Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
It’s time to find healing… Now. And by now, I mean hopefully within the next year.
By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University
I’ll never forget the first (and only) time I was ever dumped.
I was in seventh grade, and the dumping was from my first boyfriend named Josh.* Josh was a really cute guy who I couldn’t believe liked someone like me. And I’m not saying that to be coy or anything. I was very ugly in seventh grade. I had long, curly hair and an expander, which is a contraption they put in my mouth pre-braces that slowly broke the roof of my mouth and gave me a temporary speech impediment, along with a giant gap in my front teeth.
So yeah, I wasn’t very attractive in seventh grade. But regardless, Josh still liked me, so I’m just going to assume it was due to my dazzling personality and the fact that I was the only seventh grader that liked to say the f-word.
Me and Josh were going steady for about two weeks, and I was so happy. He was my first boyfriend, the first guy to ever hold my hand and my first kiss (which was really weird with an expander, by the way).
For Independence Day, Josh and I were invited to our mutual friend’s family party. While we were there, Josh was being distant. I didn’t know what was wrong. Was it something I said? Was the gap between my teeth suddenly too much to handle?
Then, toward the end of the party, he dumped me in front of everyone as they all laughed and high-fived each other. My eyes filled with tears; I fled to the house in which I had to embarrassingly call my mom and tell her to come pick me up. I begrudgingly dragged myself into the front seat of her minivan as I looked in the rear-view mirror at all of them standing in the driveway, with Josh in the front of the group.
I was mortified. As someone who doesn’t enjoy crying in front of other people, it was the longest five-minute ride home of my life until I could run to my room, blast some Blink-182 and lock myself in my closet as I sobbed uncontrollably.
After that day, I promised I would never allow myself to be 100 percent in a relationship ever again. And to be honest, I never did. Sure, that’s a little dramatic for a relationship that lasted for two weeks, but I was never hurt again. For the sake of my own heart, I always had the upper hand.
Here I am, seven years later. Even though so much time has passed, while writing I could still feel the pain in the chest of the little girl with the gap in her teeth. I have had many boyfriends since, and I am currently in a long-term, semi long-distance relationship with someone who I could trust with 100 percent of my guard down.
So, if he dumps me, I’m totally screwed.
But even though being cold-hearted has helped keep my heart safe for seven years, I’m still not so sure if it was the best—or healthiest—coping mechanism out there. I am naturally cold-hearted. Like I said, I don’t really enjoy crying, and I can joke about things that would make some people get really upset. I am a calloused person who can sometimes be hard to understand. I’m definitely not average in that sense.
But when it comes to helping other people get over their breakups, I’m not always sure as to how to give them advice.
My best friend is currently still coping with a long-term relationship that ended over the summer. Sure, she can be a bit overly sensitive, but I always make sure to tell her that being upset is okay, because it is.
It’s just really hard for me sometimes because I can’t take my experiences and apply them to her. I could never tell her to be heartless like me and to refuse to let people into her life. But just from talking to her and learning about how real human beings with actual emotions function, I have learned a lot about learning to cope with a breakup. So with my little knowledge of going through a breakup, along with my cold-hearted disposition and what I’ve learned from my very sensitive BFF, here are a few tips for getting over your breakup from someone that doesn’t know how to function properly in society.
1. Let It All Out
Going back to my story with Josh, maybe if I would’ve just let myself cry in front of everyone at the party, or even just in front of my mom on the way home, I would be a different person. There’s nothing worse than a lump in your throat and the extreme urge to just let it all out. If you’re like me and have a hard time connecting with your tear ducts, maybe try to instigate the tears by looking at old texts or pictures, or if you’re really desperate, just watch “The Fault In Our Stars.” That shit gets me every time.
2. If You Can’t Handle the Memories, Delete Them
I know when it comes to my friend, she takes making herself feel sad for no reason to a whole new level. She often obsesses over old pictures, social media posts and screenshots of texts. While at first this is okay, eventually all this does is create more pain in your heart. What you really need to do is delete everything. If you have a mental breakdown every time your ex posts something on social media, unfriend/unfollow them. If you have to look through your camera roll just to fall asleep, delete the pictures. You can’t move on unless you come to terms with the fact that you can’t hold onto this shit forever. It’s toxic.
3. Get Yourself Back Out There
Eventually, you’ll have to enter into society again. This can be really hard, but it’s something you just have to do. In due time, there will (hopefully) be someone else who pulls at your heartstrings, but at first, this can make your heart break even more. It’s okay to take things slow in the beginning. But eventually, you’re going to have to stop being so stubborn. I know you won’t want to hear it, but it’s true.
Sure, getting back on the dating horse might be a struggle. But “getting yourself back out there” isn’t just exclusive to going on pointless dates or having one night stands. It can also just mean allowing yourself to have fun again. Go out with your friends or the other people in your life that care about you. They’re all rooting for you.
4. Reach Out
If months have gone by and you still can’t find closure within yourself, it might be time to try to reach out to the person who broke your heart. They may not want to talk to you, depending on the situation, but the least you can do is try. Something a lot of people find very helpful is writing a letter to their ex, and then instead of sending it, they rip it up or burn it. This can be a very metaphorical form of closure when real closure isn’t possible. But if the person does reply, let them know that you’re still hurting, and you’d appreciate it if you could just talk it out like adults.
Eventually, things will get better. It might take months, but eventually you will be able to give your life purpose again. So whether you take my sure-fire approach of being heartless forever, or if you decide to take a more sensible approach, it’s all up to you. No matter what, just know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
* name has been changed for privacy purposes. Also, fuck you, Jared.