The Realities of Breaking Up
I must begin with a confession. Even though I’m a self-proclaimed “dating expert,” my expertise doesn’t extend much beyond attracting women and getting into relationships. Once I’m dating a girl, I’m not much better than anyone else.
I don’t have some “emotional player shield” that allows me to avoid heartbreak or disappointment when a relationship doesn’t work out. Perhaps such a public admission might undermine my credibility as a dating columnist, but I actually think it makes me more qualified to give dating advice.
I’m human. Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about making an attractive first impression on women, yet I’m still as susceptible to developing feelings, catching crushes, becoming infatuated, and falling in love as much (maybe even more so) as the next guy. In fact, because I actively go out and approach women, it tends to happen to me more often.
So while I’m not proposing to be an expert on relationships, I do think I know a thing or two about breaking up—or at least how to cope with it. Almost like a flesh wound, often the way to heal a breakup is by first making it more painful by pouring disinfectant over the gash. In break-up terms, that “disinfectant” is acknowledging the truth of the breakup.
In the wake of a breakup, there’s often a scramble to “get back together.” Whether it’s an active attempt or just a gnawing feeling of sadness, a lot of emotion is invested in the hope of reconciliation. While there’s not much that can inoculate these feelings, a reminder of the truth can validate your reality so that—even if you don’t like it—you accept the break up.
The reality is this: it probably wouldn’t work even if you did reconcile. I know that sounds simple, but it’s something most guys refuse to accept. During a breakup, most people would prefer to put a band-aid over a gunshot wound, hoping to “temporarily fix” a relationship that isn’t meant to be fixed. Even if it works in the short term, over time the reasons you broke up will manifest themselves again—probably in a more vicious way.
From personal experience, one of the biggest regrets I have in my life was reconciling with an ex after our relationship failed pretty early on. In this situation, the social skills and shameless confidence I’d developed allowed me to pursue my ex in an attractive way until I eventually broke her down and got her to give me a second chance. In fact, I did it so effectively I could probably teach others how to get back their ex’s using the tactics I employed to reconcile with my ex.
But I’d never teach that, ever. I’d never knowingly prey on someone’s emotional weakness and teach something that would hurt a person in the long run. Sure, I might seem like a hero for resurrecting a relationship, but I’d really just be setting up two people for more disappointment, heartache, and trouble down the road. (I know from personal experience!)
In a lot of ways, getting back together with an ex (when none of the reasons for the breakup are addressed) isn’t even a relationship…it’s a zombie relationship! It may look like your old relationship, but it’s dead on the inside. Like a zombie, it will one day attack you, causing you to regret ever resurrecting it in the first place.
Really the only thing you can do in the wake of a breakup is to look your pain square in the eye, and accept it. For me, I conjure up the most painful truths early on: I’m no longer special to her; she will enjoy all the moments we shared with another guy; she and I will never have sex again; in fact, she will have sex with guys who aren’t me; I will eventually become “just a guy she used to date.” Those words hurt like disinfectant in a wound. They hurt because they’re so true.
I allow myself that pain. I listen to my “breakup playlist” (Black by Pearl Jam, Hurt by Johnny Cash, and—secretly—Stay by Lisa Loeb). I usually take melatonin to help me sleep and avoid alcohol. I make sure to delete her number, our text conversations, and I stow the photos and souvenirs of our relationship somewhere I won’t be tempted to look at them for a while. I try to keep myself as productive as possible.
And soon after—hard as it may be—I go out and meet new women. Even if I don’t feel like it. Even if no girl seems as great as my ex. Even if my “game” is rusty and I get rejected the first few times out of the gate. Because—as brutal as this may sound—it’s hard to stay heartbroken when you’re busy meeting, texting, and dating new, attractive women.
No girl may seem like she measures up to your ex, and that may be hard to swallow at first…yet that’s the point: these girls aren’t supposed to be your ex! It didn’t work with your ex for a reason and that reason is exactly why meeting new women is so crucial for your recovery process. So get out there and seek a relationship that makes you feel alive!
>>>To Learn More From Rob, Check Out “The 4 Elements of Game” where he breaks down game into four simple adjustments.
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About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.