Dealing with Breakups

photo by Chris Craymer

There are two specific things I make a point to not blog about - my family and my dating life, simply because I want to respect the privacy of these relationships that I hold high regard for. Of late, a few readers have emailed or left a comment about my suggestions on dealing with breakups, and I thought I should write about it, because not only is it flattering that you'd ask me about how to deal with something so personal, but also because it's something most of us have gone through, or will go through some point in our lives. And if you don't, damn you're lucky.

Lucky for me, I haven't had a lot of break ups, at least ones that devastate or negatively affect me. I've dated a few people here and there, but not a lot of people have been interesting enough to keep me interested for any more than a few dates. And while I'd like to divulge delicious dating drama, you'd just have to wait till I publish a book to read it in print [or better yet - on a Kindle!].

The one devastating breakup I've ever had was three to four years ago, I think. I've quite literally chucked it at the very back of my mind I never want to think about it again. It happened in a way I would never wish upon anybody, even someone I absolutely abhore. It's like I had the wind knocked out of me, the carpet pulled from under me, and my heart yanked from the hallows of my chest, all the same time and the pain wouldn't just go away. The emotional pain translated to physical pain, and I came to believe that I deserved that pain.

My problem is, until today, I find it very hard to talk to people about problems. I'm a fucking crybaby, and I'd literally start crying at the drop of a pin - who'da thunk? So I couldn't bring myself to talk to anybody about it - not only did I begin to think I deserved that pain, I also didn't want to bother anybody else with what I was dealing with. I could do it alone.

Fast forward to today, I thankfully haven't had to deal with as-devastating breakups - but I have been by the side of friends who've been dumped, or are the dump-ee. While relationships are made of mutual discovery, respect and sharing of secrets, breakups, on the other side of the spectrum, are painful and more often than not, ugly, particularly if you're the one who's been dumped.

Here are some ways you can deal with your breakup:

* Give Yourself Time Clichéd as it sounds, you are allowed to wallow in misery for a period of time. Listen to bad music, eat Nutella out of a bottle, cry yourself to sleep - it's just cathartic. But you also need the discipline to put a stop to that wallowing. Yes, you should take it easy on yourself, but you shouldn't be toxic.

* Spend Time With Your Friends If you're one of those who abandon your friends when you're in a relationship, expect some catty remarks from girlfriends, or gay BFFs, but they'd usually be there with a bucket of Ben & Jerry's and some trusty DVD rentals. Apologise. Apologise again for being a shitty friend. Your friends will make up for the missing companionship you'd be longing for so make up with them and be a better friend.

* Spend Time Doing Things You Love I'm famous for throwing myself into work to distract myself from other things in my life because I enjoy work. It's not the best advice for all situations because there are occasions when you should deal with what's troubling you instead of throwing your time into something else. But now, since you have all this time to spare because you don't have to wake up early to watch your boyfriend play soccer, indulge in yourself. Play sports you love, go shopping, learn Spanish, travel alone.

* Take Care of Yourself Don't whip out your sweatpants and your fat jeans. Keep hitting the gym, eat all the right food, don't resort to calling McDelivery night after night. No amount of double cheeseburger will fill up that void - you'd just feel worse about yourself.

* Don't Sleep with Him/ Her Again If you're sexually active, don't sleep with him/ her again. It'll just be a bad mistake you'd feel shitty about when you do the 7am walk of shame.

* Think About What You Want Write a bucket list. Figure out what you want to do with your life and do it. It was nice having a companion by your side, but my mother always said that we're born to the world alone and we die alone - we need to learn to love ourselves and be comfortable with ourselves alone before we can be with somebody else. Smart woman, my mum is, isn't she? :o)

* Sometimes, It's the Little Things It really is. Compliment a stranger - it's strange how good you'd feel after making someone feel good about themselves. Make a new friend - it's hard, particularly in a city like Singapore but try! You can always email me - I respond to all emails I get, although sometimes I may take some time. Buy your parents dinner. Make somebody else feel good, or make little efforts to make yourself feel good. Baby steps always help.

I know right now, this may feel like the single most devastating moment of your existence and you just want to curl in a ball and die, but I promise it will get better. Most of us fall, scrape our knees and get back up again - some end up with broken bones, or in need of minor surgery, but you'll be walking tall and embracing life soon enough. It's one of the things time will heal - life goes on, and it waits for nobody - so brush the dirt off your shins and strap on a pair of bitchin' vintage skates, because another journey's waiting to happen! ;o)