Steps!'. Whether you've just gotten out of a relationship, are currently madly in love with someone or have never been on a date in your entire life, read on. The law of averages states you'll need this guide eventually.
Oh, and just as a special note to those who really got taken to the cleaners: if the thought of bravely soldering on right now seems too immense a challenge to undertake on your own behalf, do it for the one(s) you loved. Life may not be fair, but fortunately it does have a twisted sense of humor, and one day it just might afford you the chance to rain retributive pain and suffering down upon those who have slighted you in the past (provided you're patient and cunning). Just remember, if you had rolled over and died after the traumatic end of your two-week relationship with Sally Genkins in the sixth grade, you'd of never been able to call her fat when you ran into her at that keg party in grade ten. Ergo, the show must go on.
And now, on to the guide:
Step 1: Wallow in Self Pity
I can't stress this one enough. While there are additional steps to my little breakup guide, they all basically refer back to this first, essential mandate. Suffer, and suffer proudly. This entire article is testament to the fact that I practice what I preach.
Speaking as a North American citizen living in a (mostly) free, (mostly) democratic society with all the benefits that it entails (food, shelter, clothing and education being just a few of the bigger ones), it's rare that one would have anything to legitimately complain about. Fortunately, heartache is universally understood and appreciated as being a really crappy deal, and if there's ever a time to be justifiably selfish, this is it. Almost anyone will empathize (or at least sympathize) with your plight provided you lay it on thick enough. Don't let this opportunity slip away!
Doing this is simple. Mourn your loss, and make sure everyone around you knows it. Talk incessantly of your 'unrequited love', periodically break down sobbing, and give the general impression that the very act of breathing is almost too much to bear. If even your remotest of acquaintances don't know you're newly single and hating it, you're being too coy. Everyone loves the concerned attention of others, and blatantly wallowing in self pity ensures you'll drown in sympathy long before you drown in your own tears.
Step 2: Spend Lots of Time Alone
In the midst of all that emotional diarrhoea, you shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a broken heart is the perfect justification to beg your way out of mundane social obligations, school assignments, work and anything else you'd otherwise be held accountable for but have no interest in doing. This strategy also applies to activities or outings you used to enjoy, or new ones you have the opportunity to participate in. These situations should be avoided at all costs, as you will run the risk of enjoying yourself and potentially moving on with your life. No matter what the invitation is, beg it off with an explanation like 'I'm just not up for it', or perhaps 'Tonight I have to pick the shattered pieces of my existence off the kitchen floor'. That second one is particularly effective if you reuse it again and again.
It's important to remember that you're just making excuses if you aren't really suffering; so spend the majority of your time alone meticulously obsessing over your hurt feelings and reliving the pain of the breakup to keep it fresh in your mind. In addition to keeping the hurt fresh and vibrant, this has the added bonus of ensuring emotional stagnation so you'll still see your ex as a vile, horrible person for years to come, which will be useful should that aforementioned opportunity for retribution reveal itself.
Step 3: Really Let Yourself Go
Let's be honest here. No one likes to exercise, eat properly or maintain a high level of personal hygiene unless they have motivation to do so. People in relationships have to worry about how they smell and what they look like (both clothed and naked), but not you- you're single now! Your significant other walked out the door along with your only/last opportunity for true, lifelong love, so why bother torturing yourself to impress others if you're just going to die miserable and alone? My advice is to come to terms with your new existence and embrace it wholeheartedly. Sell the gym equipment to buy a Playstation, stock the freezer with Ben and Jerry's, and settle into the couch wearing the same sweat suit you had on last Wednesday to enjoy A&E's Law and Order marathon. As an added bonus for the younger readers, if you aren't old enough to have left your parents house in the first place, you can be thankful you've saved yourself the trouble of moving back in.
Step 4: Abuse Drugs Heavily
Even if you follow this guide perfectly, there are bound to be moments when the crushing pain of existence becomes almost too much to bear. For these infrequent/frequent/constant times when 'keeping it real' gets too real for comfort, it's perfectly okay to reach for a brew/joint/hypodermic syringe of pure, unadulterated bliss. Parents, friends and other associated meddlers will probably claim that it's unhealthy to rely on drugs to artificially trick your brain into a temporary state of happiness, to which you should wittily retort that love had the exact same effect. For added pizzazz, suggest that they wouldn't criticize the drugs so much if the drugs occasionally mowed the lawn or sprung for drinks at the bar the way your ex boyfriend or girlfriend used to do.
Step 5: Don't Let Them Off Easy
Sure, you know the pain and injustice that your ex has caused you- but do they? Most well-meaning, misguided people will advise you to avoid interacting with your not-so-significant other to minimize unnecessary suffering, especially immediately after the break up. While it's true that speaking with the ex in your state will hurt like hell, to not do so would mean missing out on an opportunity to take the screws to them while they're emotionally fragile. Now is the perfect time to lay a massive guilt trip on them for ruining your life and throwing away the beautiful love you so selflessly gave. In the rare case that your ex is apologetic and understanding, don't go easy on them. If they really felt as badly as they claim, they obviously wouldn't have hurt you in the first place.
It's essential to remember that this is a very time sensitive situation, however. As hard as it is to speak to them, you have to get your cheap shots in before your ex starts the healing process themselves. Otherwise, you run the risk of calling them a 'selfish asshole' three months down the line, at which time they may very well remind you of the unfortunate night you suggested a threesome with their best friend. The goal is to strike quickly and ruthlessly with the knowledge that, while talking to them is eating you up inside, the venom you're spewing is probably having an adverse effect on their day as well.
Step 6: Find Somebody. Anybody
Nothing says 'I'm over you' better than sleeping with someone else for the sole purpose of proving (to yourself, but mostly to your ex) that you've moved on. Celebrating your newfound (and unwanted) freedom by banging the first random stranger whose private parts fit with yours is a surefire way to simultaneously forget all about your former lover as well as dragging them down to the same level of suffering you're currently enjoying (make sure to tell them how great it was regardless of the facts). Meaningless casual sex is much more socially tolerated post-breakup (unless of course you're a girl, in which case having casual sex makes you a slut regardless of the circumstances), so get out there and throw your body into the gutter. After unjustly stealing your love and happiness, there's no way the universe would be so unfair as to give you an STD while you engage in some 'spiritual healing'.