Five Ways to Get Over Heartbreak

Tried and true tips from real women for getting over Mr. Wrong-but-felt-so-good.

Five Ways to Get Over Heartbreak

Tried and true tips from real women for getting over Mr. Wrong-but-felt-so-good.

-Emily Southwood

broken heart

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been supporting a friend going through a wrenching breakup. It’s always hard to watch your friends suffer the loss of love, even if you think they’re better off without him/her/AKA it. The fact of the matter is, breaking up has been compared to experiencing a death and losing a limb. Your mind knows they’re gone but the rest of you hasn’t adapted. No matter how you sever it, heartbreak just plain sucks.

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While I generally think the best way to help your heartbroken friend is just to be there and listen, the last week has propelled me to come up with some prescriptive advice to the inevitable question: What do I do now? To that effect, I’ve collected a bit of breakup wisdom from some trusty women I know. Disclaimer: The following advice was complied from friends, mothers, and sisters and cannot be considered in anyway whatsoever scientific.


Tried and true, when we get off our butts and do something active, we feel better about ourselves. Doing sports and activities where we challenge ourselves is confidence boosting, not to mention great for your overall health. To boot, it doesn’t hurt to feel good in your booty for the next one in line. So go take out some lingering aggression out on a punching bag or in power yoga—whatever gets you moving and gets the old toxins out.


Is there anyone in the world—besides, yes, the person you’re in love with—who can make you feel more fabulous than your gay best friend? I doubt it. Hopefully you’re lucky to have a friend such as this (and if you don’t, there’s no time like the present to find one). I suggest you call him up immediately and take him on a date. In return, he’s sure to make you feel like the catch that you most certainly are. Afterwards, you guys can grab an iced latte, window shop, then catch a fluffy movie—preferably staring one of the hot Ryans. Trust me, this home-remedy works.

3. FOCUS ON THE NEGATIVE (just a little)

When my sister-in-law mentioned this advice it reminded me of another time I heard the same counsel. A guy friend of mine once described his process of getting over a girl as Bridgetization. Bridget, the super model who had broken his heart, was perfect in his mind so he had to cut her down to size by focusing on the negative. She had weird toes and an irritating laugh. When you looked really closely she had one lazy eye. Yes, these criticisms were superficial and completely stupid. But they helped him eventually get some perspective on her being the perfect, irreplaceable, one that got away. Nobody is perfect, folks. Nope, not even Bridget.


In a low moment my heartbroken friend said, “What if I’ve wasted all this time and I am (fill in the blank) age!! What if I never find someone to be with?” Hold up there, Nelly. A wise woman (my mom) has always imparted to me that it’s no coincidence who we fall in love with. Hers isn’t so much a belief in destiny as the law of attraction, which magnetizes us to the experiences we need in order to grow. And, guess what? Our growth requirements don’t always happen on our ideal timeline. With that in mind, it seems a colossal waste of time to worry about wasted time, especially when it comes to relationships. What did you learn about yourself with this person? What do you know now that you didn’t know then? Focus on what you did right and how you’re going to take that forward to the next relationship. Because while it may seem implausible now, there will be one.


I know, it’s the kicker—the boulder in your path and there’s no GD way around it. When my friend said to me “I know I should just buck up and get over this quickly.” I disagreed with her and so did a few others I spoke to. Their experience suggested that you can’t push the river. Things take as long as they take. Some relationships take days to get over, some months, and some years. Breaking up with a boyfriend of four years once took me half the time we were together to recover from. While that seems like a serious downer, if I hadn’t properly mended my wounds, I don’t think I’d have been ready to meet my next partner (now husband). Time really is good medicine. Look forward. Trust its process. You will heal, and love again, and move on.

Emily SouthwoodEmily Southwood is working on a memoir called Prude and blogs at She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Emily is the author of the “I Married a Pornographer” series on BettyConfidential.

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2 thoughts on “Five Ways to Get Over Heartbreak

  1. I really like this article! Im going through a weird break up right now, my fiance of 4 years, we have children together, are on a “break” He was a very mean and abusive alcoholic just a month ago and he wants to change and go to church, for us to take at least a 1 month break and then move back in together, I just don’t know if it’s worth working out anymore, but now that he has quit drinking i want to try, but i don’t know if we can make things right btween us. When do you know that you are hanging on to something that’s so over or if it’s when it’s just a hard time in the relationship and you can get back to a good place again??

  2. I really liked a guy that I know for more than ten years. We're close friends. People teased us before because we were always with each other. But back then, I swore I'd never fall in love with him. I was even vocal about it. But years later after we graduate, I realized how much of a nice guy he is. I was romantically liking him more and more than one day I just woke up and realized I was already in love with him. It's tough because that's when I know he liked somebody else. That somebody else like someone else as well. So, I was pretty much relieved. But the thought of him liking another person, it crushed my heart a bit. Right now, we're like in a push and pull situation. He confuses me. I feel like he likes me (as a girl) one day and not in another day. I am not sure if he feels the same way for me. I wanted to tell him how I feel. We chatted last night and I just thought maybe I'd rather not. I have given him signals. It's up to him now. This breaks my heart and I just want to move on. I'm tired of waiting. :(

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