Marta Goldschmied On Romeo & Juliet Heartbreak

When we sat down with Marta to talk about heartbreak, we immediately noticed the Blue Jean Baby tattoo on her shoulder – denim is in her genes. Daughter to the Godfather of Denim, Adriano Goldschmied, Marta is making a name for herself in the fashion world as the founder and designer of MADE GOLD, her luxury denim and lifestyle brand. You can follow her on Instagram @missgoldschmied and @MADE.GOLD.

ROMEO + JULIET
“I have been involved with the same person off and on for 10 years. The person that broke my heart in February is the same person that broke my heart the first time when I was 22. I met him when I was 16 and we were together from 16 to 22. We broke up but always found ourselves reconnecting. And we really tried again recently – we were going to get married this summer, and have babies, and everything, but we never made it. He was my first everything. I’m from Italy, come from a good, big family and from a different culture than him. He was from South Central and he never had strong family support. I hate to sound corny, but we were like Romeo and Juliet. He’s told me that the first person he’s felt unconditional love for was me. So it was heavy from the start. There was a lot of baggage.”

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“I broke up with him. It was crazy because I didn’t think about it. I wasn’t going back and forth about it. It was just one argument one day. He asked me for a ride and I don’t know why, but I just blew up and was like ‘You don’t need a girlfriend, you need a mother.’ But it was also time for us to break up. We fought all the time. We were like a young Bobby and Whitney. He’s a Leo and I’m a Scorpio. We were always at each other’s throats. It was either really good or really bad. When I was with him, I never experienced an in-between. It was very unsettling in a way. After breaking up, he went overseas to play basketball and I stayed. We had zero contact. We went from speaking to each other every single day to not talking for about two and a half years. I know this sounds really dramatic, but in a way it’s almost like a death because you don’t have any contact with this person. And obviously death is horrible, but it almost felt like fuck, this is worse because he is alive. The whole time we were broken up, I thought oh my god, no one’s loved me like that, all because no one had acted as crazy. That craziness we shared created a connection. I was so young when I fell in love with him so it was all I knew.”

GETTING BACK TOGETHER
“After our first breakup, I dated guys that were just like him and he dated girls that were just like me. One night, we randomly ran into each other on Hollywood and Highland and my best friend hyped it all up, “You two are meant to be!” So we reconnected. Soon after he left me – he disappeared. I don’t think he freaked out. I think he never let go of the fact that I dumped him. To him, it was as if I abandoned him like everyone else in his past had. To this day, he doesn’t understand that I had to break up with him then. There was a lot of that stuff going on when we were younger – jealousy and cheating. For me, leaving him was something that made sense. My family was even involved. It was very heavy for everyone. But he could never rationalize and understand that I had to break up with him for myself. Once he disappeared, we didn’t talk for another two years and I got into another relationship. About a year and a half into that new relationship I got a Facebook message from him saying, “If it wasn’t for you, I’d be dead or in jail. I owe you so much.” He wasn’t reaching out to get back together. He just wanted to say thank you, which was nice. And of course, I broke up the relationship I was in because, in a sick way, I couldn’t get over him.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“This last time we broke up, it was over the phone on the first day of sales week in New York. We were about to show our second season to our biggest account, so it was a big deal. And I remember crying at the cupcake store nearby and my friend yelled said “What the fuck are you doing? You are literally doing the same shit you did 10 years ago. There has been no progression and he didn’t even break up with you in a mature way.” Then I thought, Yea, what the fuck am I doing? And it sucks – you don’t just stop loving someone, but I had to face the reality.”

LOVE IN THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM
“I know it sounds petty, but social media is part of the reason why we broke up. He had an Instagram that I didn’t know about and we were still dating at the time, and once I found out about it, instead of following me, he wanted to delete his Instagram. He had kept his Instagram hidden from me. He also didn’t want to follow me on Facebook and I was like “You want to have children with me but you won’t even follow me on Facebook?” It’s especially weird when you’re with someone that lives all the way across the world from you. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people for stupid stuff like seeing photos of when I dye my hair. He thought I was childish and wanted to show him off like he was a prize and that I just wanted to show off having a boyfriend. But it’s my life. You show off your life on social media.”

HER SOCIAL MEDIA VICES
“I’ve done stupid shit on social media since Myspace. He had a Facebook while he was in college and I made up a fake profile and would write him pretending I was a different girl from Wyoming. The very same day I left to return to LA after visiting him, he answered a Facebook message from the fake girl. I feel like you shouldn’t snoop because you always end up finding something. But it’s easier said than done. He’s sneaky too.”

MANY LIVES, MANY MASTERS
“I was reading Many Lives, Many Masters. It’s all about how sometimes you meet someone and you’re like fuck, I feel like I’ve known you forever. It’s about past lives, how people are connected, and how you’re always around the same energies and souls but just in different ways. And how sometimes unresolved business gets passed on from lives. So when we broke up, I was like maybe in our next life, we’ll take this up again.”

REDIRECTING HER ENERGY INTO MADE GOLD
“Crying doesn’t make me feel better. I’d just rather put my energy into something positive. Something that is going to make me better. Something that will make me money. I launched my own denim line called MADE GOLD, a lifestyle brand. We started with denim but now we have leather and knits, all made in LA. I’ve followed in my father’s footsteps. I’m the only one of three daughters that did, so he is very happy. I’m doing it with my best friend. It’s been a crazy journey but it’s been a lot of fun. We are currently working on Spring/Summer 2016. And we’re going to show in New York and Paris. I’ve been traveling a lot. It takes so much time and energy that when I went through this break up, it just didn’t feel as heavy as when we were younger. I am just throwing my energy into something that is positive. We work from 6am to 10pm in warehouses and factories. You don’t even have the time to think about the break up. That’s what’s really helped me.”

MENTAL STRENGTH
“Being a young female in the industry I’m in, I have to be very strong all of the time. I work with all older men and I can’t let them see any type of emotion. As a girl, you really have to prove yourself. You don’t want to be written off as emotional or crazy. You have to be very composed, especially when at board meetings. I’m the majority of my company, so I’m a big part of the behind the scenes, not just the design. If I let the break up get to me and I get to work already emotional, then all of my work is going to be crashing down. If I’m negotiating money, and say I cry, they’ll become sharks and eat me up. Mentally, I have to be focused on my business. If I wake up thinking about my ex or about how the relationship went wrong, my whole day is going to go wrong.”

RELATIONSHIPS SHE ADMIRES
“My parents are still together. My parents met and 4 months later they ran away to Ensenada and got married, had us and then got legally married in Italy. They’re still married today. My dad traveled so much while I was growing up and my mom just held everything down. There’s always been such a strong partnership, love and respect for each other. But I’m a sucker for troubled loved relationships. Those like Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, Sid and Nancy – I like the darker, tragic love stories. That’s my predicament.”

WHAT SHE WANTS NOW
“What I want now is so different than what I wanted 10 years ago. I was 16 then and wanted the tall guy with the 6-pack. I got him, I just didn’t know he was going to come with all the extras. But now, I just want someone that is loyal, low-key, driven. He doesn’t have to be successful, but he has to be passionate about what he does. I need someone that calms me because I’m on 100 all the time.”

LESSONS SHE’S LEARNED
“I’ve learned not to expect to receive the same amount of love you give to other people. It’s not always 50/50. I give so much. But that’s life though. Better to learn it sooner than later. Another lesson I’ve learned is being aware of what I give. In my future relationship, I know to be guarded a little more, which is sabotaging the next guy in a way. That’s the one thing I regret, now – I’ll never give so much of myself to someone. I’ll never have that feeling of going to sleep with him and thinking that everything is so pure and full of unconditional love. I haven’t opened up as much as I did and I don’t think I will.”

SHE IS STILL A LOVER
“Don’t get me wrong – I love love. I’m a lover. I want to fall in love. I’m not one of those girls who say that they don’t believe in good men anymore. I do. I think they’re are a lot of good men out there. I just think a lot of girls put too much energy. You shouldn’t have to put so much energy into something that is supposed to make you happy. You shouldn’t try to make pieces fit that obviously don’t fit. No need to force it. There are a lot of guys out there. So many options. We were right then, but who knows what’s going to be right for me in a year? I’m changing so I’m just going with the flow. Before, I was very adamant, I have to make this work. And now I’m like it’s okay, we had something really good at times, really crazy, a learning experience, and I’ll just take it for what it was.”

HER MANTRA: LOVE
“I’m finally open to let someone into my life.”

Milena Nguyen on Forgiveness, Moving On & Long Distance Love

Milena is an author, coach, and three-time TEDx speaker. She spent the first 22 years of her life suffering from low self-esteem and emotional dependency on men, but her life changed when she discovered self-love. She now helps women find true love from the inside out. We talked to Milena about love, heartbreak, and her new book on long-distance relationships, “10,000 Miles For Love.”

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

Stop fighting against the pain. Stop running away and numbing yourself with boys, work, food, and mindless television. Stay right here. Stay present. Surrender.

If you need to cry, cry. But always remember to breathe. And you must take good care of yourself: brush your teeth, take a bath, eat warm soup, sleep eight hours each night, stretch.

This will help you stay open and soft, so the intense emotions can go through you. You can’t just be done with them; they must be done with you. The only way to heal your broken heart is to give the pain what it needs – as John Green said – “to be felt.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

Heartbreak taught me three things.  Firstly, I am stronger than I think I am. I can embrace the intense emotions of heartbreak. I can also heal my heart and open it to love again.  Secondly, if I am not happy without a relationship, I will never be happy in a relationship. Self-love is the prerequisite to loving others. Thirdly, sometimes it is breaking up, but many times it is breaking free. I need to be brave enough to break free from a relationship that is no longer meant for me.

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

After my second break up, I was addicted to work. Those 15-hour workdays obviously did not help. (Do not try this at home!) Overworking myself broke my body and mind. I suffered from severe anxiety and lower back pain. That brought me to yoga and meditation. I felt that I had no choice. For the first time in my life, I found a bliss in connecting with myself: my body, mind, heart. These practices fixed me and continue helping me thrive today.

However, the real mending came two years later when I wrote a letter to my ex. I did not send it to him, I just wrote it for myself. I wanted to find forgiveness, and move on. By the end of the letter, it dawned on me. The person I most needed to forgive was myself. I burned the letter, poured water over the ashes, and poured the mixture of soot and water by the roots of a tree. A lightness washed over me. I knew then; I was ready to love again. 

I share a lot about forgiveness and moving on in my book 10,000 Miles for Love.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

Love is a verb. If you want to love someone, love someone. Give them acceptance, appreciation, forgiveness, believe in them, and help them make their dreams come true. Be there for them when they need you.

You do not have to be a love-beggar. You are the creator of love.

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

Rumi said, “You have to break your heart until it opens.” This is true. My heart would not have been so open without the heartbreaks I have had in my life. Like going to the gym, you need to “break” your muscles for them to get stronger. The heart muscle follows the same principle. Remember though, you need time for muscle recovery. Otherwise, you will suffer from injury and inflammation. If your heart is bleeding, you need to care for it. When the healing is done, your heart will be ready for the “love gym” again.

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

Frou Frou – Let Go

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

The Fault in Our Stars

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

I am most excited about my books. The first one, 10,000 Miles for Love: Turn Long Distance Relationships into Long Lasting Love, is launching Sunday, October 15th this year. I married my Brazilian soulmate after four years of a cross-continent long distance relationship. With this book, I want to help as many women as possible to create a happy ending for their long distance love story. I have also started working on my second book, the power of self-love for the modern woman.

Dipsea Founder Gina Gutierrez On Which Breakups Are The Hardest

Have you ever wondered how much sexual pleasure is psychological? Dipsea co-founder and CEO Gina Gutierrez knew the deep connection between the mind and sexual pleasure and recognized the lack of content that bridged the two. Gutierrez and co-founder Faye Keegan set out to fill this void by creating Dipsea, an app that offers sexy audio stories that are safe and feminist.

We asked Gutierrez to share her experience with heartbreak and the rituals that get her through it. In this #howimend interview, she opens up about viewing the end of a relationship as a gain rather than a loss and how to own your breakup stories.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

Later in life heartbreaks may have higher stakes, but I’m convinced that first heartbreaks are the hardest. You just don’t have the mental muscle for resilience built yet. I’d tell myself, “You’re not losing any part of yourself by losing them. They added to your life by helping to shape who you are, and this loss is actually adding to you too. You’re building yourself, and will be ready for a deeper love with the next partner(s) in your life, even if you can’t imagine it yet.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

That I’m someone that feels deeply, and that it can make life both really beautiful and really painful. But that in the end, I wouldn’t trade the rollercoaster ride for a flat road.

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

As amazing as having a partner is, it means so much of your time and emotional energy is spent on one person. A silver lining of my breakups has been getting to spend time with people I’ve missed, or haven’t yet invested in. Drinks with a new coworker I really like, a hike with a friend I haven’t seen for too long. Making plans has a way of making me feel alive and out in the world, and means I have something to look forward to even in my loneliest moments.

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

After a breakup, so many of my stories involve my ex, so I have a really hard time not bringing up their name all the time. It’s like name vomit, it comes up before I can course correct. I think getting comfortable with saying “my ex” (which is scary and final but good once you rip the bandaid off) helped me to conquer that issue. It gives you more ownership over the idea that those stories are still yours to tell, without making it feel so personal. Time helps too.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

Celebrating someone for who they are, in all their quirks and vulnerabilities, will bring you as much joy as it brings them. Letting them be a whole person will help them let you be your whole self too. Being happy individuals inside the relationship will make your partnership together that much stronger.

The Gottman Institute’s Michael Fulwiler On Breaking Up And The Science Of Love

Michael Fulwiler is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Gottman Institute, the world’s leading relationship well-being company. He’s spent the last seven years helping millions of people have healthier relationships through science.

We asked Michael a few questions about his experience with heartbreak and he shared how understanding what relationships work has helped him stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

This too shall pass. When you’re heartbroken, especially when you’re young, it’s really hard to have perspective on the situation because it feels like the world is ending. It’s not. You’ll live, I promise. Give yourself time to heal. It’s a process that won’t happen overnight.

I would also tell myself to get out of bad relationships sooner, which is advice from John Gottman. Have high standards for yourself and how you’re treated, because if your partner isn’t treating you well, someone else will. You deserve that.

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

It’s taught me what I want and don’t want in a partner, and ultimately in a relationship. If we can see breakups as an opportunity to learn instead of as a failure, it helps to turn pain and heartbreak into something more productive.

In that way, heartbreak has also taught me to be more curious in dating. I have a sense of what I’m looking for, and I seek out those qualities in someone else. That doesn’t mean I’m looking for someone with similar interests. Research by Eli Finkel and Samantha Joel shows that no two preferences predict whether people will actually like each other when they meet. Instead, look for someone that you find interesting.

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

Understanding what makes relationships work (and not work) has helped me mend. I read everything I can get my hands on. When I look back at my past relationships, knowing what I do now, I can identify certain destructive patterns and behaviors on both sides.

Probably the most famous concept that we teach at The Gottman Institute is the Four Horsemen, which predict a breakup with more than 90% accuracy. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. This knowledge has not only helped me process my breakups and move on, but it’s also better prepared me for future relationships. So I would encourage everyone to learn about the research on love.

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

Who doesn’t check their ex’s social media after a breakup? I’m certainly guilty of it. It’s okay to unfollow, unfriend, or block them. Certified Gottman Therapist Laura Heck recommends a “six-month break from your ex by mutually unfriending one another on social accounts.”

Remember that social media is not an accurate depiction of real life. Your ex probably isn’t as happy as they look on Instagram, so it’s not worth obsessing over. Focus on yourself instead.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

I’ve learned that you can’t force love and you can’t convince someone to be with you. I’ve always been a romantic so this was a tough lesson for me. Mark Groves says, “It’s okay to fight for someone who loves you. It’s not okay to fight for someone to love you. There’s a huge difference.” I wasted a lot of time and energy when I was younger trying to convince an ex to get back together after a breakup.

I’ve learned that love is all about the small, everyday moments. In relationships, people are constantly making what we call bids for connection. I pay attention, and I put my phone away when I’m at the dinner table.

I’ve learned to understand and empathize before giving advice. This was a difficult one for me because, as a man, my first reaction is to problem solve. Instead, I just listen and ask, “What do you need?” It goes a long way.

Jackie Fernandez On Heartbreak And Therapy

In this episode of our podcast, On The Mend, Elle is joined by showrunner Jackie Fernandez. Jackie is an Emmy Award-winning television host. She opened up about her devastating first breakup, how it affected her during a vulnerable period of her life, and how she recovered. This happened as a student in her early twenties, so she gives advice to her 21-year-old self, who may or may not have been a completely different person than who she is now. We think our younger menders would definitely want to hear what she and Elle have to say about young love and college relationships.

She goes on to tell us how she avoided therapy at all costs at first but now sees how incredibly beneficial it is, and what made her change her mind. Listen in to hear the biggest lesson she’s learned through heartbreak, and what her go-to breakup vices are. You can find the episode on Podcasts or SoundCloud. If you like it, be sure to share it with a friend and subscribe to get future episodes.

Charissa Thompson On Getting Back In The Game

If you’re a football fan, you might recognize Charissa Thompson as the host of FOX NFL KICKOFF and Sunday NFL pregame shows, and from her high profile interviews with Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Keenan Allen. We caught up with Charissa to chat about how she’s mended from heartbreak and uncover what sports have taught her about resilience.

What’s the biggest heartbreak you’ve suffered?

How much time do we have? [laughs] The biggest heartbreak I suffered was a divorce. I got married to stay married and clearly, that didn’t work out. OR finding out that your boyfriend cheats on you while in Hawaii thinking he’s gonna propose and you intercept a text message from his side chick.

How’d you mend from each of those heartbreaks? Did you have a game plan?

I like to think of heartbreak as a turnover. A turnover in basketball means you give it to the other team, an interception means that the quarterback threw the ball to the opposite team. I like to think of a breakup like that. So, in order to get over that, you need to get the ball back, you need to take control again. So in order for me to take control after a heartbreak, I like to date a little bit see what else is out there but it really is about giving yourself “next play” mentality. You have to think of it like “okay, that sucked but this game is still going, it isn’t over yet!” The quest for love isn’t over yet just because I had a bad thing happen. There are four quarters and this is only the first one and it isn’t going well but we’ve still got some time to win the game.

What have sports taught you about resilience?

The game isn’t over until it’s over. The Patriots won the Super Bowl two years ago when they went to overtime and overcame the biggest halftime deficit. It doesn’t matter how far you’re down until the clock expires, you still have a chance. So even though I’ve been divorced and had breakups, it’s not over yet.

What are some sports analogies to help someone going through a breakup right now?

Interception: something bad happened, but you’re gonna get the ball back. Touchdown: when something good happened in the relationship. Fumble: bad text and you panic about it. Two point conversion: when you get more than you thought you were going to get. Next play mentality. Get your head in the game: Sometimes athletes aren’t mentally in the game. Sometimes we’re not mentally in the relationship, we’re just physically going through it.

How do you squeeze self care into your routine and what self care practices do you swear by?

Working out is a big self care thing for me and for my brain. When I sweat, and the endorphins, and the adrenaline that I get from working out, that helps me. It gives me a clear head. I feel like a better partner in a relationship. I feel like a better friend after I work out because I’m clear. My focus is more directed.

What tips do you have for someone who is trying to get back in the game?

Just get back out there! If an athlete’s season ended in a loss, the hardest part is that time until you get back out on the field and win another game. So, if you don’t get back out there and start dating, you’re stuck in that rut. Being stuck at home [after a breakup] is like the off-season for an athlete after a bad loss. All they wanna do is get back on the field so they can win again and sort of get themselves right.

Emily Kinney Talks Breakups And Heartbreak

We’re always working to help you find new ways of mending. We started Mend as a newsletter, which evolved into our website and later our app.

Now, we’re excited to launch our new podcast  “On The Mend,” where we explore how people get on the mend and stay on the mend during difficult times. “On The Mend’ is hosted by our founder and CEO Elle Huerta. In each episode, Elle interviews guests about their mending story, extracting intimate stories and practical advice that you can weave into your own life. If you’re a fan of Elle’s other podcast, Love Is Like A Plant, you are going to love OTM. 

We’re so lucky to start off this season of “On The Mend” with Emily Kinney in Episode 1. You may know her as Beth from “The Walking Dead” or from her music (when she sang “Oh, Jonathan” to us we seriously got the goosebumps), but did you know she was also an OG Mender? Emily has been mending with us since we were a newsletter!

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We sat down with Emily (on her birthday!) to discuss her past relationships, her breakups, the lessons she learned in her twenties, how she takes care of herself and what inspired the songs on her new album “Oh, Jonathan.” In this episode, she takes us through her early heartbreaks and into her dating days in New York. She provides valuable insight on how to channel your energy post-breakup and how to maintain some balance when you’re an artist. We’re sure you’re going to love every bit of it.

Her new album “Oh Jonathan,” a beautiful record of love and heartbreak, is out now and you can find it on iTunes and Spotify. You can also get tickets to see her live. To see behind-the-scenes footage from the episode, be sure to follow @letsmend and @ellenhuerta on Instagram.

You can listen to “On The Mend” on SoundCloud and Apple Podcasts. We’re so excited to bring you an entire season of great episodes full of life-affirming advice and stories to help you mend.

Divorce Attorney Laura Wasser Shares Her Advice

Divorce hurts, and that’s why it’s oftentimes ranked alongside death as one of our biggest fears in life. Managing emotions, finances, and family can be extremely overwhelming. This is why we were eager to hear the episode of Girlboss Radio where Sophia Amoruso interviewed her very own divorce attorney, Laura Wasser.

Wasser offers some really insightful advice on how to make the process of divorce less painful and what we were particularly interested in; how to (hopefully!) avoid divorce next time around. Her mission is to make divorce less expensive and complicated, which is why she launched her own divorce platform It’s Over Easy

Here’s her advice:

1. Clear expectations enable you to stay together longer

Discussing practicalities is important, like how you plan to save for vacations, what will happen when each person’s parents get old and need care or support, how to manage children, work and child support, and general boundaries and expectations. Although these matters aren’t sexy or romantic, they’re important to get clear on before a couple gets married, so that expectations are out on the table.

3. Mutual respect is key

Couples who enjoy successful marriages have mutual respect for each other. Wasser advises that carving out time for your partner, regardless of what other obligations you both have, is key to a healthy relationship.

4. If you think something, say something

When it comes to red flags and being able to work through these early on, she says a big one is when you can see someone is thinking something but not saying it. By getting these things out, no matter how small or big, it avoids the cycle of resentment and anger, which can drive one person to cheat or sabotage the relationship.

5. If it’s not working, find your team

If it does come to divorce, Wasser suggests you carefully curate a team of people who can help you through it, including therapists, friends, childcare support and coaches. When you’re getting back on your feet and dating again, this support system will come in handy.

6. “Everybody is the same.”

When it comes to relationship fears, she says, “Everybody is the same. We all have the same fears, sadnesses, and frustrations. Whether you have six zeros after that number in your bank account or three zeros after that number in your bank account, you still are worried about the same thing.” 

It’s a good reminder that we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have.

Dana Claudat On How Feng Shui Can Help Post-Breakup

Dana Claudat is a Feng Shui expert who helps people design their dream lives by de-cluttering their physical and mental space. Her mission is to help clients get more of what they want from life. In our conversation, she shared how clearing her space became an invaluable part of her post-breakup mending process.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“It may seem like the feeling lasts forever but it doesn’t. And the less you dwell and the more you focus on self love the more beneficial the experience is.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I realized how much I feared loving people and things too much because they could end. Then once I experienced true heartbreak with a death in my family that was unexpected, I learned that I was holding myself back from human experiences by fearing the inevitable end of things. Endings don’t have to be endings. In Buddhist philosophy, no life ever really ends and we are always connected, all of us.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Flower essences have been invaluable in the past, from Alexis Smart Flower Remedies. Space clearing at home has also been invaluable – burning sage, cedar, salt… all big in letting go of entangled energies. I also would dive into my spiritual practice with double the intensity and that always has made the process one of real personal evolution. Clearing clutter is also a big thing!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“No. When I’ve given all I can and I’m sure things are over there’s nothing curious about looking at these things for me, luckily.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“The real love is always and forever.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“The infinite possibilities of love.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Right now, my very popular and dear to my heart life de-cluttering Feng Shui Camp is getting started for Spring Cleaning and that is very exciting as it creates an energetic fresh start for everyone in the group, including many who are holding onto heartbreak. I’m most looking forward to the Love Camp (Feng Shui for Love everywhere!) that’s coming this Summer and it’s a new one opening this year! Love is really everything!!!”

