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 – and 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 that I’m so grateful for both of those difficult chapters in my life. First, because 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. And second, because both 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 process, and as you start working on a game plan for your next chapter:
Get (and accept) help
Breakups so often come as a shock, even when a relationship has become stormier over time. Your friends will offer to lend an ear or help in other ways, like drop by with dinner or pick 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 that will make those logistics a lot less stressful. 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. Also check out UtilityConcierge, a service that will move all of your utilities and home services for free.
Keep in mind that if you live in or want to move to New York City, Onward has packages that can help you do everything from get 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 the emotion aside and focus on what needs to be done. Whether it’s related to your physical move, to steps involved with the divorce process, or just what you have to do to get through the week, having a list is like having an action plan. You’ll feel a lot better with every to-do item you cross off.
Making a list of all the services, utilities and subscriptions you’ll 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 keep in mind: credit cards, banks, retirement accounts, music subscriptions, TV subscriptions, driver’s license, insurance policies, investment accounts, and frequent flyer subscriptions.
Strategize about your social media accounts
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. Or, 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) and the website Click. Love. Grow. has a free tutorial for those of you who want to DIY your photo shoot.
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: 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? Would you truly have been happy ten years from now, even with a nagging suspicion that your partner wasn’t as into you as you were to 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.