7 steps to taking your life from bad to worse after a breakup


Or, “Don’t Do What I Did: Seven Ways to Delay the Healing Process”

by Rachel Pittman | shot by Jamie Pearl, model: Lily Vogt


Breakups are painful, and a broken heart can make life seem empty and dull. However, if you think you’ve reached your lowest point after a breakup, think again! Here are seven steps to taking your post-breakup life from a sad shambles to a raging dumpster fire.

1. Develop a nicotine addiction.

Stop by your local convenience store, pick up a box of Marlboros (or American Spirits if you’re feeling bourgeoisie) and you are on your way. You’ll find that it’s quite easy to go from a nice-smelling, clean cut person with healthy lungs to an addict with a lingering smoky musk and a hacking cough.

2. Unblock your ex’s number and leave several voicemails.

This is the simplest way to make matters worse. Call and pour out what’s left of your heart into that stoney voice mailbox silence. A surefire way to add to your personal list of regrets.

3. Stay in and drink alone.

This step is self explanatory. Call your friends and tell them that you have to work late and can’t make trivia night. Then, buy a bottle of cheap tequila that tastes like a mix of motor oil and sewer water, picture yourself in a hazy music video circa-2006, put on a bathrobe and start taking shots solo. If you’re looking for an even more degrading situation, initially forget a chaser, stumble to the vending machine in the lobby of your apartment building for some lemon-lime soda, bump into your landlady and her new puppy and begin to cry.

4. Shove all of your feelings into a deep, untouchable place, lock them up, and throw away the key.

“Joe? Who is Joe?” Simply pretend that your ex never existed. When someone asks how you’re doing after the breakup, stare at the offender with a questioning, confused expression. Delete all evidence of your ex on social media and make your mother remove all photographs that include your ex from her Facebook page and scrapbooks.

5. Attempt to burn to all items that remind you of your ex, but set fire to your apartment instead. 

Since you’re now a smoker, you can use one of the several lighters you’ve got lurking in your backpack, purse or medicine cabinet for this step. Movie tickets, letters, teddy bears and dried roses from your nniversary last year — these are all perfect fire starters. Set any/all items that remind you of your ex in the kitchen sink and set them on fire with a lighter. If all goes as planned, a dish towel will be resting a little too close to the blaze, it will also catch flame, all smoke detectors will begin to beep deafeningly and you’ll be dealing with both the fire department and the wrath of your landlady.

Thankfully, she won’t be too angry at you for almost burning down the building because she’s still feeling sorry for you due to the tipsy, tearful run-in at the vending machine earlier.

6. Forego real life commitments for the more soothing company of a television program.

You can’t deal with the drama of your own life when you’re worried about the antics of those kids on “Glee.” Is a paycheck required? Does it matter if you get that degree? Are groceries necessary? All of the supposed “needs” of life will pale in comparison to the crises that are waiting for you in a sufficiently action-packed television series. This step is a foolproof recipe for disaster. Watch long enough, and you’ll be jobless, sitting on your mattress with a tear-stained face and cold, lost feeling after that unsatisfactory finale. At this point your landlady will finally lose patience with you and you’ll receive an eviction notice; yikes!

7. Throw caution to the wind and move into a CVS.

At this point, you’ve almost lost it all. You are now missing your ex, your healthy lungs and your
apartment. What’s left to lose? Your dignity. With its 24-hour open policy and mesmerizing aisles of candy, face masks, cheap wines and Hallmark cards, CVS is as good a place as any to set up camp. See how long you can make it before the manager calls the cops. If it is near Valentine’s Day, go ahead and hit rock bottom and destroy the holiday section. Tear the music boxes out of romantic cards that play the theme from “Titanic,” stomp on all the caramel-filled hearts and, for a grand finale, pull the red bowtie off of that rose-scented pink teddy bear.

If you haven’t been following these steps and have responded to your breakup in healthy ways such as getting a chic new haircut, adopting a cat or going on a few rebound dates, congrats! You have begun the process of realizing your self-worth and are now on the road to recovery.

If you read this article and have followed these instructions to the letter, you have successfully lost it all after thinking you lost it all due to the end of a relationship. There is still hope, however. Peacefully leave the CVS and sheepishly knock on your best friend’s door. Take a hot bath, listen to some Radiohead, have a good cry and attend some therapy sessions. Realize that you are royalty and that there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

You’ve got this.