Natasha Chandel On What Heartbreak Has Taught Her

Natasha Chandel is an award-winning creative executive and producer, overall funny girl based in LA and she’s currently writing for Mr. Iglesias on Netflix. She also hosts the popular comedy dating podcast, Kinda Dating, where she breaks down the dating world and tries to figure out why so many people have commitment issues!

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

The first time I was truly heartbroken I actually broke up with the person, and yes, I was still extremely upset about it because we had been together for four years. That Natasha was scared she made the wrong decision because we didn’t have a “problem”. I ended a long relationship because of a feeling that we were going in a different direction. I would tell her to always trust her gut feeling, don’t second guess yourself, because I did make the right decision in the end.

Now I also remember the first time my heart was broken, which was a different kind of heartbreak because I was cheated on. Funny enough, I would tell her the same thing – trust your gut feeling (you know when something’s off) and know you will come out of the darkness. You can’t see it then, especially in the middle of all the thoughts and feelings and regret and pain and anger, but the truth is, the sun always rises the next day. I’d tell her to feel her feelings, don’t suppress it and then let it go and trust the Universe.

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

Heartbreak taught me the most about myself – it taught me how strong I was (I always survived), it helped me look within at my own shortcomings and understand why I was accepting less than what I deserved. I’ve become a much better, stronger, focused person in relationships because of what I went through; it also taught me what I want and don’t want in a relationship with someone else and with myself. Heartbreak put me on the journey of enlightenment; it broke me down so I could put myself together.

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

This is a great question because I like to have a lot of fun after a breakup ha ha! I do my crying, I talk to my best girlfriends and Mom, and then I tell the former that I wanna go out. I usually take a good ol’ trip to Vegas, enjoy myself, see there is much more to life than that relationship and I tend to come back in a better place. But the work is daily – I try to do ONE thing everyday for myself and it has to be something that makes me happy (a massage, watching my favorite show), I try to stay social but give myself “me time”. I also reflect a lot and write. Some of my best writing has come post breakups.

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

Definitely! I tend to do two things: romanticize and social stalk (I’m not afraid to admit that, I think most people do)! With romanticizing I used to immediately forget all the bad stuff and only remember the good things, then I’d feel regret or miss that person. I realized it was my way of keeping them alive because I was too scared to see what else was out there. I’ve overcome that over the years by, honestly, writing down and actively remembering why the relationship didn’t work. I’m not poking a voodoo doll of the guy anywhere, but I’m reminding myself why I should never go back. When I was in a very toxic relationship, where the guy would keep convincing me back, I had to learn to hold on to hate (which was so abnormal for me) but sometimes anger protects you. Just don’t actually let it overtake you and become vengeful.

Checking social media is always a hard one because of access. I had to block my ex when we broke up so I wouldn’t be inclined to look, all my friends deleted him, and when I feel like checking now I stop a second and put my phone down. I let the feeling wash away and remember it’s about me, not him. And knowing what he’s up to will do nothing to improve my life. It’s hard but it has to be done!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. And when it’s right, it’s easy.

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

I did an episode of this on my podcast and the guest was my ex! He put it well, you’re probably not going to be friends but you can be friendLY. My relationship with my exes varies – some I cannot communicate with in any capacity, and some I refer for jobs! There’s no hard and fast rule, but do what is best for YOU and not the other person. If the other person is still toxic in your life or talking to them puts you in a bad place then make the right decision for yourself and walk away. You can always be friendly later in life when you’re in a better place.

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

I’ve learned life and people aren’t black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. I’ve learned that everyone in a relationship is human and we make human mistakes. I can forgive someone and choose not to be with them; I can love someone and know they aren’t right for me. I now take truth as a gift versus a curse, so learning the truth about a person sooner than later makes me a very lucky girl because you can say “on to the next one”, some people find out the truth too late. Ideally the truth about the right person will end up being: they are an awesome human being and that will be the ultimate gift. I’ve also learned to focus on good relationships and couples in my life, they give me hope and I’ve changed my attitude very actively to say “there are plenty of nice guys in the world and I will only be with a nice guy.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak (if you have one)?

Omg, I had Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” on loop for two hours once. I didn’t realize it until my friend who was over asked if I was okay ha ha.

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak (if you have one)?

I don’t like sad movies. One of my favorite romantic movies, though, is “The Notebook”. Baby making movie right there.

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

I’m currently still producing my dating podcast, Kinda Dating. It’s so fascinating taking a deeper dive into the psyche through dating. I’m also very excited about a few scripted and unscripted shows I’m developing, a couple on dating and a few not at all. I love creating so I look forward to doing that at all times.

Kimberly Johnson On Why Life Is Not About “The One”

Kimberly Ann Johnson is a Sexological Bodyworker, Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution practitioner, birth doula, and single mom. She specializes in helping women prepare for birth, recover from birth injuries and birth trauma, and heal from sexual trauma. She is the founder of Magamama, an international holistic women’s health care resource for expectant and new mothers, and author of “The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality.”

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

Life is not about this ONE. There will be many loves. The separations don’t mean that there is something wrong with you. The separations mean that you learned more about your self, valued yourself more than you valued the promise of the relationship. The separations mean you know a lot more now about who you are. There is nothing wrong with you, sweet one. And I know it fucking hurts. You’ll get through it.

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

I lived in Brazil for 8 years, and they have a word “saudades” that is a cultural pastime. It means nostalgia and yearning, and it incorporates a little bit of heartbreak as well. I really learned that however painful that yearning or missing that it is a part of being human, to have the privilege of having a human life and to have loved very very deeply.

I am an all-in lover. I fall hard and my break-ups are terrible. I hate letting go, of the person, and then of all the dreams I had with that person. As I’ve gotten older, and gone through more heartbreaks, I know that it can take awhile to feel like myself again. It can take awhile to come back home to myself and remember my compass on my own outside of the mutual dreams that were created. I have more patience and self compassion for that in-between space.

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

Right after my last breakup, my parents came over and helped me deep clean my apartment. My mom brought me a new bedspread and helped me rearrange my room, and that felt surprisingly good – to have a physical fresh start and to have my tribe with me for moral support.

I also had written my boyfriend a note on my bathroom mirror with lipstick. It felt really painful to clean the mirror. So I decided to clean the mirror but then write “I love you” on it in red lipstick to myself, as a reminder to look myself in the eyes each day and really see my love for myself, in spite of all the big feelings of loss and disappointment. I took inventory of the things that I was not doing for myself or that I had wanted to do in relationship and started doing them. My ex and I had talked about taking tango. I couldn’t see myself doing that exact dream without him, so I went back to other dance classes.

My breakup survival tactic is talking to the people who have known me the longest, sobbing with them. I keep a balance between being alone and allowing for the sadness and loneliness and being with friends who can make me laugh and distract me. I allow myself to grieve and remind myself that I have survived it before, although truthfully that sometimes makes me feel worse, because I don’t want to have to keep going through it! I do my best to keep reading Sufi poetry and not close my heart off or dry up. But my last breakup, it took me about 3 months before I could read love poems again. Many people have to remind themselves of all of the good parts, but I’m the opposite. I have to remind myself of all the things that didn’t work so that I stop lamenting, and feel my own footing. Long walks on the beach and exercise help.

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices and how do you conquer them? 

During my last breakup, my ex who had rarely posted anything on FB started posted things as a way to indirectly communicate with me. I had always felt ambivalent about being “friends” on FB while we were in relationship. Our relationship was intimate and precious to me, I didn’t see the need to be FB friends where I do general marketing. So when I could tell that he was indirectly communicating with me through his Facebook posts, I decided that it would be better not to be FB friends anymore. I ripped off the bandaid. When I unfriended him, it made it so that I also could not look at his page (he has a private page), which seemed like a compassionate thing to do for myself. I have a rip the bandaid off approach to break-ups. For me, once the decision is made, it’s more compassionate than the slow painful tear.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned about love is that it takes many many forms and I want it! The biggest privilege we are offered in this life is the gift of loving another human in body, mind, soul, sex, and spirit. When I am with someone, I never take that for granted. I make a point to come back to the awe of what it means for two humans to come together and have a unique constellation of intersecting energies. The privilege of walking my path intimately with another has been one of my greatest joys in life, paralleled only by the privilege of motherhood.

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

I need separation in order to move on, and not harbor false hopes or continue to revisit the possibility of being together. Like I mentioned, letting go is the hardest part of life for me, in spite of the inevitability of impermanence. I feel positive regard towards all the men I have been in relationship with, but I don’t keep close friendships with them.

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

What keeps my heart open is how much I love to love. Each heartbreak has grown my heart bigger. It takes a bigger heart to hold all the contradictions. I want lasting love in my life, and never give up hope for that possibility. I also know how much emotional connection and true care is a part of sexual connection for me and how alive I feel when I have those in my life. I value open-heartedness, so even when heartbroken, I try to stand tall and have an open face. I also work with women and sexuality. I hear a lot of stories every day. So it’s a great reminder that when I get into comparison or feel envious and jealous of other people’s relationships, that we are all dealing with some kind of heartbreak, and things are often not what they seem.

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

Papillon by Chaka Khan.

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

Dirty Dancing is just my favorite movie about anything! Period. It is a love story. Most love stories are just the falling in love part- the lead up to the big love. Real love stories have heartbreak, even within the same relationship. Loving big means heartbreak. I love the young love- girl meets boy from the other side of the track. I could totally relate to Baby, the smart good girl who falls from the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. I love what she learns about love in the movie- that it’s real and it’s gritty and you don’t always get what you want, but there is usually some meaning or purpose that becomes clear later.

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

I’m maniacally excited about the release of my book, The Fourth Trimester. It was a four year project and feels like a magnum opus of the last 10 years of my life. I am SO excited that it will actually soon be in people’s hands, and helping women all over the world. I am incredibly excited about the Initiated Woman program that I am developing to help women to live into their full sexual expression. My podcast, Magamama, which began as a passion project and a labor of love is AMAZING. AND I am VERY excited about the possibility of the manifestation of a longtime dream of mine to work at Eve Ensler’s project in the Congo and train some of the trainers there in working with sexual trauma, pelvic health and scar tissue remediation.

Caitlin Cimino On Self Love And Self Awareness

Caitlin Cimino is an herbalist and the owner and ethical metalsmith of @caitlin_cimino, a sustainable, fine jewelry line. Caitlin melds together crystals she has mined and responsibly wild-crafted plants, herbs and flowers which have been cast in quality recycled silver. All her creations are handmade with intention and blessings. We talked to Caitlin about how nature, turning inward and self love have helped her mend.

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If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

I’d tell her to be kind to herself and to stop running from the pain she’s feeling. Instead, sit with the discomfort. I’ve learned that you will heal on a much deeper and more permanent level if you allow yourself to experience the hurt rather than hide from it, dissect it or “bandaid” it with something or someone else.

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

Heartbreak has shown me places within myself that needed more self-love. And by learning these things, to put it simply, heartbreak has made me a stronger more self-aware and self-loving woman.

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

Exploring nature solo has always been great medicine for me as well as meditation, running and reading uplifting books. One book I highly recommend during times of great transition is “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. I don’t go to many people when I’m dealing with a breakup. I tend to hone in because love relationships are so personal, everyone carries their own ideals of what relationships should be based off their own adult and childhood experiences and traumas which impact their belief systems today. In knowing this, it’s important to distinguish who would be helpful to go to during these times of vulnerability and who would be more harmful (even if they don’t intend to be). If I go to anyone for support, I go to my sister. Thank you always, sis!

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them? 

The biggest vice I can think of would be getting caught in a loop of thoughts about the person I’ve broken up with. Overcoming them involved acknowledging the thoughts before allowing them to become a loop and quickly replacing them with a healing visualization or act that empowers and soothes me. I use this as a rewiring tactic for my brain. With time and consistency it works for me.

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

That I’m always learning about love. There is an ease and peace in knowing this.

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

It really depends the situation. Mostly, while I believe it’s important to remain kind should an encounter occur, I don’t feel it’s healthy to have ongoing communication with an ex. I’m not friends with any of my exes on social media.

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

The knowing that each heartbreak has made me a better person.

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

I don’t have a “favorite” per se. But the movie “Frida” pulls at my heart strings.

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

Recently, I’ve come across documentaries and books about artisans creating and exploring passionately, without ego. Each story has moved my soul deeply. So, I’ve set intention to create on as pure a level as possible. To keep my practice about the creative process and nothing else. To really feel this and get lost in it and in doing so, give on a new level. To deepen creating from the most honest seed within. So, I’m most excited to see this unfold because it will be forever unfolding. Beautiful.

Gynecologist Dr. Sheila Loanzon On Not Rushing The Healing Process

Dr. Sheila Loanzon is a board-certified OB-GYN, surgeon, Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology and best-selling author of Yes, I Have Herpes. In her book, she shares her experience living with the stigmatic disease and provides women with inspiration through self-love and acceptance. We talked to Dr. Loanzon about grieving, red flags, and her post-breakup rituals.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“My advice would be to realize that a heartbreak was not my fault. When I was younger, I thought that it was my job and responsibility to make others happy. If my partner wasn’t happy, I believed this to mean that I was doing something wrong. It took me many years to realize that sometimes relationships don’t work out and it is not a reflection of me and who I am.”

“It took time to realize that I am lovable, worthy, and deserve a partner that was a full match to me. I thought I needed to have a partner to complete me, just as all the movies say (e.g. Jerry Maguire). But I complete myself! In reality, I deserve a partner who is a complement to me.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me to trust my gut. When I think back to all the relationships that did not work out, there were red flags and gut instincts that I chose to ignore. I believe if I had followed my gut the first time, I may have saved myself emotional heartache, financial investments, and time. Despite all of this, I believe that all of these experiences taught me so much about myself, people and social pressures, and I cannot fault those experiences. How can we judge or fault ourselves for having experiences of emotional growth?”

“I realized at one point in dating that I kept dating and attracting the same time of person. I stopped dating for 6 months, enlisted a life coach to help me see past myself, and started dissecting what I wanted in life, what my ultimate goals were, and built up my self-confidence. It was the best time I spent investing in myself. As a professional woman who spent 8 additional years past college in higher learning, I was mature professionally and socially, yet I was very immature in dating compared to women my age. So that time spent figuring out what I wanted was so valuable.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Self-care is highly important to me during a breakup. I find solitude in a peaceful, nurturing area works well. I tend to bring myself to the beach (I find water to be very healing for me) and will do something to focus on myself (massage, long walks in nature, meditation). Allowing myself to process through my emotions in a safe place is important. I tend to allow the grieving to occur because it is a loss of a partner, relationship, future dreams and hopes and it should have its proper burial.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how did you conquer them?

“I am such a great Internet and Facebook stalker. My friends used to say that I was the best spy. I was able to research who their next partner was and what they were up to! I then realized that it was detrimental to me, didn’t demonstrate how their relationship really was in real time, and hindered things moving forward.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“When learning how to date, I realized that I was wanting the Disney fairytale story. Heroine falls in love, has to suffer and long for the partner, and then somehow after some type of challenge, the story works itself into a happy ending. Being an emotional creature, I had to actually take my emotion out of the equation and narrow down five attributes that a partner had to have. By mentally putting in a check list, I had a higher likelihood of finding an equal partner on important criteria that mattered to me the most. True love can feel the same as honeymoon lust in the beginning of a relationship. In my fairy tale ending, true love can feel the same as a Disney movie, not be wrapped up in grandiose gestures, and be longer lasting on a sturdy foundation.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I absolutely think that exes can be friends. When I was less experienced in dating, I would say that it was hard for me to be friends with exes. This was the situation for me because I was not choosing the best partners and so outside of a relationship, they didn’t have qualities that I would have in my friends and so being friends didn’t work out.”

“When I began attracting partners who characteristically were more aligned, we were essentially friends first. I lead with getting to know their character rather than my physical chemistry and attraction so I had a higher likelihood of staying friends with them. Truthfully, I had the thought process that if I had been sexually intimate with them (read: once they had been inside me), how could I possibly be friends with them past that??? It was a vulnerable place for me to be and that felt uncomfortable to be around). When I began dating this last time around, I actually decided not to befriend partners on social media as I found it would cloud my opinion of them based on superficial past photos and comments which wasn’t fair to them or to me.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Despite the heartbreaks that I have had in my life, my heart stays open because I know that I have survived every single one of those heartbreaks. They may have caused time to stand still, for me to feel alone and lonely, and to feel all the dark deep places in myself that I was not proud of. My mind becomes a powerful organ during heartbreak and surfaces raw feelings of unworthiness, insecurity, and false thoughts. With each of these situations, and with gracious time, I healed and arose stronger knowing that I survived this situation too. I became stronger than I knew I could be, and the possibility of bringing myself one step closer to what I desired became exciting again.”

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What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“One of my favorite movies is Under the Tuscan Sun. It is a story of a woman, Frances, who learns that her husband is cheating on her, turning her life upside down. Her friends encourage her to take a tour of Italy to pull her out of her deep depression. During the trip, she impulsively decides to buy a rural Tuscan villa and remodels the home slowly. Paralleling the transformation of her home, she slowly restores her soul, develops her confidence and builds a life in the new international setting. Fast forward to the end of the movie where her best friend delivers her baby at the house and her young neighbors host their wedding in her backyard. Frances realizes that her wish came true after being prompted by Martini, she got everything that she asked for. She ends up meeting her future romantic partner at that wedding. Frances has a story of struggle, overcoming a difficult situation, gaining self-love and strength, and getting what you desire when you least expect it, just going about your day-to-day life.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Professionally, I was recently promoted to Assistant Chief of the OBGYN department which is a leadership role that has taken most of my attention. In my spare time I have also spent time focusing on my current book Yes I Have Herpes: A Gynecologist’s Perspective In and Out of the Stirrups. I have hopes to continue writing my second book on abnormal pap smears which is another area that is confusing for my patients.  Lastly, I have spent my creative energies recently on painting and exploring amateur photography of my fashion and food through my Instagram .”

Susan Alexandra On Creating Community After Heartbreak

Susan Alexandra is a NY-based designer known for her eclectic collection of handmade jewelry. She draws inspiration from a variety of sources including Frida Kahlo’s lace gowns, watermelon candies and of course, heartbreak. When Susan isn’t designing pieces to add to her colorful collection, she is organizing gatherings and workshops aimed at nurturing and connecting women.

Susan opened up to us about her experience with heartbreak and how it has influenced her work.

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If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The younger version of myself needed this advice 6 years ago, 6 months ago, 6 weeks ago. I think it’s important to remember that life, though beautiful, sweet and delicious has many thorns, many heartbreaks, many rocks in our shoes. I want to encourage my younger self to trust the weave of life. Just trust that whatever is happening is part of a grander scheme. Trust that this won’t hurt forever. The fire will dim, the wound will close, the memories will become fuzzy. You are not a bad person, you are loveable just the way you are. Everyone deserves forgiveness, especially you. This too will pass. Say to yourself  ‘I forgive you, I forgive me, we did the best we could.'”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I can survive. I can live through the most exquisite pain and still, I am alive. I can create love and community with my own two hands. I can feel immense joy without a partner. It has taught me that time is the greatest medicine.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I would like to start a company that caters to people who are in the midst of a breakup. Here is the schedule for my company:

1. Arrive in your bed in the morning. Mornings are the hardest. Sit with you while you cry, while you look at your phone, urging a text to appear. My employees will sit with you in bed and add coconut creamer to your coffee.

2. Loud, hot, dark yoga (y-7 is amazing). You can scream and cry and no one will hear a thing. You will sweat so much that no one can tell you’ve been sobbing. This is good. You need to wail, you need to cry, you need to sweat, you need to scream.

3. My staff will take you to the coffee shop around the corner, smile to go. Here they have the most heavenly banana quinoa bread. We know it’s all you can manage to eat. The sweetness and softness are good for you, you need things that are sweet and soft right now.

4. Art and movies. You need to see all the movies and go to all the galleries.

5. Lots of Rose and Lambrusco. Drinking is suddenly so fun! And such a quick fix.

6. Reach out. Build community. Guess what? Everyone can relate to what you’re going through. Allow yourself to be hugged. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Tell people you appreciate them. Write them a letter telling them how much you love them.

7. Write yourself a letter, telling you how much you love you.”

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Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Checking Insta has been the biggest set back for me. Immediately unfollow on instagram, facebook, venmo, twitter, g-chat. I thought that I didn’t need to do this since my ex and I were on good terms. Big mistake. I was incredibly triggered by seeing that my ex was somehow surviving-nay-thriving without me! While I was sobbing in bed he was drinking beers with friends (thanks for the information, Venmo). Unfollow, unfollow, and dare I say, BLOCK!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Trust. And hope. And believe what people say.”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Eventually. Perhaps. I think sometimes we think our heart has healed until we realize the wound is still open. Be careful with yourself and don’t rush things. If your ex still has your crock pot and you want to make bone broth, spend the extra $30 on amazon prime and buy a new one. Seeing him, even 7 months post breakup, still can be too soon. Be gentle with the healing. Everyone heals at a different pace.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Hope.”

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all”

-Emily Dickinson.

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What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Something’s Gotta Give. Diane Keaton goes through a break up and there is a montage of her sob-screaming in a variety of turtlenecks.”

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Dana Alexa On Her Three Phase Breakup Ritual

Dana Alexa is an LA-based dancer and choreographer who has gained international recognition for her work. She is also an active vlogger and produces a series called “The Other Side,” where she chronicles her adventures as she explores foreign cultures.

We asked Dana a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about how spending some time alone helped her heal post-breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I would tell myself to breathe and to step back to look at the big picture. It’s so easy to get lost during heartbreak and feel like it is the end of your life. Even though it is very sad to lose a loved one in a break up, the pain is temporary. Life carries you forward and moves you on if you allow it to. Especially when I was a teenager I remember feeling like I would never recover, but as painful as heartbreak is, it’s not lethal.”

“I have actually learned the most important lessons and made the most significant positive changes to myself and my life through the course of breaking up and being heartbroken. Heartbreak is part of life and something that everyone deals with throughout the course of life in different forms – I wish the younger me was a little more aware of how life really does heal your heart in time.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I am resilient and stronger than I think. I have grown so much from heartbreak and have pulled myself out of some very hard times. I used to feel that I wasn’t capable of doing things on my own, but when I was forced to do things for myself not only was I capable of doing them, but I really enjoy doing things for myself. I have always been independent and sometimes I sacrificed too much of that within my romantic relationships. It’s been cool to surprise myself and see all that I am truly capable of on my own!”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I am an only child, so part of me is a loner. I spend time in complete solitude. I sit alone and cry, sleep, walk on the beach – just detach and allow myself to feel the pain of it all. I think facing the reality of heartbreak head on like that without drowning it out allows me to heal so much faster. The pain of loss needs to be felt and dealt with, it can’t be drowned out with alcohol and distractions – it will always creep back up and you’ll have to deal with it eventually.”

“Phase 2 for me is usually travel- I leave my familiars for a week or even a weekend and try to get new perspective and get excited about something new. It helps re-ignite my passion for life. During Phase 3 I get back to my old routine and really busy myself with things and people I love. Remembering all the things that make your life full help to remind you that though your relationship was a significant part of your life, it was only part of your life and that you are awesome all on your own!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I think my breakup vice was to spend too long talking about what went wrong and trying to make sense of the whole thing. Especially when someone leaves you, that is an impossible thing to do. Unless you are lucky enough to have someone who really cares to give you an explanation, you won’t ever know what was truly in someone else’s mind and heart – even though it was someone you loved and were close with. Obsessing over it and hashing out every possibility with friends doesn’t do much except cause agony and stress.”

