A breakup will inevitably be painful, even if you are the one who initiated it. The phrase “broken heart” can be taken literally as well as metaphorically because the anguish is real.
For the past year and a half, couples who have promised to go through life “for better and for worse” have been overwhelmed with the worse and have experienced far too little of the better Lockdowns, forced togetherness. Financial worries have become the new reality test for many couples. And many have found that their relationship wasn’t able to withstand the awkward truths they have had to face. Consequently, the past year has seen a record number of breakups.
A breakup is painful. It’s the end of something precious. On the other hand, it is also the beginning of a new phase in your life. Opportunities beckon. This time, you hope to be wiser and more resilient than you were before. Breakups are one of those hidden second chances in life.
First, however, you must maneuver through the pain. There are many people in a similar position, and many books are dedicated to helping you grow, learn, and retake charge of your life following a breakup. Here are just a few suggestions:
Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken by Lodro Rinzler
Buddhism provides 2,500 years of teaching about life. Love Hurts doesn’t speak in broad philosophical terms. Instead, it brings practical advice to an emotional situation. It offers wisdom to work through the pain until you are once again in charge of your own feelings.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron is a favorite of both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. This book is a collection of speeches on how to defeat pain. Chodron shows how to effectively use painful emotions to move forward. She also discusses the importance of communication when establishing a relationship. Best of all, she breaks down relationship problems into a pattern of behavior and offers advice on how to step out of the familiar but unsuccessful pattern and learn new and better ways of coping through mindfulness and self-care.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
This book on life, love, and breakups is like soother. It helps you face what you need to face with equanimity. We aren’t born with courage; we develop and learn courage through moving through the good and the bad that life offers and dealing with it all. Strayed is an advice columnist with humor and understanding.
The Art of Breaking Up by hitRECord
Hitrecords is a community of 750,000 people chiming in on life in general and the heartbreak of a breakup in particular. It forces the reader to look at the funny side of things. The book is designed to make you laugh – and feel better while dealing with a broken heart. It looks at a breakup from the point of view of the dumper as well as the dumpee. You’ll read plenty of anecdotes. You are definitely not going through the pain alone. The book even has a playlist of breakup songs.
Getting Over a Breakup: 75 Easy Steps by Kate Anderson
Anderson will show you step by step that a breakup doesn’t have to keep you down. She moves through all the normal breakup stages and shows you how to get on with your life. Leave the past and aim for a better future. She covers how to handle social media and how to be on your own. One step at a time, with such chapters as “Place the Focus on You.”
Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy by Ben Michaelis, Ph.D.
The author is a psychologist who guides the reader through wisdom, quizzes, and exercises geared toward gaining more self-knowledge, building confidence, and creating a more fulfilling life. Like a friend, he guides you toward your goal in a ten-step program that helps you achieve a life rich in passion and joy.
The Breakup Bible by Melissa Kantor
This is a story within a coming-of-age story. Teenager Jen Lewis’ existence shines – until the love of her life dumps her. Her life quickly goes from blissful to bleak. Her grandmother gives her a book, “The Breakup Bible,” with the suggestion that Jen might find some help for her broken heart. Jen doesn’t believe it. How could some stranger understand her pain? Still, she is curious. And the book offers her surprising guidance not only with her breakup but with her life as well.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
“Life changes fast…You sit down to dinner, and life as you know it ends.” Didion is describing life. Her life specifically. It’s the story of how she dealt with the agony of her daughter’s illness and her husband’s death. The moral is, life changes, and we are unable to stop it. Those who want to succeed need to change with it. It’s her story of being tossed into chaos and coming out a better person on the other side.
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
A humorous piece of fiction (laughter is the best breakup antidote), this is the story of Toby Fleishman. Recently divorced, he has it all figured out. He sees his children during the appointed weekend visits and co-parents politely and successfully with his ex, Rachel. It’s a good plan until Rachel drops off the kids and disappears.
Now, Toby is forced to face his breakup, single life, fatherhood, and new status as a bachelor and neighborhood sexual stud. All he knows is his life has become a mess. He is finally forced to consider where it all went wrong. It is a funny view of how wrong a perfect life can get and how to make better decisions.
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