Adulting with Erin: The break-up blues

By Erin Bothwell | April 30, 2018 11:39am
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

We’ve all ended relationships. Sometimes people sort of fade out of our lives, but other times the end of a relationship is sharp and clear and you know it’s O-V-E-R. You know you’re never ever getting back together, even though part of your heart wishes the other person would come crawling back and say they still care — maybe just so you can slam the door in their face. Or so you can take them back and dump them the next day on your own terms. Catharsis comes in many forms. 

In my experience, the breakup emotional cycle usually starts at Sad Station. Then, you take the on-ramp to Forever Alone Highway, exit at Self-Blame Boulevard, take a pit stop at Empowerment Boulevard, and swing back ‘round the course until you are done doing emotional donuts around the racetrack of your heart. 

If you’re going through a brea up, media is basically your pit crew while you speed through the aforementioned emotional stages. Your favorite movie or TV show can take your mind off of the other person for a couple of hours (or provide a welcome distraction while you cry in your pajammers). While you lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling — because the bed is too far away — you can listen to a podcast. But the main media antidote to a breakup is music. 

When I ride the breakup roller coaster, I’ve spent hours creating playlists with titles like “Men Suck, Part One,” “Men Suck, Part Two” and “Boy BYE”.*  For the record, I recommended Abba’s “Winner Takes it All,” “Knowing Me Knowing You,” “Landslide” and “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. Those four songs can get you through (almost) anything. 

*My “Men Suck” playlist had to be split into two parts because it wouldn’t all fit onto one CD, so I burned it onto two. Which brings me to two points. Firstly, I know not all men suck. And secondly, yes, I still burn CDs. I am child of the nineties. 

As you listen to love songs and sob, you should be cocooned in a fuzzy blanket. A fuzzy blanket is not cotton or silk or satin. It must be plush like your favorite bathrobe. Friends and animals alike will be drawn to it. If no one immediately attempts to touch/steal your fuzzy blanket, your blanket is not of the proper fuzzy variety. In a pinch, simply wearing a bathrobe and refusing to wear “real” clothes will also suffice. 

If you love listening to dope tunes and being all snuggly, you may be tempted to initiate a dumping. Don’t. This is a sign you may just be in need of a little me time. But if you aren’t satisfied in a current relationship, it’s okay to end it.  

Ending a relationship is rarely easy  — heck, relationships aren’t easy in the first place. But it’s okay to let go if you aren’t fulfilled, or if a relationship no longer feels right. You don’t need to have logical reasons to end it if you want to end it. After all, “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.” 

And it’s okay if you want to hold on a little longer after a relationship has ended. It’s okay to let yourself feel everything you need to feel whether that’s sorrow, joy, anger or confusion. It’s OK because you’re going to be OK. 

Side note: This is my last Adulting with Erin for The Beacon. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m graduating (knock on wood) this May, but never fear. I’m planning to start another column and/or my own blog ( It’s been a joy to write this column, and I’ve compiled a list of ideas for the future. I’m not done advising you on how to live your life just yet. And who knows? Maybe another columnist will emerge at The Beacon.