“I eventually realized that it’s not always for us to understand the why of situations. People are different and we have to let them feel and behave in a way that is reflective of their truth, whether or not we understand or agree with their motivations. I loved my ex very much, enough to eventually understand that it didn’t matter why he left me. That was just my ego worrying that something was wrong with me or that I was unlovable. I just had to accept it for what it was and let him go, wish him well and move on.”

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I have learned that no matter how much you love someone, you can’t make them love you the same. It truly is a two way street, both people have to WANT to be in love and make things work. People love differently and value different things in life – and all of that is OK. Those are the risks you take when you sign on for a relationship. Even though it doesn’t always turn out the way you hope, love is the most worthwhile risk of all. It’s important to open your heart no matter how many times you have been hurt and try again. Love is everything and we mustn’t fear it. Yes it hurts to lose love, but it’s certainly more tragic to exist without it.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I am not sure if exes can be friends – again I believe all people are different and I am sure that can work for some people. For me, I love hard and I can’t imagine remaining friends with any of the men I have dated seriously. I think seeing their posts on my social media would keep me rooted in the past or drag me into some kind of game of comparison, so I don’t remain friends on social networks. However, if any of them ever reached out and needed something I’d be there 100 percent.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“The people around me keep my heart open. I have such incredible family and friends and an unbelievable support system on social media. People who have seen me at my worst and loved me unconditionally. They inspire me and make me believe that kind of love exists and is possible. I’m a romantic at heart, I believe that real love is out there and I know that my heart needs to be open if there’s any chance that I will find it. I have hope ♥”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Anything by Adele.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

PS I Love You.

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I am really excited to be posting more vlogs and tutorials on my YouTube channel and I am super excited because I will be teaching a ton of master classes on the road this summer.”

Psychiatrist Ellen Vora On Releasing Her Emotions Post-Breakup

Ellen Vora, MD takes a functional approach to mental health as a holistic psychiatrist practicing with Frank Lipman, MD at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. She has a B.A. from Yale and an M.D. from Columbia Medical School and is boarded in Psychiatry and Integrative and Holistic Medicine. She’s also a licensed medical acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Breathe. It’s going to be okay.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak taught me that I have to work at resilience. I was manufactured as one of the low resiliency models of humans :). So in order to stay afloat during challenging times, I need to work at it. For me that means getting enough sleep, eating well, getting outside into nature and under the sun, feeling surrounded by community, and carving out time to do nothing and let my brain relax.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Well…I’m not sure I had any rituals in place during my last breakup. If I were to go through a breakup today, I would lean heavily on yoga, hiking, and being around a positive community of friends. I also think it’s important to let yourself cry hard. If you’re feeling strong emotions, don’t suppress it or push it under the carpet. Let yourself primally wail if that’s how you’re feeling. Letting the emotions go up and out is so much healthier than pushing them down.”

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Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Lol, too many to list. I tend to dwell on old photos and indulge in all kinds of unrealistic fantasy thinking.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I’ve learned that for me, what I need in a partner is the following: a good person, a good listener, a good communicator, someone who pushes me to be the best version of myself, someone who makes me feel good when I’m around them, someone who is open to growth, and someone who shares my sense of humor. All the “on paper” qualities I thought I was looking for (tall, rich, and whatever other kinds of misguided drivel I thought was important), ultimately have no bearing on whether it’s a happy and fulfilling relationship. If you find someone you can really communicate and laugh with who is open to personal growth, then there’s nothing you can’t get through as a couple. With that foundation, you can take on the world together.”

Do you think exes can be friends?  Do you stay friends with your exes on social media? 

“Probably not…”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Heartbreak hurts, but what’s the point of life if you decide to just hunker down and protect yourself from the next heartbreak? I want to be out there feeling as many deep emotions as possible, no matter how vulnerable that makes me to future heartbreak.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Beyonce’s Lemonade, obv.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I just filmed a course on holistic approaches to healing depression for mindbodygreen.com. I’m writing a book about holistic approaches to insomnia, and I’m finally dipping my toe in the social media waters with my new video blog called Rebel Health.”

Camilla Sacre-Dallerup On Reinventing Herself Post-Breakup

Camilla Sacre-Dallerup is an author, life coach and mindful living expert who teaches meditation at Unplug Meditation and The Den in Los Angeles. She also has her own practice, Zenme, where her mission is to inspire the world to meditate and take time for self-care daily.

We asked Camilla about her experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how she reinvented herself post-breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I would say ‘everything is going to be ok’ and ‘however painful it may seem, trust me you will heal, you will smile and even love again.’ It’s not the end of the world but at the time it really feels that way. It is as Marianne Williamson would say ‘Happening for you, not to you.’ I would also say, ‘learn what you need to learn from the breakup so the pattern does not repeat itself again and move on.'”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I am a lot stronger than I initially thought. The power and strength I managed to unlock through the breakup was so deep and powerful, it took me by surprise. It also taught me to always take responsibility for the part I play in a relationship. When we take responsibility for our own actions it helps us look at the situation more objectively and move away from the blame and “poor me” state. It also taught me that I don’t NEED someone to feel loved. I choose to spend my life with someone now but with or without someone in my life, I know I’m okay.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“At first I felt very alone so I started reading every self-help book I could get my hands on, which was actually my motivation to write my first book Strictly Inspirational. I wanted to write a book that could be like a friend to someone, somewhere where I could share my learnings about my heartache and all the tools I used, so that someone else can benefit from them.”

“Another thing that really helped me was running. It’s kind of funny because up until this point in my life I wasn’t into running at all. The first time I attempted it I remember feeling so broken that I didn’t even have the energy to take one step on the treadmill. So, I decided that every day I would get out in nature and I would start by walking, simply take it step by step to build up my strength. Then with time the walk became a small run and then longer each day. Every day as I took each step I would visualize myself moving one step further away from the situation and building up my strength within. This, I truly believe (well this and dancing around in the kitchen to “I Will Survive”) was the beginning of me unlocking my strength within and finding me again.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“No, not really at that time as I wasn’t really into social media, luckily. But I have a lot of clients with whom I discuss the danger of that and how it can affect us emotionally, it’s not helpful whilst you are healing to keep torturing yourself by scrolling through your ex’s feed. I would suggest anyone who is going through a breakup, to disconnect or erase the ex’s profile from their feed and resist the need to check it. You can be doing really well and then boom one picture of your ex looking happy with someone else, it can drag you right down again. I call this ‘carrying forward the hurt to the now.'”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love is limitless, love is amazing but the biggest love affair we will ever have is the one with ourselves. When we truly love and respect ourselves we feel whole, content inside and we open ourselves up to a different type of love around us. One that’s not created from a place of lack, where we wonder if we are good enough for someone, one where we think we will never love that way again or whether there is someone special for us out there. Instead we believe that of course we will love again, that we deserve it and that there is someone special for us.”

“I remember thinking that way after one of my relationships ended, I thought I would never find that kind of love again – really deep soulmate kind of love. What I didn’t anticipate, because I was caught up in the rain and hurt, was that I would find a love that was even more special. However I found that after I had healed and I was in a place where I fully loved, respected and accepted myself.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Yes sometimes, well actually more in real life than on social media, we actually speak on the phone and meet up with our now partners. One of my exes was at my wedding and one of husbands exes I’m hanging out with next week. I think it really depends on the situation. Sometimes we realize through a relationship that we were suppose to be just friends, rather than lovers, and there is a mutual respect and understanding, then a friendship seems like a natural progression. Sometimes if there has been a lot of hurt and anger maybe it’s not suitable to stay friends, at least not in the beginning when both parties are healing but maybe later on. Equally sometimes we let the past be the past.”

“Sometimes we are only supposed to be in each others lives for a while and learn whatever we need to learn and then we feel ready to move on in different directions, yet we still enjoy each others friendship. Love is a magical thing and it’s nice to allow it to flow and be what it needs to be. There are so many different love relationships, really there are no rules only the ones each person decides they like to set and live by. Whatever works for one may not work for someone else and that’s ok.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“What can I say, I’m a romantic. When I was really heartbroken I remember a very wise woman said these very important words to me ‘Never let someone else’s actions change who you are.’ I live by these words, because sometimes it’s easy to change who we truly are, to even forget what we stand for when we get hurt by someone. But those words are powerful, reminding us that we can always take back our power, instead of handing over our power and letting others decide how we should feel, think and act.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Oh gosh. Would you believe it, I listen to “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, on repeat.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I love The Holiday. It’s a about breakup and falling in love again. It reminds us that when one door shuts, another one opens. It also reminds us that sometimes at first we don’t know why we are going on a trip or saying yes to something new but it could be the best thing we have ever done and lead us to where we need to be.”

Christina Sewell On Becoming Her Best Self Post-Breakup

Christina Sewell is the founder of Brave Heart Habitat, a blog that focuses on creating a conscious lifestyle. She’s also a grad student at Columbia, a climate action activist and vegan. Christina opened up to us about how pursuing her passions post-heartbreak helped her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I was in extended inner turmoil over the break down of my first relationship. We started dating in high school and managed to stay together through our college years, even as I moved to the east coast for school and he remained in our hometown on the U.S. military base in Korea. We saw each other just twice a year in the winter and summer time, yet were completely dedicated to one another despite living half a world apart at such a young age. They say high school relationships are fluff, but we were tender, thoughtful, honest with each other. It felt like a very mature connection for two kids to share. Which is why I was so crippled when after about 4 years of dating, I knew that I had to go my own way.

Our lives remained in time zones half a day apart, we struggled to make one another a priority, and our passions and plans became independent entities. This was deeply painful to accept and at first, I chose to sweep it under the rug. Oh, the denial. There was guilt and doubt in letting him go that ate at me for months before we broke up and remained long after all was said and done. For years (yes, plural years) I considered if I could have ‘worked harder’ to fix things, contemplated if I could have forfeited some of my priorities to stay together and would anyone ever love me the way he’d loved me. All while the bleeding heart Pandora playlist looped in the background. And so even as the intent of letting my first love go was to focus on myself and my future, I had forgotten who I was in the process.

If I could visit that sad girl heading home on the subway today, I’d remind her that the love we share with others is timeless and fluid. It may not last in the physical world to hold our tired, wrinkled hand one day — and that’s okay. It continues to change form through the two people who experienced it, rippling on through the second and third order effects that are a result of how we choose to live. I’d encourage her to honor what she experienced with this person by giving it the freedom to take its intended next shape. And then remember to honor yourself and your intuition above all else. Have gratitude for the voice that guides you. Embrace it, take care of it. Do not suppress or belittle. It speaks to you for reasons you may not understand now, but continue listening quietly; it will reveal itself to you.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“There’s no feeling in the world like a broken heart. It crushes every fiber of your being no matter how rich, young, intelligent, whatever you are. Yet as much as I abhor that state of being as much as the next girl, there’s a peace I’ve found with surrendering to the pain. Heartbreak has taught me to let myself cry when I need to (even if that’s every night for many many nights), to pick up the phone and ‘burden’ close friends with fears and insecurities (talking things through out loud helps to make sense of them), to dig into the carton of ice cream and have New Girl marathons (until there really is no choice but to peel yourself off the couch because the next season isn’t offered on Netflix yet), to simply stare at the ceiling in silence when that feels right.

We give ourselves a lot of crap for these behaviors. I certainly did. It’s not pretty, of course. But try as I have post-breakup to bounce back immediately, to suppress my sadness by steamrolling into those 57 errands on the “keep busy” list… The experience has taught me that masking pain only prolongs it. It’s when I acknowledge, surrender, and allow myself to live in that space without judgment for as long as is necessary that I’m able to push through to the other side.

And then? We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I gradually gained the perspective to focus on activities that filled me with purpose and joy. That meant signing up for an acting class, a forgotten passion from years ago that I decided was still important to explore; volunteering for public speaking engagements in my capacity as a campaigner at PETA; dusting off my blog and putting vulnerable thought to keyboard for the world to see; visiting the local animal shelter and becoming mama to my beloved bouncy ball, Harlow Sewell. I never would have realized this sweet growth had I not allowed myself to hit rock bottom and used the hard floor and my renewed sense of self to propel up, up, up.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup?

“While I’m a proponent of not judging the grieving process and letting it run its course, it’s just as important to recognize what gives you clarity and a sense of peace, and routinely engage in those things so that you can begin to heal.

These rituals are different for everyone, but in my experience, getting outside and sweating is the best medicine. Putting your shoes on is the hardest part, but once you’re out amongst other life and breathing in the fresh air, your perspective already begins to shift. Sunlight, running, yoga and meditation, cracking open a good book (self help gets a bad wrap, but I am all about it. The Untethered Soul changed my life), lighting a few candles and running a bubble bath just for you (cause damn it, you deserve it), taking time to meet with those who inspire you (so grateful for the angels in my life that make this one easy), volunteering for a cause you believe in which not only provides clearer perspective on your own troubles, but impassions you to be a more involved force of good in the world, journaling and spending time to reflect on yourself (this is so important for helping remember who you are if you’ve forgotten or as an outlet to throw ideas around if you haven’t quite figured who this person really is yet).

And when everything else fails, sounds cliche, but just breathe. I remember trying to take a yoga class shortly after a breakup and failing miserably. It was so hard for me to sit still with my thoughts in the poses because my mind was going a million different places and I could feel my heart physically aching. Right when I was about to pick up my mat and sneak out the back, the instructor urged us to concentrate on our breath, envision it filling up our lungs and releasing back into the room, guiding us through it again and again. That simple meditation brought me back to my body and out of my head.

Another helpful and very simple practice is to just laugh out loud…really loud! Even if nothing’s funny. It sounds a little crazy, but when you force yourself to repeatedly let out a deep belly laugh even if it’s the last thing you want to do, happy endorphins and feelings of optimism will follow, I promise.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Oh, if only someone had convinced me of this long ago: delete. Unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe, all of the above. It’s not that I don’t believe exes can eventually be friendly or that you should permanently cut people out of your life. I love the idea of getting a casual coffee with an ex to catch up on life and to stay supportive of one another. Unfortunately, when you’re in purge mode and actively in a place of recalling why you parted ways in the first place, it’s absolutely necessary to avoid status updates of their breakfast, home improvement projects, nights out with friends, vacations to Southeast Asia, new partner… I learned this the hard way as my “friendship” with an ex (read: stalking) only further drove in the stake and prolonged feelings of attachment for him.

More recently, I found myself falling into similar patterns, checking an ex’s Facebook status every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, to see when he’d make the switch from “in a relationship” back to “single.” Weeks had passed and nothing, and I’d be able to breathe another nonsensical sigh of relief. The day the inevitable happened, I couldn’t stop crying. It was like reliving the breakup all over again, throwing away all my hard-fought progress up to that point. That’s when I knew I had to be kinder to myself. I had to put myself first and focus on moving forward. For the first time ever, I tapped the “unfriend” button on an ex. It took less than 10 seconds and is one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I’m a giver, especially in romantic relationships, which can be challenging when you’re not with someone who also naturally gives. It’s been a long and windy learning curve recognizing that I must fill myself up with the things I need before I’m able to provide for anyone else.

In other words, of course be patient and kind in love, but also: keep it real. If you’re kicking down your foundation to make a relationship work or expecting someone else to do the same, you are probably in the wrong relationship. That can be a hard pill to swallow when the last thing you want is to be apart from someone, but love is so much greater than the desire to be close. Love is wanting the world for this person in a way that they realize great joy and fulfillment, whether or not you are a part of that picture. And so I’m incredibly grateful for each of my relationships for teaching me how to take care of myself and to be kind to both parties by gracefully letting go of what no longer serves me.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I’m a hopeless romantic – I’ll never give up on love! Connecting on this very spiritual level with another human being in the way that only the two of you will understand…it’s one of the best aspects of living. So while heartbreak is crushing, and the logical conclusion in the moment is to never ever do that to yourself again…experiencing love (and loss) is an essential part of what we’re here for. To connect and create and learn and fail and rise. Right? Sometimes that cycle manifests romantic love and sometimes that love doesn’t last in the here and now. But I believe it will always feed back into our atmosphere of growth and make us better people for it. It’s hard to stay bitter at love when you are just grateful to it for coming along at all.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“It’s a song I often revisit on thoughtful days. James Blake’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s Case of You. The lyrics and James’ delivery and the artistry of this music video…oh man. It’s all pure poetry and I think one of the most honest portraits of what it is to love another human being.”

Hayley Starr On Personal Growth Post-Breakup

Hayley Starr is an artist, entrepreneur, writer, and all-around creative who is known for her collection of otherworldly products. Hayley generously opened up to us about how creativity and self-care helped her heal post-heartbreak.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Feel it, gurl! Feel every single emotion. Hold nothing back, especially tears. Feeling the emotion is the only way through!”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Strength, but also that it’s most often not about the other person, but about a reflection of something I need to learn about myself. When something hurts that badly, you can rest assured that it’s a deep wound that’s calling to you for your attention.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Self care, asking myself what I need and then following through. A spa treatment? A weekend away by myself? With the girls? Always reach out to your girls! Call on them and tell them you need their help. Your girls know you and have your best interest at heart; they’ve also likely seen you through other breakups and can see the patterns when your broken heart causes you amnesia.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Smoking, alcohol, food. I realized that these vices were only stuffing the feeling down further, making it harder to reach… and if feeling the feeling gets you back through to the other side to joy, then anything holding you back from feeling must be eliminated.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That Love is one of the most important reasons you’re here on this planet. Heaven is pure love, and in a realm where you’re given the choice to love or to fear, choosing to love with an open heart gets you closer and closer to the experience of Heaven, while on Earth. Fear brings you closer to the imaginary experience of hell. When breaking up, there are so many fears: Will I ever meet anyone as good as they were? YES, without fail, every single person you date next will be better than the previous one. Am I lovable? Of course you are!!! Duh!!!! Am I destined to be alone forever? Oh silly! Of course NOT.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Absa-freaking-lutely and yes. I am friends with every ex but one. As a matter of fact, I’m not just friends with most, I am BEST friends with nearly all of them (that is admittedly coming from a woman with 22 best friends), if they’ll allow me. Some men have a hard time staying friends. That’s ok, I respect it.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Trust and faith that as I work through my problems and layers of emotional complexity, that I experience more joy and an open heart. Think about this for a minute: Breakups are where most of your growing occurs, and to meet the best partner you need to be your best self. How do you get to your best self? You do the work on yourself! And again, where does that come from? LOVE, BREAKUPS AND HEARTACHES!!! If there’s truly only meant to be one partner for you, that means that by plain and simple deduction, you’ve got a lot of frogs to kiss. Embrace relationships no matter how long they last. Be thankful for what that person showed you about yourself. Mend and find another and if it happens again, thank that person too! Each gets you closer.”

Steffy Degreff On Self Care Post-Heartbreak

Steffy Degreff is the New York-based blogger behind Steffy’s Pros + Cons, where she shares fashion tips, travel posts, and updates on her experience with motherhood. We asked Steffy for her take on heartbreak and she opened up about how staying focused on yourself can help you heal your heart.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Don’t let a teenage guy destroy your faith in love.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I deserve much more than I ever thought I did as a teenager.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I focus on myself, start a new exercise routine and try to meet as many new people as possible.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Oh yes, the last time I went through a breakup was long before IG (been with my husband for about 9 years) but I definitely checked ex’s Facebook pages far too much.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Every relationship has ups and downs, but it’s important to focus on the big picture and make sure you and your partner are on the same page for all of the long term things.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“No I don’t. It’s not a fair thing to do to your new partner.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I truly believe in love, and I’m a hopeless romantic.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

Natalie Patterson On New Beginnings Post-Heartbreak

Natalie Patterson is a Los Angeles-based writer and poet known for her spoken-word performances. Over the years, she has gained a great deal of praise in the poetry community as both a speaker and a teacher. In 2010, she became the first female producer and host at Da Poetry Lounge, the nation’s largest weekly poetry venue, and the place where her career began.

We asked Natalie some questions about heartbreak and she opened up about finding strength through patience and self-love.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself? 

“I started dating when I was 15. I think dating and loving people both are so important in terms of development and understanding how you relate to others and your measure of your own self worth. My first boyfriend was the most loving and kind man. We are still friends to this day. I think having that great starting point made heartbreak less painful as I got older because I knew if I dated great people, even when the relationship ended there would still be love between us and more love in my future. The best advice I could give myself and others is to SLOW down. Every relationship is not meant to end in marriage and when you put that type of pressure and expectation, you slowly suffocate each other. Just enjoy the love as long as you have it. Relax and know that love exists, even when relationships change form.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I am resilient, that I am a badass, that I get to live and love on my own terms. I think relationships take a lot from women. I’m not a man so I don’t want to speak about what it takes or doesn’t take from them, but being in a relationship and holding space for someone else (which is what happens when you love another) while trying to balance self love can be exhausting. I find the greatest sense of renewal and commitment to self just after I get over being sad and start rebuilding.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I recently went through a breakup and it was so different than any other I’d ever had because we didn’t breakup because we were mad or hurt, simply because we want different things right now. Depending on the reason for the breakup depends on my response, but I try to keep it healthy. I write a bunch, I do mantras, I write affirmations, I set new goals, I talk long walks. I try and treat myself kindly and do things I really love. I definitely go through the stages of grief, but I never get too invested in the upset. I think it is easy to get stuck in the sadness and addicted to unhealthy behaviors that sometimes comes with breakups, like obsessing about previous conversations or Instagram stalking.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I used to always have another person in my back pocket for when a relationship ended. I could quickly move into getting attention from someone else. I don’t do that anymore. I give myself time and space to process each relationship and then decide what I want next.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I’ve learned sooooooo many things. A big one was to only do what you want with no expectation of getting anything back. If you are going to be mad if someone doesn’t reciprocate– don’t do it. Love should liberate, not hostage anyone. The other big thing I learned was to listen to my intuition. My intuition is never wrong, I can feel things in my gut and every time I didn’t listen, I paid the price.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I’m friends with all my exess except one. I try to only date people who I deeply care about and respect as people so that I always maintain the friendship even when the kissing is done. I love that I still talk on the phone to my first boyfriend. He knows me so well, he has watched me become myself. I was in another relationship for 5 years and he and I are best friends now. We are almost closer now than we were when we dated. His father calls and sings me “Happy Birthday” every year and every time he is in town we all go for ice cream or dinner. These people are my family now. Love requires an ability to get past the petty stuff. I often think about the loss of a relationship when my friends are going through a breakup and how loving a person bigger than a title allows for a level of fluidity that otherwise ends when the relationship does. Directly after a breakup, I usually mute them on Facebook until things settle a little. My most recent breakup I didn’t need to even do that.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“No matter what happens in life, I have decided that I will be a lover and learner. I will always seek and reach for happiness and the ending of something is the beginning of something else.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I love a film called Elegy. It is about aging and love and fear and endings.”

Ashley Ballard On Healing After An Abusive Relationship

Ashley Ballard is the voice behind Closet Vomit, where she writes about mental health, style and home. She is a self-proclaimed vintage addict and feminist who is obsessed with Morrissey, indie music, and Jimmy Buffet. When she’s not working on her blog, Ashley enjoys riding her bike or reading essays and biographies.

We got a chance to ask Ashley a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about coping with depression after being in an abusive relationship.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I would tell my younger self that nobody is ready for a deep connection at that age. I always had a desire to find deep and mature connections with others when I was a teenager, and I never  found those relationships. I think my body was one age, and my heart was far older. My only  relationship before my current one was the boyfriend I had from my last year of high school into  my first year of college. He took my virginity by rape and sexually abused me, and that took a  hell of a lot of healing. I would tell my younger self that it gets better, and that sex doesn’t have  to be a negative thing in your life, even after something as traumatizing as sexual abuse.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That building emotional strength is extremely similar to building physical strength. You have to put in strenuous effort to become strong. When something breaks your heart, it’s best to take it  as an opportunity to grow and overcome something huge, because the next time it happens,  you’ll be better-equipped. It doesn’t even have to be a romantic relationship, it can be a family  issue or losing someone close to you. I learned a lot about how I deal with trauma also, and I  learned a lot about my current partner by how he responded to my post-trauma.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I wouldn’t call them ‘rituals’ because I’ve only had one breakup. I responded pretty badly — I got depressed, my diet was terrible, I stayed in bed all day. It wasn’t even because I missed him,  obviously, it was because I was feeling something I was unfamiliar with and I didn’t know how to  handle it. In retrospect, keeping the people who love you close and accepting help is a great  way to mend. Practicing self-care and keeping yourself in good health, both in body and mind, is also crucial. I got a massage after my breakup and it felt cleansing. Also, reading does wonders.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’m a huge stalker of people on social media. The best thing to do is block them or unfollow them, and if they ask, just explain it isn’t anything hostile, it’s just taking the time to detach and mend. I am a solid introvert, so I don’t really find myself wanting to reach out to a former partner  again. I just conquer it within myself and move on.”

