Sex & Relationships

New Column Alert: Love, Kate

FLARE is thrilled to introduce you to our new relationship columnist, the très insightful Kate Carraway!

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How do I get over a guy?

You don’t, really. I mean, you will: you will “get over” it in every meaningful way. The Sex and the City-sanctioned wisdom on this matter is that it takes half of the total time of the relationship to get over it; the actual wisdom is that you will be in a fairly consistent amount of pain for a while (what kind of pain, though, is like an extra-dark version of spinning a carnival prize wheel every day), and then a little bit less and a little bit less, until one day missing your ex-boyfriend will be the second thing you think about, not the first. That is “getting over it.”

But, also, I don’t know that you ever get over it, really, like over it-over it: I feel like being legitimately in love with someone means that they will always own a small piece of real estate in your heart. Like, maybe a corner artery with a nice view, but not the whole thing.

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Decide that you’re the authority on yourself and your feelings—because you are—and that it’s normal and just fine to feel hurt, angry, confused, lost, and whatever else comes rolling through like a mid-summer heartbreak-thunderstorm. Work off of your own instincts, instead of someone else’s expectations, or post-breakup trajectory; acknowledge to yourself and whoever is giving you worry-eyes that you’re dealing with something, and need to go through it however and for however long you want. If you start to feel like it’s all way too hard, definitely see a pro; even those who are anti-therapy can benefit just from the process of going, saying stuff out loud, and being given something of a structure for what’s happening.

OK, so theeeen you have to eliminate this guy’s presence in every practical way. Non-negotiables include phone-number deletion, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram unfollows. (“Unfollow” includes never creeping on him online, or as close to never as you can physically tolerate.) For the initial sting of it—a week? A month?—don’t call him or email him back, either, unless something seems emergency-ish. This isn’t about “He’s a bad guy,” necessarily. This is about protecting your heart from incurring additional trauma after a rock has been thrown through it.

If he’s a good guy, try to emit some kind of warmth toward him while you let him go; hating him just makes everything worse for you, in the same way jealousy does. If he’s a not-good guy—maybe the harder of the two to shake?—write an actual list of his terrible or embarrassing qualities every time you miss him. (Ideally, the fact that you ever wanted him will eventually start to seem genuinely hilarious.)

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Do a lot of active, purposeful self-care: plan elaborate, teenager-ish triple-feature movie-night sleepovers with whoever of your friends is the best at that kind of thing; clean out and organize your closet; plan and execute a complicated meal. This will make you feel good in small, important ways. (Getting hecka wasted is a distraction that works maybe once post-breakup, before it becomes its own problem.)

Don’t cut your hair. Maybe a really basic gloss, or a trim. No new tattoos. Don’t buy clothes because your sensibilities and tastes are probably pretty wack right now.

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Remember that your friends have their own stuff happening. Don’t tack on a “So… how are you?” after your daily feelings-summary with them. This isn’t just manners, or insurance against them getting bored and bailing—it’s part of being a human who exists in the world with or without your boyfriend, being someone who is wanted, important, and essential to more than just one person. Then, one day, he’ll be the fourth thing you think about after your sore ankle and work and Twitter, and then you’ll be OK.

For smart love and sex advice from Kate Carraway, tweet your query @FLAREfashion with the hashtag #lovekate

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