Ann Marie was single, again. After an almost four year relationship that she thought would end in marriage, she found herself alone. At the ripe old age of 36 Ann Marie had no husband, no children, and not much hope that either would happen – ever. Ann Marie thought Todd was THE one from the very beginning. However, despite the fact that she thought they were on the marriage track, he repeatedly told her he didn’t plan on getting married. More accurately he didn’t plan on marrying her. Within three months of their break up Todd was engaged to someone else. When Ann Marie found out she was beside herself with heartbreak.
Ann Marie could hardly get up in the morning. She had a good day occasionally. However, more days then not she thought things were getting worse – not better. The old adage time heals all wounds didn’t seem to apply in her case. Four months after the break up she would still cry walking past the park where she first met Todd. Six months after the break up on the day he actually married someone else, Ann Marie locked herself in her apartment and vowed never to come out. She did of course. However, for all practical purposes heartbreak had eaten her up. Her assessment was correct, things weren’t getting better.
We have all experienced heartbreak. Most of the time, most of us get over it. However, when the pain doesn’t subside after a few weeks, maybe not disappear completely, but subside, it might be time to get help. When Ann Marie called we discussed an immediate game plan. Below are the top five extreme ways to stop heartbreak.
1. Move – that’s right – sounds like huge deal but it usually works to stop heart break in it’s tracks. I’m not suggesting moving across the country. I am suggesting moving across town. Moving accomplishes several things. Not the least of which is it forces you to either pack up or get rid of all the dead relationship mementos. Secondly, it keeps you from sulking around all your old romantic haunts, either dredging up painful memories or hoping to run into Mr. Used to Be Yours. Last but not least, it is a huge job, so it keeps you very, very busy.
2. Get a new identity. I’m not talking new name and social security number. I am talking new hair color. New cut. New cloths – and a new tribe of fun friends to hang out with. Explore as many ways as possible to become someone brand new. New church, new hobby, new job… You get the point. Immerse yourself in your new identity so completely that if you were to pass your Ex on the street he would vaguely recognize you and wonder where he knew that hot chick from.
3. Get a new man. I know it’s not typically considered sage advice. However, extreme heartbreak calls for extreme measures. If you think you could never love someone else, that’s OK. I’m not suggesting you need to find someone to love. I am suggesting you need to find someone you want. Mr. Right Now doesn’t have to be Mr. Right. He just has to be willing and willing to help you feel better. You’d be surprised how many Mr. Right Now’s there are when you look around.
4. Take up a cause. Nothing stops a pity party faster then finding someone to help who has it way, way worse then you do. There are plenty of them out there. Trust me. Homeless children, sick babies, shelter pets, and elderly shut-in’s to name just a few. There is a cause for everyone – even the heart broken, and helping others is instantly healing.
5. Travel as far away as you can possibly afford. If that’s France – fantastic. If that’s the county next to yours, go there. Get out your suitcase, pack it, and get out of dodge. Most importantly, do it ALONE. Most women are afraid to travel alone. They tell themselves it’s about safety. Really it’s about fear of being by themselves. Traveling alone is surprisingly cathartic. It also opens you up to your lost Independence and leaves you feeling much stronger then you previously thought you were. As tempting as it might be to enlist your bff for the trip of a lifetime, it’s worth the discomfort to go it alone – I promise.
Update: Nine months post break up, Ann Marie is dating a Pediatric Oncologist she met while volunteering to read books to kids with cancer in the her new neighborhood hospital. The first thing he noticed about her was her brand new striking red hair.