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That love is present in everything, and it is a lot of work. I feel more in love with my partner in the weird moments (like talking through the bathroom door about whether or not The Beach  Boys founded psychedelic music while I am on day two of a stomach bug) than in the moments  when people are supposed to feel more romantic (like being out to dinner).”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think that exes can be friends if both parties are mature enough to handle it. If one or both of them are assholes, there’s no way it can happen. I’ve definitely witnessed people try to make a  friendship work and fail because someone oversteps boundaries. It takes a lot of perseverance  and trust with current partners. Personally, I don’t think I would be able to handle that. I get  nostalgic. If my current partner and I were to break up and try to be friends, I would want that really badly, but I know that I would miss the previous nature of our relationship too much.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Knowing that every hardship makes you tougher. I wouldn’t take back anything that’s ever happened to me. I’ve had a world of hurt happen to me within my family and with my previous  partner, but all of those things built my character and my awareness that people can fuck up, and the only thing in your control is how you respond.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“This is a definite cliche, but (500) Days of Summer taught me a whole lot about myself. I saw it the day it hit the box office in 2009 and I was in high school, and every time I watch it, I interpret  it a different way. As I aged, my interpretation of the film evolved. It really taught me that  sometimes you just aren’t what someone is looking for, and that’s okay.”

Aurielle Sayeh’s Advice on Breakups, Exes And Loving Yourself First

Aurielle is a DJ, creative director and artist. With a penchant for everything from editorial work, fashion, photography, and music to fitness and beauty – she dabbles in every monde and threads it all together seamlessly.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“I had my heart broken many times when I was younger. I’ve always been pretty transparent when it comes to feelings and emotions – be it friendships or relationships, I give everything or nothing. The first time I had my heart broken so much I couldn’t sleep or eat, was probably the first time I was in love for real. All my past relationships, and the hurt had I carried with me from them, caused me to ruin a relationship with someone I really wanted to spend my life with. I think from that point on I decided to try to focus on becoming a stronger woman even though it was difficult. I definitely went back and forth with that person for many years. But at the end of the day, I chose myself and my growth, and I am very happy and proud of that.”

THE ADVICE SHE WOULD GIVE TO HER YOUNGER SELF
“There’s a French saying: c’est pas grave, which literally means it’s not grave. It’s not gonna kill you. This saying is something I always remember. I hate being single. I wish that I had someone to share my life with, but I would have never obtained this life I have made for myself if I was in a relationship. So I would tell my younger self to chill and wait. To invest all of those years spent in a relationship on herself. I could have avoided a lot of pain if I listened to my dad’s advice. He told me to wait on love and focus on myself.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I recently was very hurt by someone I wasn’t dating per se, but who I thought I was dating. He was a good friend, someone I spoke to a lot. We had sexual and emotional relations for about a year. I never pressured him to be in a relationship because in France, dating is much different than in America, and honestly I didn’t have the time to care. We spent great moments together and when I came to the realization that I had deep feelings for this person, I told him. He didn’t receive me the way I hoped and actually referred to me as a ‘sex friend,’ which I took pretty offensively. I was hurt that he couldn’t see past my sexuality, because I have so much more to offer as a woman.”

HOW SHE MENDS
“I haven’t been in a real relationship with a man in many years. But after a breakup, I set myself to travel and get to know myself. I’ve moved to two different cities and one country after ending things with my ex, twice. First New York years ago, and then Paris. I stayed in LA waiting for him to wake up. When he didn’t, I knew I wasn’t living up to my potential staying there. It’s like a plant: when it really starts to grow, sometimes you have to repot it. I don’t think this applies to everyone, but I’m an artist at heart so I can’t stay where I’m not inspired. I will wilt away. I have to also give major credit to my best friends. Sometimes you need people that just get you to remind you that you’re not crazy. Thank god I have people like that. No matter how much I travel, I can always count on a few people to pick up from where we last left off and speak openly without embarrassment. If your friends judge you, I’d evaluate those friendships fast.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“My breakup vice is that I hide away in my shell, whether it be staying in bed, watching too much TV, eating too much food, taking a trip alone. Too much isolation can be bad for the mind, so if I notice it’s been too long, I start reaching out to my friends and try to give myself a deadline to snap out of it. Sometimes I throw myself into work mode and use my heartache as inspiration.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I do think that some exes can be friends. I stay in touch with a few exes and I consider them lifelong friends. I still even talk to the brother of an ex. He’s like a little brother to me and I love him.”

ON STAYING CONNECTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
“I do, but not with the toxic ones. I think that not all people have the same views on growth and you can’t keep connected with people that are poisonous to yours.”

HER HARDEST LESSON ON LOVE
“Love is fucking complicated! But it exists! It’s cliche to say this, but you really have to fall in love with yourself first. I laugh and roll my eyes now at men that only come to me for a physical relationship, because I know that I am the whole package and that package is sacred. I have good men telling me this everyday, but more over, I KNOW it to be true. I have worked very hard to become someone that I like and respect, and that job never ends. It’s absolutely hilarious to me to consider spending time with someone that doesn’t register that. I’m straight up not looking to pass the time with someone. I want to be, and stay, crazy in love with the man of my life, my best friend. I can wait for him wherever he is. My biggest lesson is patience. Being single sucks! But the alternative of giving myself away in meaningless relationships creeps me out and doesn’t appeal to me either. My intuition tells me that my patience will reward me with a man that can be equivalent to the big dreams in my life that have unfolded. I know that it’s possible.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK
Where Is the Love by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway.”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“My heart is open to people it recognizes. I cannot say that I put myself out there. I actually don’t date. I meet people randomly throughout my day to day life and I rarely feel things. So when I do, I give it a shot. As of late, there were always complications. One might say my taste in men is very bad. I try not to waste too much time, feelings or energy on someone after I realize it isn’t going to work, but I put a lot of weight on liking someone in the first place because I am very selective so it doesn’t always work out that way. I am old fashioned. I want to be courted, wooed and I don’t want to have sex with men I do not know or love.”

WHAT SHE’S EXCITED ABOUT
“I am always working. That’s the one thing I do have right! Fashion week in Paris is coming up and I am DJing a lot, so I am super excited for that. I am also working on a super secret business project right now with my team and we are so excited to show everyone what we have been working on. Recently, I was just selected to be a face and ambassador for NARS France. I feel super honored for that and to get started working on the campaign.”

Gabrielle Korn On Finding Herself Post-Heartbreak

Gabrielle Korn is the Director of Fashion and Culture at Refinery 29 and former Editor-in-Chief at NYLON. As a self-proclaimed Nasty Woman, Gabrielle is also a strong supporter of queer and feminist culture. She’s also the author of the forthcoming book, EVERYBODY (ELSE) IS PERFECT (January 2021). We asked Gabrielle some questions about heartbreak and she shared how the pain of a breakup helped her find herself.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The first time I was really heartbroken, at 20, I got so stuck on someone. We had been friends who started sleeping together in secret, and while I was falling for her, she made it clear that it was never going to be more than what it was. She simply didn’t want to be with me, but I couldn’t hear it. In hindsight, that sort of honesty was a gift: It was a chance to see the situation for what it was, and move on. Of course, I didn’t see it like that. I just thought she was wrong, and that she would eventually realize it. I wish I could have known that when someone can’t give you what you want, and they are up front with you about it, it’s a weird sort of kindness—it sets you free.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“It’s so easy for me to get lost in relationships, and breakups, and to forget what it is I need. I put myself on hold, I tell myself that my needs can wait or don’t matter at all. Having done that so many times and ending up heartbroken anyway, I’ve learned that losing sight of myself can be a bigger loss than losing a relationship. I’m trying to make my own needs more of a priority. It leads to better alone time and stronger relationships, as well.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I go into say-yes-to-everything overdrive during a breakup. Trying new things, spending time with my friends, and being out in the world—that’s the only way I’ve ever mended a broken heart. Of course, it takes all my will power not to spend a week in pajamas, hiding. But when I can remember all the things I love about my independent adult life, about living in New York, about my friends, that’s when I can feel okay again.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’ve definitely been known to stalk social media…. Not just of my exes but of anyone new they might be dating. One time I was looking at the Instagram of an ex’s new girlfriend and I accidentally liked a really old photo. It was about 2am. The horror of doing that pretty much cured me of wanting to lurk around anything, ever again. I’m pretty proud of my lack of social media stalking, at this point in my life. I just don’t want to do it anymore. It’s a recipe for disaster!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I think you can’t really understand love until you’ve been with someone long enough that the honeymoon phase is over. Once your brain isn’t drowning in the throes of romantic obsession and you can begin to see one another clearly—separating the projections from reality—that’s when you really learn about loving someone else. And it’s work, but it shouldn’t be Hard Work: I think it’s so easy to fall into the “relationships are work” trap instead of really thinking hard about whether or not you actually want to be with someone. Love should create a base-level trust and joy that’s the foundation for the work you do together, and it really takes time to know if it’s there.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I don’t stay friends with my exes, unless we were friends before we dated. I hope they’re all doing well and that they find happiness, but I don’t feel the need to be around to see it. I think it just gets too complicated, and it’s weird for the new people you’re dating. I’m totally down to make friendly small talk when I run into an ex, but that’s the extent of it.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I’m pretty guarded with my heart, actually. I was with someone for five years, and going through that breakup made me really hesitant to be vulnerable to someone new. I made my current girlfriend date me casually for months before I’d commit to something more serious; I need to be really sure someone is a keeper before I keep them.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“It’s so cheesy but I always return to “November,” by Azure Ray. There’s that line that goes, “I was afraid to be alone, now I’m scared that’s how I like to be,” which resonates with me so strongly. It’s so sad and beautiful and hopeful. Being alone—fear of it, fear of wanting it—has ruled so much of my life, has informed how I act in relationships and in breakups. I’ve learned that not wanting to be alone is not a reason to stay with someone, and conversely, wanting to be alone is a perfectly acceptable reason to end a relationship. But, ideally, I’d like to be able to feel alone at times while also in a stable relationship, and have that be ok.”

Writer Lindsey Tramuta on Mending in Paris

I had the great pleasure of interviewing the lovely Lindsey Tramuta, the writer behind the very popular Lost In Cheeseland blog and voice of The New Paris podcast. She is also the author of the best-selling book The New Paris, and The New Parisiennes (out July 2020). She has a pulse on the real Paris that you don’t see on Instagram. If you love Paris or plan to visit, be sure to check her books beforehand.

In her own words, “I’m a Paris transplant from Philadelphia who fell in love with a Frenchman and moved to Paris. Cliché, right?”

Not to us! Her story is as dreamy as her blog, and when I stumbled upon one of her older posts where she mentioned she initially arrived in Paris after a breakup, I knew she would have some wisdom to share.

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Ellen: When you moved to Paris, where did you like to go solo? Were there places you went or things you did that helped you heal?

Lindsey: When I moved to Paris, I had already met someone new actually. And while I was still healing and wondering if this fresh connection would develop into something sustainable, I was willing to let him lead the way. As a Parisian, he had a firm grasp on the city so I kept an open mind and followed him to cafés, restaurants, bars and parks. I was simultaneously getting to know him and my new city.

Ellen: Heartbreak is universal but the way that it’s handled can be different depending on where you are. Since you’ve been living in France for many years now, do you notice any differences in the way the French handle breakups from what you were accustomed to in the States?

Lindsey: From what I’ve observed, the French are quick to wear their emotions – heartbreak or joy – on their sleeves. As a people, I generally find them to be more self-reflexive and in touch with their feelings so a breakup is treated as an unfortunate life event that will ultimately teach you something or make you stronger. Their approach for healing, however, seems to be similar to the way Americans would handle their pain: they surround themselves with close friends and keep living, keep pushing forward. Perhaps the sole difference between the two is that the French tend not to wallow the way Americans might.

Ellen: If you had to send one thing to a friend who had just been broken up with, what would it be?

Lindsey: My time and patience – friends in the throes of heartache require their loved ones to invest their time in listening, understanding, commiserating and sharing advice. It isn’t a magic cure but it’s the most important element to getting on the right path toward healing.

Ellen: Knowing what you know now, what would you say to the 7-years-ago version of yourself that was “smarting from heartbreak”?

Lindsey: It WILL be okay. Things WILL play out the way they are meant to. Just hold on, beautiful things await.

We couldn’t agree more.

Lenea Sims On Staying Positive After A Breakup

Lenea Sims is a writer, explorer, healer, and confidant who’s infinitely curious about the ways we heal, cope, and thrive. She’s also the founder of Inner Play + Outer Work – dual education networks for personal growth and collective change. We asked Lenea about her experience with heartbreak and she opened up about her favorite post-breakup advice.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“My advice to myself would have been to remember that there is always more love. Back then, I thought I had to cling onto every possible chance of love like it was my only hope for water in a barren desert. But as I get older, I realize that love isn’t a finite energy, but instead an abundant one so there’s always another chance at water if you just keep moving forward.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I think all there really is to learn is that you’re a tough bitch. Jokes but also not jokes. Heartbreak is horrible, but it also shows you just how strong, resilient, and adaptable you are. My best friend’s dad once told me that after his divorce he was sad, of course, but also ecstatic because he would have his own life again. And that’s an experience we all need to have: a chance to learn who and what we are when we are alone.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Does talking all your friends’ ears off count as a ritual? When I’m having a tough time with anything, I always find it best to share with the people who get me most. Not only to get things off of my chest and find clarity in the chaos of my feelings, but also to be reminded that I’m always supported and loved, even without a partner in my life.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I’m one of those ‘love never dies’ people so absolutely. There’s a tiny piece of my heart devoted to everyone I’ve ever loved and I don’t think that magically disappears. That said, I’m not necessarily going to dial them up for coffee every time we’re in the same city, but I do think it’s nice to remain friendly and cherish what was once between us.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“‘Cranes in the Sky’ by Solange. Haunting and painful yet strikingly beautiful and marked by liberation – hallmarks of a typical breakup and of all the great songs.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I don’t know if it’s really about heartbreak, per say, but Two Weeks Notice starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock is low-key my favorite rom-com as of late. It has like a 40% Rotten Tomatoes rating but my friends and I are obsessed with how perfectly bad it is.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Right now, my biggest project is Gooey Girl, an online publication I founded and edit that is dedicated entirely to self-care. On the site, I interview inspiring women about what people, practices, and products they turn to for self-care and also give my own tips for how to cherish and love yourself. It’s been really dope to curate a space for women to explore our healing and our growth with dignity, with humor, and with each other. So stoked to see how it grows!”

Therapist Sarah McLaughlin On Taking Space From Exes Post-Breakup

Sarah McLaughlin is a San Francisco-based therapist specializing in women’s mental health, co-founder of Havn Collective, and she is also a certified yoga instructor. We asked Sarah a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about her journey with self-love.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Time will heal. Sometimes clients will ask me what it’s going to take for them to feel better, and one very important ingredient to healing is time. I would have told my younger self to trust in that as well.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“My friends are a huge part of my life, during breakups they are the ones I’ve always leaned on. Rituals might include a major closet clean and a flight purchased to some random place.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“The best love can come to you when you truly love yourself. Our culture is so focused on finding the love of your life, finding a partner, or that person to complete you. There is very little focus on the journey to loving yourself, but I’ve learned that self-love is the basis for all other great love.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“One thing I truly believe in is space after a breakup. I definitely took a lot of time (sometimes years) with no contact before re-connecting in real life or via social media with exes, but I am still friends with a couple of them.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“It may be in part because of my occupation…but, I have so much faith in human beings. They truly blow me away. The hardships some people endure, and they are able to stay open and happy and enjoy life. Stories like those inspire me to no end, and it challenges me to keep my heart open and be grateful to be alive every day.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Oh this is easy, ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor. Nothing like blasting this at full volume and singing along while cry-dancing. I promise it’s empowering.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Every episode of Sex and the City. Does that count? Whether you like the show or not, it definitely covers SO many difficult dating and break-up scenarios. It’s alarming how many times in life I think to myself ‘oh, there’s a Sex and the City episode about that.'”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m lucky enough to have a full-time therapy practice in San Francisco – that’s my main focus right now. My clients are amazing women who are typically their own worst critics. They are so great, they just need help believing that. It’s an honor to accompany them on their quest to live a balanced, happy and love-filled life.”

Silvia Kozonova Shares The Lessons She’s Learned About Love

Silvia Haupt Kozonova is a Brand Manager at Harper’s Bazaar Czechoslovakia and a proud part of the Prague Fashion Week team. She was previously at Vogue Czechoslovakia. We asked Silvia a few questions about her experience with heartbreak and she shared how self love, honesty, and mutual effort contribute to healthy relationships.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I wish my younger self could have seen the first heartbreak as something inevitable. I wish she had been aware of the necessity and forming power of a broken heart and known that it is all just a part of the journey. I would hug her and tell her to stop chasing her ex and instead have fun. Nothing drives a boy more mad than a girl who doesn’t give a damn about him anymore.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Every heartbreak taught me something different. All of them were pretty deep cuts and took longer to really recover from. What they for sure had in common is one clear message: no matter what, I can handle it. No matter how broken, unhappy, lonely or disappointed I was, I always handled it. Sometimes when you’re in a relationship, you feel like you can’t manage big shifts or hard times without your loved one. Partners are often not only our lovers. The older we get, the more hats our partners has to wear. They are our best friends, our most trusted people, advisers, flat mates, family and suddenly one day, they are gone. The best realization is understanding that no matter what, you don’t really need them anyway. Sure it’s better to be with somebody, but it’s not necessary. You can handle everything that life brings alone. This realization was a game changer for me.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I have amazing and very patient friends. So they are my first aid in any situation. What also helps is to stop any interaction with your ex partner. Everything is usually already said anyway. I don’t need more confirmation that the other person doesn’t value me anymore and I’m sure he won’t start to just because I’m being needy. Then I just try to spoil myself a bit. Nice clothing, parties, small things that makes me happy. Exercising helps a lot – you are literally forcing your body to create happy hormones. Shifting your attention from the pain to some new projects or work is like a blessing. However, the most important thing is to write down your thoughts any time you feel like talking about the situation over and over again. Understanding what you have done wrong in the relationship and what you can do better next time is the best. By self-analyzing you can at least learn from what you are going through because if you didn’t learn anything new from a breakup then your pain was just a big waste of time.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“The lowest point in my recent breakup was checking my ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s YouTube channel. She was singing while playing the piano and looked super good. It was 3 months after our breakup. It was winter time and I was lonely. I remember sitting on the bed and after her second refrain, I started crying so heavily, you couldn’t hear her voice anymore. I felt like I was in some pathetic movie scene– I could almost imagine the camera shifting from one corner of the room to the other… It was so sad that it was even funny. And from tears I burst into laughter. And just like that from one minute to the other, I was good. To stop checking his social media was the best idea ever. Every time I feel the urge to know what my ex partner is up to, I literally stop myself. I’m sure he is happy and that’s great, but it has nothing to do with me anymore. It’s not my story. So why should I bother?”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I think I am just beginning to learn what love really means. But so far I have 3 main realizations:

1. Love yourself first, no matter what. If you don’t put yourself first, you will lose yourself and in the end your lover will, as well. It’s not ego-centric, It’s healthy.

2. In every relationship there are two people who have to work on it. It’s always 50:50 – action and reaction. It sounds simple, but in fact it’s hard to realize when one is in doubt about whether he/she should do more for the sake of love. When you think your partner doesn’t do enough for your relationship, he probably doesn’t. But it’s definitely not up to you to make it work for both of you.

3. Love should be about honesty and trust and once that is gone, the whole world won’t manage to keep you two together. No matter how hard it is, you should be honest with each other. (Sounds like a cliché, but it’s the fundamental base)”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I don’t consider social media as some kind of a bond between two people. Liking somebody’s picture doesn’t make you great friends. Sometimes there is no way for two lovers to just be friends. But I believe in certain cases there is a possibility to see if a friendship can work out better then a romantic relationship did. I would love to stay friends with my exes though, because I think all of them are great people and I’m always happy when they are doing well. (I mean, at the time, I wished they would move to some special land created just for the “exes” with no other girls and no wifi)”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“My friend once said that you can’t date anybody worse than your ex. You learn so much more about yourself, about things you want in a relationship or what you don’t want, that the next time will logically be even better. And that’s what keeps me going. The promise of a greater guy, who is right now somewhere out there, maybe learning how to not be an asshole :D”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“When I’m heartbroken, I like listening to YouTube videos or motivational speakers like Tony Robbins or Xandria Ooi or songs from Iggy Azalea.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“The one thing about being single is gaining time for yourself and being able to create when you have new energy. I’m working right now on two main projects. Bringing local fashion in Czech and Slovakia to a new and more international level with Fashion Map. And the second thing is finally starting my own blog about fashion and relationships in general. I would love to write my own book in a year, so let’s see! There are a lot of opportunities in the future and I’m super thrilled about all of them.”

Ophelia Mikkelson Shares Her Breakup Rituals

Ophelia Mikkelson is an artist and photographer from New Zealand. Drawn to the ideas of the home, the body, beauty, and imperfection, Ophelia approaches all she creates with tactility and care. Ophelia lives on the Coromandel Peninsular with her husband and sends her makings all over the world. We asked Ophelia some questions about heartbreak and she shared how keeping her heart open helped her heal.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Stand up for yourself and walk far, far away!”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Luckily anytime I was hurting, my best friend Mary was my surrogate boyfriend. In fact, 100% of the time when we were growing up she was my other half, my big spoon little spoon.”

“I think surrounding yourself with true and strong friends who listen to you when you need to be listened to but also make you forget everything too, that’s who you need when you are going through heartache or any ache in life. Friends and dancing (like in your bedroom Beyoncé dancing) have been my greatest remedies!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That love isn’t hard. Some people prove hard to be with but I have found that when it’s true, it is the most joyful, precious and freest thing in the world.”

Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Yes, now I think of it, but with zero interaction from all parties.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I always kept an open heart; I think that helped me, I never became cynical of men or felt failed by love. I always wanted to share my life and love with someone who wanted commitment and joy of it as much as I did.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“I think there was a stage where I listened to Torn by Natalie Imbruglia a lot, but more notably Destiny’s Child Survivor and Independent Woman, of course!”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Not movie (and not exclusively about heartbreak but), the TV series, The O.C. The O.C has seen me through my highs and lows of my life and heart. It is my saviour! And as it turns out, the love of my life my now husband, (is not in fact Seth Cohen) but is from Orange County! “Eureka Ryan”!!”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“At the moment I am working toward an exhibition in Auckland, New Zealand of my Woman drawings as well as making more socks and clothing for my online store.”

Dr. Megan Stubbs On Being Vulnerable Post-Breakup

Holding degrees in Human Sexuality and Biology, Dr. Megan Stubbs is an energetic multi-media savvy sex and relationships expert, educator, and writer. She believes that sex should be fun and uses her lighthearted, intelligent, and humorous delivery to make it happen.

We asked Megan a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about learning to take her time throughout the healing process.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I would tell my younger self that it will take time to mend. Longer than you anticipate. Not that there is a specific amount of time required, but because of the way I am, I know that to untangle myself from that person and those feelings will take more time that a weekend or a month. The deeper you go with someone, the longer it will take you to come back up.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I used to pride myself on being so tough. Tears were for the weak. Showing emotion has changed for me. I know now that it is truly brave to be vulnerable, not a closed off ice queen. Just because you aren’t crying in public and documenting your day to day sadness on Facebook doesn’t mean that you don’t feel those emotions. I have an elastic heart, much like Sia’s song. And most importantly, that there is always a ‘next’. Even on my darkest days, I keep in mind that my current state is not my forever. There is always something coming towards me.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“First and foremost, purge the other person from my life. That means deletion, blocking, and removal of all things that remind me of them. You may saw you want to be done, but your brain chemistry says otherwise. I want to remove anything that will trigger me into a flood of memories and ‘what ifs’ with that person. I help my mind mend by leveling out and relearning what it means to not have that person in my life anymore.”

