What Everyone Should Do When They're Newly Single

by Melanie Yates

What's the best way to recover from a breakup? After a serious relationship ends, it seems like many newly-single women live with a dual personality for a while. They're at once both emotionally drained from the breakup, looking for the solitude to wallow and grieve for the relationship, and meanwhile they may feel just as strongly the desire to fill their entire social calendar, to overcompensate for the lost time spent in the unhappy final weeks with their partner.

It's a transitory and emotional period, and should not be a reflection of entire single experience. We sometimes equate being "single" with "lonely and actively dating" without even considering that someone can be completely on their own and happy. As Kate Bolick writes in her memoir, Spinster: Making A Life Of One's Own, "In all my daydreaming about being alone I'd somehow overlooked that in this century being single means 'dating,' which means having sex with people you don't know very well..." This does not need to always be the case though. You don't have to jump into dating or sex if you're not ready — or don't want that.

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Ideally, there should be a balance in the newly-single experience. It's necessary to have plenty of time to reflect and create positive change in your life, as well as reclaim a sense of adventure and sexiness that you may have lost. Here are a few ways to do exactly that as you are trying to bounce back from a breakup:

1. Get A Massage Or Spa Treatment

There’s something about a breakup that makes a trip to the salon chair seem like the most comforting experience ever. Getting to soothe your frazzled mind and luxuriate in the hands of your stylist feels heavenly, but booking a major crop after a break-up is not always the most recommended course of action. To get that same transformative experience without making a drastic physical change, book a truly indulgent spa experience and imagine the dregs of your past relationship being massaged and sloughed away.

2. Skip Town For A Few Days

Sometimes you just need to get out of your place for a little while to recalibrate and get out of your post-breakup funk. This doesn’t need to be extravagant at all – it can be as simple as hopping on a train to see your best friend in their new city or booking a cute Airbnb in the next town over for a short weekend away.

3. Flirt

I am not a proponent of trawling the dating sites after a breakup. Especially if you’re a serial monogamist, this is an easy way to become fixated on (and potentially spend all of your single life dating) every person in your inbox with a high compatibility rate. What I do suggest, however, is to let your light shine a little brighter around everyone you come into contact with IRL, and see what kinds of positive energy is reflected back to you. Smile genuinely at anyone that you’re speaking to, try to find something to compliment friends and strangers on, and ask questions of others that have nothing to do with you. Cultivate a new kind of curious sexiness within yourself that will make you a more positive person to be around.

4. Clear Out Your Music

Yep, this is an important one. Music can be a security blanket, and if your current go-to playlist is still the one that helped you power walk every day through the misery of your breakup, it will keep feeding those melancholy feelings inside of you. Find a new anthem. Use the “suggested artists” function on your preferred music app and discover a new jam to lift you up through this tough time.

5. Clean And Sage Your Space

As much as you may want to wallow in your living space, at least wallow in a place that you have thoroughly scrubbed from top to bottom after your breakup. Dust everything, attack the clutter, empty out the fridge, and clean the bathroom 'til it’s spotless. To honor your new life without your significant other in it, strip your bed, flip the mattress, even get a new set of sheets if you must. Invite a calm vibe back into your life by lighting some incense, burning sage, or even making homemade potpourri on the stove. You can get as woo as you want with your cleaning ritual, but the important thing is to really purge your space (and consequently, your mindset) from all of the clutter and grime.

6. Reclaim Your Sexuality

Enjoy your new singledom by figuring out what exactly it is you want out of a sexual relationship. And you can even do by trying to actively seek out sensual experiences that are not necessarily sexual. Bring a like-minded friend or venture on your own to a burlesque show, a pole-dancing workout, or figure-drawing class at an artsy bar. If getting out there isn’t your thing, enjoy these pleasures by yourself by getting into some erotic literature or poetry (Anaïs Nin and E.E. Cummings are great writers to start with), and buying some velvet lingerie, which is absolutely essential for rolling around in bed, even if it's just by yourself.

7. Buy A Really Nice Vibrator

If there was ever an occasion to treat yourself to the $170 oral-sex-simulating LELO Ora 2, the time is nigh. Reap all of the mood-and-health boosting side effects of giving yourself an orgasm every day.

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8. Work With Your Hands

You’ve probably got a collection of unopened cookbooks sitting attractively on your shelf, or a few skeins of yarn that you’ve been tucking away for a rainy day. Projects are all around you, whether it’s installing a new ceiling fan, or learning to play the ukulele. On days that you’re feeling really down, keep your hands busy to keep your mind from going idle for too long.

9. Spill Your Guts

Ask for an hour of your friend’s time to just talk to them, without having a back-and-forth exchange about your breakup. Set the timer, and spill all of your worries and insecurities until you feel completely emptied out. If doing this doesn’t seem possible with anyone in your current friend group, see a therapist or social worker for a few sessions, so you can talk to someone who isn’t going to try to match you story-for-story with a scenario from their own life. And if doing that seems too intense for right now, then get yourself to your local bookstore, buy a brand new journal, and write it all out.

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