Breakups are inevitable. Out of the 7.53 billion people on planet earth, only one suitor will earn the top spot in your story. Every contender up until the point of marriage (or co-partnership) will exist as a lesson in your handbook. Some will display the traits you definitely want in a partner. Others will showcase just how warped humans can be at their worst. The silver lining is that—there are so many fun things to discover after the demise of a ‘special’ bond.
10. Reclaiming Extra Space In Bed
It’s a sleepover, and all of your imaginary friends are invited. Now that you’re a party of one, your bed transforms into an open-floor plan wonderland. Where will you sprawl out tonight? It doesn’t matter. Grab your essentials, water bottle, laptop, Takis, furry companion, pack of gum, chapstick, birth certificate, Hit Clips from when you were eleven, and whatever else that’s within arm’s reach and throw it aboard. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Your passionate love-making destination has been reduced to a lowly human-husk shelf.
9. Finding Exciting New Interests
Who thought you’d be one to sit wrapped in your post-shower wet towel on the edge of your bed for an hour and forty-six minutes while staring at a wall? But here we are. It’s like bird-watching but your eyes are glazed over, vacantly staring at the egg-shell colored lead paint that somehow didn’t cover evenly where your crown molding meets the ceiling. Big fun! There are so many new activities to explore. Checking your phone for texts that don’t exist, and dyeing/cutting your hair when it looked just fine before are equally as thrilling.
8. Exploring More Shows
There are so many new television shows and movies to watch now that everything reminds you of your ex. Just cancel your Netflix membership and begrudgingly drag your television to the curb. It doesn’t hold power over you any longer. Refer to Friends as ‘Strangers’, tell your actual friends that the people who get tricked on Catfish are the “lucky ones” as you down a bag of Gushers in one gulp. Optional: make light commentary about Nev’s chest hair that is ever-visible, even when it’s like the dead of winter and he’s sporting a heavy coat.
7. Refining Your Social Media Skills
Social media used to be a dumping ground for your parents’ friends to share tone-deaf political posts. It used to be full of visual thirst traps and needles Snaps. But now, it’s a breeding ground for your creativity. Design fake personas and follow your ex or just shamelessly stalk their every life event as… yourself. Every post is a clue as to what they’re up to – and you (and all the respective personalities in your head) are your very own rendition of the Mystery Gang. No one is Scrappy-Doo, though (keep him out of this).
Test out new social platforms. Download TikTok. Think outside of the box. Do they have Venmo? Who are they sending money to? Look to the past. What is a LiveJournal and will it help you uncover secrets of yesteryear? Every informational morsel gardened from social media helps you paint a picture. You basically are a social media Van Gogh. Now cut off your ear and mail it to your ex, you have a Finsta to hack.
6. Embracing The Latest Holiday Fads
Big holiday savings door-buster deals! Save $100 this season when you take 150 lbs of dead weight and bury it underneath the snowfall outside. No one to date, no one to buy for. No one to watch movies with, no one to decorate the tree with. You would turn to the Hallmark Channel so ex-child star/ex-View co-host Candace Cameron Bure could lift your spirits but you already dragged your TV to the curb as per the recommendation in #8.
You may as well start new traditions. What are all the kids doing online? Buying trees with lights built-in that you can control from an app? Baking gluten-free Christmas cookies made from veggies and soy? Talking to the photo of “little you” on the homemade ornament you made your parents in second grade and telling him that life is cold and the world is cruel and to be careful? Okay so, that’s not a real fad, but it might as well be?
5. Sampling Exotic Fitness Routines
With exercise, they say, “find what works for you”. If that’s true, staying home and not doing anything is sure to be the delight that never disappoints. Most people let themselves go in relationships so now it’s time to get your potato-esque self off the couch, stand tall, and then sit back down on the couch because your leg was cramping. Fitness can wait. The gym can wait, it’s never gonna go anywhere. It’s more reliable than your ex, who lead you to this couch-life to begin with. So go ahead and live as a giant mass suctioned to the loveseat you bought off Wayfair that actually isn’t comfortable but was within your price range. In hindsight, it’s disappointing to note that often, Wayfair does not in fact have ‘just what you need’.
