Putting Yourself Out There After A Breakup Is Tough But Possible — Here Are 5 Stages You'll Go Through
In the theme of brutal honesty, let me be totally frank: I have only had one major breakup in my life. Though I've technically broken up with three different fellows, there was just one ex who left me, and my heart, in pieces. And so, I learned early on about the brutally honest phases of putting yourself out there after a breakup (and I've basically just been cycling through phases three to five ever since).
I mean, jumping back into the dating world is never easy. But there's something particularly challenging about learning to walk that "single and ready to mingle" tightrope for the very first time, especially after an emotional or dramatic breakup. (My own involved cheating and a series of passive-aggressive Facebook posts. It was a whole ordeal.)
But don't worry. As tricky as it may be, you can (and will!) totally get back out there in due time. And, if you're anything like me, you might need the help of some late '90s and early '00s rom-coms and Shania Twain songs to get you through.
Here's a look at the five brutally honest stages of putting yourself out there post break-up — from wallowing to body pillows and beyond.
Phase 1: Mourning (And, Like, A Lot Of Shania Twain)
Phase One is the absolute worst, for a variety of reasons. Not only do you feel like you're never going to get over your ex, you also have zero interest in attempting to get over them. You enter into a vicious cycle of watching sappy movies and screaming at the screen (or, in my case, throwing pillows and shouting "I KNOW!" every time Gretchen Wieners recites the "rules of feminism") over and over and over again. You may or may not also develop a sudden interest in the musical stylings of Shania Twain (I'm telling you, by the end of phase one, man, you'll be feeling like a woman.)
Phase 2: The Makeover
Which brings us to phase two, my personal favorite step in the post-breakup journey and any '90s rom-com ever: The makeover.
Makeovers mean different things for different women, of course. It could be anything from getting a new haircut to investing in a new wardrobe to working out 24/7 in pursuit of a Khloe Kardashian-esque Revenge Body. Whatever the case may be, this is the moment when you suddenly stop wallowing.
You're hot! Single! Ready to mingle! Now throw on some lipstick and get out there, girlfriend!
Phase 3. Attempting To Mingle
All right, you're looking good, you're feeling even better, and you are ready to attempt to mingle and put yourself out there again. Welcome to phase three.
After calling up a few of your closest, most fabulous single friends (and TBH, probably listening to a little more Shania Twain), you and your girl squad are ready to paint the town RED! My gosh, everyone is going to be all over you tonight.
Your entry to the bar doesn't exactly involve wind machines, affectionate glances, and endless drink offers though... Which is odd, because isn't that what's supposed to happen during your first post-breakup outing? Weird.
But you're not about to let the fact that your hair doesn't look like Beyoncé's rain on your parade. Instead, you start chatting up all of the cutest guys and girls at the bar. Or, attempt to, at least. Small talk's kind of hard, and how is it only 11 p.m.? Is it too soon to head home, throw on sweats, and catch up on Top Chef?
Phase 4: Deciding That Mingling Sucks
So, uh, spoiler alert: Mingling is the worst and you hate it now.
There is no joy as sweet as putting on sweatpants, firing up Netflix, and sinking into the cushions of your couch. Fair warning: You might also start Googling body pillows at phase four (resist the temptation. Or don't. I don't know, do what feels right!).
Phase 5: Fresh Pluck Meets More Shania Twain
Your first night out there was a whirlwind, that's for sure. But when your alarm clock goes off the next morning — ideally blasting Shania Twain's classic banger "That Don't Impress Me Much" — you decide to face the day with a fresh sense of energy, determination, and pluck. You're ready to jump right back to phase three, filled with fresh hope for the future.
Maybe the next party you attend will be filled with cool guests who are exactly your type! Maybe small talk will become a million times easier once you find a cutie with whom you connect! Maybe you should use the dozen photos you took last night to create a Tinder profile and explore the dating world that way. The world is your oyster. And yeah, the single life will likely knock you down a few more times, but it's nothing you can't handle.
In the words of our dear Shania, let's go, girls.