How to Survive After Being Dumped

I was married and divorced by the time I turned 30. Not long after that, I entered what I like to call a “charitable rebound” that lasted about two years. After we “officially” moved in together, we broke up after three months. This pattern happened several times. I had to start all over again, again. It really freaking sucked.

But now that time has passed, I can honestly say I’m so grateful for both of those difficult chapters in my life. First, they helped me be there for my best friend, Lindsay Meck, when she went through a difficult split with her long-term boyfriend just six months after my breakup. Second, Lindsay and I were able to channel our pain and what we had learned from the process of restarting again (and again) into Onward, a post-breakup concierge service.

Our service helps people find a new apartment, book movers, reconnect utilities, find a therapist, join a new gym, get smart financial advice, and, when the timing feels right, style their perfect dating profile. In the meantime, since breakups are (literally) my life, I wanted to share a few words of wisdom and a few handy tips as you begin working on a gameplan for your next chapter:

Get (and accept) help

Breakups so often come as a shock, even when a relationship has grown stormier over time. Your friends will offer to lend an ear or help in other ways, like dropping by with dinner or picking up your kids from soccer practice. Take them up on it. They wouldn’t be offering if they didn’t mean it.

If you’re moving out of your home or apartment, you’ve got a huge list of logistics to work through. There are pieces you can parse out to make those logistics a lot less stressful. For example:

  • Use TaskRabbit to find a tasker at a reasonable hourly rate to help you move, assemble furniture, mount the new TV or curtain rods, or pick up that last load of dry cleaning you forgot to get near your old place.
  • Check out UtilityConcierge, a service that will move all of your utilities and home services for free.
  • Note that if you live in or want to move to New York City, Onward has packages that can do everything from getting a list of curated vendors that will help you relocate to your dream neighborhood to handling your move entirely, complete with furniture assembly and a list of gyms, bars, and meetups in your new neighborhood.

Make a list of what you need to do next

Pen and paper will help you set your emotions aside and focus on what needs to be done. Whether your list relates to your physical move, to steps involved with your divorce process, or just what you have to do to get through the week, it creates an action plan. You’ll feel better with every to-do item you cross off.

Making a list of all the services, utilities, and subscriptions you need to relocate is a good idea, too. I can tell you (from experience) that it really sucks to log in to Netflix only to see a message highlighting movie recommendations for your ex.

In addition to cable and utilities, here are a few more to-dos to keep in mind: addressing your credit cards, banks, retirement accounts, music subscriptions, TV subscriptions, driver’s license, insurance policies, investment accounts, and frequent flyer subscriptions.

Strategize your social media use

It might be wise to deactivate your social media accounts for a while, or at least remove the apps from your phone to make logging in less convenient. You’ll have mutual friends who might tag your ex in photos or posts you’d rather not see.

At the very least, turn off the Facebook reminder feature. You probably don’t want a reminder that on this day three years ago, you and your ex were looking extra adorable at a friend’s wedding.

Do something that makes you laugh

Did you know there are people who specialize in documenting joy? At Onward, we work with a wonderful woman who runs The Confetti Project at a studio in NYC where you can get doused with confetti and photographed experiencing pure joy.

But you don’t need to go to a professional studio. The Confetti Bar will hook you up with confetti of all sorts (and ideas for using it and cleaning it up). The website Click. Love. Grow. has a free tutorial for those of you who want to DIY your photoshoot.

A few more silly things guaranteed to bring a smile to your face? Use this directory to find a cat café near you, and cuddle up with a furball who will appreciate every minute you spend with it. Or, fire up Netflix and watch one of these 10 Movies on Netflix Guaranteed to Make You Laugh. After all, laughter truly is the best medicine. (And it will take you out of your head for a little while.)

Remember that this, too, shall pass

This is the end of a chapter. Take time to mourn it, accept it, and move on from it. And ask yourself these questions: Would you really have wanted to stay in a relationship with someone who didn’t cherish you the way you deserve to be cherished? Would you truly have been happy 10 years from now, even with a nagging suspicion that your partner wasn’t as into you as you were into them?

Helping people survive and thrive after breakups is my life, so I can confidently say from experience that your best years are ahead of you.

Contributing Writer