I went through a breakup a few months ago and, as usual, turned on an episode of Sex and the City. I was reminded of Carrie’s “Breakup Rules” after she ended things with Mr. Big:
1. Destroy all pictures where he looks sexy and you look happy.
2. Lie. It’s a lot easier.
3. Until emotionally stabilized, enter no stores.
4. Never stop thinking about him for a moment, because that’s the moment he’ll appear.
5. The most important break-up rule: No matter who broke your heart or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never get through it without your friends.
While I certainly appreciate these five rules, they were written during a different time. They miss some of the key aspects of a breakup that we all have to deal with today. So, after a few months of recovery, I developed what I think are today’s Five Breakup Rules:
1.) Store or give away all items that remind you specifically of him.
This is possibly one of the most painful parts, and the sooner you do it, the better. While there may be some things you’ll want to keep as mementos, you don’t need to keep it all in front of you. Make a box to store and another box to take to Goodwill. When it comes to photographs, take them off your phone, your Facebook (if you wish), and your computer. Seal them in the vault by storing them all on a backup hard drive. Reenter at your own risk.
2.) Stay positive. It’s a lot easier.
You don’t need to lie to yourself — you have the right to be sad for awhile. But once you’ve had that time, it’s time to focus on you and your life. Try new things, meet new people, and do something nice for yourself. Now is the time to treat yourself well — you have no one else to worry about. When people insist on bringing up the breakup in conversation, keep it positive. Remind yourself and everyone else that what happened was for the best.
3.) Until emotionally stabilized, enter no stores — and don’t visit online retailers.
Carrie’s advice still holds true on this one. I know shopping always makes me feel better. If you’re anything like me, just make sure you keep the receipts.
4.) Do think about him a little less every day, and reclaim your life — online and off.
Stay off the internet and the phone, stay away from the old photo albums, and get out of the house! Don’t stop doing the things you enjoy — just because he is no longer around doesn’t mean you stop doing what makes you happy.
Of course, we can’t forget about our lives online. The best way to keep him out of your mental space during this crucial healing time is to unfollow or unsubscribe to all of his social media updates, his family’s updates, and the updates of your mutual friends (anyone who might post pictures). If it was a particularly bad breakup, by all means, de-friend whoever you wish, and do it before something pops up that will upset you — because without a doubt, something will.
I’ve also recently learned that you should limit what he, his family, and his friends can see of your updates. When you have it visible, you leave the door open for them to comment on your life. Are you ready for what they might say? You can always reopen your profile to them at a later date when things have sufficiently cooled.
5.) The most important break-up rule: Love yourself, and surround yourself with the people who really love you.
Carrie will always be right about needing your friends, but I broadened this to all the people who love you, including your family. The best thing you can do is to remain with the people who have always loved you, from the very beginning. And above all, you must love and respect yourself. You will continue to be the fabulous person you are without him.
What are your breakup rules, Career Girls? Regardless of whether your relationship ended on good or bad terms, it can be a challenge to move on. But if we all help each other, we can make the healing process a little easier.