Once I didn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I was a virginal, 103-pound freshman at UMass Amherst with high expectations and grandiose dreams of love and relationships. Then I met Kurt. I met 20-year-old-big-man-on-campus Kurt and fell for his raspy voice, Varsity status, and bad-boy ways.
In retrospective, I had a bad case of puppy love. But at 18 years old that love seemed so real. And that’s why after slipping Kurt a letter under his door and not hearing from him at all…cayi en cama. I drenched my pillows with tears. Suffocated my pain under my sheets and blankets. Shivered when replaying the words I’d written in script on the lined paper that was now in his hands. Or perhaps in the trash. I felt like I was dying. I felt my heart was breaking into pieces, as if I were bitten by a lethal love bug that would live in my bloodstream for the end of my days. That’s what heartbreak felt like.
Now, at 33 years old I am wiser and a lot less dramatic. I can distinguish between lust and love and loving a man as opposed to being in love with a man. I ignore my pepa’s throbs and reprimand her when she wants to get it in. “He just wants sex!” I shout while shaking my finger at her pelitos. “So behave!” I lecture before snapping my legs shut. I tell myself that relationships just change. People grow apart. And not everyone is meant to be together forever. At 33 years old, I regroup after a break-up in a healthier manner even when battling my abandonment issues, which reappear every time a relationship is over.
How do I do it? It’s not easy; patterns are difficult to break. Still, the following are surefire ways to tackle heart break. It’s helped me so maybe it will help you!
Release your anger.
It is so important to release your anger and frustration – even in your 30s! Just because you are a respectable, strong women doesn’t mean you don’t want to yoke a man or burn his clothes ala Angela Basset in Waiting To Exhale. Still, just because you want to doesn’t mean you have to go to that extreme. I say vent to the man who has broken your heart. Let it all out no matter what he thinks or feels. If he doesn’t want to talk in person, vent over the phone. If he doesn’t pick up, leave him a voicemail or send him a text or an email. What’s important is that you let it out if you must, not how. It doesn’t even matter if he thinks you’re crazy. He’s not your boyfriend anymore! Their reaction or non-reaction makes no difference.
Spend time with close friends and family.
My close friends and family have been my rock throughout my break ups. But only my close friends and family. If you speak to everyone about your sadness and heartbreak, you begin to dwell – and that’s not the point. So surround yourself with positive people. Go to dinner and have some drinks! But not too many or that can bring on the Weepy Drunk Monster. Keep yourself busy, pamper yourself, and enjoy life! You only have one.
Sleep in and relax.
When I’m a little down I love to sleep. A lot. Mostly because I am mentally exhausted. Analyzing and replaying scenarios to pinpoint red flags is draining. So I take some time for me and my bed. I snooze till noon on weekends and take naps during the work week. I simply relax and listen to my body – without succumbing to depression. Just make sure that you rest up if you feel the need.
Accept the end.
This one is tough but becomes easier over time. Time does heal all wounds. It also helps us forget. Granted we never forget those we love but as the memories fade you can begin a new life with a new love. Before this can happen you must accept the end. You must accept change and the little control you have over your exes actions and feelings. It can be difficult but once you embrace acceptance you will feel so much better and emotionally healthy.
Learn from it and become aware.
We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make the same mistakes once or twice or thrice. I am guilty of this. I fell for the same kind of man (I had a save-a-pene complex). I pretended white lies weren’t told. I connected the dots much too late, usually when the relationship was on its last leg. This I am aware of now due to my failed relationships. I learned what to look out for. I know my patterns. I learned how to say , “Thanks, but no thanks,” when confronted with romantic relationships that were reminiscent of said patterns. And this is all because of heartbreak. So learn your lessons and become more self-aware. This way you can change your life for the better.
Even when using these techniques I still had days in my 30s when I cried in silence on my bedroom couch, my pillow, in the shower like a telenovela star, and on the subway – just like when I was 20-something. The only difference is that instead of sobbing for two weeks I sobbed for two days. There really is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing emotion with tears. It can even be healthy. Just make sure to talk to your loved ones if you are really down. Because no man is worth a woman hibernating in bed for months.