Jamie Shupak is the Emmy-nominated traffic reporter for NY1, the Big Apple cable network that’s the end-all and be-all on all things Gotham for New Yorkers. She’s also a beautiful, single woman navigating New York’s treacherous dating scene after the painful breakup of a 10-year relationship. In her weekly column she’ll share her war stories and offer her advice and admonitions.
(Note: Catch up on the first part here.)
People often ask me what I would do if I ran into my ex on the street. I know they’re expecting me to say I would go on some kind of epic emotional tirade a la Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, but really, it’s exactly the opposite.
I’d thank him.
He set me free, and I am eternally grateful for that.
You might also be surprised to hear that I don’t hate him, not one bit. In fact I don’t harbor any negative emotions towards him.
That is what saved me this year.
It is also, I would argue, the numero uno idea behind closing the chapter on a relationship. Don’t hold on to the hate; it will only bring you down.
Negativity comes in many forms and none of them are cute or will do you any good. It’s also a cycle — a downward spiral — so try your best to not succumb to it. If you stay home and let the heartbreak get the best of you, it will only beget more loneliness and depression. But if you go out and do something fun with your friends, it’ll give you something exciting and new to talk and think about that has nothing to do with your old life.
It’s a pretty simple choice: sit at home and cry about it, or get on with it.
I will never pretend that the latter is an easy thing to do — it’s not, I’ve been there — but you can spend your life being a victim of your circumstances. You can hate all women and never trust one again, you can be anti-love and marriage, too. Which is to say, you’ll be leading no life at all.
One of the hardest things about a breakup is that you’re fighting negativity from every corner. It’s one thing to deal with your own, but it’s a whole other ball game dealing with the toxicity of others.
There are two types of people you’ll talk to after a breakup: friends and enablers. It’s easy to tell who are the former – those who check in with you regularly sans talk of your ex and understand when to push you to go out versus just letting you be.
It’s the latter who are sometimes more stealthy, and I implore you to be wary of anyone who incessantly asks if you’ve seen or spoken to your ex, if you’ve heard about her latest misguided episode, or if you’re wondering if the ex is thinking about you.
None of these questions are this person’s business, and none of these answers should have any impact on your new life.
Enablers like drama and they like gossip, both of which will eat you alive during a time when you already have enough chipping away at your insides. So stay away from these people.
It is imperative that you surround yourself with only the most supportive and positive people, those friends who are committed to moving you forward. You are the company you keep.
I’ve also learned that you get back whatever you emote to the world. Walk around a bar with a sourpuss look on your face, no one is going to smile at you. But find the joy in yourself, and in life, and the same shall boomerang back to you.
You also don’t need to waste your breath talking badly about your ex. I’m not saying to suppress your emotions, I’m only saying don’t go around calling her names, bad-mouthing her to everyone. You'll only look like a bitter idiot.
Plus, it’s a waste of time. What good will it do?
Likewise for other people disparaging your ex, which becomes exponentially worse if you were wronged in any way, because then everyone wants to tell you how horrible your ex is. They think it will make you feel better. It doesn’t.
I spent ten years of my life with this guy. I don’t want to hear you saying all these horrible things about him. It’s one thing a year later to laugh about how much better off I am. But right after we split, to look me in the face and tell me the man I loved, who I was going to marry, is all these horrible things?
That makes you feel like shit.
So stay away from the hate. Be positive, be grateful, and be open to the idea of love again.
Even if you can maintain an upbeat attitude, a breakup is in many ways like a death, so your recovery is akin to a grieving process — a complicated path of emotions in tow.
Some feelings I couldn’t quite comprehend, so I internalized them. I let the hurt I hid fuel the fire inside me. Hurt can mean so many different things, and passion and drive can come from so many different places, but to some extent we’re all fueled by our past.
So whether that means picking up a new project at work, or setting higher workout goals, or whatever you can do to push yourself harder than before… do it. But don’t do it to prove to your ex that they’re missing something. This isn’t revenge or an attempt to win this person back; rather, it's a chance to show yourself your own worth.
If you do it right, you’ll never let anyone treat you as less again.
When I was a little girl my dad told me that there was only one man I could always count on in this world: him. That he should be the only man I look to, should I ever need anything. By disregarding this the last few years — depending on a guy for so many things — look at the hole I dug myself.
So I set out on a path of single girl liberation with his pearl of wisdom in mind — to date guys without depending on them for a thing.
I learned pretty quickly that Dad was right. When you don’t need a guy to make you happy, buy you dinner, or tell you how hot you look in that black dress — because you’re already taking care of it yourself — man, it is like moths to a flame.
I’ve learned countless other lessons along the way, perhaps the most valuable of which is:
It might feel like it at the time, but a broken heart or a broken engagement is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of a whole new one.
Next Week: Jamie addresses Mister Critical Error