I just had a breakup, like, a week ago. For the most part things are ok, I do all the stuff you're "supposed" to do. I hang out with friends, I exercise, etc. And I'm happy often when I do these things. But, sometimes, I just lay in bed and feel sad. Or angry. Or, I wonder if it was right, if I should have tried harder to make things work, or if I'll ever love anyone like I loved my ex. Truthfully, I still don't really get the why of why it happened, and I think that haunts me somewhat.

And, I guess I know all these things are normal, but like... they still suck. What should I do?

You wait.

I mean, you already know the answer to this question. You're doing all the "right" things, I assume that you know ups and downs are sort of part of the breakup process and there's no real way to speed it up and that's it's super lame, but it's also the way it is.

The not really knowing the why, and the doubt, and all that though, I mean, that can trip you up. It's where people tend to "mess up", and have one night stands they regret and whatever. But you know what? Fucking up is part of the process of breaking up, and if you gotta do a few socially inadvisable things to get on with it, well that's what you gotta do.

If you want to call your ex in the middle of the night sobbing about how you miss them, the kind of "generally accepted protocol" is you suck it up and maintain no contact. But I call bullshit. Call your ex in the middle of the night. Get sloppy drunk, have a one night stand. Whatever. It's all fine, it's all part of people, and what people do, and how people heal.

The only rule is: just be honest. Be yourself, be authentic even when you're acting totally crazy.

American culture really values independence, and we try to turn people into these robots and failing to be a robot is often seen as a sign of weakness, but it's really a type of strength. It's a type of courage that involves putting your true self out there, and just seeing how it interacts with the world.

My advice to you, is stop doing the "right" things and start doing the "real" things. When you live as your authentic self, often, you end up with a lot of messes to clean up, but that little voice—am I making a mistake? should I have done something differently?—goes away. It's worth cleaning up the messes to get rid of that voice.
Published on Monday April 2, 2018