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The 6 Phases of Getting Dumped

We tend to forget just how terrible the experience is, unless we're experiencing it.

I know that getting dumped sucks. But just like with moving or giving birth (I think), I forget just how profoundly it sucks except when I'm experiencing it or witnessing a close personal friend experience it.

Yes, breakups are unpleasant for both parties (I've even written a  blog post to that point). Dumping someone is difficult during the breakup and in certain moments after. You miss having someone to cuddle with. You miss having someone to tell everything to. But ultimately you believe that your ex should not be that someone and that you are  both better off apart. You are sad, but you are courageously moving forward. Maybe you already have someone in mind to move forward with.

Bla, bla, bla. Boo hoo. That is nothing compared to the gut retching devastation of being dumped.

This is how it usually goes...

1. The Wallowing Phase

In the immediate aftermath of the breakup I'm seized by crippling despair. I can't sleep and my appetite is lost. I force-feed myself at meal times and it's so hard to squeeze the chewed boluses down my esophagus. The only tolerable activity is laying in fetal position, watching dumb TV.

Fortunately my friends are there like a rescue brigade. They swoop in with hugs and sometimes pies. They make me eat. They watch the dumb TV with me until I'm ready to acknowledge the world beyond my couch. They listen. It's not just that they're on my team; they remind me that I have a team.

The wallowing phase is dramatic and pathetic, but it only lasts a day or two. All consuming self-pity is neither sustainable nor attractive. I resume basal activities -- eating, sleeping, and working -- and enter...

2. The Bleak Projections Phase

This is when I shift from debilitating sadness to functioning bitterness. I generalize everything from my previous relationship to all relationships. How can I trust anyone again? Everyone is selfish and disappointing. Love is woefully ephemeral.

My friends indulge my bitterness over tasty froyo.

Lauren: "Seriously men are the worst."

Gilbert: "We really are. We really suck."

Sarah: "Do you think he's seeing someone else?"

Me: "No. I don't know. Probably some boring girl who never drinks enough to get hung over."

Sarah: "Ugh, of course. Men have the worst taste in women."

Ryan: "We really do."

My froyo companions are at different stages of relationships -- texting with a new crush, back with an ex, stuck in a stagnant three-year relationship, etc. But they all empathize with my current state -- hating the world and resigned to die alone -- and share perspectives from their most recent and/or traumatizing breakups.

Froyo with friends is great therapy. We vow to live together on a commune with adopted babies and puppies if romantic things don't improve by age 35.

And then I'm ready for...

3. The Trying to Convince Myself I'm Better Off Phase

There are some pros about being single. I make a list. I like lists.

1. More time to work on my blog.

2. I don't have to shave as often.

3. I don't have to wash my sheets as often.

4. More time for yoga and reading: I can finally finish  Infinite Jest.

5. I'll be sleeping consistently at home, alone, so I can do Crest Whitening strips.

But I'd rather read in bed with a boyfriend. And I'd rather have to wash my sheets because I'm having sex. And what's the point of white teeth if no one loves me?! And so I slip into...

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