The Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Dealing With a Breakup


When it comes to getting over a breakup, you can be a paragon of badassery, restraint, high-roadism and all-around transcendence, or you can be a mopey trainwreck who lies around feeling like shit, trudging the slow road to recovery in real time. But like everything in the world now, if it’s all too much to handle, you can always pay someone to help you.

Yep, there is now a person called a breakup coach who will take $89 a sesh to tell you not to call that dude, not to go over to his house and definitely not to show up at his work to try to talk about how you thought it was all going to be OK, but now it’s not, cue chin quiver. Also that you are not fat, that you are better than him, that you are going to meet someone else one day who will not hate your dog. Here, let me save you $89 three times a week for the next three months and tell you what to do to get over him/her/them/us.

A relationship ends. (Some theorize more relationships end in April for some reason.) It was great or it wasn’t so great. Either way, it takes two people to ruin a perfectly shitty romance, so if one of you wants out, it doesn’t really matter what was so great about it, does it? It’s over, now what?

Now EVERYTHING. Now fork in the road. Now sink or swim. You definitely want to deal with what has happened and extract some kind of useful insight, but you also want to get to the part where you drop a few pounds, wear a cool old pair of jeans again and go out on the town with your groove gotten back.

The question is how? With what methods? With what degree of quickness? What lies before you is a series of choices that will elicit very different results, both short-term and long-term, in the history of how well you dealt with it. Think of it as your very own Sliding Doors, and choose accordingly. Also: P.S. Everyone is watching.


Pro: Like Demi Moore in About Last Night or Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. You get to have this really cinematic montage of release with sniffles, possibly with a French song in the background. You’ll get every last drop of anguish and heartbreak out until you’re just crying silent, painful non-tears, the dry heaving of crying, at which point you will regenerate and become more beautiful.

Con: You’re a blubbering idiot who won’t be doing much else while blubbering idiotically, including being appealing to the person who dumped you, to yourself, or actually, literally anyone else in the universe.

Don’t Cry

Pro: You look totally together, give off the appearance of impermeable OK-ness, and will continue to live your life and get shit done because you’re not a blubbering idiot, nosirree, not you.

Con: It’s gonna come up later at some point, when you least expect it, and it will seem so much weirder to be fucked up about it then, you know, like when you’re in the middle of giving your next boyfriend a beej.

Call Your Ex

Pro: You call your ex up on the phone to keep talking and by some miracle the ex is the sort of person who wants to go over the relationship with you, deal with your feelings, accusations, blame, accepts it all, and is willing to talk it out until 3 a.m. every night. This can be really helpful closure for a lot of people who just want to understand why they got dumped and can we still be friends and wasn’t it meaningful to you, etc.

Con: If you call they’re gonna be all, “Why are you calling” and “I can’t be the one to help you deal with your sadness about me,” or “You’re a psycho.” Or you keep hashing and rehashing and going in circles and the relationship drags on for another week or two when you could have been already living your fabulous new-you montage.

Don’t Call

Pro: Well well well if you aren’t a living, breathing model of emotional restraint, a badass of getting over it, a hero to heroes.

Con: You never get the closure, you’re never sure what went wrong, you spend the rest of your life or at least another few months thinking it was because you were too talkative when really it was because they were an emotionally unavailable mouth-breather.

Fuck/Date Other People

Pro: It’s called a rebound because you bound again to great new soaring heights of alive greatness bouncing on the peen of a new man. By focusing on others, on pleasure, on no-strings-attached, on yourself, on this moment only, you could actually distract yourself and heal on a subconscious level that just isn’t ready to surface in broad daylight with no peen. Hey it’s not the most direct route, but it has its charms, not to mention efficiency.

Con: You’re just prolonging the inevitable, and all it will do is make you feel empty inside as you search desperately for a replacement version of your ex. (Also, is it satisfying to revenge fuck if the only person who knows it is happening is YOU?)

Don’t Fuck/Date Other People

Pro: Only a superior, special breed of person doesn’t need to climb right into bed with the first anybody to get over the last person because they don’t solve their problems with needlessly complicated new attachments. Score one for healthy processing.

Con: If you’re just sitting around feeling bad over someone who wasn’t worth it and is also probably out fucking other people, then, again, you are wasting valuable new-you montage time when you could be out getting it on.

Don’t Bad-Mouth Them

Pro: You’re running out of shelf space for all these High Road awards, but hey, you chose to be classy and say, if anything, that the relationship just didn’t work out, or ended amicably, keeping your loaded bazooka stored way offsite in a bunker with a code you’d have to cash out your 401k to get a hold of anyway. Kudos. You’re better than most.

Con: Maybe they are shit-talking you, maybe you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to vent in a perfectly healthy way to people who understand you are doing just that. Maybe they are actually telling lies you need to correct the record.

Bad-Mouth Them

Pro: Get it out, get it allllll out, it’ll feel better: Remember what a choad he was about anything involving having to actually talk about your feelings, and how he was still like, the emotional equivalent of a 14-year-old about his own feelings, and how he always flirted with your friends in the worst way? This is healing.

Con: You shit-talked him and now people will say you are/were a petty, largemouth bass (seriously, this is you) who couldn’t shut up in your pathetic quest to make your ex look bad. Shoulda took the high road! So many more awards on that path, ‘member?

Social Media Stalk Them

Pro: You get to see their dumb face, and will always relish the moment when you no longer pined for that dumb face and instead saw it for what it was: a hooved mammal of some kind.

Con: How quickly they appear to have gotten over you, moved on, added new sexy friends or just eradicated your existence/blocked you might trigger all kinds of crazy confrontations you’ll always regret.

Don’t Social Media Stalk Them

Pro: Wow, are you like, a saint or something? How do you exist?

Con: You’re missing out on getting that moment, that blissful moment where you take one glance at that profile pic and only see jackal. Everyone should have that moment.

Stay Busy

Pro: What, you — depressed? How on earth could that be true when you’re training for a marathon, have this huge project at work and decided to finally settle in and watch LOST?

Con: Liar.

Don’t Stay Busy

Pro: You’re dealing with it, man. You’re diving to the bottom of the wreckage and sitting there taking it all in, embracing the messiness and the hurt and weirdo feelings and insecurities. And you’re getting STRONGER.

Con: Time is going to tick by like all the sands of all the hourglasses for all of the lives that have ever lived on earth ever. Def easier to fuck someone else.

Move On

Pro: Winners accept that it doesn’t really matter why it ended, it ended. Even if you can objectively prove in a court of law that you were good to that person, improved their lives and offered more real passion than they will ever find again, that’s their nugget-of-truth prize to bite into one day out of the box of stale cracker jacks they will call their life. You on the other hand, are not some sad-looking-back freak, you’re a shark, you move forward or you die.

Con: While totally and completely admirable, there’s something a little cold-blooded in the ability to just cut ties and bail when something proves fruitless. Sometimes it’s important to be fully human and vulnerable, even when it’s messy and annoying and dreary as fuck and you look like the idiot who cared.

Never Get Over It

Pro: You always have a go-to fantasy for a rainy day starring the one who got away, the relationship that might still have some leftover juice in it if only things had worked out differently.

Con: Ugh, harboring feelings for some fifth-rate lifemate just because it ended too soon is a waste of brain space. Don’t look back. Shark attack!


While the obvious answer to how to deal with a breakup is to not cry, don’t call your ex, do fuck other people, don’t bad-mouth the ex, stay busy and move on as fast as your little shark fins will swim you upstream, this is always easier said than done. Make no mistake, though: It’s what superior humans do. Or you know, people with breakup coaches. Whatever you do, just don’t get back together.

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