“For one particularly bad breakup I dove into audio books. I couldn’t stand to be alone in my head so I inserted other voices and stories. I would fall asleep to them to keep my mind off of my own sad story. I honestly went through well over a hundred. But for me, it worked. Time and space heal. I was also kind to myself, I ate really well and spent a lot of time with my dog. He was and still is a great influence in my well-being. I can’t just lay in bed and wallow in pity for days, I have someone counting on me to show up. Plus he is an amazing snuggler. Friends are also great for healing your hurt. They shook me out of my funk and helped me realize that they weren’t the one for me anyway.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I think my vices came about in mental replay. Reliving moments and wondering what if or questioning myself with a decision made long ago. I ultimately realized that its a waste of my energy to dwell in that place. It doesn’t serve me to live in the past.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“The biggest lesson that I’ve learned about my love life is that the more I learn, the less I feel like I know. Haha, how messed up is that? I think so often we are searching for rules, and tips, and techniques, to help making the navigation of this space easier and unfortunately love and relationships cannot be distilled down into a checklist. Love is complex and ever-changing. All we can do is be honest, clear in our communication, and hope that someone will do the same for us. I want a relationship, but I am in no hurry to settle.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it depends on the situation. For me, there is always the purge that takes place, but only a few have made it back into the social media sphere (not friend space) and that was after much time had passed. As far as being friends, I believe that wholly depends on your ability to communicate and be honest about your feelings. That being said, I am only friends with one ex.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Despite all of the heartbreak and wall building, I ultimately know that closed hearts cannot find love. And no matter how shitty things were and how awful I felt, I have to put yourself back out there. I have friends who have beautiful relationships and I want that for myself and my future partner. The brightness of my future outshines the pain of my past.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“So many good ones!
Borgore – Best
Banks – This Is What It Feels Like
The Internet – Just Sayin
Lapsley – Tell Me The Truth
Lapsley – Hurt Me
Sia – Elastic Heart
Lana Del Rey – Ride”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Honestly I don’t watch movies about heartbreak. Yes I’m the like 1% who has never seen The Notebook. Maybe one day in the future, but for now I am content to enjoy action and comedy.”

Kellie Cockrell’s Advice on Breakups, Courage + Dating Intentionally

We met up with multi-talented Kellie Cockrell in a beautiful coworking space in the heart of the Downtown LA’s Arts District before she set off to Europe. She opened up about knowing when it’s the right time to end a relationship and how her perspective on abundance keeps her optimistic in love and life.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first serious boyfriend that I had, I had in high school. It was my first major relationship. I was a sophomore, he was a senior and I thought he was really cool. But I kind of knew that it wasn’t right and by the time we broke up, so I was more relieved than anything. I felt literally free afterward. We had dated for about 2 years and I felt anguish constantly going back and forth. Should we stay together? Should we not?  There was always this indecisive battle going on within myself and when I finally decided that I was done, I felt free. As much as I cared about that person, I had to care about my life more.”

HEART SQUEEZES
“There have been a couple times where I’ve dated guys and while we weren’t necessarily a couple, we had been hanging out for a few months. We weren’t defined and when I approached our situation asking, ‘What should we call this? What are we?’ they’d come back with ‘I’m just not really into this.’ And there’s a feeling you feel as if your heart has been squeezed. It’s a physical feeling and it sucks. I’m from Utah and most of my friends are Mormon and/or married. I’m not Mormon and I’m not married. I have a twin sister who’s married. So for a while, I felt this strong pressure to have a serious relationship. I felt like everyone back home looked at me as this spinster lady. It was probably my own insecurities projected onto them – no one actually said that – but I just felt really upset after each guy I’d date for a few months didn’t want to be together, or when the relationship ended. And I would be exhausted. I felt like I couldn’t deal with dating anymore. It sucks to be lonely. Especially when you compare yourself to people that are in relationships. Why can’t I find my person and know for sure that they’re the one? All of these other people seem so certain.

HOW SHE MENDED
“I’ve always relied on being active of some sort. Working out and dancing. When you’re doing something like that, you feel very strong, sexy and proud. That always makes me feel better. I love contemporary, lyrical jazz dance classes. You can really express yourself. I hung out with friends a lot and just did things that made me happy. I tried to not sit at home and dwell. Your couch can just suck you in if you’re not aware. You just have to force yourself to get out of the house. I also read The Untethered Soul. It’s about having perspective on things, practicing letting things go and not letting things build up inside of you. Just realizing that nothing is really a big deal in the scheme of things.”

THE COURAGE TO BREAK UP
“I feel like I’ve broken up with more people than have broken up with me, but the struggle of deciding to break up with them is very much present and very hard.  Luckily, I’ve never been in the situation where someone’s cheated on me or we ended with some raging argument. Things have always been like, ‘Hey, it’s not working and I’m sorry that it isn’t.’ And it sucks because sometimes it’s easier to break up when there’s a big reason for doing so. It takes a lot of courage not to stay in a relationship because it’s convenient. It’s actually so difficult.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HER YOUNGER SELF
“Pick who you’re going to date intentionally. Look at who they are from a broad perspective. It’s very easy to just find someone that you think is attractive and that you feel really good with. It’s easy to just slide into a relationship. I’d remind myself to consider, What is it that they do that you like? What do they do that inspires you? Do they have a work ethic that you admire? I would tell myself to be more objective. There are so many people in the world – so many great guys to date. To pick someone because it’s convenient or because it’s easy is tempting but leads to frustration.”

ON CHASING LOVE
“As I get a little older, I’ve realized that I sort of know right away if it’s going to work. If he’s mutually into you then you should go for it. But if it seems like you’re chasing him and he’s sort of whatever about it, then end it – it shouldn’t be that way. If it’s meant to be, it happens easily. If you have to push it, it’s most likely just not going to work. You shouldn’t have to (and you can’t) convince someone to be interested in you.”

BREAKUP VICES
“Social media is hard. Having the ability to go onto Facebook and see a post from your ex is hard to resist sometimes. I try to have a lot of willpower. But every now and then, you’ll get that thought in your head, I’m just going to see that they’ve been up to. I do follow my exes on social media. Well I do on Facebook, but I don’t use Facebook nearly as much as I do Instagram. I use the turn-off notifications option. Even recently, my college boyfriend, whom I dated for 3 years, posted something about his current girlfriend that said, ‘I never knew love before you.’ I was just like, Well ok, that’s interesting that you feel like that. So I just hid the post.”

THE HARDEST LESSON SHE’S LEARNED ON LOVE
“It’s really easy to succumb to the fear of being lonely. It’s hard to know that you can be by yourself. That you don’t have to be with someone. That is something that every person should remember: whether or not you’re with this person, you’re going to be fine. Your life isn’t over. Your life isn’t defined by having this other person in it or not. And your self-worth isn’t defined by being with this person. I’m working on having the strength and courage to live by that.”

A RELATIONSHIP SHE ADMIRES
“I have 2 good friends who have been dating since high school and they have what I view as a model relationship. They both surf all the time. They’re super fit and active. There’s just something about them that you can tell they have confidence in the relationship. They’re never needy. They’re never showing a ton of annoying PDA. They just know that they love each other and that they’re each other’s people. They’ll go on trips [separately] for 2 weeks and not talk because they love traveling. One will go to Thailand, and they won’t have cell service and the other won’t question, ‘What if they’re out there doing…?’ They just don’t question. They love each other so much and have immense trust. And that’s what I want. You can either decide to trust the person you’re dating or not. And if you decide that you’re not going to trust, then you just shouldn’t be together.”

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE FOR YOU
“Just knowing that there are so many good people out in the world keeps my heart open. Knowing that there is someone out there who will be a good enough fit that you will want to to commit to. I don’t think that there’s only one person for you. There are a lot of people who will be great for you. So if it doesn’t work with one person, just know that you’ll meet someone else. It might not be super easy to find. It can definitely be hard. But just knowing that it will happen is key.”

SAYING YES TO POSSIBILITY (+DATING APPS)
“Before I met my current boyfriend, I went on a lot of random dates through Tinder (it was still in its first stages!), and I’ve always had a great time. We always had a good first date but in the end neither of us were really feeling it. But it’s important to say yes to the possibility. I think a lot of people say no too much. ‘No, she/he’s not cute enough’ or ‘he/she’s too short’ or ‘I don’t want to use dating apps.’ I’m an early adopter of new technology and ways of doing things, so I don’t really get why people wouldn’t utilize all the resources available. Obviously it would be great to meet someone by chance in person that you click with, but who cares if you meet them online? It’s not important. If you jive well – that’s what’s important. Because really, you’re not going to be getting asked out by super hot dudes who are put-together all the time. And you might find out that the person you least expect to make you laugh actually does, and that’s more important.”

WHAT SHE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO
“I have an activewear line with my twin sister where we sell rompers. My current projects include event production [at the time of interview she was preparing for Unique LA], photography and social media. I’m going to Europe for a month in September with my sister and friends. I’ve been wanting to travel again for so long!”

HER INTENTION: BRAVE
“It takes a lot of bravery to do the uncomfortable and not give into fear. I recently watched a TED talk about bravery. They discussed that only 1 out of 10 people that want to make a change will actually succeed. The other 9 will back into the habit because it’s so hard to consistently step out of one’s comfort zone. So my goal this year is to encourage myself to be brave to do the things I need to do in order to get where I want to be.”

Camila Miranda On Her Support System + Post-Breakup Rituals

Camila Miranda is a Berlin-based Mender who inspires major wanderlust through her travel adventures. She loves astrology, healthy eating, and capturing special moments with her handy Instax camera. We asked Camila a few questions about heartbreak and she shared how her strong support system and self-care rituals helped her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I would tell myself to embrace the moment. While being heartbroken is not the best thing in the world, is a great moment to reconnect with yourself and do things that you really enjoy. Now is the time to finally live life without worrying about what others may think. Invest time in being healthier, happier and in love with yourself for once.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I learned that I can do anything I put my mind into. Being heartbroken made me realize how strong I am and helped me to understand that I don’t need anybody to feel complete. I started to take care of myself first.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“The most important thing for me was being surrounded by people who loves me. My brother and friends were crucial for me. They are the ones that can show you what love is really like. They will support you when you need to cry and also will be there to make you laugh. The second thing would be doing things that you weren’t able to do when you were in a relationship. Being single gives you so much free time! Now I have time to workout, do yoga and even do crochet. So… do things that you love! Use this time to treat yourself.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Well, being a psychopath on instagram was something I did often when I was younger. Now I don’t do it anymore. I just realized how harmful and unnecessary that was. If I really want to move on, I can’t be using my time checking my ex’s life. There’s no point.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I’ve learned that you need to love yourself first in order to be happy in a relationship. You can’t be in a healthy relationship if you don’t respect and truly love yourself. I know is cheesy, but is true. Love you and your life first.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Well… in theory I guess ex’s could be friends, but in my case I prefer a clean break, so I am not friends with anyone of my ex’s. I wish them a happy life though.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I really trust in the universe and I am thankful for all my past relationships. I think all relationships teach you lessons and make you grow. Knowing that I am able to learn from every experience keeps my heart open. Single or in a relationship, I feel like I am where I am supposed to be, working on myself to be a better person.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“For heartbreak I love Sunset from The XX. Actually, any song from The XX will do.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Blue Valentine”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I love to travel and getting to know new cities so after my breakup I moved abroad, I left Chile and moved to Germany with my brother. That was I dream we had for so long and now is finally happening! I am also learning social makeup and astrology, and I am working on launching a YouTube channel with my brother to show our adventures in Berlin. I am just settling in so I am looking forward to see what opportunities this city has for me.”

Kit Warchol On Communication And Commitment

Kit Warchol is the editorial director at Career Contessa, a platform that helps women navigate their careers. For fun, she takes road trips with her dog, Monk. We asked Kit a few questions about her experience with breakups and she shared the two biggest rules she has learned about love through heartbreak.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Jeez, so much. But my #1 is probably this: that desperate “Wait, WTF did I do? I’m all alone and what if I was totally wrong?!” feeling goes away so much faster than you’d think. You just have to get past those first few days, which is admittedly much harder than I’m making it sound. Oh, and #2 if you’ve had more than a glass of wine, do not text him (or her). Period. Honestly though? I’m still bad at following that advice.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Every heartbreak makes me more aware of what I want, what I need to work on personally, and the sort of person I need/want to be with. I joked to someone the other day that I totally get when you hear about someone who dates until they’re 40, then meets the just-right person and is married in three months. Do I think I’ll do something like that? Unlikely. But every time I’ve come out on the other side of heartbreak, I’ve better understood what to look for next time. It’s a Goldilocks effect.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I walk. A lot. The worse the breakup, the better shape I’m in. I also am an unapologetic consulter with a tight-knit group of friends. So during a breakup, I do a lot of “Hey, smarter, wiser, less emotionally devastated friends, what should I say to this text from him?” or “Should I send this?” texting with them. I’m biased, but I think they always have the right answers.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I mean, I still check IG accounts of exes from way back when. It’s fascinating. Two of them got married in the last month, actually, which I found out through mutual friends’ social posts. My answer is to unfriend. Even with the ex who I lived with—we’re still friendly—I was like “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I’m going to stop following you for awhile while I process.” And with the whole texting thing (which, in case you couldn’t tell is my biggest vice since I’ve mentioned it like three times already), I have this rule: anything I want to send after like 8pm has to wait until the next day. If I still want to send it then, I’m allowed. And seeing a therapist helps, too, if you have access to one. Huge into therapy.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“1. It’s not enough. Love is not all you need. At least not in the sense that most of us mean. You need an excess of communication, to mutually commit to working on things, and you need to be able to let shit go. Also, you need a life outside of your S.O.—plans with friends, hobbies they don’t do with you, etc. Because if you don’t have that, all you’ll talk about is your own relationship. Narcissistic much?

Or 2. Once boredom sneaks into a relationship, it can and will destroy what you’ve built. Do everything in your power to engage with your person, expand your own contributions, and never, never get lazy. Love’s worth it.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Not very often, and definitely 100%, no way, no how should anyone try to be friends with their ex starting immediately after a breakup. Even if the relationship ends in the most amicable way, disconnect.

I recently dated someone who could have been the next big thing for me—we checked almost all the boxes. But before we met, he’d decided to stay friends with his ex of 8 years. You can’t actually move on when you do stuff like that. You continue to follow the same routines, maybe share the same dog (ahem), prioritize your ex’s feelings over anyone new you meet. It makes sense in a way because there’s history there—why wouldn’t you value it over a stranger, right? But that means you’ll never give anyone new a fair chance, and you’re asking too much of them, too early on by saying “be patient” or “you just have to accept this.” It’s more fair for everyone—you, your ex, both your future partners—to take some real time away. OK, off my soap box now.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Chronic optimism…and the simple memories that I still cherish from every relationship I’ve ever had. Like I remember how perfect one morning felt when I was 20, lying in bed on Sunday doing the crossword with my college boyfriend. Knowing those moments exist give me confidence that I’ll find someone who makes me feel like that regularly, preferably daily, and indefinitely.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“‘Three Cigarettes in the Ashtray’ by Patsy Cline. Jesus. And it’s maybe not so much about heartbreak as it’s about a tortured relationship, but I listen to Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” at least ten times after every break-up.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“The Apartment. I’ve never had a doomed affair with a married man, but the movie still makes me ache everywhere.”

On a personal level, I’ve committed to finishing writing this murder mystery novel—no joke, the paperback variety—that I started years ago. There are cults involved. And a 20-something protagonist living in LA. Go figure.”

Karen González Ibarra On Being Thankful For Heartbreak

Karen Ibarra is an illustrator and artist. She loves traveling, doodling, and making collages. We asked Karen some questions about heartbreak and she shared how a breakup helped her find herself through creativity.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Life goes on, it truly does. I remembered I was like 18 and thinking that I could never get through it. I just didn’t want to feel pain anymore. Now as I look back, I’m very thankful for that experience because it led me to the search of my creative self. I started to find the answers that I was looking for outside within me, and once you learn that, you start a new relationship with yourself and you find the courage to move on.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I could create the person I wanted to become. Heartbreak for me meant a white canvas. It meant freedom to discover myself and through that I discovered my passion for illustration and art.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“For me it was writing and drawing; art truly helped me heal. I felt better knowing that through my pain I could create something new.”

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Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Yes, that´s tough especially now that social media is a big part of our lives. But I decided to be selfish and only focus on myself for a while. I stopped following everyone on Facebook. I didn’t eliminate them – just unfollowed them – that way I could create a safe space for myself and only focus on things that make me happy, like drawing, fashion, watching series, dancing, etc.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“As I grow older, I see that love has a lot to do with your own relationship with yourself, with how much you love yourself first so that you can love someone else.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I do stay friends with my exes on social media, but I don’t follow them. I think that at least at the beginning it’s healthy to keep some distance so that you can go on with your life.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I think that once you experience real love, you know it’s worth it, in spite of the pain and heartbreak. True love exists and that’s the reason to keep your heart open. You never know what could happen.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I love La La Land because it’s realistic – you can love someone, but the timing is not right. But it’s ok. It’s like they taught you about love and you can move on and find the person you are supposed to be with.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I have some cool collaborations with some brands coming that I’m excited about and I want to keep going with my blog and expand it to illustration tutorials videos on YouTube.”

Christina Lonsdale On Why Heartbreak Is Like An Acid Trip

Christina Lonsdale is the Portland-based visual artist and founder of Radiant Human, a fully adaptable aura photography laboratory. Christina was raised on mysticism and believed in science and spiritualism equally. We asked Christine some questions about heartbreak and she shared how changing her perspective on breakups helped her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I wouldn’t bother. Knowing younger me and the grief I was in, there is nothing I could have said to make anything better. Advice is a mental exchange based on the retrospect of a personal experience. For that advice to work, the receiver has to be mentally available and so often the case, heartbreak is another dimension where mental clarity does not exist. It is an emotional override to your life. It is a vision quest of your own heart and it is yours and yours only.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I can survive anything.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I treat heartbreak like an acid trip rather than an illness. There’s nothing you can do to fix this. The best thing you can do is turn off your phone, find a safe space, good music and art supplies!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’ve done that a few times, checking IG when things are still fresh. I’m lucky that I’ve mostly been with people that are very considerate of the situation so nothing too traumatic there. It just sucks because it makes me miss them more and grieve the dream we built. So I just don’t do it until I’m really ready. I never unfollow. I just avoid. I honor the grief, then focus on moving on as soon as possible. I’m a rip the bandaid off type of person. I know for some people they have to be hurt, to get mad, then hate, to get over it. Everyone has their own process so there’s no right way.”

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Biggest Lesson: I’m still learning.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I’m friends with all but one, and that one wasn’t official anyway so it’s kind of poetic that even after our time together we remain ambiguous and awkward.

“I have two favorite exes; my very first and my very last. They are family members rather than exes now and our love feels more stable and enriching then I could have ever imagined. Let me be clear, we don’t have sex, and it is probably because of this that I can say with absolute certainty that I will know them for the rest of my life. If you keep having sex you’re not letting the relationship evolve. There is a special bond through the death of dream love that is irreplaceable once you get to the other side. There is a uniquely primal experience to three things in life; birth, great sex and death. In a true love affair you experience all three. Anyone sharing that experience with me I feel is a lasting relationship worthy of considerable effort. They have seen me through so many stages of myself and held witness to so much! They have seen me at my worst and at my best, and still they remain supportive and loving. Unconditional because we have survived all the conditions.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Hope and humility.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Any cheesy disposable rom com or binge worthy series. Also: Eternal Sunshine For The Spotless Mind.”

Favorite Books

“Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankle. A psychotherapist’s personal account of Auschwitz, discovering we are all inherently optimists. Great for putting things in perspective. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran ‘as love crowns you so does she crucify you.’ The Missing Piece Meets The Big O by Shel Silverstein. Something tender and cute, cuz duh.”

Favorite Quote

“Heartbreak is like birth; it’s uncomfortable, it’s a weight to bear for quite some time. It’s really painful and messy, but after you get through it, you’ll have a brand new life to take care of that is more rewarding than you’ve ever imagined!” -My Dad

Sara Radin On Why A Relationship Isn’t Everything

Sara Radin is a fashion and beauty features editor for Teen Vogue. Sara likes to collaborate with strangers, foster community, and spread the cathartic powers of creativity. We asked Sara a few questions about her experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how focusing on herself helped her thrive as a single woman.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“My first break up was a total disaster! I was completely heartbroken. Looking back on it now, there’s a lot I would tell my younger self. I used to think being in a relationship was everything, but luckily, I know better than that now. When I was younger, that belief made it impossible to see myself as a whole person because I could only measure my life based upon the fact that I was still single.”

“Now, I would tell my younger self to ignore the media and my inner critic, and see my singledom as a positive. To fully embrace my independence and see it as an opportunity to learn, grow and focus on making things happen for myself. I’d tell myself that break ups (though they can be messy and painful) are always a blessing in disguise, and can even be inspiration for creative projects. As Carrie Fisher once said, ‘Take your broken heart, make it into art.’”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I am stronger than I could ever imagine and I am worthy of honesty, respect and deep love.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Sounds simple but I make me time. I let myself rest, recharge, and feel through my emotions. Sometimes that’s staying in on a Friday night, ordering take out and laying around watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or Parenthood. Other times, it’s taking a long, hot shower, sitting at the bottom of the tub and meditating until I feel more grounded.”

“Writing has also been a great healing mechanism, it allows me to process my feelings and find the learnings in shitty experiences. I’ve been doing memoir writing, largely about my dating life, for a little over a year now, and it’s been a game changer. Not only is it incredibly cathartic, but it’s also empowering and wildly entertaining. Then, when I feel ready, I get out of the house and surround myself with people I love. My ideal night is seeing a movie, and grabbing a yummy meal with great friends. Hugs, laughter, vintage shopping, frozen Justin’s peanut butter cups — they all help too.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“After past relationships ended, I used to throw myself into online dating or go on dates with people I didn’t actually want to hang out with. It wasn’t a healthy coping mechanism. I was so scared of being alone and yet, doing that always made me feel worse and even more alone. A while back, I had some shitty dating experiences that really stripped me raw. It was a wake up call that I wasn’t doing a very good job at putting myself first. So I took a much needed dating hiatus in order to focus on myself and the things that make me happy. I learned a really valuable lesson and have since, never been happier.

Checking an ex’s Instagram definitely used to fill a void for me but I realized it was making breakups more painful. So now, I try to pause before I click on an ex’s account, and really think if it’s worth it. I still slip up once in awhile and give into the vice sometimes, but now I make a conscious effort to remind myself how that person wasn’t right for me, and re-focus my energy on the things that make me feel happy and fulfilled.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“The greatest love of all is the love you have for yourself. And although people may come and go, self-love is eternal.”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I always joke you never know who’s going to be your next collaborative partner, and that could very well be an ex-boyfriend. However, I think it depends on the circumstances of the break up. If someone didn’t treat you well in a relationship, then they’re definitely not worth keeping around. Though it’s hard to totally disconnect from people today, I tend to only unfollow exes in extreme circumstances. Sometimes I block guys from my Instagram stories. It just feels too intimate and weird for them to be watching the in’s and out’s of my daily life. Instagram desperately needs to create a setting that allows you to continue following someone but block their images from your feed without them knowing :)”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“No matter what my relationship status is, my creativity and my curiosity are the two things that will always get me out of bed in the morning, and tuck me into bed at night.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“A little over a year ago, I started writing poems about some of the guys I previously dated. Now, with the help of my co-founder Vanessa Gattinella, it’s turned into a global project called It’s Not Personal. INP is a growing anthology and collective inspired by the female dating experience. While we’re working towards a large scale exhibition and a published book, we currently host monthly workshops at the New Women Space and run a monthly column with BUST Magazine. ”

“Our aim is to give women a platform to share, cope and grow from their dating experiences using the powerful tools of art and writing. Though the project is about dating, at the heart of it, we want to help women on their journey to self-love. We want to help them find comfort and clarity in their relationship status, whatever that may be. So far, we’ve received over 100 submissions and our collective has over 2,000 members. Submissions are still being accepted through September, and can be sent to itsnotpersonalnyc@gmail.com!”

