Unless you're a no-strings-attached individual or a mythical person who finds and marries her first love, chances are you've experienced a breakup at some point in your life. The aftermath of a breakup is often a rollercoaster of emotions: a confusing amalgamation of wrenching heartbreak and exhilarating freedom, apprehensive dating-app exploration, and just a hint of social media stalking (Okay, okay. A whole lot of it. No judgement.).
This, too, shall pass, promise. We won’t sugarcoat it: breakups are tough. Anyone who’s come out the other side of a breakup knows that. The unfortunate truth is that having a broken heart sucks. And, it will continue to continue to suck—until it doesn’t.
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If you’re currently in the throes of a particularly potent heartbreak, that’s not exactly comforting. Not only do you have to summon up the strength to power forward and move on, you also have to sort out the remnants of the relationship that your ex leaves behind. Nope, not the pieces of your broken heart. We meant the collection of gifts, letters and mementos of happier times gone by. Whether or not you initiated the split, these items are potential emotional landmines and stumbling upon them can throw you back into the post-apocalyptic levels of despair you've been desperately staving of with yoga, mindfulness and a whirlwind of social activity.
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That being said, there are many ways to deal. For those of you going through a breakup right now, whether you need a good laugh or are hunting for new ideas to help you move on, we’ve conducted a survey on how other people handled this situation. Given that some of them are a little more extreme and unique than others, this list of reactions will surely entertain and inspire. Enjoy and proceed with caution.
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Photographs by the author and Xavier Sotomayor