Relationships

Breakup Recovery: Prevail in the First 72 Hours

She dumped you. And now you’re contemplating a patriot’s death, hurling yourself onto your own sword -- except you don’t own a sword, and your Swiss army knife would merely leave you maimed. Plus, you’re plagued by irrational thoughts about unfinished business (read: unreturned DVDs) and an afterlife of embarrassment (read: your adult comics stash).

Sure, a girl can curl up with a Bridget Jones’s Diary marathon and a quart of Chunky Monkey after a breakup. But what are you supposed to do?

Triumph, that’s what. Because that’s what you do. Here’s how:

1. Get some sleep.

The z’s are the first thing that go: You lie in bed, thrashing around, dreaming up coulda/shoulda/woulda scenarios. The next morning, you feel tortured, tired and lonely.

But like it does for many other conditions, sleep can help spur the recovery process, so you want to make sure you get your share. Here’s how:

  • Tire yourself out as much as you can during the day.
  • Resist the urge to pull down the shades and sleep indefinitely (or you’ll find yourself up all night watching “Tool Academy” reruns and kitchen appliance infomercials).
  • Can’t stop your brain when you finally lie down? Try safe, natural homeopathy Coffea, a sleep aid.
  • If all else fails, a little pharma help might be the way to go: If the over-the-counter stuff leaves you groggy and sedated, beg your doc for just three or four days’ worth of prescription sleep medication. That way, for at least eight of the day’s 24 hours, you won’t be writhing in emotional pain.
2. Get a baby sitter.

If you hit the town, have a strong, dedicated wingman who won’t let you out of his sight and will make sure you don’t get in a fight or end up crying on the shoulder of some girls you just met on the waiting line for the bathroom.

3. Lose her data.

Think ahead and take steps to ensure that in a moment of weakness (when you are tired, sad, lonely or any other of the 500 variations), you can’t write or call her and leave a message that will get you arrested or humiliated for the rest of your life. Delete her digits and email address(es) from all binary and tree-product storage (and make sure to hit those places you used to hide things from yourself).

4. Resist revenge.

You’re itching to call her co-worker who flirted shamelessly with you at your ex’s last Christmas party. But be the bigger man. This “pool of prohibited women” includes her younger sister, her MILF-y stepmom, her buxom neighbor … you get the point.

5. Avoid music.

Don’t avoid all music -- just John Jackson, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion and Frank Sinatra … all that sappy easy listening you indulge in when no one else is around. You know, the songs that include messages about “being nothing without you” and “If you don’t come back, I’ll die.” In fact, temporarily delete all such songs/albums/playlists from your iPod and stick with Metallica- and Kid Rock-type fare at all times. Swing music or a cappella will do in a pinch.

6. Launch you 2.0

OK, so you’ve done all the above to control the damage. So what do you do now?

First, join a dating Web site ASAP. There are, like, millions of single girls out there. So when you hear yourself start whimpering that she was the only one, get off your pity pot and cruise over to match.com.

And finally, hit the gym … with a vengeance. Funnel all that breakup angst into a Herculean upper body workout. After all, there’s nothing more therapeutic than looking strong and lean and confident to get other girls to notice you, pump up your ego and -- when you finally run into her -- get this ex to start doubting her judgment for giving the boot to a hunk like you.

But by then, of course, it will be too late, since you will have already moved on.


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Belisa Vranich is a clinical psychologist, author and public speaker specializing in relationships and sex. She is also the sexpert at Fox News (both online and on cable).

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