*Photos courtesy of  Elizabeth Scholnick

Aya McMillan On Rebuilding Herself Post-Breakup

Aya McMillan is fashion editor and digital content strategist whose work has been in Elle, WWD and Vogue Nippon. She is obsessed with shoes, home decor, reading, traveling, and looking after her fur babies. A born and bred Torontonian, she will politely wax poetic about how cool Canada is beyond just Drake, the Biebs, and Justin Trudeau — to basically to anyone that will listen.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“This pain is not forever. So far, you’ve survived everything you thought you wouldn’t.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Never discount someone else’s grief or deny how devastating heartbreak can be. Without reservation, I can honestly say that dealing with my most recent breakup was and has been far more difficult than learning that I had cancer.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“It had been so long since I had dealt with a breakup before this last 10-year one, so there were no rituals to be had; I was completely out of practice.

Friends and family certainly helped. So did petting my dogs, deep breathing, walking, writing, and volunteering (because, #gratitude). But travel is probably what healed me. Earlier this year I flew to London, then Tokyo and finally, Sri Lanka, where I parked myself in a small bungalow on a remote beach to rumble with the pain, heartache and bury the dreams I once had.

Even if you can’t get away, sitting with the quiet is so completely necessary. I made the mistake of not instituting NC (i.e. no contact) after the breakup and it remains, to this day, one of my biggest regrets—and takeaways. You cannot be expected to make important life decisions in your most vulnerable, shattered, desperate state.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Blessedly, my ex is not big into the socials. That said, I did drink drank quite heavily following my most recent breakup. He was part of a wine club and had collected a few hundred bottles in anticipation of our new wine cellar being installed, so I took it upon myself to pilfer every white, rosé and bubbly (I’m allergic to red). It’s not something I’m proud of or would recommend but, when your life is in pieces, you’ll do whatever it takes to bear the unbearable.

I think it’s ok to fall apart a little bit. It let’s you rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Life has a way of teaching you the lessons you need to learn. For me, that’s meant learning to be vulnerable, to show up, to dig deep, to love fiercely—and loudly. My ex and I are conflict-averse, quiet people. No one was at fault. The relationship (in his opinion, at least) had just run its natural course. But I think you lose something in that silence. When you play it calm and cool, the fire inevitably burns out. Shakespeare had it right: “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it will break.”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Objectively speaking, yes. Personally speaking, no. Some have remained ‘friendly’, but never ever close friends in the true sense of the word.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Glennon Doyle Melton wrote, “Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s proof that we once loved.” Heartbreak hurts like hell but I’ve also learned it’s inherent in being fully human. And now, more than ever, I want to emerge alive.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“‘Save You’ by Turin Brakes was on major repeat for a long time. “Time will save you; you don’t need to save yourself” as the lyrics go, is also something I’ve said to myself on repeat.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I’m still searching for that one but open to recommendations!”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m mostly focused on my cancer treatments for the time being, while still trying to negotiate the logistics of my legal separation, putting my house on the market and finding a new place to live. I’m looking forward to decorating my new home exactly the way I want without anyone else’s consideration—and it will 100% involve pink. My priorities this year are me. That’s it, just me.”

Jules Miller On Enjoying The Single Life

Jules Miller is the founder of The Nue Co, a company that makes supplements using organic foods. She turned to supplements when work and stress got in the way of eating right but struggled to find a brand that resonated with her. We talked to Jules about high school heartbreak, and why she went on a temporary “man ban.”

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“It was with my high school sweetheart. We’d been together for 3 years and clearly…at 17…I thought he was the one. We’d been blissfully in ‘love’ throughout school but everything changed in our gap year. He wanted freedom, he wanted out. We broke up at a bus stop I dragged him to after he tried to break up with me over text. I remember being beyond over-dramatic, as if the world was ending.

We ended up getting back together shortly after, but the love in me had died at that bus stop. We went on for a further 3 years (!) before officially calling it quits. I did the quitting, and sadly no tears were shed on my part.

The advice I’d give to my younger self is to always accept people for who they are. Love because you feel it, not because you want to. I used to get very carried away with myself and always see what I wanted to see in people / life / situations. I try to be a bit more realistic now. It’s a good way to protect yourself.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I’m great in a relationship, but I’m also great on my own. I always tell my friends to relish their single periods. Being single means you have the privilege to not have to compromise. Nothing is worse than being in an unhappy relationship, it’s far worse than being single.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Absolutely cut off all communication. I really do not believe that any two people who are currently or have been previously in love, can breakup and continue some sort of relationship from the get-go. Eventually, maybe. But time is the greatest healer, and for a hot-headed Colombian woman like me, it’s an absolute necessity.

Do anything that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel in control over your happiness. Anything from getting back into fitness, starting a new job or a holiday with friends.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’m pretty black and white and not a very jealous person, so I didn’t really have issues with checking up on exes. I think when I was younger I did, but that was before Instagram ever came into play and FB was still pretty private.
I suppose my biggest vice is being too impulsive and making decisions in the heat of the moment i.e replying to texts, answering calls. I just remind myself that there is no reason to rush anything. Give time and things slowly get better.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love rarely happens when you are looking for it, and its rarely what you expect.

When I met my current boyfriend I was on a ‘man ban’. I’d been on too many bad dates and dated too many losers to really have the energy to do it anymore. Charlie came along and we agreed to be just friends, which quickly turned to best friends. I could have never predicted we’d end up together when we first met, our friends would speculate but I’d always insist we had absolutely no feelings for each other. Looking back on it, I think I probably loved him within weeks of knowing him. Being around him always made me feel excited and relaxed at the same time. We had an automatic connection and from day 1 we wanted to spend all our time together, not because we had to but because we genuinely wanted to.

I doubt I wouldn’t have launched my company without him. I know that no matter how crazy my day is, how many email ‘bombs’ I have to dismantle, how many rejections I get – he’s always there telling me to keep going. I suppose that’s what love is, bringing out the best in someone. Whether that be a family member, friends or your partner.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I don’t have any specific rules – but generally I haven’t. Life happens and you choose to spend the little spare time you have with people you genuinely love. For some that may be your exes – unfortunately for me it’s not.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I have a pretty good relationship with myself. I try to be in touch with my inner voice and I’m kind to her. I know what I can offer, and what I can’t – and I’m OK with that. I suppose that comes from experience (and age!)

I think it’s also always good to think about the world outside of you to put your heartbreak into perspective. There are people going through unbelievable heartache, if they can do it – so can you.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I’m not big into heartbreak movies. But if you need mindless entertainment and something to really make you think about nothing – put Geordie Shore on :)”

Jo Piazza On Finding Love When You Least Expect It

Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist, author, and podcaster. She wrote the international bestseller, The Knockoff, and her latest book How to be Married is all about what she learned from real women on five continents about the first year of marriage. She also hosts the podcast Committed, which is all about what happens after “I do.” We asked Jo a few questions about heartbreak and she shared all the post-breakup rituals that helped her heal.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“This is for the best. And it won’t last. Every single one of my heartbreaks had me paralyzed in bed and mad as hell. And in the long run, they were the best thing that ever could have happened to me. Eat all of the chocolate, drink the vodka, and then get back up and get back out there.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. When they were happening I thought each of them would break me. But you don’t break. And you are stronger and smarter the next time around.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I eat all of the chocolate. I drink and moan with my girlfriends. Then I tend to write about it. Writing about it has always cleared my palate and my brain and helped me put something that seems terrible in perspective. Break up with their social media. There’s no reason to keep following them. Would you keep swallowing poison or hitting yourself in the face? Take the time to heal. It’s OK that you don’t feel 100% right away. Take your time.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That all of the terrible cliches are true. Real love actually does happen when you least expect it. When it’s right, it isn’t hard. When it’s hard, it isn’t right. Relationships should be wonderful and easy at first because life only gets more difficult.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Yes. After time. You need to take one apart if you ever want to be real friends. Saying you can be friends right away is always bullshit.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Well I ended up finding love when I least expected it, getting engaged three months later and now I’ve been married almost two years.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“My Best Friends Wedding.”

Nitsa Citrine On How She Found Balance Post-Breakup

Nitsa Citrine, Creative Director at Sun Potion, is an artist, lover of tea, tonic herbs, alchemy, and photography. Here she talks to us about finding balance post-breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Stay Open. Trust Yourself. Breathe into the sensation -don’t attempt to numb or run away from the pain of it when it breaks…let it transform into something beautiful, growth.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I am an amazing Lover? Ha! Seriously though….”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Tea. Green Juice. Raw Chocolate. Wine. Lots of Water.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Placing balance and well-being as the priority and then letting the rest fall into place…and with this – not feeling like one has to explain or justify aspects of their personal life to anyone.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love is the beginning and the end.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Under the right circumstances – absolutely! I remain close with my ex Scott Linde – we were engaged for years, built a life and business together – the experiences we shared are rare and unique – I am so grateful for all of it and I continue to cherish him, even though our relationship has shifted… our way of being together has evolved into something new.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Honesty.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“It really depends on the heartbreak…Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” and “I’m Your Man” always get me…. straight to the heart!”

Joi-Marie McKenzie On Why Love Lives In The Now

Joi-Marie McKenzie is the Emmy-award winning Senior Entertainment Editor for ESSENCE magazine. Previously, she wrote for Good Morning America and ABC News. She is also the author of a critically-acclaimed memoir, The Engagement Game. We asked Joi-Marie about her post-breakup rituals and she opened up about how her spiritual life helped her mend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“It’ll happen again. And it’ll happen continually throughout life. So don’t necessarily worry about mourning the loss, but worry about learning how to cope with the loss because it’ll happen until the very day that you die — and then someone else is heartbroken. It’s a cycle.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“It illuminated for me how I grieve. When I’m heartbroken, I tend to mask my feelings in shopping or drinking or staying out late or traveling a lot. So I’ve learned that that’s how I cope and I have to be cognizant of that and aware of that so that I don’t abuse that.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I use prayer as a tool. Often times I’ve broken up with a guy after I’ve tried to control an uncontrollable situation. And so I’ve used prayer to come to terms with life playing out in a way that I didn’t expect. I remember during my most recent break up that I write about in my debut memoir The Engagement Game, the prayer that got me through that tough period was, “God surprise me,” because it signaled to God that I had no dog left in the fight; that I wanted him to direct my path.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I am the worst offender of rereading text messages — to remind me of the good times and the bad times too. I don’t know how to conquer it, but I just remind myself to be gentle to my spirit. I wasn’t going to be perfect during the breakup. I was going to scratch things that itched. And sometimes you have to let yourself do it and then (and make sure you do this last part!) stop doing it.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love lives in the now. It really doesn’t last forever, and my last relationship that I wrote about in The Engagement Game taught me that. Here it was: I found a guy who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and when it didn’t work out I considered that relationship a failure because it didn’t work out the way that I had envisioned. But when I think back to that relationship now, I see it is as a success. I was with a guy that I loved, and who loved me, for five years. And a lot of people don’t even get to experience that and so I’m grateful. And even if we did get married, we would’ve separated eventually…by death. I know that’s kind of morbid but it sort of motivates me. It confirms for me that truly nothing lasts forever and it motivates me to enjoy the moments of life. Enjoy the now.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“No.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Does Bridget Jones Diary count?”

Amanda Grey On Post-Breakup Healing Through Yoga

Amanda Grey is a personal trainer and founder of Sweat & Flow, a yoga studio that takes a physical approach to personal healing. She started Sweat and Flow after a breakup left her in a mental and emotional rut. We asked Amanda about her experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how fitness and yoga helped her through the post-breakup healing process.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Believe it when you’re told, “it’s not you, it’s me.” The line is not just a Hollywood rom-com cliche, it’s the truth. You…. you are: perfectly imperfect, strong, beautiful, and confident. You are all of those things, and have been all of those things. No one can give you those qualities, and no one can take them away. We all have an internal narrative, and we can never truly know what’s going on in someone else’s head. So if they decided to walk away from you, let them continue on their journey without you. Your journey and your healing require you to tap into your innate qualities of strength and confidence and continue to move forward.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I have always tended to be a “fixer,” but not of the Olivia Pope variety. I subconsciously was attracting guys who for one reason or another “had potential,” but weren’t quite ready for a relationship on the emotionally available scale. It took a handful of heartbreaks and a therapist to finally realize that the person who needed “fixing” was myself. The men I was so desperately trying to be with were only mirrors back to what needed fixing in my own life. Without realizing it, I wasn’t fully emotionally available because my internal narrative was playing my childhood trauma of my parent’s divorce on repeat — it’s my fault, I’m not good enough, if I was perfect then he’d stay. Yadda Yadda. I have learned how to heal my codependency, strengthen my self-worth, and have funneled my need to “fix” into my passion and purpose – helping others heal from their own past wounds, using exercise and yoga as my methodology.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I’m not usually an emotional or stress eater, but I definitely fall into the cliche category with my breakup vices, turning to my comforts – pizza and chocolate cake. I also rededicate myself to my workout routine, using exercise and sweat as a way to release any emotion that’s coming up for me that day. For example, taking a boxing class if I’m feeling angry, a long run helps with jealousy or an overactive internal narrative, and I love yoga on the days where I’m feeling overly emotional and heavy. An hour workout is often the only time I can truly get out of my head.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I am definitely guilty of incessantly checking in on an ex’s social media, so much that it’s become an ingrained habit and I still find myself absentmindedly searching his name on Facebook, and for really no reason other than boredom. Not healthy behavior, but once you realize WHY you’re doing it, it can ultimately be a big lesson. What are you hoping to find? Proof… of what? Nothing good comes of it – if there’s a new girl that shows up in a photo or a comment, it’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole, landing on her profile, looking through her photos. This behavior only invites in your inner critic, why do that to yourself? It’s hard to have constraint, so my advice is to delete them from social media entirely. Go out and live your life. And eventually when the pain settles, if you even care, you can add them back.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Wounds are formed in relationships, but they’re also healed in relationships. Despite the pain, the tears and heartbreak, I am so grateful for my last relationship and the subsequent breakup. It was my first breakdown to breakthrough moment. I don’t think I’ve ever been so raw in my life, but that rawness helped to expose areas in my life, patterns in my life, that were keeping me stuck. I am so much more aware now than I have ever been, I am much stronger in my own self-worth because I was able to heal old wounds in the days, weeks, months following our breakup. I used to fear relationships because breakups gutted me so much, I didn’t want to get serious with anyone and have to live through the pain when things didn’t work out. A life without love is no way to live, you truly have to stay open to love. Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn more about yourself, what you want and need, and how to love deeper.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“This is tough, because I am almost three years removed from my last breakup and I am friends with said ex. In fact, we still see each other pretty regularly due to a shared group of friends. Aside from a few college boyfriends that I’ve lost touch with, I’m friends with all my exes. But that’s not to discredit how HARD it was to get to this point of friendship. The first 6 months to a year after a breakup, no way, my emotions are too raw. But as the romantic feelings fade, and the lessons become more evident, it’s hard NOT to have a friendship in some capacity. It doesn’t have to be a social, everyday friendship, but to have loved someone means I will always be connected to them, it’s my human nature.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Knowing that my biggest transformations have stemmed from heartbreak. My first relationship out of college was the first time I could see myself settling down, and when it didn’t work out I moved from Ohio to California to try to find myself. It took me nearly 4 years before I was in a serious relationship again, but in those years I met the most incredible people and traveled the world for my job, which I never would have done had I not moved. My last breakup came at the heels of personal tragedy for my ex, which made me start to examine my relationship with my father. I found forgiveness and closure. I am no longer haunted by my parent’s divorce and my fractured childhood, which I was forced to confront during my breakup. Having had both of these experiences, and to be living the “good” that can come from the “bad,” I realize that regardless of the outcome of my next relationship, I will be okay if not better.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“I don’t have a particular song off the top of my head, but John Mayer’s Gravity album and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album were on repeat during my two milestone breakups. Anytime I hear a song from those albums, it takes me right back to those moments.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

500 Days of Summer. I loved that the ending is so honest and true.”

Rebecca Louise On Self Discovery Post-Breakup

Rebecca Louise is the founder of fitness app Burn (and also a prolific fitness YouTuber) which helps people find balance in their lives through wellness. We asked Rebecca some questions about her experience with breakups and she opened up about how heartbreak helped her reflect and learn more about herself.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Being heartbroken is one of the worst feelings you can experience. That sudden hit to your stomach, the pain in your heart and the feeling that you will never meet anyone again. Well yes this is true for all of us and no it doesn’t get any easier if your heart keeps breaking. Although it might seem terrible at the time and might be hard to believe, the relationship ended for a reason. That reason is a good one, even if you don’t think so! It happened because there was someone better suited for you out there. I have been in a couple of relationships and at the time thought there couldn’t be anyone better out there for me. What I realize now is that everyone comes into your life for a reason, to teach you something and for you to grow. At the end you will be with the person you were meant to be with.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak is the best way to learn about yourself and it enables you to grow. It is a time to reflect back on the relationship and look at why it didn’t work. This is not a time to blame the other person about why it didn’t! Take full responsibility and just look at your own actions to enable you to learn and grow. Complaining about what they did won’t help you, it will only make you frustrated. Heartbreak taught me how to be strong, how to bounce back and change my state even when all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa. I learned that no matter what is happening in my personal life, my world goes on and so must I.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Changing my state of mind is a big part of helping me mend. I recognize when I am in a low mood and tell myself to smile, to be grateful and to make the most out of the day. I know that my life is going to continue and bad things happen so I may as well come out the other end happy, strong and with something to show! You might not feel like being around other people but sometimes you have to force yourself, It will help you not mope around at home feeling sorry for yourself.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“In my opinion, when you break up its called a break because its broken! So my advice is to block them on all your social media and get your friends to block them too. This might be incredibly hard and something you think you don’t need to do, remember the saying ‘out of sight out of mind’ is true! Move on and look at the future instead of the past!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I have realized that love is about communication with another being. You can be in a relationship that you think is love, you are arguing and making up all the time making it exhausting. I have found that loving someone is when you listen to them, you are able to talk things through because neither wants an argument, you respect them and want to be more like them.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“No, I don’t think you can stay friends with you ex. You are no longer with that person and if you want to move on you need to distance yourself from them. To get over someone they need to be far away and out of your feed. The most important thing for me is that it’s not healthy going into a new relationship when you are still focused on or following someone you were once with. It’s not fair on you to compare and it’s certainly not fair on your new romance to have to deal with. If it was me I would want to know there were no feelings and that they are no longer in their life before I started to invest even a minute of my time with them.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“You must always keep your heart open and not be afraid because we were designed to live with another human being. It feels horrible at the time, but once you have been through one and you know there is someone else even better suited coming your way it gives you hope. Always believe that everything happens for a reason and in your favor.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“I tend not to listen to music when I have been heartbroken because for me it stirs up to much emotion. I like to concentrate on reading or listening to personal development.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“My favorite movie about love is Love, Actually. All the story lines are so great and varied you get to see all kinds of relationships. The movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ might sound brutal at the time but it’s a good one!”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I am super excited about the workout videos we are filming this year because each month we are shooting in a new country! Not only will you get a great workout in but you will get to see the world. There are many more motivational videos coming to the channel and a whole bunch of vlogs on the new Rebecca Louise Vlog channel! We also have an opportunity for everyone to come and experience wellness with me on a retreat. Follow me on social media for the announcement!”

Laura Yates On Post-Heartbreak Transformation

Laura Yates is a London-based breakup coach and writer who helps clients rewire old patterns using a practice called neural rewiring. We asked Laura some questions about her personal experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how she used her breakup as an opportunity for personal transformation.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Oh wow, this brings back a memory! The thing I did that time was something I actually should have done more of when I got older and that was spend time around good friends. The day I got finished with by someone I really liked, I went over to my best friend’s house, she cooked for a few of our friendship group that evening and I cried, laughed and felt so much better. It was so comforting to be around friends. I would tell her to keep doing that! I’d also tell her to trust that the feeling will pass, to not let it hold her back or make her feel like it’s something she did wrong. With relationships and breakups, a large part of the time it’s just where the other person is at and not a personal reflection on you. (I would also tell her to not trust any guy that finishes with you whilst he’s on roller blades anyway!)”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Oh gosh so much! So much of my transformation has come through going through heartbreak. It taught me to understand that everything isn’t supposed to be perfect in life. It’s not linear. It’s full of messy twists and turns but there can be so much beauty that comes out of that. It also taught me about boundaries. When you love someone so much, you can over-compromise. You see the relationship and that person through rose tinted glasses because you believe things might change. But you can’t change people. All you can do is have control over how you choose to react to a situation and how you can change to become a better person as a result of it. Walking away from my last relationship was one of the hardest things I had to do but it set us both free to find a relationship that’s better suited. We can put so much blame on the other person and that keeps us rooted in the past and the relationship. But putting blame aside, taking responsibility for myself and being able to let go and forgive (and that forgiveness doesn’t mean saying what happened was ok – it’s just means that you set yourself free from the emotional turmoil that’s keeping you stuck) was one of the biggest learnings I had.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“After my breakup I focused on my health and wellbeing. Whenever I face challenges life, I turn back to my physical health (which is the thing that always tends to get compromised with me!) and strength because I notice how much it impacts my emotional resilience. After my breakup I worked with a personal trainer and found that exerting all that energy into something positive, just for me, helped me heal so much. For so long I was focused on the relationship and my ex that I lost sight of myself. So my rituals were about rediscovering who I was. That was also when journaling became more of a ritual for me too. I also consciously decided to make sure my environment was one that could facilitate healing, inspiration, fun and creativity. Spending time with friends, going to workshops, getting more and more into personal development, writing about how I was coming through my own heartbreak and helping other people heal from breakups was something I completely threw myself into!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’m convinced my breakups when I was younger were easier because social media wasn’t really around then! Depending on how serious the relationship was, you do tend to bounce back a little quicker when you’re younger but getting over a breakup was still a lot more fluid because there were no social media triggers. It was more if you bumped into your ex down the pub that would cause the most worry! I’ve noticed this with friends I’ve grown up with too.

With my last breakup, there was a lot I saw and found out about via social media and it 100% perpetuated the heartbreak, anger and anxiety associated with it. So what I did was notice how much anxiety and pain it caused me and then every time I went to click on his profile, asked myself whether that was really going to help or hinder me. It’s like rubbing salt in the emotional wound so I did what I could to eliminate what I saw. I also defriended him. Not out of spite but because I knew seeing his life would only cause more pain. I had what I call a mini breakup with someone else about a year or so later and he barely used social media. Even though that relationship was quite short and not as much emotional investment, I still really noticed how much easier it was to bounce back because he didn’t really use Facebook or Instagram. It’s crazy how much it affects us. With my coaching clients, how to handle social media is something that always comes up.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“It’s unpredictable! But isn’t that amazing? You honestly never know when love can show up in your life but you have to be open to it. I also think that love is the thing that reminds me that everyone is human. It’s the ultimate equalizer. It doesn’t matter how famous, attractive, successful, wealthy or accomplished you are, you’re not immune to heartbreak. It brings out that inner vulnerability in everyone.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it’s a really individual thing. Personally, I don’t stay friends with exes or think I could. If you’ve have that kind of connection and relationship with someone, it’s hard to be able to then separate that and create a friendship. But I know it can happen with some people, it just depends on the relationship and why it ended. I definitely don’t think you can be friends immediately after a breakup. There are too many raw emotions and so often we can use staying friends as an excuse to stay in each other’s lives in any way possible. When it comes to social media, again it depends on the relationship itself. I’m friends with guys I’ve dated in the past on social media but the ones I’ve been in serious relationships with I’m not.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I love the thought of being in love again! I find it exciting, exhilarating and I really believe that relationships are journeys that lead us from one stage in our lives to another. Just knowing that sometimes things aren’t meant to last forever is comforting. But it doesn’t mean those past relationships were a mistake. They’re just stepping-stones to the next chapter. Plus you learn so much about yourself after a relationship ends. I’ve taken a lot of time since my last big relationship ended. So I know that when I meet that next person, I have such a deep knowing of myself, what I want and need from a partner and relationship – and who I want to be for them too that it takes the ‘risk’ element out of it. It’s easy to put up walls after heartbreak but when you have your boundaries, wants and needs in check, you spot red flags sooner and can walk away quicker from something or someone that isn’t right for you. You can have an open heart without leaving yourself vulnerable.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“So many! But I’d say my favourite has to be Amy Winehouse ‘Back to Black.'”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“500 Days of Summer. That scene where Tom starts drawing the skyline on his apartment wall – I love that so much because it perfectly captures the turning point of him beginning to come out the other side of his heartbreak. I also love the scene after Summer and Tom bump into each other after she’s married where she tells him that it wasn’t that there was anything wrong for him; it just wasn’t right for her. We can make heartbreak so much about ‘us’. But even if it isn’t right for one person it doesn’t make you inadequate in any way. It just wasn’t right.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I love working with Mend (obviously ha!) and within my own brand, I’m extending my coaching services to helping people bounce back from many areas of their life and transform their everyday. Something I am passionate about is approaching transformation with humility and creativity. I work with clients to make their lives drama free. After challenges in my own health journey, I’ve also been inspired to find a way to help people in this way too, so I’ve recently enrolled in the Sano School of Culinary Medicine, which is about understanding how food and nutrition can heal the body and how it also impacts emotional health. Helping other people has been a great healer for me when it comes to heartbreak and life challenges and my mission is to help as many people as possible. Aside from that I’m also revisiting my performing roots and doing an acting course this summer. It’s important to make time to do the things you love so I’m really excited for that!”

