Relationships / Heartbreak

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“My girlfriend and I moved across the country two years ago. Now we’re breaking up, and I’m starting to realize that–because we were together when we moved across the country–I never really made my own friends here. How does a twenty-something baby adult make friends, AND get over their first heartbreak at the same time?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Do stuff.

That’s it, that’s the answer to all people who are trying to meet people. No matter your age, interest, amount of heartbreak, DO STUFF.

I don’t care what it is, really. Take an improv class, do computer work at a cafe instead of from home, check out the local LGBTQ community center events, volunteer for something you give a shit about, do free yoga and talk to the teachers after.

Oh, and after you do stuff. REACH OUT.

So many times we meet people and switch phone numbers and we’re like “they’re so dope, i’ll wait to see if they text me because if they don’t text me then they obviously don’t want to be hanging out with me” … guess who else is doing that? THE PERSON YOU JUST SWITCHED NUMBERS WITH, THEY ARE LITERALLY SITTING AT HOME SAYING THE SAME THING. SO NO ONE IS TEXTING NO ONE AND IT’S ALL FOR NO REASON.

Put it TF out there.

Seriously. When I first moved to LA I was lonely AF and my friend (who I barely knew at the time) was like “WANNA COME TO MY BDAY AND MEET SOME PEOPLE” and I said okay…mind you, I was dreading every second. I showed up, met some people, and one girl gave me her e-mail address. SHE GAVE ME HER EMAIL ADDRESS. So I was like “cool she doesn’t care about being friends,” but I reached out anyway because worst-case scenario she doesn’t email me back and who cares we weren’t friends in the first place. Welp, she did email me back, we planned a brunch, spent four hours talking about LITERALLY EVERYTHING and now she’s a good friend of mine.

Fucking put yourself out there, everyone! IT WORKS.

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“How do you talk to your person after a break up? (it was a 1+ year relationship and we lived together over the summer). I’ve known it was over since I moved back to school but she feels it came out of the blue. She feels like I’m cold and heartless because we don’t Skype and I don’t tell her “I love you” or goodnight or we don’t talk 24/7. I feel terrible so when she says awful things to me I just try to care to make her not upset but I don’t feel like we should be connected 24/7. What to do?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

You have to put your foot down. And keep it there.

She is making you feel terrible because she feels terrible and because she wants it to be the way that it was before. It cannot be and will not be, because it is over.

As much as it hurts, and as much as we often don’t want to face the reality of a break-up, a break-up means that that you are broken up, and that the relationship full of Skypes and “I love yous” is over. Does it have the potential to become something else down the line? Absolutely! Perhaps you will have a beautiful friendship and you will laugh together and build forts and eat cheese sticks… but that isn’t where you are now. The way you “talk to your person after a break-up” is to firmly explain that you need to stop talking. At least for now.

Imagine you had a two year old. Your two year old is going to be like, “Yo, check it out mom, I can totally go down these stairs by myself, no hands!” You love your two year old, though, and you know that as much as they want to do this thing… they can’t do this thing and they need your help. And, when you don’t let them throw themselves down that flight of stairs they will be SO MAD AT YOU. They will kick and scream and cry and glare at you because OMG WHY DID YOU NOT LET ME DO THAT THING?! They will never understand that they would have fallen and hurt themselves, but you know that, and you know how much you love them.

Right now, your ex is that two year old. The biggest act of love is to firmly say, “we need to heal and the only way to do that is to stop talking. I care about you and I hope you understand that, but because I care about you and myself I need to take a step away.” That’s it. She will kick and scream and cry and glare at you because OMG WHY ARE YOU NOT TALKING TO ME AND WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?! And, hopefully, after several weeks or months she will begin to understand that you do love her, and that is why you stepped away.

Also, this might help.

<3

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"We broke up and now it feels like my heart is falling out of my butt. we were together for a while and learned how to be "adults" together. How do I learn to be an adult on my own?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

Slowly. Carefully. Painfully. Triumphantly.

Recently, we released our latest ‘zine collaboration with Autostraddle, called I Broke Up Like This. Here’s a tiny excerpt from an essay I wrote for the ‘zine, where I talk about moving out of the apartment I shared with my girlfriend of five years:

…we made a life together. A real, living, breathing life that tangled together our families, our friends, our clothing, and, the humdinger of all humdingers, my cat, Trey. For both of us, moving in together was a monumental first. It was the first time we’d had a significant other at family functions, the first time we’d shared grocery lists and gym memberships, the first time we negotiated the purchase of new sheets or Christmas trees with someone else. After our respective workdays were over we’d scurry home to our apartment and cook like the adults we believed we were: Shake ‘N Bake Chicken! Chicken Cordon Bleu! Pasta with Chicken! We. Were. Domesticated. (And as you might have gathered, eating way too much chicken.) We went on vacations together. We went to emergency rooms together. We went to Laundromats together. She was my everything, and I hers. 

Like you and your ex, Anonymous, we learned to be an adults together. After we split I cried on subway trains, I buried myself in my blankets, I glared at anyone who was pointed out to me as someone I might ‘someday have interest in dating,’ I painted my nails black, I rearranged the furniture in my new apartment, I scratched our old anniversary into the wood of my dining room table, and I felt completely and totally lost. I felt like half of a person.

I know it might sound too simple or too cliched, but the only way you can learn how to be a person in the wake of heartbreak is to focus every bit of your energy on putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t think about next week or next month, just think about today. Maybe it will be a great day and maybe it will be a day where you drop the spaghetti sauce on the floor and you sob for four hours without cleaning it up. If it’s a great day, let it be. Take a walk, go to a museum, buy sunflowers for the kitchen. If it’s a bad day, let it be. Take a walk, go to a museum, buy sunflowers for the kitchen.

When the first layer heals, start allowing yourself to plan a bit more. Think about taking a class in something you’ve always wanted to do. Enroll with a friend so you have someone to help motivate you on those spaghetti-sauce days. Listen to music. Plan a road trip.

It takes time, so you have to give it time.
We have all been there and we all get to the other side.

xoxo


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