"BREAK-UP BOUNCE BACK"
~ We've all been there before. Whether its crying over that embarrassing break up in sixth grade when you got dumped for being "flat", "fat", or "unpopular", or when your four year high school romance came crashing to an abrupt end as you made way for college, or, when after five years of marriage, two kids, and three affairs later, you file for divorce, eventually everyone learns eventually the axiomatic fact about love: IT HURTS.
With endless nights of tears, fluctuating eating habits, and sappy re-runs behind you, its now time to look in the mirror and repeat after me: "It's over; O-V-E-R." Good. Now that that's out of the way, the next step is to tackle the big question still looming over your head: "what to do next?" Here, things can get sticky. Statistics show breakups do, in fact, provoke people to do things they wouldn't normally do, non-normative behavior so to speak, and that could potentially mean dangerous repercussions.
Below is a list of those common 'fatal flaws' people often make when dealing with their latest breakup, and some helpful hints on how to avoid making the same mistake with your own love life. Remember: "this too shall pass.
FATAL FLAW 1) Couch Potato
Your heart has just been broken: you're hurt, angry, confused, desperate, indifferent, numb, etc. All these feelings tend towards depression. While it is normal to experience the sudden "moody blues" for a short period of time, acts like self-isolation can actually prolong the state and lead to an unhealthy, unproductive, reclusive, and even distrusting lifestyle.
Fast Fix: Usually a person not prone to playing the role of couch potato all day can only take so much inactivity and self gluttony. X gallons of ice-cream and numerous "Days of Our Lives" reruns later, and that person is ready to hit the gym or do something active and productive to counter their recent hibernation stasis.
Still, if lying on the couch for three weeks doesn't inspire you to go kick-box your way into a fab figure and motivated psyche, you can always try the meditative route. Many people notice that all that "down time" on the couch allows for "self discovery." Your wallowing over the breakup can lead to enlightening revelations about the flaws of your relationship, your partner, yourself, and most importantly, how to fix them for next time.
FATAL FLAW 2) Rebound
This is probably the most typical course of action and usually the most "fatal." Any motivation to secure a new flame, so as to mask the current pain of your last one, is a guaranteed way to bring baggage and drama into your life. Whether it's a one-night stand or a new relationship, chances are you're not ready to get serious and that could have major repercussions on your psyche and self-image, not to mention your new partner, once you objectively realize your possible moral waywardness with your latest fling. Guy-hopping, or chick-hopping (for you guys), is not the way to secure an emotional void in your life, period.
Fast Fix: Instead of latching on to Mr./Miss Anonymous, embrace your individuality and 'singledom' and take time to focus your attention on all those dreams and goals you may have let lie low while you were busy holding a relationship together. Relationships are hard work; chances are, a few goals were put on hold while you dedicated yourself to your last one. Now is the time to get back on track with your life; revel in the newfound freedom that enables you to do so! Still, that's not to say that when a cute guy or gal offers to buy you a drink at the bar you can't accept; just don't plan on going home with them any time soon. Learn to love having a whole bed to yourself and a whole day dedicated towards going where you want to in life.
FATAL FLAW 3) "Round
Despite the recent four-hour quarrel over your incompatibility (even infidelity with one another), you're still deciding to give it another try. WHY? There's a reason people break up, cheat, lie, etc. and all of them point to the obvious: you're not right for one another. If you find yourself wrapped up in drama before, and during, the breakup, chances are, drama will inevitably reappear after the breakup. Couples that try to "give it another go" inevitably end up doing so repetitively before finally calling it quits—yes, you will eventually call it quits—and that type of instability is potentially damaging to both your self-image and emotional health: think "perma-baggage" that is to be carried from one relationship to the next, thereafter.
Fast Fix: Don't hold on. Every returned phone call, or accidental run-in only lengthens the healing process. Instead, sever the ties for good. Find the strength to delete the phone number out of your phones and your personal memory. (Bonus: chances are if the calls come in without their name tagged to the number, you may even start to forget who it's from and find it easier to avoid taking the call altogether.) Likewise, do your best to avoid picking up their calls at all cost.
Embrace your old friendships that may have been left by the wayside to make room for that relationship that is no more. Call up old girlfriends and hit the spa, movies, malls, etc. Guys, call up your buddies and hit up the pubs, pool halls and strip clubs. Socializing in same-sex groups helps develop the required confidence needed to enjoy your new "single status" – read: it makes being single fun again. In no time, Mr./Mrs. Wrong will be a thing of the past and you can revel in your buzzing social life that has resurrected once again.
FATAL FLAW 4) Fanatical
Sure you're traumatized, but going out and getting wasted and making a fool of yourself (yes, this is what brokenhearted inebriated victims do) is not going to fix the situation. Chances are, you're just going to ruin your reputation, even if only temporarily. Avoid the impulse to party like a rock star and stick to causal congregation and you'll find that "void" you're feeling won't be made any larger by long nights of puking and rubbing up on strange potentials.
Fast Fix: Know your limit and enforce a curfew. "We're not in college anymore, Toto" (ok, some of you may be, but you should know better!). Mingling with small parties and going home at a reasonable hour is a great way to feel like you're back on track without feeling wiped out and super regretful and lonely the next day. Even doses of social mingling lets you go home content, sleep well, and wake to a new day of hopeful ventures and new acquaintances.
FATAL FLAW 5) Movin' on
Make-over: The Metamorphosis
You've been dumped. "It's not you, it's me," or so they say. You can't help but feel that something you did, or something about the way you are, is wrong. If you were just thinner, more attractive, motivated, successful, etc. you would have been perfect. WRONG! When people breakup it's usually because of the obvious: No matter how painful, there's a deductive, albeit negative, path towards finding Mr./Mrs. Right that starts with recognizing who they are not.
It's the simple process of differentiation, and it's a major cognitive process that allows humans to identify things (including themselves and potential partners) through negation. So, just because things didn't work out with the last flame doesn't mean you need to die your hair, change your wardrobe, drop 15 pounds, and acquire a foreign accent for that hot prospect at desk 15 at work. The one who's right for you will discover so by seeing who you are on the inside: cliché yes, but axiomatically true.
Fast Fix: Rather than running wild through a slurry of new looks and personas, find a way to objectively analyze what went wrong with your old relationship and learn from the mistakes; both yours and theirs. That way, you'll find that if you apply that same "principle of differentiation" to the relationship, you too will see what your partner saw when he/she said that you simply weren't meant to be. In a way, when they give you the infamous "It's not you, it's me" speech, its true. They've discovered that who you are doesn't fit with who they are, because who they "are" is someone who would be perfect with someone else.
Likewise, when you reflect on the relationship and discover that they're not right for you, you'll realize that they're the type of person who'll never be right for you, nor will you ever be right for a person like them. So, avoid making the same fatal mistake of engaging in a new relationship with someone that has the same tendencies and character traits: You already know it won't work. The last thing you need is a brief stint of de ja vous to confirm such truths.
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