Holy shit, y’all: as of today, it’s been an entire year since the end of my last, longest relationship. It’s cliché, but it really feels like so much more time has passed than actually has. My reality has shifted, my identity has transformed. I am very much no longer that girl who blubbered her way through a break-up speech after months upon months of waffling.
However, not being sad about a break-up anymore doesn’t mean it completely fades into the history of your life. The anniversary of a relationship ending can still feel momentous and significant. I’m sentimental and I like to celebrate milestones as they pass, if just because it encourages personal growth. So here are some ways you could celebrate your “breakupiversary” if you feel like you want to…
Invite friends. Make it an event.
Your friends probably saw you through the break-up and the relationship itself. They remember how it affected you, what it meant to you. So they’re the perfect people to help you laugh about it, forget it, and move on from it.
Most of the suggestions below can be accomplished just as well with friends as they could if you were alone. How fun it would it be to put together an itinerary for a break-up party and email a detailed invitation to your nearest and dearest? The event could even have a dress code, like all black (for mourning), all bright colors (for optimism), or “wear something your ex hated.” Amazing!
Ceremonially destroy something.
The traditional way to do this is by burning: you could make a bonfire for the destruction of old letters and photos, or you could get witchy like Gala and burn that shit in a miniature cauldron.
If burning isn’t feasible for you, because it’s illegal, dangerous, or just unappealing, there are other ways to destroy old mementos. You could tear them up and throw them away, stomp on them, toss them in a body of water (if they’re biodegradable), or run them through a shredder. You could use them as the basis for an art journal spread, or shove the remnants into the bottom of a planter that you then fill with soil and a seedling, as a symbolic gesture that you’re movin’ on up.
Replace something that reminds you of your ex.
I know you have some object in your house that, every time it catches your eye, takes you to a dark place, even if it’s just for a second. It could be a perfume that smells like your first date, a stuffed animal your ex won for you at a carnival, or a sleep shirt you “accidentally” stole from him when the relationship ended.
Whatever it is, you should find a decent – better, in fact – replacement for that thing. Ideally, bring a friend or two on the shopping expedition when you do this, so there will be fun and funny memories attached to your new acquisition from the get-go.
Make a list of reasons your current life is better than it was during that past relationship.
I bet you can come up with like a zillion reasons.
Put on an angry/triumphant/sweet-ass playlist.
8Tracks has some good break-up ones. They might be a bit mopey for this celebratory occasion, though. “Emotionally Intense ’90s Women” is my favorite playlist for when I feel like being ridiculous and angry (thank you to the friend who turned me onto this playlist when my cat died and I just needed to scream along to Alanis). Anything that ignites that “hell hath no fury like a woman[/man/non-binary person] scorned” feeling in your gut is a good pick.
Dig out old journals and read them dramatically.
If your friends aren’t around for this part, hop on Periscope and do it there. You really need some kind of audience for this one (although, admittedly, I have spent many an afternoon re-reading my old journals by myself and absolutely guffawing over how silly past-me was).
If you’re in a boozy mood, you can make this into a drinking game. You know what your patterns are in relationships, so you’re best equipped to create the rules of your own game. But, for me, I’d probably take a shot every time I used the word “compatible,” wrote about a sex session in greater-than-necessary detail, or complained about a problem that could have been solved by better communication. Yawn. (Boozin’ aside, though: laughing at old diary entries is one of the best-ever ways to turn a sad situation into a funny one. You’ll feel so much lighter once you’ve cackled at your own misery.)
So many options! You could stay in and have sex with yourself. You could get it on with your current partner, if you have one, and reflect on what a better sexual match they are for you than your ex was. You could get your ass on OkCupid or Tinder and find a hookup for the night, and use that stranger-wang/stranger-tang to exorcise your break-up demons. You could finally ask out that cute friend of yours for whom you’ve had the hots for ages. You could sign up for a cam site and jerk off for horny randos (this is especially effective if your ex would have hated you doing this).
We all move on from break-ups at different paces. If you – like me until recently – have been stuck in a dry spell since your relationship ended, it might be enormously healing for you to get back out there and get laid. It’s kind of one of those “you won’t learn to swim until someone pushes you into the pool” situations, except you have to be the person to push yourself into that pool. The confidence you gain from even one decent fuck will help propel you forward into more. Break-ups can decimate your self-image, but there are ways to deal with that, and sex is a fabulous one.
Dream up an ideal partner.
Grab a big sheet of paper. At the top, write a phrase that stirs romantic feelings in your heart, like “DREAM LOVER” or “MR. SO SO RIGHT” or “BANG-BUDDY EXTRAORDINAIRE.”
Then make a list of all the qualities that matter to you in a partner. They can be physical, mental, emotional. They can be hobbies and activities that person would love, interests they’d have, goals and ambitions that’d be on their bucket list. You can refer to pieces of celebrities and exes you particularly like: “Jack Black’s sense of humor,” “Emma Stone’s smile,” “high school girlfriend’s confidence,” “college boyfriend’s nerdiness.” If you’re artistically inclined, you can draw or collage some imagery into this spread, to amp up the lovey feelings you get when you look at it.
Now look over your whole page and let the feelings well up in you. Imagine how it would actually feel to meet that person, to flirt with them, kiss them, fuck them, hold their hand in public, laugh hysterically with them, cry on their shoulder, fall asleep in their arms. Let those images feel real and seem attainable – because they are attainable and they will be real, my love.
Whether you believe this type of visualization makes magic or just feels good, the fact remains: you need to convince yourself of your inherent value, and of your ability to attract better and better relationships into your life. I think visualizing your dream partner would be an amaaaazing way to cap off a breakupiversary party, because it would set your sights on the future – right where you oughta be looking.
Have you ever celebrated or commemorated the anniversary of a break-up? How did you do it?