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Dating advice: New year, new breakups

January 07, 2014|Anna Pulley, @annapulley | RedEye's sex columnist

I was with a guy for almost 10 months until recently. He was my first "real" relationship, the first person I said "I love you" to, and now the first to break my heart. Any pointers for dealing with the magnitude of this? I don’t want the new year to start off on a depressing foot.--New Me?

Shoot, girl. Be sad. Just because a number changed on the calendar doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings and didn’t go through something awful. Also, look outside. Don’t see birds chirping and flowers blooming? That’s because it’s the dead of winter and everything is covered in grey slush and denial. It may be a “new” year, but new life ain’t gonna be happening for several months yet (not that the seasons diminish heart break or anything, but I find it helpful when the weather reinforces my shitty mood). If that’s not comforting, then here are a few more tips for braving the emotional storm.

Allow yourself time to wallow

An important relationship in your life has ended. It’s okay to grieve the loss of that relationship. It’s healthy. Just make sure you don’t get stuck in that feeling-sorry-for-yourself mode indefinitely. One time I bought a Costco-sized jar of Nutella and told myself by the time I was through with it, I’d start caring about my life again. While that "science" didn’t exactly work out as planned, it did help to have an end in sight, and provide real-world motivation for getting my ass back to the gym.

Learn from it if you can

Relationships (even doomed ones) often teach us important lessons about ourselves, whether we want them to or not. Throw some reflection into your wallowing to help give yourself a leg up when your next big romantic adventure rolls around. Maybe next time, you’ll try to better communicate when feeling insecure, or vow not to text a hundred times a day, or work toward not apologizing for things beyond your control. The point isn’t to blame yourself for what went wrong or anything, but to help you see how things might turn out differently next time, to allow yourself to grow.

Move on

And most importantly, get on with your life. Breakups suck, but so does basing your self-worth on the remnants of a jar of Nutella. Take life one day at a time and pay attention to your overall health and well-being. Do what you love. Get outside and bask in the sunshine for a few minutes a day. Sweat every day. Hang out with friends and people who adore you. Meet new people. Try new hobbies. Allow yourself to be surprised. And know that there is no definitive end to the possibilities that have yet to come.

Best of luck, and happy 2014.

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