We've all either been there, or we will be; recently single. It can be a tumultuous time. When one loses the peanut butter to their jelly, the Ben to their Jerry, the Buffalo to their Wild Wings, there are a series of phases that generally ensue. I've experienced and witnessed these phases, so I put together this list to help those who haven't had their heart broken to know what to expect, or for those that have to relate to each other, or if you're currently in the state of having a broken heart, to reassure you that this suck fest won't last forever. And just because I love music, I decided to toss in a song that goes with each phase so this article can hit your eyes, ears, AND your feels.
1. Constantly, and I mean constantly, crying phase.
Wake up and cry. Think about anything ever and cry. Eat and cry. Shower and cry. Go to bed and cry. If you've just had your heart broken and phase one is to cry it out. Don't be surprised if you can't open your eyes in the morning because their swollen from your non stop tears. You might look in the mirror and think, "I'm never going to be happy again. And how could I be? I'm hideous" (and because of your current state, you're probably right). But this is OK! You've just had to remove someone from your life that was your whole life. Cry about it! Let it out. And the song for this phase is "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy. "Goodbye my almost lover, Goodbye my hopeless dream." Ain't that the truth.
2. Angry phase.
"They were a jerk anyways." "They didn't even make me that happy, in fact they just stressed me out." "Their loss." (Probably true). "I can't believe I was with them." "Who do they think they are?" "They actually suck." Are all thoughts you might have right now. You're starting to think too hard about why you're crying; why this person has such power over you, that their absence in your life is enough to make it hard to eat, sleep, and even breathe. You're mad at yourself for allowing it to get this far, for letting it affect you this much. But that's what happens when we love someone, we give them parts of ourselves that we can't get back. And that's incredibly upsetting. So, the song for this phase is, "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri. "And who do you think you are? Runnin' 'round leaving scars Collecting your jar of hearts And tearing love apart You're gonna catch a cold From the ice inside your soul." They probably really do have ice inside their soul.
3. "I'm going to make myself even better than I was before" phase.
You're done sitting around, crying, feeling sorry for yourself, getting mad, doing basically nothing. Hey, you're awesome and you want your ex to know you, not only still are, but are even more so without them. Are you trying to get them back? Maybe. Do you mostly just want them to want you back? Yes. So you start going for jogs, cutting the crap out of your diet, maybe even go volunteer somewhere, and consider getting highlights. Although this is for the wrong reasons, this could be the start of a healthy lifestyle-- focusing on being the best version of yourself. And the song for this phase is, "I Don't F**ck With You" by Big Sean. "I got a million trillion things I'd rather f**kin' do, Than to be f**kin' with you." Yeah, you do have a million, trillion things you'd rather be doing, and now you have the time to.
4. "I'm not as over it as I thought" phase.
Despite the fact you're not crying 24/7, you've gotten through the angry phase, and maybe you have a healthier lifestyle since being single, you still get teary eyed thinking about a happy memory with them, seeing a picture of them having fun without you, hearing their voice in an old voicemail, or simply from passing by a place where you guys spent time together. This almost pushes you back to phase 2 because you're mad this is still hurting you and you thought you were doing so well. But don't let this get you down. They were a big part of your life and you took it seriously, as you should. It's not going to be easy to be ok without them, but you'll get there. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and move forward. The song for this phase is "Survivor" by Destiny's Child. "I will survive (what?) Keep on survivin'(what?) Thought I couldn't breathe without you, I'm inhaling. You thought I couldn't see without you, perfect vision" This is a great reminder that you're going to make it, you're still you, and that Destiny's Child is still good.
5. Standing on your own two feet phase.
You're starting to accept the fact that this has really happened and you want to be ok on your own. That healthy lifestyle that kicked in around phase three has helped you stay distracted and actually made you feel better. Now, you start going out with your friends more, spending more time with your family, and really diving into work, school, or whatever it is that you do every day. You aren't looking for someone new because you aren't ready for that yet, and emotions are still running high in that regard. Even though you still hope it's them every time your phone rings, they aren't controlling your life anymore. They aren't making it hard to get out of bed, to eat, to crack a joke. That's a big step you've now been able to take. So the song for this phase is, "Go On" by Jack Johnson. "I see you slowly swim away Cause the light is leaving town To a place that I can't be There's no apologies Just go on." You guys have gone your separate ways, just go on.
6. Back to the old self phase.
You wake up without immediately thinking of them anymore. You don't expect them to be the one texting you when you hear your phone ding. You unfollowed them on social media so when they post, you don't know and don't have to care. You are living your life and they are living theirs. This is great! You've gone back to things you were doing before that maybe they didn't like, or didn't enjoy doing with you. You can talk to whoever you want, whenever you want. You're independent and whole, all by yourself. Sure, you hear things about them here and there that may make your stomach drop a little. But this doesn't put you back any phases because you're actually moving on. And the song for this phase is, "Save it for a Rainy Day" by Kenny Chesney. "Cause the sun's too bright, the sky's too blue Beer's too cold to be thinking bout you.." You're out having fun solo, keep it up!
7. Ready for someone else phase.
You're feeling pretty great at this point. You've made it through a lot of phases that you thought would never end. You wake up in the morning, ready to start the day and maybe you have some awesome plans with your friends you're looking forward to this weekend. You don't think about the ex half as much anymore, and when you do it doesn't ruin your whole afternoon. You've also been noticing that cutie who works across the office, or that super hot girl at the gym, or that guy who keeps checking you out in English class. You think, "Hey, I could see myself going on a date with them." And then, you actually do. And you have a wonderful time. You realize, you CAN fall in love again. There are other fish in the sea. You're going to find someone else that will be the new, even tastier flavor of Ben to your Jerry. It's just a matter of time, and you don't need to rush it because you're enjoying the ride right now. The song for this phase is, "Summer Girl" by Jessica Andrews. "I'm just a summer girl I wear my flip flops When I let my hair down (That's when the party starts) Who needs a boyfriend I got my girl friends When we get together the summer never ends." You don't need a boyfriend (or significant other) right now, you aren't opposed to one, you're just having a great time.
8. I'm over it phase.
You've come full circle. You're all done with this break up! You've been devastated, completely pissed, determined, still sad, pushed yourself, become more independent, and you're done with these phases. You've officially moved on! You've had a blast with your friends, took a surprise trip to California for spring break, been on some hit and miss dates, maybe you've had another relationship maybe you haven't, maybe you even got a raise at work, who knows? The world is at your fingertips and you're ready to embrace it. Whenever you think about your ex, it isn't with a flurry of emotions, it's with thoughts like, "That was a learning experience and I'm thankful that they were an important part of my life at one point. I hope they're doing well!" You, my friend, have just been through a lot and kicked some major butt. Pat yourself on the shoulder. Treat yourself to something fabulous. You deserve it. The song for this phase is, "Step Out" by José González. "Time to step outside you House on fire, leave it all behind you Living life, feeding appetites Stayed through every hard stop, every go." You did it!