December 22nd, 2006 13:21 EST
It was early December in Los Angeles; the weather was 75 degrees and sunny, and the air filled with the distinct feeling of loneliness and surefire distance. Now full-throttle into the Christmas season, it was beginning to feel a lot like New Years, a lot like starting over. My relationship with the man I loved was now officially over, and rather than spend my last night in L.A. holding tightly to his arm and whispering between tragically romantic falling tears my love for him, I was curled up on a bench somewhere in the bowels of the airport. It was 1AM.
Having loved and lost before, I had thought I would be prepared when the strained bond that tied my ex-boyfriend and I together finally snapped. I was, I thought, not about to give in and needlessly call him multiple times in the day, or send him rampant emails as if we were somehow buddies who had left each other with a wink and a smile. The breakup was hard, but mentally distancing myself has proved itself harder than imagined.
Getting over a recent and heart-wrenching experience such as a breakup can be deceiving. We think ourselves strong and independent, until memories start lolling through our subconscious like a bad rerun. Have you ever looked up from examining your face one too many times in the mirror (since when did all these blackheads appear?), and wonder if there`s more to a breakup than a hefty bag of M&M`s and a mascara-smeared pillowcase? Okay, so maybe it`s been a few days since you had a proper sudsy lather...maybe you`re legs are hideously unshaven...and maybe you`ve recycled your pajamas once to often in the past week...but that`s all apart of getting over someone, right?
This journalist would like nothing more than to offer up a clear-cut answer to how to get past the breakup blues. The sad truth is, while there are hundreds of possible motivators for moving on, rarely do any one seem to work. In actuality, it`s probably a lot like eating right: a little bit of everything, but in moderation. Moving on; it`s such a harsh word, it seems. Especially if you predicted your romance to last well into the stage of martials, getting over a breakup could actually feel like moving backwards, despite your best efforts. At times, this phrase may send a shiver to the heart; but I don`t wanna! I cry. During these post-relationship days, we may feel like we are leaving the past behind. That, somehow, if we get up and move on with our lives, we are starting back a square one, before the relationship began.
Although friends will advise, hitting up the dance clubs and jiggling away our sorrows as if they were Christmas cookies delicately collected on our hips, the thought of forgetting about someone as influential as our ex can be horrifying.
But, that`s the first mistake. Taking your mind away from the painful events of whatever it was that ended the relationship is not about facing the fact that it`s over, you have to move on, and he`s out of your life. It`s not even about pretending to be aloof when he calls you a few weeks later to check up on how you`re doing (trust me, be it weeks or months, they all call eventually). When a particularly hard breakup shakes us to our core, getting past it is really not about moving on, but moving inward.
It may be impossible to remember at first, but there was a time in your life where once you struggled to open the door to your apartment juggling a magazine, a ringing cellphone, six bags of groceries, and your purse, gym bag, whatever, slung over your back, and still managing to get past the entryway without dropping a thing. There was a time that after a stressful day at work, you didn`t turn your big droopy eyes to your mate and whimper; instead, you ordered out Chinese, bummed around the apartment, and moved on with your night. Hard-pressed as these distant memories may be, you are capable of being self-sufficient, and it`s not that bad.
Go ahead and dive into the Ben and Jerry`s. Be my guest, and hand me a spoon. It`s okay to mope a little after an arduous breakup. But don`t forget that ol`-what`s-his-name was not your entire world...and if he was, believe me, you`re better off. If you don`t automatically feel like hitting up the bars when you and your mate do call it quits, then take the time puzzle through the things that really do make you happy, solo-style. You may be surprised at what you find, waiting for you when you`re ready.
Note: The writer who originally contributed this article is no longer affiliated with theSOP.