Rachel Fleit On Why No Contact Is The Only Way For Her To Heal

Rachel Fleit is Brooklyn-based writer and creative director of Killer Films Media. She is also a proud advocate for women with Alopecia and has been featured in Vogue, WSJ, and The New York Times.

We asked Rachel some questions about heartbreak and she shared how ending contact with her exes helped her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The universe’s rejection is the universe’s protection. There will be someone else, there is always someone else… There is no scarcity of narcissistic bearded dudes who play in a band and went to liberal arts colleges in the abundant world. Pain is the touchstone for spiritual growth. When you feel the fireworks and it’s “on like King Kong” immediately, it’s not a good sign. Run the other way— a slow burn is the thing you want, not this. Also, he’s a douchebag and he said mean things to you and you deserve much much better and one day after many more of these heartbreaks, you will finally know what you are worth and the kind of love you deserve.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I am resilient and tender, all at once.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I believe in no contact. I have tried the other vague kind of way in which dramatic emails are exchanged weeks later and you meet for coffee and end up sleeping together only to realize the next morning that nothing has changed and it just prolongs the agony. I unfollow on social media, I do not attend events in which I may possibly see this person, I do not respond to any texts, emails or other forms of communication and it works. There is no other way for me.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I really stood by this no contact thing as per the above question and that included no “information seeking” which means no research report on the whereabouts of said ex via conclusion one makes via social media stalking. That is a waste of your glorious time that should be spent getting to know yourself better and taking care of your new pain with rigorous self care.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Timing, my dear, is everything.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I cannot be friends with most of my exes. I have tried and it’s just dishonest and inauthentic and deeply triggering. I am sort of friends with one of them but not super close. The jury is out on another right now, I don’t think we can be friends, I don’t think we will ever be friends because we were never really friends and there is a deep love there that I have (almost) accepted is impossible and yet exists (for me). That feels like a complicated and tiresome and painful friendship to be honest.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I just believe there is a plan for my romantic life. I don’t believe the universe is conditional, i.e. It will take care of me in certain parts of my life but not others. I believe deeply I am supposed to be partnered with someone in this life. I have a lot of love in my heart. I give up almost every day but then I continue to “keep the door ajar” as Nana Claire used to say. Also I truly believe what’s meant to be will be. It’s out of my hands, that’s for sure.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

Reality Bites. But they get back together in the end …does it count? I live and die for that scene between Troy (Ethan Hawks) and Lelaina (Winona Ryder) when he shows up at the end…. “

Sexologist Shan Boodram On Love Addiction

Shan Boodram is a certified sexologist, sex educator, and relationship expert. Her book LAID (Seal Press) was a Canadian bestseller and her YouTube channel, a sex-positive platform, has over 40 million views. She is also an ambassador for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. We asked Shan some questions about heartbreak and she opened up about how overcoming a breakup is, in a lot of ways, like overcoming an addiction.

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“With my latest breakup about a year and a half ago, I LUCKED OUT!! I don’t know why because I don’t speak to him but literally like a few weeks after we broke up he stopped using social media. It was so weird but so so helpful. If you don’t luck out in that way you just HAVE to have discipline – the other option is misery…so why even consider that?”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“There are two versions of any one person: 1) who they are 2) how they make you feel. The how they make you feel part is actually WAY more important. The person could be Barrack Obama on paper but if they make you feel insecure, unhappy, and uninspired you should not give your love to them, it’s a dead end.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I would treat this question exactly how I would treat anyone healing from any addiction. An alcoholic or cigarette smoker has to put a LOT of time between them and their vice before they can engage in it casually. The same goes for friendships with your exes, if you start engaging with them too soon you will have a much harder and longer road ridding yourself of the addiction.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Oh man I’ve never really been scorned to the point that I’ve feared trying again. I face a LOT of rejection and disappointment in my career so maybe that’s part of my conditioning. I just think a guarded lukewarm life sounds boring. I want the best out of life and I can’t expect that if I’m half stepping so I run to my desires – and with each failure I get better at understanding the importance of direction.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Hmmmmmm I love 500 Days of Summer

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“So many things, my life is incredible! Mostly and most poignantly to this amazing service you guys have – I am doing a visual audio book of a short story I wrote on the struggles of a woman addicted to love and searching in the wrong places. That comes out in May…of course it was inspired by some experiences I’ve had in my life. Like I said, heartbreak can inspire some really awesome art, so turn your pain into perseverance.”

Rachel Lee On Learning To Be Happy Alone

Rachel-Lee is a Toronto-based organization expert and blogger on lifestyle design. We asked Rachel a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about how she stays #onthemend after a breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Feel whatever it is you have to feel, cry, scream, act as if the world is ending, you are allowed to feel pain but know that in time the pain will be gone and the world isn’t actually ending.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I do not make the same mistakes twice.I learn from every relationship and take it all on board.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Spending time with friends & family, keeping busy and talking about it. I talk to different friends all about the same things as it doesn’t put too much pressure on one friend if I share the talking over a few. I find they wont get too weighed down if I’m not constantly talking to the one person about it.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Not checking their social media is the key. During my last break up I didn’t check their socials at all. Forced myself not to look because I knew better.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Do not ever be co-dependent, never rely on someone else for happiness and you can not know what you truly want until you can be purely happy on your own.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think cutting an ex out is the best thing. You can not see them or speak to them until time has healed your wounds. Once you have been healed then I do think its ok to be friends. I am still friends with some of my exes from when I was younger.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Honestly my heart isn’t open, I have spent the last year working on myself and while I am trying to date now I am not fully open and it’s going to take time to open back up, but I know it will happen in due time and I know that I can’t run away from difficult situations. I have to overcome them in order to move on and love again.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“I don’t listen to music during break ups. I associate music with feelings and after a break up I do not need songs to remind of times when things felt different.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I will not put myself through watching movies with love stories. I avoid things that will bring up feelings.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Growing my business, working more on myself and growing as a person, and the travel plans I have. Nothing feels better than getting out of your life and exploring the world to get some perspective.”

UniqueLA Founder Sonja Rasula On Staying Friends With Exes

Sonja Rasula is a community leader and founder of Unique Markets, a series of nationwide shopping events that feature made-in-America products from up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Her goal is to support local artists and designers while simultaneously enriching the small business community and the US economy. Sonja is also a strategist, motivational speaker, and self-proclaimed French-fry lover.

We asked Sonja a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about staying friends with her exes post-breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Do not worry about a thing! Let yourself grieve, that’s important, but do not dwell in it. Better things are always waiting for you in the world, trust and know that.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That it’s not easy but it’s better to be heartbroken and alone than with someone and lonely.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I tend to fall deep into music, especially sad songs that torture me. Lol. I always focus on work, staying busy and friendships – friends can get you through anything!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“OMG Instagram didn’t exist the last time I broke up with someone (I’m married now), I can’t imagine how hard that must be!!!! But a big vice of mine would be to let myself go back/spend time with the person/still engage in a physical relationship — worst idea ever, it just prolongs the healing process.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“It’s extremely hard to figure out how to love yourself, and give yourself the amount of love and attention you deserve. But it’s the most important thing!”

Do you think exes can be friends?  Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“100% – If people aren’t friends with their exes I tend to question everything about them! When you share your life and your love with a person and it doesn’t work out, they have shared part of your life and you’ve been a part of their history. Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I’m not saying you should be best friends (that will get in the way of future love) but continuing to support one another throughout life, being happy for him/her in the future especially when they find a great new partner, and checking in every once in awhile is healthy.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Hope! Life can be dark sometimes but it’s also very very very good. Hope is what allows me to keep going, find new passions, discover new loves, etc.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Unique LA is always something that makes me happy and fills my heart with joy.”

Poet Orion Carloto On Grief And The Healing Process

Orion Carloto is a poet and author of “flux” and “film for her.” When she’s not writing, you can find Orion at home baking sweets or watching French films with her cats, Atticus and Lolita.

We asked Orion a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about the importance of grieving during the healing process.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Please just breathe. Calm down and remember that this isn’t the end. Although I was in a previous relationship before, I believe that my first real and genuine heartbreak happened when I was 19. He was my second boyfriend and when he left, I felt as though I lost a limb. When he stuttered out the words “I’m sorry, we shouldn’t do this anymore,” my vision just went black and my entire world felt like it stopped spinning. A year and a half of my life given to someone that gave it up so easily. I remember I locked myself up in my room for a month. I couldn’t leave my bed, I didn’t eat, and I barely talked to anyone. I cried and I mourned at any given chance, and the pages of my journal became a sanctuary for his name. My mother was so worried about me that even she thought that I was never going to heal again. If there’s something I could tell myself while I was going through that stage in my life, it’s to remember that it doesn’t end there. He obviously was put in my life for a reason, but maybe that reason isn’t to be my partner forever. And that’s okay. I couldn’t understand that. I was so convinced that he was “the one”, that when it came down to parting ways, I simply could not let it go. We must accept change no matter how difficult it may feel. Something always works out in the end whether it be with that person or someone else. If you don’t learn to accept this, you will never truly move on in peace. And that will hurt you more than any word that will ever come out of someone else’s mouth.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak taught me solitude and the importance of recognizing my self worth. It’s so easy for me to get lost in someone else and to fully rely on them for everything. I grew up being a people pleaser, so it was inevitable for me to cling on to my significant other and pretty much become attached. When it all comes to an end, I become completely lost. Heartbreak taught me how important it is to allow myself to heal in the company of my own. It has opened up parts of me that I’ve yet to see. I don’t need another person in my life telling me that I am loved when I should be the one doing that myself. It’s not an easy journey to endure, but it certainly has taught me life lessons that I couldn’t learn anywhere else.”

Orion2

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“To mourn. To cry and to grieve as heavily as possible. Making sure to let it all out wholeheartedly rather than keeping it all bottled in. After releasing those emotions, I also make sure to write everything down. Writing has helped me alleviate pain more than anything when I’m hurt. Of course, although solitude during these times of hurt is important, I like to make sure that I don’t forget to surround myself with the people that make me the happiest. I console to my dearest friends and find comfort in the insight and sympathy they give towards me. Also, soaking in a hot lavender bubble bath works wonders too.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“My biggest vice was definitely checking up on his social media pages. That was the most toxic thing I could have ever done to myself. Constantly typing in his handle and seeing if he’s tweeted about me or even going as far as checking his favorites never (and I mean EVER) worked out in my favor. I was always bound for some sort of disappointment. It also didn’t help being the over thinker that I am, reading his vague tweets which always ended in me automatically concluding that they were all about me. After realizing how much this was affecting me, I had to force myself to not check up on him anymore. As tempting as it was, I had to constantly remind myself that it wasn’t going to make things any better.”

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“A lesson that I’m constantly learning in love is that it takes time. You simply cannot rush it and I’ve regretfully had to learn that the hard way. The best kind of love is the one that comes to you unexpectedly and you both take time to understand each other. Slow down and it will come to you. And when it does, even if it takes months or even years, the dreadful wait will all be worth it.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“From my experience, you can 100% be friends with your exes. Personally, I never like to have bad blood with others (especially with people that were once incredibly important in my life) so I make sure to keep things level after we part ways. It’s okay to continue following your exes online as long as you make sure to not spend all of your time going through their page. Because as we all know, that is never a good idea.”

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What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Something that has helped keep my heart open is reminding myself that not every person is out to get me. Everyone is different and just because a few people have hurt me in unimaginable ways, doesn’t mean that anyone after that will do that same. And honestly, who’s to say they won’t?! You can never truly know unless you give that person a chance. Love comes in many different shapes and sizes and each and every person will offer you a different type of love. Every being on this earth loves differently and you must understand this. People come and people go; people hurt people. I could get my heart broken a thousand times and although it’s going to hurt me and do a great number on my heart, I will never allow myself to be closed off to love due to someone else’s shameful actions.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Definitely “All I Want” by Kodaline. While going through my last heartbreak, I couldn’t even listen through the entire song without getting emotional. Also, anything by Keaton Henson. He is a brilliantly honest artist with a discography full of tunes that are bound to make you feel his pain. He is easily one of my favorite musicians because you can just hear his hurt and also the emotions put into his lyrics are unbelievably raw. You are bound to resonate.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“It’s a tie between 500 Days of Summer and Blue Valentine. There’s something painfully beautiful about watching romance become unrequited and following a character throughout their hurt.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m currently working on my very first book of poetry and prose that, ironically enough, is filled to the brim with heartache. I’ve put my entire soul into this collection of work so I’m immensely thrilled to be able to share it with everyone! I’m also quite anxious to expose this piece of me that no one else has quite seen, but has only experienced snippets of it online. It can be scary, but I know with every ounce in my being that it will all be worth it in the end.”

Therapist Samantha Burns On How Pain Helped Her Find Love

Samantha Burns is a Boston-based licensed therapist and relationship coach who specializes in helping people through heartbreak. She’s also the author of several books, including “Breaking Up And Bouncing Back” and “Done With Dating.”

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I learned a lot of love lessons in my breakup experiences, which also made it easy and clear when I met my husband that he was my person:

You should never have to convince someone to love you.

You should never compromise on your core values (what’s most important to you in life).

Your partner should bring out the best in you, not make you feel insecure, jealous, needy, upset, or crazy!”

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Exercise always helped me the most when going through a breakup. There are so many mental health and physical benefits to being active. It’s a way better coping skill than excessively eating or drinking, both of which activate the reward center of your brain and make you feel temporary pleasure.”

“When writing my upcoming breakup book, I collected breakup survey responses from women all over the country and analyzed their breakup data. I learned that I’m not alone because the majority of ladies listed exercise and quality time with friends as the most helpful coping skills. The least helpful were binge drinking and rebound sex. Having a strong support network is essential. The feeling of rejection that comes with a breakup is devastating, so knowing that friends still care about you creates a sense of belonging at a time when you’re feeling most alone.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“You can really love someone, but it doesn’t mean that person is your perfect match, or that he is “The One.” One of the most difficult situations is ending a relationship with someone that you truly care about, but knowing that there’s a better match for you out there is the silver lining.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it’s possible, but you absolutely cannot go from lovers to friends overnight. You need strong breakup boundaries and no contact so that your heart can heal. This means removing your ex, even if it’s temporarily from social media, and creating an ex-free environment. You can always welcome this person back into your life later after you’ve healed and moved forward in your love life. Save all of your old photos on a flash drive and put it out of sight and out of mind.”

“Every time you connect with your ex, whether you communicate passively by liking each other’s Instagram photos, bumping into him at the local coffee shop, or wearing his sweatshirt to bed every night, you’re triggering negative and difficult emotions and you’re more likely to stay stuck in your heartbroken funk and “relapse” with compulsive behavior, such as sending a text, or showing up at his apartment uninvited. After taking about 60-90 days with no contact, reevaluate whether you’re ready to be platonic friends, which means you have the same emotional reaction to him as you would if any of your other friends contacted you or behaved in the same way.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“My own self-worth and self-love, knowing that I had a lot to offer someone and that I wasn’t willing to settle for less than I deserve.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I have an upcoming book, Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, about how to survive a soul-crushing breakup and develop healthy skills to a happy dating life. It feels like your therapist and best friend combine to kick your breakup in the butt! It’s full of tips, tools, client stories, and psychological research that walks you through the most difficult part of your breakup—zombie mode—to gain understanding about why the breakup occurred, how to manage all of the rumination, anxiety, and sadness, and reflect on your love lessons to become a smarter, more intentional dater moving forward.”

“On my website, where I write about dating and relationship issues, I also offer free resources, such as Breakup Bounce Back, 14-days of email support to help get over your ex, a Good Guy vs Bad Boy Quiz so you can figure out whether the man you’re seeing is emotionally unavailable, and my ebook, Love Successfully: 10 Secrets You Need to Know Right Now, which covers the secret ingredients to cook up a happy relationship.”

Lisa Linh On Finding Strength After A Breakup

Lisa Linh is the LA-based creator of By Lisa Linh, a blog that focuses on interiors, wellness, and intentional living.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“To my younger self, I would tell her that while it hurts and it’s going to hurt for a while, that this is for the best. She may not realize it now, but she will learn a great deal about relationships and herself from this heartbreak that will make her a stronger and wiser person later on.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“It’s shown me how strong I can be and that obstacles will always occur, but getting through this phase helps you grow immensely as a person and teaches you things about yourself that you wouldn’t realize alone.”

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Surrounding myself with friends and burying myself in work is my first step. I tend to go out more and stay out of the house to prevent myself from thinking too much about the breakup. My best friends always know how to cheer me up so I rely heavily on them; they never fail. I eventually channel all my emotions to my passions for writing and photography, allowing myself to express how I feel through my creative outlets helps as well.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I think it is natural wanting to check on what your ex is doing, especially after breaking up. You spent so much time with this person and now, they’re off living their own life – without you. I’ve checked my ex’s social media before, checked our mutual friend’s as well just to see if I see him in it. It takes time, but you eventually get over it and stop caring. There’s no guaranteed way to conquer them, you just have to be ready on your own terms.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love conquers all.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“In due time, I think it is possible. I’m friends with a couple on social media but I never actually hang out with them.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Knowing that love is the one thing you can give and get back, time after time. The feeling of being loved and loving someone is incomparable. That alone keeps me hopeful about love.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

A Walk To Remember

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Currently working on a handful of holiday campaigns, editorials for January through March, and trips!”

Arianna Thomopoulos’ Heartbreak Inspired Her Popular Blog The Modern Day Girlfriend

Arianna Thomopoulos is no stranger to the subject of heartbreak. The lifestyle blogger behind The Modern Day Girlfriend has built a loyal following sharing personal stories, compassionate advice about how to consciously date, and deliciously healthy recipes. More recently, she became a food entrepreneur as the co-founder of Flourish.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The advice I would have given to my younger self is that even though you’re in the midst of what feels like the worst heartbreak of your life, your heart hurts like hell and you might feel like you will NEVER EVER get over it, you will. I would remind myself that the actual pain I was feeling is real and you should allow yourself to feel it but know that the pain will not last forever.

In time it will lessen, you will remember the heartbreak but you won’t actually remember what the heartbreak  ‘felt’ like. You learn what you want or don’t want in your  next relationship, what you will stand for, what you won’t  stand for, who you want to be and who you don’t want to  be.

Like a scar, each heartbreak is a reminder and a life lesson. You will find yourself looking at the scar. The pain of the healing process, the scab will get less itchy, you won’t keep going back to it to open the wound up again.

Once the scab is healed you will remember how you got the scar and steer clear of what led you to get it in the first place. As your life goes on, you will forget the scar is there and move forward in life, a little tougher than before.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I am a work in progress. Heartbreak has taught me that even when I thought I could never love again, let alone feel again, without the heartbreak/heartbreaks that I have had in my life, I would not be who I am today.

I am thankful for each heartbreak, as sucky and as painful as they were, and BOY were they life-shattering, altering heartbreaks, it always turned out for the better. For me, God was protecting me because he wasn’t done working on me yet, as well as the man he had planned for me.

My great-grandma always said, ‘There is no greater love than the next greatest love in your life.’

Heartbreak has taught me that I have to be complete on my own so I can be a compliment in my partner’s life and vice versa.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Besides eating a vat of ice cream and downing a bottle of wine on my couch with my dog? I surrounded myself with my girlfriends and I wrote, I wrote a lot.

A huge part of why I started The Modern Day Girlfriend is because I wanted people to have a safe place to go and talk about the difficulties of relationships in today’s society – from falling in love to heartbreak and more.

The Modern Day Girlfriend became my outlet and I realized I was not alone, which drives me every day to be there for people who need a listening ear, inspiration, or just a laugh.

Creating my blog was probably one of the best things I could have done for myself and my heart. Find your outlet whether you are happy or sad and let it heal you and fuel you. You never know what amazing things can come from it.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I wrote a blog on The Modern Day Girlfriend exactly about this topic and how to deal with it in today’s digital society. It’s so much trickier nowadays with all the social media outlets that you can check. It’s like you insta-stalking.

If you are going through a break up I recommended heading over to The Modern Day Girlfriend to read about the 5 things to do after a break up! I stay clear of checking their social feeds. Yes, easier said than done but trust me you heart and head will thank you for it!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That love is a beautiful thing. Love is something that connects us all and it doesn’t solely have to be between you and your partner but a love for life, friends, family, pets. LOVE is what makes the world go round. (Yes, I know that is a John Legend song). Not to sound corny or anything, but love although it can hurt like HELL, also can fill your soul fuller than ever before and the only way love can do that, I have learned, is that you have to LOVE yourself first and foremost because if you don’t love yourself how can anyone else?”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“This is a very, very, very loaded question for me. I am actually writing a blog on The Modern Day Girlfriend about it. I think that you can be friends depending on the circumstances. I typically have stayed friends with my exes. Although there are some I just can’t because my healing and their healing would never have happened had we stayed friends, especially right away. I believe you have to take the time to grow from the issues in the relationship and by not giving yourself the space and time to do so you will have a harder time getting over them no matter how hard you try.

Look, every person is different, every relationship is different. If you find yourself friends with an ex and you can keep it platonic and actually want to be friends than yes, go for it! I would love to hear your stories of how you were able to remain friends with an ex. Share your story with me and others at The Modern Day Girlfriend.

The last thing I will say about this topic is that I have come to find that there is one person who wants a little more than just friends. If that person isn’t you, then cut the cord.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I don’t think it is something or the idea of someone who keeps my heart open. I was closed off for years but once I began feeling comfortable and secure in myself I had this strength that I never knew I had. It allowed me to navigate the waters of dating and not feel guilty.

I am also at a place in my life that I think no matter how many times I have had my heart broken I feel as though when you meet that right person you are willing to let your heartbreak again because of the idea of not giving them that chance to actually hurt you would hurt more than not giving them the chance to.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

1. “P.S. I Love You”

2. “The Holiday”

3. “The Notebook”

4.” My Life Without You”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I am working on a book, a show pilot, and a candle line. I am just excited to talk, relate, and engage with people and help them navigate the bumpy waters of living and loving in the digital age one app at a time.”

Mari Andrew On How She Turned Her Pain Into Art And A Best-Selling Book

Mari Andrew is the NYC-based writer and artist behind the best-selling book “Am I There Yet?” and the popular Instagram account @bymariandrew. She has grown a large following with her illustrations that illuminate the funny (and sometimes painful) truths about dating, relationships, and love. When she’s not creating new art for the world to enjoy, Mari speaks at events and hosts online workshops.

