By Greg Behrendt
I was so good during the day. I’d go to work, go for a run, hang out rocking the Xbox, hardly think about her at all. But then night would come, tequila would be slammed, and loneliness would sidle up and offer me the use of its cellphone. Without warning, I’d be calling Courtney in hopes of getting her back.
“Didn’t our 9 months together mean anything? Wasn’t the sex great? What kind of underwear are you wearing?” And I would have asked her those questions, had I not been so drunk I couldn’t form coherent syllables. Or if I’d actually been talking to her instead of the operator at the front desk of the hip hotel she was staying in all the way across the country. With her new boyfriend.
At that point, I had no idea that my relationship wreckage would one day fuel my career. Working as a writer for Sex and the City, I came up with the blunt line a guy delivers as the girls are struggling to understand why a male character didn’t try to hook up with one of them (Miranda, if you’ve seen it). The line: “He’s just not that into you.” This simple sentence turned from a line in a script into a national catchphrase into an advice book for women into an appearance on Oprah by my writing partner and me, giving advice as bona fide relationship experts.
Oh, I was an expert, all right. And I had talked to plenty of men and women about their breakups, mostly to commiserate about mine. Eventually, I actually started to listen. And patterns became apparent. The result was another book: It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken.
So, to every man whose woman has crushed his heart with a mallet, let me be blunt, again: She’s gone, man. Let go, move on. Use my guide.
Initiate “She Tox”
No contact of any kind, starting right now, not tomorrow. First, lose her number. Really. Erase it from your cellphone, home phone, and bat phone. Now add her e-mail address to your spam filter. What you don’t see won’t tempt you to contact her.
Of course, at some point—a point usually coinciding with last call at Dooley’s pub—you’ll get a jones to call her. Before you drunk-dial: Think of three bad things about the relationship, or her. Weird? Maybe, but it worked for Brian, 29, an accountant in New York City who broke up with his live-in girlfriend of 2 years. “For every good thing that came into my mind,” he says, “I would think of a negative thing. And eventually, when I realized there were more negative memories than positive ones, my disgust overtook my nostalgia. It helped that the negative things were far fresher in my mind, since they had happened toward the end.”
Next step: Declare any location you used to frequent together a no-fly zone. Find a new coffee shop or bar or gym. It’s tough, but keep in mind, your new locations come equipped with a new pool of women to meet.
Moreover, by not seeing, calling, texting, e-mailing, or risking a chance encounter, you are sending a silent message that says, “I’m okay and am moving on without you.” And that’s the message you want to send, even if you’re on the floor of your apartment wrapped around an empty party ball.
Bag and Burn
Remove all photos of her and delete your computer wallpaper of the two of you in Cancun. There are other girls who look great in bikinis. (Google, for instance, Adriana Lima. But not obsessively.) Go all CSI on her, bagging every bit of evidence of her existence. Toss it or burn it. If there’s anything you need to return to your ex, mail it or ask a mutual friend to deliver it.
David, 25, a golf professional in Florida, says he took everything—the baseball hat she wore when she came over, the CD by the Album Leaf they’d always listened to—to Goodwill. “Leaving stuff in your closet will only put off the inevitable reminiscing session,” he says, “or, worse, discovery by your next girlfriend.”
Stop Being Friends
Women frequently claim they want to be “friends—really good friends” after they dump you. Screw that. Any woman who took a long look at you and decided she’d try her luck elsewhere doesn’t deserve to be your friend anymore. Your friendship has been taken off the menu of great things in life that she gets to enjoy. If she presses the issue, just let her know that you’re not currently taking applications for the position of friend but will keep her resume in mind should there be an opening in the future. You can consider friendship after 60 days has elapsed.
Stop Drinking Your Pain Away
Nothing takes the sting out of a battered heart like booze. But the morning after, the breakup pain is back and has brought a friend: the hangover. Don’t make a habit of putting things into your body that will make you a pathetic, sad fatty or get you into a fistfight with a tree. Make plans to meet a friend at the gym or on the basketball court on weekend mornings.
Surround Yourself with Women
Maybe you think of yourself as the lone wolf, and that’s cool, but a breakup buddy helps. Especially a hot breakup buddy. Enlist a female friend or three.
“After I broke up, I hung out with girls I knew,” says Michael, 34, an author. “They were more interested in hearing about the breakup than my guy friends, and they gave me a lot of attention. The best part, though, was being seen around town with three really hot women, which helped my stock. Word got back to my ex, and I know it made her jealous.”
Having a breakup buddy means there’s someone to call when you’re close to drunk-dialing the ex, and someone to make sure you don’t fall off the face of the Earth.
Stay in motion, kid. Walk it off. This is an awesome time for reevaluating and rebuilding, so find new things to do with your time. Pizza is not an activity, nor is crying. Join a gym, or at least a game of pickup basketball, or see every movie at the cineplex in one weekend. Make plans with your friends that will force you to leave your home at least three times a week.
“Right after we broke up, I launched a Web site to take my mind off things,” says Tim, 24, a designer in Vancouver. “It’s now a successful part-time business.”
Get Back on the Horse
You’ve heard this one, right? Here’s a bonus: “The second girl I hooked up with after my breakup had the same name as my ex,” says Brian. “Inputting her into my phone as ‘Nuevo Becca’ was pretty solid. Not to mention the healing benefits of new sex, which is a whole lot better than ‘Let’s save this relationship’ sex.”
Lastly, don’t talk to the horse about your ex.