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.

The Break Up

large (11)I watched ‘The Break Up’ last night and felt totally cheated.

Before you download it, you should know that that it’s more of a Rom Con than a Rom Com. I wanted rain, maybe even a bit of snow. I wanted an exhausting sex scene or a fireworks display to declare their love for one another. But, no. I got ‘see you around’. For once, real life is more exciting than the movies. My break up history, on reflection, could probably make for a pretty good script.

Having been through only two major break ups in my life, I feel a little inadequate on the discussion of relationships falling apart but I reckon the first is always the worst. Not because you love them more than any later lovers, just because it’s so new. At the age of around sixteen, you find yourself completely falling for someone with the entirety of your heart, body, mind and soul. So when the inevitable happens and the relationship crumbles due to conflicting university choices, travelling, or worst of all, cheating, your whole world seems to fall apart. Once you’ve been through The First Love Break Up, whether you are sixteen or forty-five, a lot of things are put into perspective. It makes you a little colder, a little more guarded and far more cynical about the future…

But once the first is somewhat behind you, you follow it up with what is normally The University Break Up, or as I like to call it, ‘the early twenties freak out’. You get to twenty-one, final year of university and think ‘I have one year left to go wild. What am I doing?’ You call it off, there are tears, a lot more break up sex than you could ever possibly imagine and then that period where you decide that it would be a good idea to see who can hurt each other more to make yourself feel better. This is the worst phase of all. It is the numbness of this break up which is the scariest because it is nothing in comparison to the childish hurt you felt from the first. You think you don’t really care as much as the first time. But you do. You just have to hope that when you realise you made a mistake, it’s not too late.

The Long Distance Break Up isn’t much better I’m afraid. This one appears to be all about how much effort you put in, how much you love each other or the amount of distance between you. In reality, it isn’t any of the above. Instead, it is simply just really really hard to be away from the one you love. The whole reason you are with someone is because you enjoy their company, you find them physically attractive and because your life is much better when you’re around them. You can’t experience any of these things to their maximum potential over Skype or through text messaging which is why these relationships generally fail. Think about it. How many long distance relationships that you’ve experienced, first hand or not, have actually worked out? I don’t know any that have. If there’s an end in sight then it might be worth the struggle, but if not it might be time to think about the cut and run.

The thing you need to remember until you find ‘The One’ or at least ‘One of the Ones’ is that “Love always begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop”. No matter what you do.

As long as you know this, you can only live for the moment.

But is it all worth it? I think I’ll leave that one up to you…