Strategies for Singlehood

Frances Ha

Relationships are like textiles woven on a loom.  The longer you’ve been together, the more complexly and deeply are your interwoven heart-fibers.   The break may come abruptly, sharp scissors shearing you apart, or a slower degrading of the warp and the woof,  leaving both of you ragged and frayed and yet still clinging together. It can be hard to  know where one person begins and the other ends.  And when the end comes, you stay tangled up with one another, although the life blood that kept the whole webwork alive has been cut off.  Your heart fibers  beat fainter and fainter until they die or transform into something else, passion burning down into affection or worse, something festered and sick.  Best to avoid that.  And you can.

It’s painful.  There is no way around the pain, now matter how quickly or slowly you pull yourselves away from one another, as you know you must.  Pain is in the parting and pain in the aftermath, the bereft state.  No way around it.

I know this well, as I’ve been now through more breakups than I care to count.  And this last one has been especially difficult, because there was so much passion, so much that was good, so much that I wanted to hold onto.  And also this was a pretty long relationship–nearly six years–and I had great, golden hopes for our future together. So, if you find yourself in this situation, consider the following tips for getting through:

  1.  Praise yourself: Find something positive to say about yourself, however small, every single day.
  2. Don’t trash your ex.  Just don’t.  You can talk about how you were not compatible, how you finally couldn’t make it work for whatever set of reasons, but when you thoughtlessly put your ex-lover down, thinking that this will make you feel better, you are actually putting yourself down.  If he/she was such a loser, what does that make you for hanging on to him/her for so long?  No.  Celebrate what you loved about him/her, the good you had together, and recognize that relationships come to an end for many good reasons, some of which may be out of your control.
  3. Research the benefits of single-hood.  Watch a movie (here is a good list), find a cartoon, an article, a book, a painting or sculpture or song that celebrates the fabulous possibilities that deciding to take a break, take a breath, and be simply yourself, can bring.  Remember why you are not settling.  Every time you want to call your ex, look for something that inspires you to appreciate the benefits of being single.
  4. Be really nice to yourself.  Get a manicure or pedicure.  Take long baths with candles and lovely things to read.  Get a facial.  Gained some weight?  Buy yourself a few outfits that fit and make you feel attractive.  Nothing worse than spending all day in clothes that feel too small.   Be comfortable, but don’t spend the rest of your days in sweatpants and crappy t-shirts.  Recover your sense of dignity, beauty, elegance.  So what if you’re not as thin as you used to be.  The sexiest women in the world have love-handles.
  5. Get some exercise and breathe.  Walk, ride your bike, garden.  Move your body, activate your heart in a way that benefits you, not someone else.  Get outside, or stretch inside.  Even five minutes of stretching (try cat-cow) can help you feel better.
  6. Appreciate life.  Is the weather fabulous?  Enjoy it.  Cold and gloomy?  Get cozy at home in the kitchen–make a pot of soup.  Smell the aromas–of the flowers or the soup.  Be grateful for the beauty and comfort around you, however small or insignificant.  A weed blooming between the cracks in a sidewalk is a wondrous universe of life and power.