THE DUMPING GROUND

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Being loved by someone is the greatest feeling in the world.

Until they stop loving you.

And then you turn into a fire-breathing, flesh-eating monster with zero comprehension of what is acceptable behaviour under the given circumstances and what is not.

You’ll text him even when you’ve told your friends you won’t. You’ll call him even when every bone in your body is telling you not to. You’ll stalk his Facebook/Instagram/Insert Social Media Platform Of Choice Here, even when you know you’ll feel awful afterwards. You’ll make out like you have a ton of dates lined up on your Twitter when all you have is the prospect of a Sunday night Tinder session and some leftover pizza. You’ll screen shot quotes from Instagram. A lot. And if you’re feeling really fruity, you’ll send them to him. You’ll befriend his friends in a bid to make him realise what he’s missing out on, only for it to backfire when you catch wind of a conversation about his new flame. And last, but by no means least, you’ll have sub-standard sex with him in secret and shrug it off as nothing less than liberating, staking claim to being in control when really all it did was make you want to eat a double cheese burger and die.

The truth is, the months that follow a break up are more turbulent than a Ryan Air flight to Amsterdam, so why do we only talk freely about our most amicable breakups and bypass those that make us feel like our hearts are going to fall out of our vaginas? We always focus on the standard splits that lead you to rebound with Tony from work in the bathroom of a house party in Finchley when really we should be discussing the break ups that turn you into a complete head case and make you cry so hard that you look as though you’ve gone ten rounds against George Groves.

But we don’t. Instead, when our friends seek us out for advice after being dumped, we behave like the stuff that the pages of Cosmo are made of. 

You know the drill. You quickly fall into autopilot, rallying the troops and heading round to her place, armed with sweet treats, your brother’s Netflix password and a whole load of not particularly useful advice. We regurgitate clichés about time being a healer and how going cold turkey is the best thing for it, completely forgetting what it’s actually like to be in her position. Instead of doing this, we should be preparing her for the hell that is to come, because you know that no matter how many M&Ms you feed her, or however many episodes of OITNB she watches, she is, no doubt, headed down the brutal – and pretty unavoidable – path of getting over someone. And that path ain’t lined with roses, let me tell you. It’s paved with hobgoblins and sharp objects.

Basically, she’s about to behave like a dick and listen to not one jot of your advice. She’s going to do shameful things she’ll never want to talk about ever again and she will tell you she’s okay when actually she spends every night crying on the phone to her mum and looking at zodiac love matches online. But far from persuading her to do otherwise, just try to assure her that we’ve all been there. Because we have, even though we rarely admit to it. And it’s the only exit route to freedom, I’m afraid.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are currently in the throes of a break up and all the books and magazines are telling you that you should ‘Slap on a new lipstick!’ ‘Mingle!’ and ‘Go get ’em tiger!’ when all you want to do is call him fifty times and scream into a pillow for ten days, I’m telling you to do just that. Basically, you’re about to get weird. But instead of shying away from it, feed the madness because, dear friend, you are not ready for the world until you’ve got this exhausting phase (that people rarely talk about) out of your system. I think that by constantly pretending that breaks ups can be cured with sugar and a quick shag, we really underestimate how bad they can be, when in fact, it’s not going to be easy, nor is it going to be brief. 

By acting like a complete lunatic in the weeks that follow a split, I guarantee you will find the path back to normality. Eventually. And although it might not feel like it right now, there will come a time where you will hold your hands up to your, quite frankly, off the chart behaviour, clink glasses and laugh at the bad times with friends. But until then, be miserable, be sad, be weird and make mistakes. It’s called grief.

Break ups suck, basically. But they’re supposed to, especially when the love is real. You’ll be just fine.

Give it time.

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