"Reversal of fortune? No way. Reversal of skill." -Uffish Thought
Question #91617 posted on 09/13/2018 9:48 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you get over an awful, awful breakup when you still love them? Silly answers are okay but if it's alright, I would also appreciate some serious ones too.

-My Name Here

A:

Dear you,

I'm sorry that happened to you. I recently had a breakup and it's still hard for me, so I might not have the best answers, but you do have my sympathy. Here are a few things that have helped me out. Hopefully something I say can help you out as well.

Distraction: I got broken up with right before the semester and it was really hard because all the sudden I had all this time with nothing to do except be sad, eat junk food and watch YouTube videos. Then, the semester hit and I no longer have a lot of time to think about it because I'm too busy trying not to get eaten alive by my course load.

Now avoiding your problems is not the best way to go, and I certainly wouldn't recommend piles of homework as a cure for a break up, but staying busy does help you keep your mind off the heartbreak. Personally, it's not so sad when I think about it, but when I dwell on it, and over think it, and wallow in sadness I just make things worse than they really are.

Going through a break up is draining emotionally, and if it's all you focus on it's going to be hard to put yourself in a good place to get better. Focusing on hobbies, friendships, family, school, work, bettering yourself, improving your relationship with God, Netflix, or anything else really will help you from going too deep down, and give you positive things to lift you up and improve your happiness.

Taking care of yourself: Right after my break up I was pretty much fine. I felt like I understood where my girlfriend was coming from, I understood why things had to end, and I was pretty positive. The next day things were a bit worse. By day 3, however, I was a complete wreck.

What was the difference? Well, maybe it took a while for things to hit me emotionally, but the main difference was diet and sleep. I was sleeping and eating pretty good, but then I got distracted because of what I was going through and I forgot to eat, and I couldn't sleep, and I was dehydrated. It turns out that when you don't take care of your body, it gets mad at you.

Going through a break up is hard, so make sure not to stack poor diet, dehydration, lack of sleep, too much stress, etc. on top of it. If you take care of your body physically through exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep, you'll be a lot happier and in a better position to deal with the break up (Shout out to my cousin Auto Surf for bringing me healthy food and reminding me to take care of myself! You're the best!).

Dealing with it (at your own pace): Ultimately, I think to get over a break up and come to peace with yourself, you have to work through it. You don't have to work through it all at once, because that would be very taxing emotionally, but if you don't process things emotionally you'll have this lingering ball of emotional mess just chilling in the background of your life. And no one wants that.

Things that could help you deal with it are meditation, talking about it with someone, writing about it, prayer, or anything else that will help you process things and relieve negative emotions. Maybe listening to music, or exercising, or a creative outlet like playing an instrument or knitting can help you get things out that words can't do. There are a lot of different ways to process emotions, so find one that works for you.

Lastly, it'll just take time and that's just fine. I mean, it sucks, but you don't have to feel 100% better right away. As long as you're making progress that's awesome. If you need to take things slow that's fine. It took me a few days to listen to the radio after the break up because suddenly all the songs on the radio were so stupid and just the worst. So I get it. Do what you can and the passage of time will help.

Space: It might also be good to have some space from this person, whether that be literal or metaphorical. Trying to keep things together could be worth it in some cases, but remember that it could also be emotionally draining. You don't have to cut yourself off from them forever, but space is nice to allow you to work things out without having a constant incoming stream of emotions and uncertainty. Space allows you to let go of things for a bit, and it's nice to be able to do that. You don't have to follow my advice on this one, but it's something that I would definitely think about.

I hope some of these help! My heart goes out to you and if you need a shoulder to cry on or chocolate chip cookies or something shoot me an email at tipperary@theboard.byu.edu . (I'm serious about the crying and cookies. I've got a whole bunch of chocolate chips in my freezer and I've just been snacking on handfuls. I really should stop) Good luck on dealing with your break up! You've got this even if you don't got this! Things will get better I promise (and hope).

Peace,

Tipperary

A:

Dear you,

I don't have a silly answer, because this is something I've struggled to deal with, so I'm going to be honest with you.

As cliché as this answer is, time is the most important factor in getting over someone. Love doesn't evaporate overnight, nor should you expect to resolve all the complex feelings that surround a breakup in the course of days or even weeks. My ex Yossarian and I broke up in January and there are still moments that I feel sad and hurt and angry. I'm not in love with him anymore, but it took me a very long time to realize that. I spent months beating myself up wondering why I still cared for this man who hurt me so badly and who never seemed to reciprocate the depth of my feelings, but being impatient with myself made the process that much harder.

Tipperary has excellent advice, and you should listen to all of that, because I would recommend all the same things. But I have a few points of exposition I wanted to mention that helped me in the slow process of getting over love.

1. Distraction. Anything that can help take your mind off your ex, the way you feel about them, and any regrets you might have is a good thing. But more specifically, I would recommend distracting yourself by meeting new people. That doesn't necessarily have to be in a dating context, though I went through a Tinder phase after my breakup because I found it weirdly helpful to be hit on by random men. But filling the time you might otherwise have spent with your ex may be more helpful if you're with new friends, reminding yourself how many wonderful people there are in the world so you don't feel the loss of that one person quite as acutely.

2. Space. Tipperary suggests this rather passively, but I'm going to be aggressive. GIVE YOURSELF SPACE FROM THIS PERSON. I failed miserably at this for a variety of reasons, so trust me when I say it's hard to stop thinking about someone and missing them and loving them when you're actively making them a part of your life. I was far from able to quit cold turkey, but when trying to slowly wean Yossarian from my life, I would try to increase the amount of time between when I talked to him. So if I successfully didn't text him for three days before I caved, then next time I had to go 4 days, and so on. This strategy is a conscious reminder that you need to be getting and giving space. If you still want to be friends with your ex, that's definitely a possibility, but not right away. Not when you loved the person. Give yourself space first.

3. Talk to someone. It is SO, SO helpful to have someone close to you to talk to about this process. I was in the process of an emotional breakdown after Yossarian and I broke up, and happened to be starting a new job at the same time. My coworkers and I bonded really quickly because I was a mess and told them so, and throughout the first few months of recovery they were always there for me with sympathy and to tell me when I was being an idiot. They could always tell when I caved and talked to Yossarian again, and it was helpful for me to feel accountable to someone other than myself in trying to get over him. They wanted the best for me, and for me to be happy again, which gave me additional motivation to stop being so reliant on him.

4. Vent your feelings. I feel like in an ideal world you would be able to talk to your ex about everything, because that will give you the greatest sense of closure. But if that's not possible, or not something you want to do, you should still get those feelings out in the open. Communication was never Yossarian's strong suit and he essentially refused to talk about things, so a friend of mine had me do an exercise where I pretended he was Yossarian and I said everything I wanted to say. It was a safe context, so I was able to vent my sadness and anger and frustration without judgment. If that's not your style, I've also found closure in writing. I would take everything I wanted to say to my ex and pretend I was going to send him a lengthy text, or write a speech of what I wanted to say in person. Then I would give myself a few hours to ruminate on what I had written and how I felt. If I thought my feelings were actually worth sharing, I would send it to my ex, and if not then it had still been a therapeutic exercise exploring my feelings in that manner.

I'm so sorry you're in this situation, because it truly sucks. If you ever want someone to talk to, I have an idea of what you're going through and I'm happy to help in any way I can. You can reach me at luciana@theboard.byu.edu.

Good luck friend. You can do this, and I promise everything will be okay. You're going to be much happier than you can probably picture right now sometime soon.

Love,

Luciana