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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Hill

Over, Under, Smashed

We've all had that moment when we can feel our heartbeat in the bags under our puffy eyes paired with an overwhelming sense of dehydration. This physical and emotional exhaustion is the burning pilot light under a simmering anger. At any given second we could combust. In these moments there's probably a vice in our hands as we hear the adage,

"if you want to get over someone, get under someone else."

We have no gas in the tank when we hear it, no good meals fueling our cognition, just a ravenous ego--which is all you need to spark a flame and take action.

On that particular day or relationship grieving, validation through sex seems pretty fucking great--but outside of the next 24 hours, sleeping with someone new/random/"from before" isn't really healing.

For the number of people who dole out this shitty adage, I wonder how many have actually taken it. I bet if they ever did they'd never pass it along to another person. I don't believe to be pious or above anyone who fucks around. I've actively taken this advice. Post-relationships, mid-situationships, hell sometimes to act as a blocker and make something that potential a complete non-starter.

When I'd do it to get over an ex, it only made me immediately miss the person I was trying to move past. Maybe the new person would kiss me and I'd scrunch up my face in reaction to how different and unlikeable it felt to feel like I was macking with a turtle. Or I'd end up running out of a hotel room, phone in a shaky hand looking for some privacy to call ye olde ex and hear their voice for familiar comfort. Even on dates that were fine (read: bland) I'd feel like pivoting back to old ways.

I couldn't get over anyone by getting under anyone else.

But here are the two definitive ways that I did:

Advice Type 1: The Happier, Higher Way That Will Save You At Least $500 In Therapy Fees

I've only been broken up with once, which is the furthest thing from a brag. The universe has always made me be the one to "make the big decision." And I hate being the one to do it. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and my perfectly scheduled out To Do list can not handle another task.

I got dumped over a text message, and per the above over-under adage, spent the mintues after reading the text coordinating a different hook up for that evening. Which was fun to plan, fun to do, fun until the drive home alone on PCH just got sad. A day or so later I was crying in my best friend's car about how brokenhearted I was that I had lost someone "so great." We were consuming Duncan Trussell's Midnight Gospel like we were the Teletubbies vacuum, Noo Noo, desperately absorbing everything. She alchemized an episode into some advice for me: "If A--- was so great, why don't you take the opportunity to appreciate that you got to meet someone like that in your life time. Instead of feeling like you lost him, any time a thought of missing him comes up, just think about how lucky you were to even have experienced him at all."

Typing it out it sounds corny as fuck and like something my temper would deck my friend in the face for dare trying to say while I snotted all over her Honda. But, she delivered it with enough "I'm on your side" softness, and I had nothing to lose by attempting this route.

So for the next few days, any time I'd be sad about something I "lost" in the breakup I'd just feel lucky I had it all. And I got over it all at an alarmingly fast rate (maybe 2 weeks?)

Advice Type 2: The Painstakingly Painful Way

I dated a guy on and off for about three years. In the "off" periods, I'd oscilate between 2 emotions:



2. I just want to wallow in longing and pain.

I missed him severely once a month, around my period. (Hello Harvard, Hello UCLA, my brain and uterus are yours for studies that will advance the heart broken woman forward in science.) So for the 3 days before I'd bleed, I'd think I had lost the most important person in my life, the person who I'd do or change anything for (yikes) and blah blah blah. It was all pretty pathetic.

I missed him despite getting under other bodies; despite attempting to start new relationships. I just could not get over it no matter which tool from therapy and inner work studies I tried: journaling, sitting with yourself, sharing with friends--friends who can't get any of that time I spent complaining back. I even tried Advice Type 1 above, and it wouldn't work.

Then one day I entered a full blown relationship with someone new. And that also did not get me over the past. I was happy in my new situation, but I still had the emotions of doubt and sadness creep in. I wish I hadn't started dating til I was a clean 6 years out from being over previous heartbreak, because it didn't feel fair to anyone new I entertained. But the timing of life is fucked 23 hours of the day, 5 days a week, 268 days a year.

And then one day I had to be confronted with a break up in this new relationship. We tried and tried to make it work. It felt like using my bare hands to grab as much sediment of this crumbling building as possible, as if whatever handfuls I got could be pressed back into the structure despite the keystone being completely fucked. The more and more I tried to save this, the more I cared about what was in front of me.

Until one day, covered in metaphorical sand and very real tears, I realized all this current emotional pain had completely nulled out any old feelings. I checked in, and puleld up a mental image of my ex and was met with pretty neutral emotions: no attraction, no dislike. The book had finally closed. It could be revisited with the same emotional investment you'd have when reading a scientific journal, rather than the heavy emotional toll of listening to your Sad Playlist on Spotify.

I am at peace, but I mean, this way still fucking sucked. I had to experience new pain to get over old pain?! What the fuck. Be careful what you wish for and all that, because I so desperately wanted to be past what felt like a never ending emotional spiral, and in my desperation I guess I never specified to the universe that my preferred method of "getting over them" would include me learning a new skill like pottery, or going on some sort of Eat Pray Love adventure into the world.

So if you're going through it, remember that gratitude and appreciation can speed up the process, and just because pain sucks dick, doesn't mean you have to.

- - -

This has been a part of the series Sad Stories To Make Sense of My Mind. The Table of Contents will direct you to a list of descriptions to choose what heart string you'd like pulled next.


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