Advice to the Broken

Day Fifteen: You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization).

So you’re going to break up, huh? I suppose it was inevitable. Things change. People change. Be cool, and take some advice. It’ll help.

The first thing to remember is that you’re going to be alone. You’re not going to have that person who doesn’t just tolerate, but gets your humor. Cold nights are going to be colder, and on rainy days, you might find yourself setting up a board game and then realizing, when half the pieces are out of the box, that you’re going to be playing alone. It’s a valuable lesson, because somewhere, somehow, you started making assumptions. Did he or she really want to play that stupid game? Find out what it’s like to play against you. Finish setting it up, and play that game, anyway.

Obviously, the sex is gone. But you’re ready for that, or so you tell yourself. Don’t get hooked on porn or stuck in your head. If you have a fantasy, and you have the skill, write it down. Because it’s yours, it’ll be better than any one you can find. Hell, if you need some sense of validation, post it anonymously to a website somewhere, and maybe you’ll finally get people to read your writing. Or just start a blog and write about the fantasy of the fantasy, because it’s the next best thing. Yeah. Do that. If no one reads your sex fantasies, you’re pretty much a failure. Why take the risk?

Going to the movies by yourself is going to be weird, but hopefully you still have someone to go with you because you weren’t one of those guys who forsakes his friends when he’s in a relationship. Oh, who’m I kidding? Take the time to patch up your friendships. Also, feel free to drink a little too much a little too often for a few weeks afterward. I’m not going to tell you that people won’t judge you for it, but screw ’em. And screw ’em literally, too, if you can do it without weeping openly. As long as you’re not looking for validation in it, a little casual sex can keep you psychologically healthy.

Also, you’re getting older, so it’s going to be more difficult to find someone your age who’s single, but not single-for-obvious-reasons. On the bright side, when you do, they’re likely to be in a similar situation as you. They’ll have been knocked around a bit, and maybe a little hardened because of it, but even though there’ll be more layers to peel back, you’ll have much more to talk about. In the end, you’ll almost certainly come away with a better knowledge of who this other person is. When you were younger, your relationships began a lot like this: “You like this one thing? Me too! Let’s be together and do that all the time!” Now that you’re older, they might go more like this: “Look, I work a lot, and won’t be home much, but when I am, I like playing backgammon, having ritualistic Weird Sex once every full moon, and drinking the blood from live chickens. But I’m also sensitive, and I write and perform free-verse poetry to my cats.” And if you’re into that, or not, you can run with it, or not.

Just remember that you’re newly sad and alone, not doomed.

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