Life Coach Magazine

6 Things To Do After Being Dumped

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

breakup (10/365)It seemed fitting for me to write a post about getting dumped right after getting married. My wife would appreciate the humor (I think) and besides, what better topic than separation could there be for someone who’s just back from his honeymoon? :)

So, let’s talk breakups. Specifically, let’s talk about what to do after one of those soul rending break ups where you truly loved someone and then they dumped you. And yes, I speak from experience here. I loved my first wife very much and the day when she walked into our living room and told me “it’s over, we need to end our marriage” was the worst day of my life. It was a surprise to me and I’ve never been so hurt.

First, some things NOT to do

Don’t Beg - Don’t go back to your old partner pleading and begging to be taken back. Even assuming there’s a chance for the two of you to work things out, begging is not the way to do it. Relationships are based on respect and no one can respect someone who’s begging to be with them. The same applies to temper tantrums, screaming fits, public displays of stupidity and minor acts of evil such as hacking into their email account. Seriously, would you want to be in a relationship with someone who did these things? If you want to work things out then be a mature adult and work things out.

Don’t Make Big Life Changing Decisions – You’re hurt, you’re in emotional turmoil and you’re looking for something that will make the pain go away. This is NOT the time to decide that you should quit your job and go be a bartender in Costa Rica. I know it sounds awesome and you love the thought in your head that “this will show that bastard/bitch what a cool person I am” but trust me, it’s a stupid decision. And hey, if it’s not a stupid decision then you can still make it a few months from now when you’re clear headed enough to make good decisions.

Don’t get into another relationship – Yes, what they say about rebound relationships is true. They never last and they’re not fair to your rebound man or woman. You’re in no shape for a serious relationship and you’re probably just looking for someone so you won’t feel alone. That’s understandable but it’s no excuse to take advantage of another person. Stop, get to the point where you’re ok being alone and only then will you be ready for a relationship.

And Now… What To DO After Getting Dumped

Make a clean cut break – No, you shouldn’t be facebook friends with your ex. That’s just opening you up for a whole host of pain. I don’t care if they want to still be friends, that’s just too damned bad. They dumped you and now you need to get on with your life, and you’re not going to do that while you’re constantly checking your ex’s status to see who they’re hooking up with. When you’ve moved on you can friend them again. Until then, I would suggest blocking them.

Find some way to be good to your body that involves the touch of another person – Yah yah, I know what you’re thinking (at least you guys) but that’s not what I mean. I mean get a message, a haircut or a manicure. Do something that involves another person touching you in a positive way. Listen, you’ve just been dumped, you’ve been told “you’re not good enough”. I realize paying someone for some tender loving care is not quite what you want (again guys, I’m not talking prostitutes here, I’m talking a massage, and not the sort with happy endings) but your body won’t know the difference. For a short time, your body will know it’s being taken care of by someone else and that’s enough to change a horrible depression into something easier to bear. Yes it’s an illusion, but sometimes an illusion is what we need.

Find Someone To Talk To Who Cares About You – This is similar to the first point but now we’re talking about your mind, not your body. Again, you’ve been dumped, you’ve been told you’re not good enough. So find a way to remind yourself that you are good enough. The best way to do this is to find a good friend and spend a lot of time talking to them. For me, that involved many nights with my brother and my two best friends. We didn’t talk about my ex or the breakup or the divorce. We just talked. We talked politics, history, TV, movies, pets and computer games. One time we made a drinking game out of watching Mad Men. Whatever you do, do it with friends who care for you because you need to remember that people out there care for you. If they’re willing to hug you every once in a while, that’s even better. Nothing made me feel better during the divorce than a hug from someone who cared.

P.S. By the way, this is especially useful if the other person is of the opposite sex (or same sex I suppose if that’s what you’re into). It helps to remind yourself that the other side is not the enemy and it’s nice to know there are people who still find you worth talking to. Plus the insight the opposite sex might bring to the discussion is very useful. I would usually talk to my therapist (a woman), my best friend (a man), the wife of one of my close friends and my brother. A good mix of genders that gave me a lot of comfort and insight.

P.P.S. For you men out there… A woman who sympathizes with you and is willing to listen is NOT the same as a woman who wants to sleep with you. I realize you need physical closeness as well as emotional but go find that elsewhere and don’t destroy your valuable friendships.

Party it up – When I was still wallowing in self pity, an acquaintance of mine told me “you should slut it up a bit. Get out there. Flirt with everyone you meet and sleep with the ones who say yes.” So yah, maybe that’s not exactly the right kind of advice but you know what, it was nice to play around with the opposite sex (or the same sex, again, whatever floats your boat). I didn’t do anything too wild (except that one weekend!) but I did have a lot of fun. Flirting is fun folks. It reminds us that there are men and women out there who are interested in us romantically. Sex can be fun too, as long as you can separate the physical from the emotional and not get tangled up with the first post break up person you see naked. (see above about rebound relationships).

Express Your Emotions, Even If Only To Yourself – The line “real men don’t cry” is utter bullshit. Real men don’t cry often but they do on those rare occasions when they’ve experienced true loss. There’s no shame in tears. On the contrary, this is one of the ridiculous lessons that society has taught us which prevent men from coming to grips with their own emotions. We bottle everything inside until we’re ready to explode. I would say the same applies to women but you all seem to be pretty good at this already.

You don’t need to weep at every office lunch but do give yourself some privacy to let go if you need to. I managed to not cry (or express any other strong emotion) for 26 years and where did that get me? Even as my life was shattering around me I refused to admit to anyone, including myself, that anything was wrong. I felt it all build up inside and I couldn’t find any way to release it. Eventually, my therapist asked me if I had ever remembered crying in my life. I told her that I got a little sad at the end of movies where dogs get hurt so she asked me to go home and watch Where The Red Fern Grows.

I’m still not sure what happened at the end of that movie because when little Ann died I was sobbing on the floor holding my own dog. It took hours to recover but that was the point at which I started getting over the pain.
So let me rephrase that saying for you “Real men don’t cry over nothing, but they’re not afraid to shed tears for the things that matter.” Love matters, and losing love matters just as much.

P.S. screaming and incoherent raging help too, as long as you don’t do anything stupid. I highly recommend buying a punching bag so that you don’t take out your frustrations on those around you. Plus, the occasional primal scream while stuck in rush hour traffic is nothing to be ashamed of.

Never Be Alone – Last but not least, never be alone. When you’re alone is when it’s worst. Being alone really makes you face the fact that you are no longer part of a couple. It’s awful and painful and at times unbearable. So if you want lunch, go to the mall food court and if you want to work from home, do it from a coffee shop. Do NOT sit at home alone feeling sorry for yourself. That’s a vicious cycle that will only make things worse.

For me, It was the long drive to work that really got to me, right up until I started carpooling with my best friend. Being with him reminded me that I was a worthwhile human being, that I had people who cared about me. He and others like him kept me grounded in the reality that life goes on and that not all is lost. I’m thankful that he and the rest were there by my side and I was still thankful when he stood by my side as my best man a few weeks ago as I married Julie.

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And that’s the last bit of wisdom I have for you. You’re going through a hard time but it will get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is quite possible to love and be loved again. Take this time, bear through it, learn from it and become a better person for it. People fail, they try and they fail, even at things like love and marriage. It’s what you do after the failure that distinguishes you.


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