Need Some Breakup Rehab?
Still jonesin' for your last girlfriend? Here's a seven-step program to put you on the fast track to recovery.
1) CLEAN HOUSE
"The first step is to shift to battle mode and defend your territory by reclaiming your personal space and getting rid of any traces of her presence," says Francisco Bujan, breakup coach and author of How to Get Your Power Back After She Breaks Up. Some go as far as throwing out the mattress, but for the rest of you without as much disposable income, ditching the personal items (the tampons under the sink, the picture of you together on the fridge) should help put an end to the fl ashes of her you get every time you reach for the ice cubes.
2) PUT DOWN THE PHONE
If she wanted to hear from you, she wouldn't have broken up with you. Until U.S. cell-phone companies start offering the capability to prevent drunk-dialing, like they do in Australia, the best thing you can do is simply avoid disaster. Give your best buddy your cell phone and make him promise not to give it back, no matter how much you beg after that sixth shot of Jager.
3) BITCH AND MOAN
Chicks know the value of this; guys don't. So take a week, just one, and unload your angst on the people who care about you. But know when to stop, or your friends will stop calling you. "The most a friend can take is one or two conversations before it becomes really draining," says Bujan. "You need to look for other sources of comfort, whether a family member or a therapist." If that doesn't help, you can also vent your frustrations on paper and spare everyone involved.
4) GO TO THE GYM
Twice a day, if necessary. Take up kickboxing or a martial art that will allow you to get your aggression out—in a healthy way. "Exercise is a great way to boost the brain chemicals that make you feel happy," says Daniel Amen, M.D., author of Sex on the Brain. "When we lose people we are attached to, two chemicals go awry in the brain—serotonin, the happy, feel-good chemical; and endorphins, the painkiller. The best way to feel better naturally is to exercise." Even if you're still miserable at the end of the day, you'll be lean and buff, and we all know looking good is the sweetest revenge.
5) STOP OBSESSING
Don't dwell upon what you didn't do. Consider what you did wrong, but don't let it consume you. "It's not productive to think about it over and over again, because you'll get defensive and say, ‘She's wrong, I'm right.' Really consider what the other person is saying to you, even though it's hard to do," says Laura Grashow, Psy.D. "Think about how you can make changes." Then do it—your next girlfriend will thank you.
6) STOP LYING TO YOURSELF
Does the following sound familiar: "No one will ever love me like she did. I'll never find anyone like her again." You should hope not. That bitch up and left you! "Make a mnemonic about all the things that irritate you using her name," recommends Amen. "This way you have a meditative practice to prevent you from lying to yourself." For instance, if her name is Maria, assign each letter to a trait that bothered you about her: messy, ambivalent, rigid, insecure, and annoying. So every time she pops into your head, you see her for who she is instead of idealizing her.
7) SLEEP AROUND
It seems obvious, but it works. You need to know you're wanted. Have a one-night stand (with protection, of course) to remind yourself that you're a hot stud. But hang on—resist the temptation to get sucked into another relationship right away. "Avoid the classic rebound relationship," says Grashow. "Get back out there right away, but don't have high expectations and don't try to make her into your ex."