Cutting the Cord

Ahhh. It’s a nice hot day here in the Ozarks. The kind of day that makes you want to just stay indoors next to a fan while the air conditioning blows forced cold air. I’m sipping a crisp glass of Kim Crawford Chardonnay and watching the internet remind me of all my past mistakes, proving that even though one may clear all the negative folks out – or at a minimum keep them at arm’s length – one can also count on algorithms to remind you of days gone by. Fakebook memories reminded me today that four years ago, I was preparing for my divorce. It was a nasty one, too; An experience that I will not soon forget, that’s for sure. While he and I can communicate now, most of our discussions are just “Can you switch a weekend with me?” or sharing the first day of school photos. But, it’s a far cry from wanting to hire a hitman or move to Wyoming just to get away from it all.

I had to giggle when the ‘memory’ about how to survive a divorce came up in my feed because it’s on the heels of another breakup, and I think it’s funny how Fakebook seems to know these things when most of my ‘friends’ do not. Maybe it’s just that my life is a series of breakups – lol. Who knows? Maybe the program’s internal algorithms just seems to know that when my birthday arrives I’m probably single, which essentially means everyone is off the hook for a present. Who knows. I’ve stopped trying to figure it all out.

Anywho…we are talking breakups today over drinks. I’m no shrink, but I’ve gotten enough relationship advice in the last three years from people who think they are (or should actually be) in the counseling field, so I’m going to share what I’ve learned.

So. Grab a drink and settle in. I’m ’bout to tell you how to get over a breakup.

1) Stay busy. There’s a lot of research out there to support ‘feeling the hurt’ and owning your feelings, and loving yourself through the pain, yadda yadda yadda. So, yes. Do that. BUT…while introspection is lovely and has its place when you are coming out of a challenging endeavor, there is also research that supports sitting with your feelings for too long actually makes you unhappier in the long run. The bottom line is that the marriage/relationship is over. You need a hobby that doesn’t include accidentally sticking your penis in someone new right away. (If you don’t have a penis, count your blessings. Those things are overrated, and I’ve heard that those with them don’t know how to control them anyway).

2) Get a massage. Duh. Here’s why massage is essential. People crave touch, and when you lose intimacy, it can be easy to go on the prowl. Massage therapy relaxes you, soothes sore muscles, and increases serotonin. It also increased oxytocin – which is the ‘feel-good hormone.’ When you crave touch, you are actually craving oxytocin. If you have just received your “Dear John” (or Dear Jane) letter….don’t rush to build that online profile just yet. Instead, book a massage (or a facial or pedicure). The benefits of a bit of self-care are amazing.

3) Have faith. If you’ve shown up the majority of the time – even when you didn’t want to – please know that the Universe has been watching and is faithful to the weary and the brokenhearted. Call it Karma, retribution, getting justice – whatever – it will take care of you. I sometimes think, “I’m a XX year-old with a child. Who wants that?” The truth? Grown-ass men want that. Grown-ass men understand that single women with children can go one of two ways: They are on the prowl, OR so into living their best life, they forget to text in the morning. A grown-ass man wants a woman who works hard on herself and does what she can to make her child’s life better. If your guy didn’t understand that your child was the top priority, then he’s got a little growing up to do himself. Unless you want two children, you should be relieved you aren’t a couple anymore. The way I see it…when someone tells you that you aren’t what they want…it allows the Universe to send the right person your way. (This is gender-neutral paragraph. I only used “he” as an example.)

4) Find your tribe. There’s probably at least one person out there who supports you in this journey – which it isn’t over yet. Your tribe can be both small and mighty like I wrote about here. You made it this far in life because of people have listened to you, bought you wine or flowers (or wine AND flowers), and told you that you look like a beautiful princess (even when you haven’t slept for days). Those are your people. Wash your hands of the folks who haven’t even said “hello.” They suck. Those are not your people. Delete them from everything.

5) Read a good book. Or a dirty book. Or a Good Dirty Book. Take a break from the books written on the subjects of divorce or toxic relationships, why bad things happen to good people, how to disarm narcissists or how to find your Zen. You are getting divorced or experiencing a breakup of some sort. You are entitled to the time it takes to grieve, but you can do that with a really raunchy book. You don’t always have to be sad. By the way, Zen can be anything – like, for instance, this delicious glass of wine.

6) Be sad if you want – for a bit. It’s okay to be sad when your dreams are destroyed. It’s okay to be sad after making the right decision. It’s okay to be sad when, despite your kind nature, you don’t respond to a text or call that kinda smells of manipulation. It’s okay. Just don’t pack up and move to Sadville for too long. Life is meant to be lived and so many don’t get the opportunity to do it for very long.

7) Resist dating sites – for now. I’m not a fan of dating, but I’m especially not a fan of dating sites. Do you want to find someone who is broken and looking for the next person who can tolerate their bullshit? You’ll find that fast on a dating site. You’d be better off making a list of all the things you enjoy doing and then finding groups of people who like the same thing. You might meet someone new that way – but you’ll for sure gain some new friends with already established common ground. For me? I joined a local hiking group and a ‘new restaurant meet-up group’. I’ve yet to go, but I joined. There’s always a first step to every new endeavor.

8) Cut your losses. This isn’t the same if you’ve experienced a death, so don’t even try to make it relevant. But, there is a reason she told you she fell in love with the guy at work. There is a reason he told you he didn’t even really like you. There is a reason they just up and moved out of your life. There. Is. A. Reason. You don’t know what it is yet…but…you will look back someday and realize that the hole in your heart – you know, the one you felt after they broke it? That’s just the spot the Universe needed to fill with something or someone better suited for you.

9) Be kind. My son announced on Tuesday of this week that he ‘had a girlfriend’ and by Friday had broken up with this girl because ‘my mom says I’m too young for a relationship’. In my defense, he is too young for a girlfriend, but I found myself actually empathizing with this poor girl I had never even met. I simply asked him if he was kind when he broke up with her. He said he was and then asked me why it was important. I said “Because…you know that saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?”. He nodded. “That’s just not true. Words can very much hurt someone.”

I’m dying to find a #10 to round out this post, but as I’ve said before, I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a blogger in SW Missouri with thoughts that I need to share. But I do have faith in the process, and that’s really all that matters in times like this. For now, I’ll leave you with a song – not that any of you ever click the link (yes, there are stats!).