Real Advice with Real Talk: Sad girl summer

Real Advice with Real Talk: Sad girl summer

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Dear Real Talk, 

I just finished my Sophomore year of college and I'm going through my first break up. I can't stop thinking about him and am having a hard time enjoying life and even thinking about anything else. I really thought we would be together forever. How do I move on?

Sad girl summer

Dear Sad Girl Summer,

Did you ever hear about that fMRI study on heartbroken patients? The MRI found that their brains resembled those experiencing physical pain and even addiction withdrawal. I’m saying this because I want you to know that the sadness you’re feeling is the most human response to losing love.

I think about this a lot, because when I got my heart broken for the first time I felt the pain was so cutting and so severe, like no one else had ever felt that way before. In a way, it’s kind of like falling in love for the first time — you think that those mushy, gushy, electrifying feelings are unique to you and your partner only. The comforting truth is that both the pain of losing love and the euphoria of falling in love are two of the most human things you can ever experience. It’s kind of beautiful when you think about it that way, like we’re all in this secret club. Apologies for that tangent, I am here to help you after all! 

Now, I feel I’m qualified to give you advice on this subject because I’m on the other side of my first big heartbreak. For quite some time, all I wanted was move on, forget about him, drop the pain, and feel happy again. I was so focused on “healing” that I didn’t really, truly feel the sadness for a while. And the hard truth I learned? You need to feel sad to move on. It might take you much longer than you think, and it might be harder than you want it to be, but truthfully, all you can do is move through it.

That said, there are some things that really helped me, and I think they will help you too. So here’s a scattered list of some things you can do to help yourself heal:

  • Buy new bedsheets (this is the easiest task on the list, and trust me, you will feel immediately better, even if it’s just a little bit. This is the number one piece of breakup advice that actually helped me).
  • Write in a journal, your notes app, empty google docs, wherever you can. Write letters to your ex expressing every ounce of sadness and regret you feel. But don’t send them. This will help you feel those feelings. Keep them for yourself, and then one day, you’ll read them with an entirely new perspective. 
  • If you can, start therapy. When I was going through my first B.I.G. heartbreak I felt so much guilt for talking about my breakup with friends, like I was a wet blanket always ruining the vibe. Truthfully, your friends don’t actually feel that way. If they’re your true friends, they’ll want to be there for you every step of the way. That said, having a therapist (AKA an objective third party trained to help you feel better) will unlock deep processing friends cannot do for you.
  • Feel your feelings, instead of intellectualizing them! I can’t stress this enough. This can look like a lot of things: sobbing on the phone to your best friend, sobbing during a yoga class because you can’t focus on the flow, sobbing on a walk through the park to a sad song or a happy song or any song that’s ever existed. Yes, a lot of crying, but also just a lot of alone time and time to process. 
  • Don’t pause your life. Make plans with friends, book up your summer weekends, get on the dating apps (if you feel so inclined), make out with a stranger at a bar (if that’s your MO), start that new hobby you’ve been wanting to start forever, you get the gist.
  • Do not contact your ex. This is the hardest part but I really believe no-contact is the only way to go if the breakup was one-sided, which it sounds like yours was. Contact with your ex kind of resets the healing process to ground 0. That said, I know how strong the urge can be and I know nothing anyone says (definitely not me, a stranger on the Internet) can keep you from calling him. We live and we learn, so give yourself some grace here!


I really could wax on about this forever, but the main takeaway here is that there’s really nothing you can do but move through it, check in with yourself, and be patient. Do not judge the amount of time it takes you to “forget” about him. I repeat: do not judge yourself. I don’t say this to scare you, but you will never forget about him, and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s wonderful to have fallen in love for the first time. I’m truly so sorry you had your heart broken, sad girl summer, but take it from me: you will get through this, and you will become a stronger, more well-rounded individual for it. You will find love again, and I say this with 100% confidence.

So, sit back, turn up your sad girl music, and feel your feelings. You’re already one step closer!

RT with Stix

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