A good friend of mine in Johannesburg, South Africa, is going through a heartbreaking divorce. We’ve been spending a lot of time together on Skype, talking about sadness and feelings, love, and loss. Naturally, it’s got me thinking about my last major breakup, nearly six years ago, and the process I went through getting over it. I realized there were a few essential steps to be taken in order for me to move on. Here’s a breakdown:
Essential breakup ritual: Writing, writing, writing, and more writing. A lot of my best ideas come when I’m heartbroken.
Essential breakup investment: I think it’s fair to spend at least $100 for every year you spent with this person, on some really nice clothes. Something that makes you feel beautiful (or handsome.)
Essential breakup album to purchase: Shoot Out the Lights, by Richard and Linda Thompson. This album is about the heartbreaking demise of their relationship. It’s tragic and inspiring that they could create such a powerful and honest album, despite the deterioration of their marriage. (I really want to do a similar project with an ex, so if you’re reading this DPH, get in touch.) I bought this album on Valentine’s Day and listened to it every day in my most heartbroken time.
Essential breakup advice: Take note of the small things that make you happy. Write them down every day.
I asked these questions to a bunch of my friends. Some chose not to use their names. Here are some of their answers:
Occupation: Actress (Note: Her publicist didn’t approve these questions.)
Essential breakup ritual: Lots of eating. Followed by lots of running and crying along the seawall to any and all Beyonce power songs.
Essential breakup investment: A beautiful necklace. One he would never think to buy you. He never understood your style anyways.
Essential breakup album to purchase: MGMT to get some pep. Mariah Carey #1 album for your cheesy, Bridget Jones-esque sobbing moments.
Essential breakup advice: If someone is being a douche more often than not...don't try to be extra nice to them. Don't make them awesome trip montages on iMovie. Don't surprise them with a delicious pie (their favourite) at their office. Don't give lots of amazing blowjobs. Leave them. They are passive aggressive meanies and you can do better. Get your stuff and don't look back. Wipe them off of your cyber world too. Erase them. They don't deserve you. You are awesome.
Occupation: Mother, Drifter, Lover, Globe-trotter, Enchantress
Essential breakup ritual: Fall deeply in love with someone else.
Essential breakup investment: Agent Provocateur, a bottle of red and a Brazilian wax.
Essential breakup album to purchase: Jeff Buckley Grace.
Essential breakup advice: Remain friends if you can. Don't be angry. Find the beauty through the pain. To quote Richard and Linda Thompson, "Don't renege on our love." It was wonderful while it lasted. Next!
Name: Sonja Ahlers
Occupation: (Breakup) Artist
Essential breakup ritual: Make art about the breakup. Preferably write a book about it. Pick up a musical instrument. Start writing songs about the shittiness of the relationship etc. Indulge in existential angst. Exorcism. Water therapy (hot and cold). Cry. (I cried for three months straight).
Essential breakup investment: Plane ticket.
Essential breakup album to purchase: PJ Harvey White Chalk. I think it's more important to make your own breakup mix. FIND ALL NEW MUSIC. Do not listen to anything that reminds you of the relationship. It's time for All New Everything.
Essential breakup advice: MOVE AWAY.
Name: Lizzy Karp
Occupation: Writer and Communications Lady-o
Essential breakup ritual: Music. Candy. Writing letters. Reading. Friends. Long walks. Exercise. Erasing all photos off of your computer (after putting them onto a disc).
Essential breakup investment: Running shoes. Yoga mat. Black licorice.
Essential breakup album to purchase: As my heart has recently only been broken by Canadians, I'd stick to Canadian made music—Bahamas, Rose Cousins, the Acorn. But after you are done crying, the new Zeus album would be great to pick up a swollen heart and Kathleen Edwards Back to Me is perfect for singing really, really loud. When I broke up with someone and my entire music collection reminded me of them (I know I am not alone here), I dug into classical music and listened to Blondie. Both saved my life.
Essential breakup advice: Talk to your parents, aunts, uncles, grandmothers. Some of my most intimate conversations with them resulted after bad breakups, and we are closer because of that. Being so sorrowful is part of being alive.
I dare you to visit www.eliannalev.com