Did I say easy? Okay, I lied. But the rest of it is all true.
Deciding to cut someone off your life is a hard, hard thing to do. Whether you made that decision after ten rounds of deliberation and trial, or just woke up one day and saw the light, this is no easy feat, but know that if you’re serious about following through with it, you’ve just signed yourself up for Talking To Doors Frequently But Worth It In The End 101.
Backstabbing best friend, best friend turned toxic lover, almost-relationship-but-enough-to-hurt, childhood sweetheart turned raging a**hole, lover turned stalker (this case might require more than just advice, like protection) – whatever your story, the pain is still real – and needs to be consciously dealt with until it has met its eventuality.
I claim to be no guru in matters of the heart, but one experience lived is ten lessons gained, so chin up, stop crying into your sangria glass and definitely stop getting your lashes in a bunch watching tear-jerker montages on Photo Memories (why would you do that to us broken-hearted, iOS 10?! Avoid it like the plague).
Wherever you are on your journey, these 6 stages are pretty much what to expect – we’re skipping the parts where you drunk text said ex/relapse hook up/do both (all bad ideas) because that’s for the weak hearted and we know no weakness.
Stage 1: “I’m dying inside.”
It always starts with this one, of course it does. When it was your prerogative to show someone the door (metaphoric or real), the onus is automatically on you to stand your ground. This can involve blocking of contacts, a social media purge, altered dynamic of shared friend groups, maybe ditching social gatherings depending on the kind of person you are, and miles of sad camera scroll.
All very natural, all very necessary. But once you decide to leave your pity party and come out for some air, don’t hesitate to give your squad a call to give them a heads up on what things are going to be like – these people are going to play starring roles in your life shortly.
Stage 2: “This isn’t so bad.”
Sometime between bawling your eyes out and taking undue advantage of wine-o’-clock (hey, it’s wine-o’-clock somewhere, right?), there comes a time when you look at the birds in the sky, come to know Nutella-stuffed brownie cookies actually exist and realize life isn’t so bad after all.
But this is an AMBUSH, evacuate the building immediately – I repeat, evacuate. It’s just your overdriven bruised emotions on instant fight-or-flight mode, fighting against its threat to survival with unnecessary endorphins. You’re going to snap out of it soon – maybe come crashing to the ground at the first sighting of an old hangout. However, if you're sure your heart has healed at this stage, then you probably either weren't in love or are more evolved than the rest of us, so getouttahere.
Stage 3: “The world is a cruel place and I hate everybody.”
Oh, here’s the most fun part! Once you've been around enough gag-inducing couples, reality will hit, and it's almost as nice as sleeping on a bed of needles and having your heart wrenched out of your chest, vampire-style (insert Halloween reference).
A toxic relationship is like a fire that burns you, but you still need its light to check your wounds. Serious stuff. It can suck the life out of you, replacing it squarely with feelings of anger (‘why should I be the one taking this initiative, anyway?”), regret (“should not have watched The Notebook, I hate you Ryan Gosling, but I love you” * sobbing uncontrollably *) and general disgust toward humankind.
Again, this is an elevated experience just like the previous pleasant reflex, and this too shall pass.
Stage 4: “I’m the coolest person ever, what have I been thinking?”
Feeling single entails one key requirement: indulging in loads of alone time to think, to recoup, to meditate. Slicing a person off your life is like losing an arm X 100, and so you’ve gotta do what it takes to replace the time you spent with that person on a daily basis doing things either with other people or by yourself; and when you’re a party hopping, overtime-working millennial, you’ll soon reach the latter stage.
Cue depressing songs, bouts of secret cry fests you’re not proud of, binge watching movies like How To Be Single (this one will actually give you the feels) and a sense of loneliness – you might even catch yourself talking to doors. But don’t despair, as long as your itchy fingers are off whatshisname’s chat window, you’ll be okay. Soon enough, you’ll come to realize that your own company beats hanging out with just anyone (read: booty call included). And if you find yourself laughing at your own jokes, just know you’ll be fine.
Stage 5: “Okay, getting the hang of this, thnx.”
We all agree missing somebody royally, absolutely sucks, but boy, will you be relieved to be spared of all the BS you were subjected to previously. You’ll have more time to spend on yourself, to take that pottery class you always wanted to, not bunk gym, and just get to know yourself better – and trust me, you’re going to love what you find! Also finally, you’ll get to focus on what really matters – your family, your true friends and your hair which sends out an important message to whosoever concerned – great hair because even my dead cells are shiny and lustrous, FTW.
But, all this good stuff can only happen when you manage to accomplish one particular hurdle: take the object of your unhappiness down from their pedestal. All this while, you probably thought they were cooler, smarter, funnier than they actually were, courtesy rose-tinted love shades but the shades aren’t Gucci and whatshisname is no flawless angel, so take them off. At the end of the day, this is your life, and it’s you who matters the most.
Soon enough, you’ll find a new way of life, different people to make post-work drink plans with, and who knows, you might probably even come across someone you actually really like (imagine that) – like them enough to study their Snapchat viewing patterns or it’s not worth it, just saying.
And if you’re still reading this, I know this is your sincere attempt to be happy again, so I’ll leave you with this inspiring line from the climax of the aforementioned film:
“The thing about being single is, you should cherish it. Because in a week or a lifetime of being alone you may only get one moment. One moment when you’re not tied up in a relationship with anyone. A parent, a pet, a sibling, a friend. One moment when you stand on your own – really, truly, single. And then, it’s gone.”
It's all going to be okay, buddy.