Advice: Getting over a breakup, turn off your Facebook and eat a chicken sandwich.

Dear TheGaze,

I’m having a really hard time getting over a bad breakup of a long-term relationship that happened about a year ago. I became co-dependent and it ended badly. Well he cheated on me and now I can’t seem to move on. I still feel really angry. I think about him with other girls and it makes me mad. I don’t want him back, but it makes me sad.  Any tips on how to get over the rejection of a breakup/ reinvent yourself as a person who doesn’t date shitty people? Oh, and it doesn’t help that a lot of my friends are in relationships right now so I’m kind of feeling like the only one in a pantsuit at a nudist colony.
Please help.
In a Rut

Ask Her

Dear In a Rut,

So let me get this straight. Your ex cheated on you, you broke up, and now you’re one year single feeling sad, angry, lonely and rejected. I’m sorry In a Rut, but I don’t even know where to start.

Okay, so this guy cheated on you, you broke up, and now the story you’re telling yourself is that he “rejected” you? Hmmm. Well, perhaps I should speak for myself, but dishonesty is just a no-go for me in my relationships. If my man lies and cheats on me, I reject him, not the other way around. Bottom line, no matter how much you cared for him, he is not qualified to be your boyfriend. Repeat after me: I reject him. He was shitty to me, there’s nothing I could have done to prevent him from being shitty towards me, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with me as a result.

Moving on. You’re living in the past, In a Rut, and you if you want to get over this guy and reinvent yourself as someone who recognizes a shitty mate when you see one, you are going to have stop feeling sorry for yourself (sorry) and start living in the real world. Step outside of yourself and your feelings and take a good hard look at yourself. What do you have going for you right now? You might be healthy, have a fulfilling job, caring family, ambition for the future, talent to explore, nice apartment, or a charming personality. Whatever you’ve got, push aside your self-pity for a minute and acknowledge, recognize, and be grateful for what you are and what you have. The biggest lie you’ve been telling yourself is that you are the sum of your relationship(s). You are so much more than this! Unfortunately the longer you think you’re a sad, rejected creature, the longer you will stay that way. You are what you think you are In a Rut, so it’s time you start thinking yourself as more than a jilted girlfriend if you have any ambition to be more than that.

How do you do this you ask? After nearly a decade as a singleton whose idea of dating meant engaging in impossible short-lived love affairs every couple years, I’ve learned a few things about being alone while wishing I wasn’t. First things first, you need to come out of that stagnant pond of memories you’re floating in and start living in the now. You need to gain new memories through new experiences which reflect your present day situation, and the best way of doing that is by surrounding yourself with positive, strong, and independent people. In other words, don’t hang out with someone who waits at home in a suspended state of animation until Brian gets off work.

And that’s the thing – the coolest thing about being single is that you get to find out just how much more to life there is than making Brian a sandwich. The number one benefit of being single? Freedom. No single person has the power to influence and limit your choices, and the only person whose interest you need to keep is yours. So go ahead and dream. Dream big. This is important, so flesh out that dream, call it a goal, and then go for it.

All of this might sound scary at first, but I promise you, single life lived to the fullest is so addictive you will eventually relish a solo evening at home with a movie and a chicken sandwich. Might sound sad to you now, but in truth the only thing sad about that situation is the girl who doesn’t know how lucky she is to have her independence (and her own sandwich) in hand.

Your Aunt Renée

Ask the Rabbi

Dear In a Rut,

Anger is a healthy response to a breakup (especially when you’ve been wronged), but it becomes counter-productive after a point. Without knowing any more about the specifics of your situation, here are a few general tips:

1) Sever all contact with this schmuck! If you’re stalking his Facebook profile (or those of the “new girls”), cut that shit off at the source. If you still have mutual friends, tell ’em you don’t want to hear anything about your ex. If you’re still texting or calling him, delete him from your phone. It takes lots of time to get over this kind of thing, and removing all possible reminders can help. You don’t owe this guy anything.

2) Reassess how you hang out with your friends! That doesn’t mean you should cut them off or anything, but there’s no point in being the third wheel on a date or going to a party where you know you’ll be the only singleton. Try to arrange one-on-one time with your friends… preferably at times when they’re sick of their significant others and will remind you of the benefits of being single.

3) Build yourself up! Again, I don’t know all the nasty details here — but if you tend towards codependence, that suggests you have trouble asserting your own personality. Now’s the time to focus on yourself, your needs, and your desires. Be selfish, and spend some time contemplating how to shape your life. Hopefully, focusing on your own needs will help you avoid the codependence trap the next time around.

This Rabbi hates to rely on old cliches of yore, but “the best revenge is living well” seems to apply in this case. Good luck!

Rabbi Solomon


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