Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How to survive a break-up

New blog reader Adam wants some tips and tricks for being alone after a break-up. I’ve only been on my own for just over a week this time, but have survived dozens of break-ups (actually more like two dozen, over the past 22 years!) Here’s what I find helpful:

#1: NO CALLING. This is one of the rare situations in life where it’s best to go cold turkey. You broke up for a reason, and maintaining contact is just prolonging the heartache. Of course, if you’ve locked yourself out and they’re the only person who knows where the spare house keys are hidden, by all means contact them - but don’t go inventing excuses to stay in touch.

#2: NO STALKING. Do not follow them all over the internet to see what they’re up to. (God, life was so much easier in 1995 when I first started dating.) It doesn’t matter what they’re doing or saying. Get on with living your own life - the only life you’ll ever have - and make it great.

#3: MAKE YOUR SPACE YOURS. That means getting rid of their letters, photos and other paraphernalia. I’m totally ruthless and unsentimental about this: reading cute romantic cards or gazing wistfully at photos of the two of you is only ever going to make you feel worse. File them in the bin.

#4: GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO THEIR STUFF. My husband was amazing at DIY, but he’s not the only person who can do it. So instead of wishing he were here to paint the porch, I hired a lovely decorator to do it. (And then I stepped on it before the paint was dry, but that’s another story.)

#5: LEAN ON FRIENDS. If John Fleming wasn’t in my life, I don’t know what I’d do. He has been the absolute best, taking care of me while I was ill, staying over and cheering me up. Other friends have also been in touch to offer support, and I’ve been really grateful for that. They’ve filled the space my husband has vacated, and made me feel less alone.

#6: DEVELOP SOME INTERESTS. The idea is to fill your time with so much stuff, you don’t have time to dwell on the break-up. I signed up to a gym class app called ClassPass. (Then I was too ill to go to any classes, but the intention was there!) Life is not just about relationships. But hey, you might even meet someone new while trying something new...

#7: BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Don't beat yourself up for all the things you should have done during the relationship, wishing you could turn back the clock. Relationships are hard: 42% of marriages end in divorce, and even people in happy relationships have usually had failed relationships in the past. There's nothing to say you won't have a successful relationship in the future.


  1. Surviving a breakup for me always involved heavy drinking, acute cynicism regarding love and commitment and the wanton destruction of public property. Okay, I made up the last one, but I thought it sounded good.

    1. Ha ha, it does! I haven't destroyed anything of his, but am definitely acutely cynical about love.

    2. That is one good thing about breakup: you become sane... until next time.