By Laura Snyder
What are the tools you really need to recover from a breakup? Tissues? A pint of ice cream? Some strippers? A bottle opener for the beers to drown your sorrows in?
It'd sure be handy if you could get everything you need in a little Swiss Army-style package. We didn't have the manufacturing skills to pull that off in time to meet our deadline, but we did come up with the stuff you really do need to get through getting dumped.
Survival Essential #1: Good Old-Fashioned Anger
Yeah, it's sad to have your heart broken. But the hurt is so much more manageable when you can get a little pissed about it. He found someone else? The bastard! She's taking a new job hundreds of miles away? That corporate-climbing witch!
We're not saying you should be in a slash-the-tires fury, here. Just stop playing the victim long enough to get mad at the heartless thug who did this to you. Enjoy the bitter-and-angry phase. Just don't stay there.
Survival Essential #2: Good Friends
Guys will take their pals out to get drunk and see strippers (which, sadly, did not quite make our essentials list - sorry). Girls will indulge in countless hours of analyzing what it all means, how unhappy your ex will be without you and how lucky you are to finally be rid of him. Whatever your gender - or that of your pals - you'll need a couple of shoulders to cry on.
Survival Essential #3: A Distraction
You're still hurting, but you're getting tired of crying and you're worried you're wearing out your friends. But most dangerously, you find yourself tempted to dial your ex's number "just to talk." These are the reasons you need to find something to throw yourself into. Start an intense new project at work or pick up a new hobby you've wanted to try. (Note: Rebound relationships and one-night stands are not considered "new hobbies" in this sense.)
Survival Essential #4: A Crisis Plan
There is nothing worse than dissolving into tears the first time - or 50th - someone gives you the sympathetic head tilt and asks what happened. Except for maybe freezing in the middle of the street the first time you see your ex, realizing you're about to cross paths and not knowing what to say or do. So, think about the possibility of these things ahead of time. Work out a short advisory you can issue to your friends. Think up cutting one-liners that you can say to your ex ... or, okay, practice being gracious and taking the high road. Whatever works for you.
Survival Essential #5: Self-Improvement
Having all the pieces of your life fall apart gives you a great opportunity to put those pieces back exactly where you want them. Take a little self-inventory. Think about what you've learned and want to keep - the appreciation for jazz you learned from your ex, that incredible new sexual position you both found one night. Make a note of what you can take with you into your next relationship. Because there will be one.