How do I survive the holidays right after a breakup?

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Hey, Group Chat, 

My boyfriend of two years broke up with me last month and I’m still reeling from it. I’m absolutely miserable being newly single in a pandemic, but I’m preparing myself for full-on torture when I go home for the holidays and have to face my family’s questioning over my relationship status. How can I get them off my back and free myself from this misery? 

Sincerely, The Grinch

Dear The Grinch,

Dani Sklarz, who is single at the holidays for the first time in five years, says… I FEEL you this year. If the holidays aren’t hard enough after a breakup, let’s add in a global pandemic. But, please take comfort in the fact that you are definitely not alone. My advice is to avoid those movies that bring up all the “feels” or might have your family asking what happened with you and your former partner.

DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT watch Love Actually. And while we’re here, also don’t watch the Bridget Jones series, or anything on Hallmark where a small-town girl returns home for the first time in years. Also, no Notting Hill. In fact, any movie with Hugh Grant is entirely off-limits for you this holiday season. Maybe try Saw II instead.

Try to think about what you want out of being home for the holidays. Do you need some TLC from your parents, or do you want to avoid the subject of your newly single status altogether? Establish clear boundaries from the start of your visit. If baking with your folks is part of a holiday tradition but you’re afraid the cooking convo might get into messy territory, blast a playlist so you don’t have to gab. Most importantly, focus on you. I can’t stress self-care enough. So if that means dodging your family in the evenings and soaking in a bubble bath with a cocktail in hand, then I’m here for it. 

Jenny Kline, who believes that anyone who’s never had their heart broken is still a child, says… I want to first applaud you for being far less annoying than I am whenever I suffer a breakup. Your goal is to preemptively put a lid on the topic; my goal, historically, has always been to trap unwitting victims in endless conversation about me and my pain. I famously got dumped on April 1, 2009, and I still lament about the excruciating 24 hours I spent wondering whether it was an April Fool’s joke.

I know you’re dreading the last half of December, and I feel for you. But you just have to get through two weeks. That’s it! The Christmas lights will come down, the ball will drop, and 2021 will be much brighter. You don’t have to recover right away, you can wallow as long as you want, but over time you’ll go from crying once a day to a healthy once a week. And then, at some point, you’ll realize it’s actually been a pretty long time since you last cried over him.

Until then, whenever anyone brings it up: “I don’t want to talk about it.” ✌️

Jamé Jackson, who is personally fed up, says… Oh honeeey, let’s get one thing straight. First of all, you do not owe your family an explanation on your love life whatsoever! I know they mean well, but people have the ability to incite rage when they ask questions they have no business asking.

Now, you can deflect and try to change the conversation (this is the first step). Talk about the weather, how everyone else is doing; how you’re minding your business and drinking your water. If they can’t respect that, now you have to remind everyone you are not the one, the two nor the three.

If your aunt keeps pushing you about your boyfriend, push her to confess why she brings home a different man every year for Christmas. That other aunty who can’t mind her business? Remind her to mind her wig hairline because it’s off-center and distracting the children. I’m just saying, don’t let anyone play you. You’re growing and glowing and deserve to enjoy this time for the holidays. Don’t let people bring no mess to you, but be ready to get messy to protect your peace. Happy holidays, family!

Matt Mataxas, who routinely finds himself on the ~Naughty 😉 List~, says… Obviously, this is the worst time to go through a breakup, but here are three things you can do to get over your ex during this holiday season:

  • Send a DM to literally every hot, single person you know. One of them is bound to work out and turn into a fun, distracting rebound
  • Go hard on the Holiday Swipes. Whether you use Hinge, Tinder, Bumble or others, dive into a season-long swipe-athon. You don’t even have to talk to anyone — just getting a match with someone means they’re attracted to you and will boost your confidence. 
  • Hire a handsome TaskRabbit! You can pay them to do any chore, and this time, the chore is being your partner. Bring them along and all of your family’s questions about “What happened to Jeff?” will turn into “Wowwwww, who is Eduardo? He’s gorgeous!”

Santa is definitely bringing a lump of coal to your former partner, so keep that in mind. It should make you feel good knowing that Santa is going to dump all over the person who dumped you.

Gibson Johns, who would welcome a little relationship drama in his life TBH, says… Listen, I’m so sorry about the breakup, and I’m sorry about all of the inevitable questions you’ll have to face from your family — but know that, above all else, they mean well. I’m sure your mom continually asking about your relationship status is just her making sure that you’re happy, so try to remind yourself of that. 

That being said, I get that having your fam constantly in your grill about your love life ain’t it. One thing you can do is use other things, like a TV show that you’re all binge-watching together, to distract your family from what’s really going on. Ask them what they think of the finale of The Undoing or who they think Tayshia should end up with on The Bachelorette, so that they don’t even have time to ask you about why you’re newly single.

Another tactic to use, especially if there’s one person in particular (Mom) who won’t get off your back? Ask someone else in your family (Dad) to ask them if they can let up a little, playing the sympathy card on your behalf. 

The last thing I’ll say is try to take your own mind off your broken heart, if you can. Escape the heartbreak by listening to upbeat Christmas songs on repeat, or signing up for a dating app or two (Hinge is my personal favorite). Start getting excited about the prospect of someone else, even if it’s some random guy from your high school that you match with, have a few sporadic conversations with and then fade away from when you leave home after the holidays. After all, sometimes the best way to get over Mr. Right is to find yourself a temporary Mr. Right Now.

TL;DR… Just because you share a bloodline with your family does not mean you owe them all the details of your recent breakup. No shame in pleading the Fifth.

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