Breakups suck, they just do.
There's no way you'll leave that conversation, prancing around, high as a f*cking kite on life, because chances are, you broke their heart, they broke yours or the decision was confusingly mutual.
But, there are ways to make it suck less and maybe even feel great.
This is a recovery and reboot strategy for people who know their breakup is meant to be, no matter how tough it feels, no matter whom it came from:
Pre Breakup, Aka “Time To Act.”
(Too late for that? Skip ahead to the next part. No biggie.)
1. Be proactive: What's that? You'd rather just wait until you can't stand each other's guts? That sounds terrible. No matter who's feeling iffy about the relationship, if you realize something's up, brushing things under the rug won't do the trick.
2. Plan it out: Unless you want your work colleagues all up in your personal life business, avoid breaking up during the week. Friday is your day.
Yes, that does mean you'll have puffy eyelids all weekend, but better that than your boss seeing you bawling your eyes out.
If life is kind to you and you so happen to have a holiday weekend coming up, take advantage of that little extra time and space you can get. You'll want it.
The Breakup, Aka “That Unbearable Moment.”
3. Start a conversation: Hopefully you didn't have a “score counting” kind of relationship (the kind that calculates who's hurting whom more, etc.) so you are able to do the mature thing and have a conversation.
In case it's not obvious, never start with “We need to break up,” or blurt out, “Are you going to break up with me?” because that's — to put it simply — not smooth.
Not to sound all therapist-esque, but it's much better to use language that involves open-ended questions.
A frustration you've been sensing may be part of a bigger issue in the relationship, or maybe there is something about which he or she might be dissatisfied and you can let him or her know he or she is not alone in that feeling.
4. Let the other person talk: Everyone is different, but whenever possible, let the other person talk. Make sure he or she feels as though this is a two-way street.
There is one major exception to this: If he or she starts saying negative things about the relationship, interrupt him or her and make it clear that you want to keep this positive no matter the end result.
5. Don't hate on the past: Seriously. This is primordial, and not just when it comes to breakups. Criticism happens and it's okay, but it's always better to frame it as missing a positive, rather than suffering from a negative.
So, don't say, “that sucked” but rather, “this is happening and I want X.”
Obviously, this is not easy in a breakup conversation where everyone is bound to say, "this and that annoys me."
Still, avoid criticizing him or her as a person and focus on his or her actions and how he or she made you feel.
Also, generally try to just praise the positive! Remember the good and share it, too.
6. Come to a clear conclusion: This is generally the most painful part, but it is crucial.
After this conversation, it's likely you will come to a classic crossroad question: “What now?”
Though you can't imagine a tomorrow without this person, it's time to make that call, and someone needs to say, “I think we should break up.”
7. Let yourself fall apart, together: You're still sitting next to each other, so take advantage of it. This is not about sex; it's about not bottling up your feelings.
Hold each other, cry in each other's arms, let the other know he or she matters because he or she does and this is the last time you'll get to say so in this way.
8. Leave each other: You'll know when it's time. Just go. And don't forget to kiss.
But here comes the good part: The part where you get you back: recovery and reboot.
Time to be you on your own again, and that means getting on board with not being a "we" and taking that "you" to the next level.
Recovery: From "Meh" To Somewhere Around A-Okay.
9. Write it down: This needs to happen before you do anything else.
I mean it; before you check your phone, call your friends or even get coffee (unless you're planning to write at a coffee shop, which I don't recommend.)
If it's too late for that and you've already broken up a while ago, go ahead and do it anyway, but ASAP! What on earth should you write?
Anything that crosses your mind, and these things: how the breakup went, the things you loved about him or her, the reasons you broke up and how each made you feel.
This last part is the most important because guess what? No matter how certain you were, you will question yourself and these little notes will come in handy.
10. Cry it out: Yea, just give up on mascara for a little while and let them tears flow.
You will cry when writing about your relationship (see above), when you eat at a restaurant you used to go together, when you see something and want to share it with him but remember you can't and every time something you used to talk about comes up.
Just accept it and relax, it's fine and also kind of inevitable.
