By TaMon Kane
SOTG Voices Editor
“I tried to drink it away, I tried to put one in the air, I tried to dance it away, I tried to change it with my hair.”
—Solange, “Cranes In The Sky “
After a breakup, the ex-paramours of said failed relationship will have their own ways of dealing with their separation. Now, granted, everyone is different and there are no set rules governing post-breakup behavior, but what here are a few quick, no frills tips of what NOT to do after the love is gone.
Don’t Stalk Your Ex on Social Media
In this day and age, it is a common practice to live our lives through social media posts. We read post after post of people complaining about work, loving being a new mom, people fighting, and those who hate everything and everybody. But what I find to be even more prevalent are posts made after a person has recently experienced a breakup. These range from a simple outcry like, “My heart is broken,” to—my least favorite—destroying an ex’s character through social media. Neither type of post is rarely a good look for either party involved. Further, what can be more detrimental to one’s psyche is stalking your ex online. The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” holds too true, especially during breakups. Checking your ex’s every move, post, or recent pictures will hold you hostage in the same negative space that you are trying to escape.
My advice: Take a break from social media altogether. Use this time figure out your own thoughts and feelings.
Say No to the FDA (Food, Drugs, and Alcohol)
“Referred pain” is a medical term used to describe pain perceived at a location other than the site of the painful stimulus. For example, one could have constant migraine headaches, not because there is a problem with their brain, but because instead, they have a cavity in one of their teeth. This individual may attempt to treat the headache with aspirin or other pain relievers when in fact they should be treating the infected tooth. The same thing happens with our emotions. Often times, after a breakup, we tend to numb or medicate the pain of our emotions with overindulging in food, drugs or alcohol.
My advice: Try reflecting on why you feel the way you feel and understand why you are reacting the way you are. Then you can get to the root of the problem and remove the cavity.
Don’t try to sex yourself better
There is a saying in regards to breakups, “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” Essentially, this encourages a jilted lover to use sex with someone new as a way to distract them from their most recent heartbreak. To be fair, this one can be tricky. In most cases, being in a relationship means consistent sex and transitioning to not getting that physical and emotional need met can be hard. But there are other options. Instead of engaging in Netflix and Chill with a random or new/old friend, find your favorite TV show (or porn) and binge watch. In between episodes, why not remind yourself that the best sex you can have is with yourself. Self-pleasure also has health benefits. It can provide a stronger immune system. For men, regular sex or masturbation works out your pelvic floor muscles to prevent erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Most importantly, masturbating releases a slew of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin that lift your spirits, boost your satisfaction, and activate the reward circuits in your brain.
My advice: Don’t distract yourself with hopping under the covers with someone new, especially in the embers of a failed relationship. You’re way too vulnerable right now. Stick to self-love and self-pleasure instead.
Don’t dwell on the past
Kenny Rodger’s popular lyrics say it best, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” After breakups, we tend to analyze over what went wrong. Taking on the role of investigators, we play back each conversation, text, and argument that was ever exchanged. Doing this will only drive you crazy and further keeps you attached to the breakup and the heartache it caused. The sooner we understand that every situation doesn’t have to be solved and that the end of things is often better than the beginning of things, we are able to let go of the past and focus on the future.
My advice: As painful as it may be, it is probably best to purge your space from old text messages, photos and other visual cues that conjure thoughts of your ex. Give yourself a fighting chance to recover by closing that chapter once and for all.
Don’t quickly rebound into another relationship
Choosing not to dwell in the past doesn’t necessarily mean rushing into a new relationship. Perhaps you consider yourself a serial monogamist? Being single just doesn’t feel right. How will you know that you are ready for something new? Trust me, you will just know. In the meantime, feel free to date. Just know that in most cases, the first guy or girl you date after a serious relationship is doomed to become a burnt pancake. When cooking pancakes, the first one always seems to get burned. Just like dating someone after a serious relationship, the bad pancake or the first person you date NEVER turns out to be a real relationship…it is predestined to fail.
My advice: Try not to close yourself off to love but don’t be so quick to put all of your eggs in the first basket that comes available. Allow yourself time to heal and review the lessons of the previous experience.