4. Expanding Your Party Circle
Do you love a themed party? Your whole life is about to be a masquerade ball. Any and all shared comrades could be disguised as your ally when in actuality, they’re trying to juice you like a stalk of organic Trader Joe’s celery for information which will undoubtedly be funneled back to your ex. Time to get all new friends. Your tried and true, (who were yours prior to the relationship) will stick around and may try to uplift you, providing a reminder that they’ll always be in your corner. But you already knew that. No one thinks you’re going anywhere, Sharon. If you were jumping ship, it would have been within the first three weeks of our friendship in junior high when you thought I was weird.
3. Brushing Up On Academia
Two subtract one equals alone. Chemistry can tell you how glucose can break down, but cannot compute your nuanced emotional breakdown. Love is your elective foreign language, forevermore. History tells you that this surely won’t be the last time. Write down your feelings. Read up on what to do with yourself next. School and all school-related things weren’t fun when you were in a relationship, and they’re not fun now. Some things never change. You’d opt for a “life tutor” if there was such an occupation but honestly, any attention they’d give you might be misinterpreted as romantic. So it’s best to let your hypothetical imaginary tutor ‘toot’ elsewhere.
2. Submerging Yourself In Family Time
Family is so special. They love to know every detail of your failed relationship, pick apart the lead-up to your downfall and serve you a hot plate of “I told you so”. Mmmm, just like Mom makes it. Those who love you are always there to lift you up and bodyslam you with side comments that torque your sensitive soul and bring you to your metaphorical knees. They mean well. They’re just being honest. They love you. Don’t hide in your room, they know you’re up there just by the sound of your footsteps. Don’t try to leave your house to be with friends, the guilt trip you’ll receive from taking much needed “you time” won’t be worth it.
The only way out is through, just like a regrettably delicious order of Taco Bell. Exist within the living space, answer the questions about your ex, and say thank you. This experience is your godforsaken birthright, now help make dinner. And set the table. And wipe down the table first! Why would you set the table before you wiped it down? You’re old enough, you should know better. Maybe that’s why you’re single!
1. Getting To Know ‘You’, Again
There’s no funny anecdote. Whether it was planned or totally unexpected, being single is an opportunity to re-learn all the important pieces of yourself, all over again. It’s a time of peace and earnest reflection. Pull out the big questions, the ones that you may think about right before you drift to sleep at night. Deep down, who are you? What do you bring to the table? How do you build community? What is truly important in your life? It’s okay if every answer feels like a process. They’re meant to generate thought, not to summarize your character in one sitting.
This journey we’re all on is fragile and intimate. It’s so easy to cling to others on the road, lose yourself within partners, and find comfort in simply feeling cared for. But when the curtain is pulled back, and you are alone again, it becomes clear—time changes us. Rarely do people enter a relationship and years later, leave the situation as the same person. Change can be good, but only if you recognize the ways in which you’ve shifted. Respect the good alterations, the upgrade. There’s nothing wrong with setting new courses as you grow. Realize the bad, the flaws, and do your best to unweave the ways in which you’ve hardened.
Truthfully, committing to practicing self-love and re-leaning your core are really the only “funnest parts” of breaking up. Alas, the other bullet points are just examples of how something can seem fun at a glance but wind up feeling super heavy when you’re in the thick of it. That’s an analogy for love. Never as simple as it seemed, always a roller coaster, and a lot of fun along the way.
Maybe someday, you get lucky, an imperfect someone will take the Takis out of your bed, drag your TV back in from the curb, and buy new furniture from Wayfair with you. If the stars align, you’ll fall in love all over again, and pick them.
And out of 7.53 billion people, they’ll pick you back.