11. Hike if you can, otherwise, walk: There's something very emotional about driving to a hike and symbolic about climbing to the top to take breath of fresh air there, not to mention all that space and perspective you get.
Take your time and let nature's silence allow you to have the thoughts you need to have. Did I mention silence?
Don't listen to music; it will just going fill you up with other people's thoughts, and this isn't the time to mix up other people's sad stories with yours. This is about you.
12. Share with family and/or friends: Tell those you want to tell what you want to tell them, at the pace you want to tell them and pet a puppy if you can.
The puppy helps. The great thing about friends, family and puppies? They're always here for you. That says it all.
13. Go out for drinks: If you have the energy, go out for drinks with your friends. Avoid anything flirtaious; this is purely about going out with friends.
Don't feel strong enough? Have your besties come over to your place for a drink. Know that you can get anything you want delivered nowadays, so treat yourself.
14. Get the binge over with: Girls, I'm talking to you. Unless you're verging on supernatural (bless your willpower and self-control), you will probably lose it and have five times the amount of sugar or salt you should.
There's no point in feeling guilty about what's bound to happen, so do it, and call it quits. Seriously.
We've all made the mistake of extending that splurge to a few days, a week or a month, and payback is a bitch.
Have at it, and then stop because you will want to stay hot.
Reboot: From A-Okay To Busy As A Bee And Loving It.
You will get busy, you will feel awesome and you will put yourself at the f*cking forefront of it all.
15. Play catch up and meet up: Fill up your schedule by hanging out with your best friends and catching up with old acquaintances, but also meet new people!
Hang out with those who are doing inspiring things and try to have it all rub off on you, all while swapping out of your regular go-to's for new places.
16. Take a trip: It is a luxury, but you might need it and though not everyone can fly halfway across the world, you can at least go on a two-hour-plus excursion and change the scenery. Break the routine!
17. Pick up an old (or new) hobby: Remember when you used to [fill in the blank]? How about doing that again. Have nothing with which to fill in the blanks? Think of something you've always wanted to try.
Now, set up a realistic amount of time to devote to it each week, and stick to it. Celebrate any and all progress, and maybe dabble in a few other activities along the way.
18. Allow for setbacks: Things can only go uphill from here, right? Well, no; you might reminisce a little more than you'd like or even fall apart all over again. But, don't be mad at yourself.
Go through what you wrote down to remind yourself of why this is the right decision, let yourself remember and miss the person, then get back on track.
19. Gauge your date-dar: Most people either are like, “I want to start dating 100 people," the day they break up while others feel like they'll never date again.
What do you want, really? Take some time to think about this one because chances are, you'll answer with your reflex, but do you really want what comes with what that spontaneous, unfiltered voice said?
Let's face it: Our hormones aren't very good at on-the-spot, wise decision-making, so gauge and control.
20. Fabulous all-around: Hit the freaking gym, and hit it hard. I'm not telling you to change your body, though I'm sure you won't complain if it gets a little more toned.
Hit the gym and eat correctly because it gets your mind in balance, literally, and as a bonus, you'll feel extra hot for when you do want to strut it. Speaking of strutting, strut it. Basically, find all-around fabulousness.
21. You, You, You: Ask yourself the big life questions, and turn that into your favorite habit.
Do you really know what you want? What do you want? What do you feel? Do the two add up to something good? Where do I want to be in X time and am I making the right decisions to get there?
What do I want to change, and what do I want to accept? What should I do more and less of? Is there any negativity in my life, where is it coming from, and can I let go of it?
Am I giving too much, not getting enough, or vice versa? Are my expectations healthy? Am I choosing what is good for me, and not just good in general? What matters to me?
Set fresh goals or revamp old ones and get back on track.
22. Fill your life with love: This may come as a shocker, but it's okay to love (or at least be fond of) your ex and the past.
As a matter of fact, it's much healthier than hate because hating doesn't feel good.
For some of you, feeling positive toward your ex is not an option (and hopefully you didn't go through any traumatizing hardships), but nonetheless, avoid fueling that hate.
Instead, fill your life with love: love for others, for what you do, for tiny moments and big plans. Learn to give and accept love because — not to be too cheesy — Taylor Swift said it best:
"Life can be romantic without having a romance."