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If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The story doesn’t end here. What feels like a closed-door is the beginning.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I am capable of healing myself and creating my own love and magic in my life.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Taking care of my body is huge. I love physical touch and miss it a lot after a break up, so I make sure to schedule a massage, and take yoga classes with hands-on adjustments! Feeling connected through touch, even to strangers, is helpful for me to heal. I try to be really healthy during a breakup because the body holds so much stress and trauma. I exercise a lot to counteract the effects of entire pints of ice cream (very necessary also).”

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Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Oh my god, I’m the queen of checking my ex’s insta!!! It’s the WORST. It was actually my New Year’s Resolution in 2016 to stop doing that. Sometimes you just have to delete the app. It’s also a habit, so I try to replace bad habits with better ones. Instead of googling his name, google a new recipe instead. Or something. I’m not great at this! The internet can be a very dark place for the heartbroken, and you need accountability partners.”

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Just because it didn’t work out romantically doesn’t mean it didn’t work out. I’m thankful for all the relationships I’ve had, and grateful for the purpose they served.”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Absolutely–I have some wonderful exes who are great friends. I think the ex relationship is very special; it almost feels like a family member at some point, if you had a healthy and friendly breakup. Of course, some exes can’t really be friends without a lot of work, which may not be worth it.”

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What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“People are always changing and evolving and getting better. I have changed so much through all my relationships. I’m ready now for a type of relationship I couldn’t have handled when I was any younger. I have to believe that my potential partners are the same way. Right now, some future love of mine might be getting stronger after his own heartache and feeling ready for me too. I hope he has great hair!”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

” ‘Almost Lover’ by A Fine Frenzy. I listened to that for 8 hours on a plane once right after a breakup. A low point for sure.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

Before Midnight.

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m working on getting a book published – my dream come true! And I never would have done it if I hadn’t gone through a ton of heartache.”

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Fauna Solomon On How She Beats The Breakup Blues

Fauna Solomon is the free-thinking creator behind The Dating Truth and Convo Queen. She gives insight on a variety of dating and relationship topics, from getting more matches on dating apps to navigating the first date.

We got a chance to ask Fauna some questions about her personal experience with heartbreak and she opened up to us about how maintaining a positive attitude about love helped her beat the breakup blues.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I’ve always felt unfulfilled at some point or another in my past relationships but I trudged along thinking about the future, or maybe I stayed in the relationships punishing myself for some shortcoming but what I learned and would tell my younger self, is ‘You deserve to be happy,’ even if it takes a breakup to wake up.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I’ve learned that heartbreak is just you and your inner being, looking at a situation from two different viewpoints. You’re taking the situation as a loss while your inner being, your true self is looking at the opportunity as freedom. My toughest breakups taught me how to align with my inner being, who had it right all along.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“My post-breakup practice is never to force myself to ‘get over’ the other person. The breakups that were the hardest for me were relationships where I still felt very much in love. The harder I tried not to have those feelings the worse I felt. It was easier for me to go with the flow of my emotions, to feel the love that was still there and to remember the good times. It felt good to think about my ex in a positive way and in the midst of a breakup I think you have to do everything that you can to feel good. The path of least resistance to me was to hold to the good feelings and the love until it faded naturally.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“As cliche as it sounds, love really is an inside job. When you’re confident and loving towards yourself you raise the standard for how you’re loved. Once I learned to value and love myself, especially by making myself a priority, I couldn’t go back to anyone treating me less than I felt I deserved. I’ve also learned that unconditional love is real, and again it starts from the inside out. If you can focus on the positive aspects of yourself, finding them in others is easy.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think exes can be friends but it depends on their relationship. I personally am not friends with any of my exes but that’s a choice everyone has to make for themselves.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“What keeps my heart open is knowing the power of love. When I had it, the feeling was incredible. Even though we get sick sometimes we can never stop believing in our wellness. The same applies to love. Even though I have been heartbroken, I still believe in my power to love unconditionally and to heal through love. I never let go of that feeling that love has brought into my life by loving myself, my friends and my family. You can’t escape the power of love and when you try, you feel awful. I feel like the pain of a breakup is really the denial of love. It hurts too much to keep love out, so I have to constantly believe in it.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“It’s a little obscure but my favorite heartbreak song is by the duo Zhane, they sang ‘Hey, Mr. Dj’ which coincidentally is one of my favorite party songs. They have a beautiful ballad on their first album that always speaks to me. The refrain is: ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ And even in the lyrics, they sing ‘I don’t know if I believe it.’ Nothing rings more true to me in life and love. People say everything happens for a reason but there’s always that question, nagging you. “Does it?” I don’t know, but that song always gives me life when I’m feeling down.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“That’s a tough one since I strictly watch romantic comedies with happy endings, but I would say Legally Blonde.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m always on a mission to help singles make dating more fun. To me, nothing is more fun than getting results. Currently, I’m working on my 7-Day FLIRT Challenge, a free program designed to help anyone find love in record time online. It will be launching soon. I think online dating is the fastest and easiest way to get back into the dating game and find success quickly even if you’ve had tough experiences in dating in the past.”

Maude Founder Éva Goicochea’s Advice on Breakups, Marriage, and Rejection

What doesn’t Éva Goicochea do? She is the founder and CEO of Maud, a brand for inclusive bedroom essentials. She also co-founded Tinker Watches. Before starting her own companies, she helped launch many brands, including Everlane. You can follow her on Instagram @evagoicochea. And don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone if you spend the next 15 minutes scrolling 150 weeks deep into her dreamy feed because we just did too.

HOW A PUP HELPED HER THROUGH A BREAKUP
“When I was 18, I was preparing to move to New York from California. I met a guy, let’s name him Bob. Well, Bob doesn’t sound like a heartbreaker, so let’s name him Sam. Sam and I fell in love quickly, because at that point we were only 18. I moved to New York and a year later he followed me. I ended up getting him a job where I worked, which was a gym. I started to notice that he was getting pretty friendly with someone and long story short, he cheated on me and kind of took over my life. It felt like a single white female situation, but with my romantic partner, because I basically gave him my life in New York.”

“My first inclination was to just sort of shut down and really be in despair, but about 2 or 3 months before we broke up, I had gotten a dog. I remember looking at her and thinking, I can’t fall apart, this little dog depends on me. For me, animals have always been healing. They offer unconditional love, but they are also dependent on you, which is kind of that encouragement, like: “come on pull yourself up, you’ve got to go!” I don’t think you have to have a pet to experience that, but I would recommend that people have someone or something that depends on them or something that they need to do to refocus their energy on. For me that was really important.”

THE ADVICE SHE’D GIVE HER 18-YEAR OLD SELF
“I think I would say a lot of things. First, this is not going to be your last or only heartache. Secondly, maybe now that I’m married it is easier to say this, but I recognize so much of the power of being happy with one’s self and realizing your own dreams. If you’re doing it next to somebody or with somebody in a really great relationship, then great, but at all times you should be doing that, so that if and when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you, you still have something to live for, focus on and care about.”

“For me it was in college that I started to say to myself, I really haven’t been living in NY, so I need to go out and have a great time. I made travel plans and just poured myself into living again, and being responsible for this little dog. That would be my advice for my 18 year old self: don’t let love be all consuming in that you forget everything else. Try to keep a balance.”

BECOMING THE HEARTBREAKER
“Well, I have to say after that first heartbreak, I ended up being the heartbreaker. I think it made me really resilient because the way that it all happened was really devastating. But I would say my most recent heartache wasn’t romantic, it was losing a pet. Whether you’re losing a pet, or a friend, or a parent, or your boyfriend, or your girlfriend or whatever it is: loss is not just missing them. It’s also your patterns and how every day things change. ”

“When you’re talking in a romantic context, it’s important to own your everyday. My heartbreak was that I lost a cat, who was eaten by a coyote. And the heartbreak for me was that I had interacted with this cat every day. He was truly lovely, kind, sweet, and always laid next to you. The biggest heartache, I realized, was that loss of his presence. I think if he was far away on vacation and I could talk to him on the phone or something that might be better. But it was the loss of that connection.”

INVEST YOUR ENERGY INTO SOMETHING ELSE
“I’ve always been on to the next thing, not with the intention to replace, but with the intention to invest my energy into something. It’s really hard to be broken up with by a person and to remember that you’re lovable and you just have to go out there and have a great interaction with somebody over coffee, or flirt with a friend you’ve always had a little something with. Something to make you recognize that you haven’t been put on the shelf. Just go out and interact with other people so you get that level of energy and communication that you’re missing instead of just retreating into your house.”

A CLOSED BOOK
“If things aren’t very clean, I tend to, like most people, go back and think about what I could have said differently or done differently. When it comes to being cheated on, I feel stupid and I’ve definitely been cheated on more than once. I look back and think, wow, I could have handled this differently, instead of recognizing that you either let it go or let it out. You can’t just contain it.”

“So in my case, many, many years later, I ended up being in the same city again as that boyfriend [who cheated on me], and we had dinner and talked about it. I got what I needed from that, and then I never saw him again. It was really weird and interesting to finally think, okay, I’m older and I actually don’t care and I don’t even like you as a person. Getting to have dinner made me feel better. It wasn’t even that I was still sad about it, I just wanted it to be a closed book.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“This is hard. I would love to say that yes, exes can be friends, but unless it was really amicable and both people were really done, that is really hard for people to do because it is typically one-sided. Especially if you want to move on and you want your next partner to feel comfortable, because that invested time you have in the other person and that closeness with them doesn’t really go away. You can not talk to someone for 10 years, but you knew so much about them that it is definitely not just a friendship. I don’t think it’s possible, but who knows.”

“I don’t have any exes that I’m connected with on social media. I think a lot for the future girlfriend, I don’t want to be the ex that somebody is still connected with. I’m definitely friends with people that I’ve gone out on dates with, but nobody that I was with for a significant amount of time. I’ve been a serial monogamist: all of my relationships have been more than two years long, and I’ve been with my husband 7 years, married 5 and a half of those. So it’s a little different, we were quite young when we got married.”

2 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT YOUR PARTNER
“I think love comes down to two things, and maybe it sounds a little off the wall: they have to be the best roommate that you could ever have and the best travel companion that you could ever have. Those are two situations where the best of friends can turn into enemies, and you can realize while traveling or living together that your priorities are very different.”

“So if you can do those two things with somebody, I think you’re okay. Living together means really dealing with it all, and traveling is really about understanding someone’s pace, as in, who wants to get up early to go to the museum and who wants to lay on the beach all day. Those can be the things that keep you together.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
David Gray, The Other Side. In it, he basically says, ‘I still don’t know what love is, but I’ll see you on the other side.’ I don’t if the other side means death, but I really think it just means in the next place. It’s an interesting thing and I still really like the line ‘I still don’t know what love is’ because it’s this recognition that you’re the flawed one and it is not just the other person’s fault. In a lot of music, especially by females, the message is ‘you’re the bad guy and I hate you,’ but I like the reflective and introspective nature of that song.”

HOW SHE HANDLES REJECTION
“I spent 7 months right after I moved to LA single and dating a lot of different people. What I really liked about that was the idea that if you don’t look at it as a reflection of yourself, but instead just look at it as trying to find that best friend, you quickly realize that you don’t need to absorb anyone’s rejection of you or your rejection of them.”

“You can then walk through life and know that you’re not for everyone and everyone is not for you. I have a lot of friends who are single in LA because they absorb everything and they take everything personally. I just want to tell them, ‘You’re not going to like everybody!’ And that’s okay because it’s not a reflection of them.”

Ivka Adam’s Advice on Breakups, Marriage and Meditation

Ivka Adam believes life is too short for fake jewelry. As the founder of Iconery, an online destination for fine jewelry that was acquired by Heartbeat, she is on a mission to support fine jewelry designers and revolutionize the way fine jewelry is discovered. When she’s not thinking about jewelry or 3D printing, you can find her on the trail or summiting mountains – she’s summited Kilimanjaro and does Mt. Whitney every year! You can follow Ivka on Instagram @caivka and @theiconery.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“We fell in love so hard, but there was something in me telling me that I shouldn’t be with him. I didn’t know what it was, so it was so heartbreaking because we didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. We would break up and I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. We would see each other and it was the most heart-wrenching experience. I’ve boiled it down to this: the hardest part about a breakup is when you don’t understand why it has to happen. If they broke up with you – why they didn’t like you. Or if you broke up with them – why it didn’t work out. So I always try to get to a place where there’s some sort of understanding. Once I have something I can hold onto from an understanding standpoint, I can then heal from that point on.”

GETTING TO AN UNDERSTANDING
“The first time we broke up was four or five months in. And then we just kept coming back together for four years. We had so much chemistry and he took care of me so well. I had come from a previous relationship that was verbally abusive. I thought it was me and that I could fix it. I did Allison Armstrong’s Understanding Men program and I went to a bunch of her courses like the Queen Course. Allison Armstrong makes sense of men. I read all of the books by John Gray, the author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. It took a lot to realize that relationship was unhealthy, but ultimately the work I did has now made me a better friend and girlfriend.”

AN AHA MOMENT
“I realized in my relationship he would say little, tiny white lies. They were always miniscule things, but I couldn’t figure out why that was part of his nature. My sister got married in 2010 and at that point we had been together for almost four years. I remember standing up at the altar as a bridesmaid. My sister sang a song by Colbie Caillat to her husband while my dad played guitar. I remember looking out and seeing my ex in the back row not engaged in what was happening. I realized, oh wait, I don’t have this. I don’t have what my sister has. And that’s really ultimately what helped me make the decision to break up with him.”

RELATIONSHIP MATCHING
“One of the things that I do to help mend is I spend time with my friends who are in really beautiful couple relationships to absorb what it looks like. It helps me remember that supportive partnership exists out there and I don’t need to settle. It can be heartbreaking to watch all these happy couples, but I just remember that that’s the end goal.”

FAMILY MATTERS
“One Sunday before we broke up, he was supposed to go to my parents’ to pick up my Mom’s blue sapphire. It was going to be made into an engagement ring for me. But he was hungover and he texted my mom to postpone till Wednesday. My parents were stunned, ‘We’re about to give you something to marry our daughter, this is unbelievable.’ My mom called me and said, ‘I just want to let you know this happened, no judgment.’ The next week I was talking with my friends at work and one of my friends who is in a great relationship said ‘That’s not what you’re supposed to experience.’ I know they always say not to tell friends that you shouldn’t be with someone, but I believe that you should tell them once and then let it go. Who better to tell you? When we broke up, my parents said, ‘We were going to be supportive but we were preparing ourselves for an eventual divorce.’ That was horrible to hear.”

DIFFICULT TO CUT IT OFF
“When I called my mom and told her that I was thinking of breaking up with him, she was supportive. She said, ‘He is going to want to get on a plane and fly up [to see you].’ We were long-distance at the time—I was in the Bay Area and he was in Southern California. She prepped me, and sure enough he tried to do that. If I hadn’t been prepped I would have given in, but since I was prepared I said no and we just cut it off. We didn’t talk for months. We had such a pull to each other that we then ended up talking six months later. We saw each other off and on for the next four months. When I would come down and visit my parents in Orange County, I would sneak out and see him. It wasn’t until I met my next boyfriend that I was able to move on. I think it always takes meeting someone else. They say you have to love yourself and be a complete whole person before you’re ready for the next relationship, but ultimately if your desire is to be in a relationship you’re not really a complete person until you meet your partner. There’s something that is unfulfilled.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“He was the first boyfriend who felt like my buddy. At the time I was killing it in my career as a VP of Marketing at a fast-growing e-commerce company in LA and I was having such a blast. But then I decided to start a company, and I went from having everything figured out—we even had a ring picked out—to not. When I took this big risk, he started freaking out. He couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t understand why I’d put my life’s savings into a startup. He thought I was being careless and impractical, when in reality I had never been so sure of myself. Everything in my career had prepared me for this next step—I had the experience, connections, and just enough savings—and I had discovered a huge inefficiency in an $80B market that I could solve. I moved in with him and his roommates to save money, which was stressful. He didn’t understand why I didn’t want to be a ‘mid-level marketing manager’ in someone else’ company. I had always wanted to do a startup and felt like this was my chance. It was too much for him to handle. It just drove him crazy. His family didn’t understand either. I was so calculated about everything I was doing – it wasn’t really a big risk. But in February, the week before Valentine’s Day, he asked for a break. He said, ‘Stick around as long as you need to figure out where you’re going to go.’ But he didn’t help me figure out where to go and he didn’t even help me pack. He went out on Valentine’s Day with his guy friends. So I packed up my stuff by myself. And the next morning I drove down to Irvine and I moved in with my parents. They were super supportive, and I was super thankful for the opportunity – when do you ever have that opportunity to spend that kind of time with your parents? – but that was really hard.”

FAMILY TIME 

“My parents have been together since my mom was 20 and my sister has been with her husband since she was 20. So neither of them have been through breakups. They don’t really know what to say when I go through them. It wasn’t until I moved in with my parents after the last breakup that I started to have a true adult relationship with them. But I was pretty raw and honest with them about what I needed from them. Ultimately I’m grateful that the startup and breakup led to this special time with my parents.”

FROM BREAK TO BREAK UP
“His main reason for the break was to focus on his career. A lot of what I was doing – living my dream and feeling compelled to solve a big problem – was really confronting for him. I was fine taking a break because I supported him figuring it out. Doing all the work I had done understanding men, I knew that a guy can’t think about a relationship until they’ve figured out their career. If they can’t provide, they don’t have the mental capacity for someone. So I agreed to be on this break. It was very vague. He didn’t really reach out to me. I was initiating contact and being super supportive and eventually I was like, fuck this. I hate this. I can’t be your rock and my rock. This doesn’t give me any room to feel feminine and part of a partnership. So I broke up with him. Fortunately that same month my startup got funding and I was able to resume my life in LA. When you set out to accomplish huge scary goals, that’s when you see who your friends are. It happened when I decided to climb Kilimanjaro and when I decided to do a startup. There are those who will get excited with you and support you, and those who will question why you’re ‘being so crazy and risky.’ Let those people go.”

MAKING MEMORIES
“I don’t need a relationship, but I would love to be with someone right now so that he could know me as I go through this journey of building a company. I would love to look back in five years, and hear him say, “I remember when you were going through this [building a startup]!” I am really proud of myself and proud of the work I’ve done and I’d love to share those memories. It was gut-wrenching to go through a breakup while starting a company, but the most difficult times are what send me back to meditation and spirituality.”

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
“I learned TM when I was 4 and I have most of the advanced techiques and have even spent a month in Thailand on a meditation retreat. Both of my parents are teachers. It has been the constant in my life and most of my boyfriends have learned. I do meditation retreats when I’m going through tough times, and especially after each breakup. The breakups remind me to go back into self.”

THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
“I have a mantra which has no meaning. My program is about an hour, but the basic practice is 20 minutes. Meditating for 20 minutes is like getting an hour and a half of rest. Being an entrepreneur, I feel the pressure of working 24/7. You’re not supposed to take weekends off. But that’s not efficient or productive. Meditation allows me to gain deep rest and clarity, plus it makes me a million times more efficient than writing a couple of emails. I meditate nearly every day. I try to spend time around other meditators. It’s a huge part of my life and it’s important to me that I’m with someone who also meditates.”

IDEAL RELATIONSHIP
“I feel like you spend so much time thinking about what you want your ideal person to be like, but you have to boil it down. I want a companion. I love guys who are really into their own hobbies and who can open up my eyes to a new world. I love when I’m learning new things from a guy. That’s why I love dating. I can go on any date and enjoy it. People are fascinating. I want someone who can handle me being such a strong woman, and is not confronted by me being a CEO and making decisions all the time – but at the same time, who can let me be feminine. That takes a really strong man, and maybe an older man. I remember when I was 24 I filled out my first Match profile and my age range was only up to 30. This guy who was 41 messaged me and was like, look, I’m not in your age range, and I’m not hitting on you. But just so you know, the things you’re looking for, you’re not going to find unless you’re dating a man is in his late thirties or early forties.”

FILTERING FOR RESILIENCE
“What’s key is finding people who have been through a lot. I went through significant difficulties early on so I naturally gravitate towards similar people. I look for this depth and resilience whether it’s hiring new employees or dating new guys. Someone who has really struggled doesn’t sweat the small stuff and can handle tough situations when they arise. I was at a conference last year and Dave Morin was giving advice to someone standing by me. The girl asked him what he looks for in hiring a person. And I was compelled to jump in. I said ‘Look for people who have been through a lot. Because those are the people who have found themselves. They have depth, maturity, resilience and can handle immense pressure.’ Dave said, ‘Yes! Exactly what she said.’”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“The only way to get to what you want is to keep your heart open, so that’s what keeps my heart open. I also really try to feel the pain and know that it’s temporary and that it’s making me stronger. It just means there’s something better on the other side. I have so much respect for people who have gone through a lot.”

HER INTENTION: FAITH
“Remember that it’s all going to work out. My intention these days is one step at a time, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Have faith that it will all work out. It will work out in whatever way it needs to. With respect to relationships, I know there is someone I will eventually meet, and for whatever reason it’s not right now.

Yogi Caley Alyssa’s Advice on Heartbreak, Divorce, and Rituals

Caley Alyssa is a yoga teacher, mentor, and holistic health coach. You can find her teaching in Venice regularly, as well as leading events and retreats around the world. She is also a co-leader of Women Catalysts, an organization that brings women together in cities all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first heartbreak I had was finding out that my boyfriend had cheated on me in high school. It was a silly thing. He had kissed another girl, but for me, it was really dramatic and traumatic. He was my first love and we had dated since I was a freshman in highschool and it happened our junior year. The part that was most traumatic was finding out that my friends had known as well. We come from a very small school. My best friend knew and all of his friends knew, so I felt not only so hurt, but also humiliated. I found out when we were at a summer camp together and I was kind of stuck there. We broke up because of that.”

DECIDING TO FORGIVE
“My camp counselor was the first person that I talked to and that was actually the best possible scenario. She was amazing and really helped me through that. She told me, ‘You need to make the choice. Either you want to forgive and move on or you can hold onto this and let it be toxic.’ Honestly, I think he and I were only broken up for a week or two. I knew that I was going to marry him from day one. I loved him. It really hurt, but I knew that I would get over it.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I ended up marrying him [my high school boyfriend]. Once we graduated college, we moved in together in San Francisco. We lived there, got married and moved to LA. And it ended up not working out with us. We were together for 15 years, dating for 10 and married for 5. It could have worked, but I think there were some hurts he couldn’t get over and patterns that were too hard to change. We lacked balance. When we got married, we registered at REI and never used any of it because he worked all the time. When we moved to LA I had to start all over from square one. It took time and I was reliant on him for income. We only had one car. I think resentment started to grow, while I was building my yoga career. So finances were part of it, but also just resentment. I didn’t want to move to LA. I gave up everything. In SF I had great friends, a great job. I was angry at him at first. Also, if I’m being really honest I ended up cheating on him while we were married about a year into our marriage. I told him about it. For me, the cheating wasn’t emotional at all. I felt sort of like a sociopath. Really it was just something that I had never experienced- being with someone else. So I told him when I got to LA and that was hard for him. He was willing to get over it, but I don’t know if he could. So, finances, cheating, resentment.”

COUNSELING
“We separated first. He came home and told me that he was splitting up our bank accounts, and he didn’t even tell me ahead of time. I love him very much and he is a good man, but that was just not good. Also I think it’s hard as a yoga teacher being around other people who are connected in a spiritual way. They are constantly seeking to experience and explore and grow. And then I was coming home to a man who was checked out emotionally and had no spiritual component to his life. He relied on me to bring that, but then he didn’t bring anything to me. We were separated for a year and I moved in with a girlfriend for a few weeks, before finding a place to rent with another girlfriend.”

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TAKING SPACE
“In the separation, we just took space. We took three weeks and took space, and then when we met we decided we should try dating once a week to see how that goes. I found myself dreading the date nights and picking things like a movie where we wouldn’t have to talk or interact. I think it was hard and the stuff we needed to talk about was so hard, so it was tiring and emotionally exhausting. It got to be too much. I think I knew when I moved out that we probably wouldn’t make it. After the first few months of trying to date it just really didn’t go well. He started to know I was done and he started to give up too. Towards the last few months of our separation, I started dating other people. I knew when I was dating other people that it was done.”

MOVING FORWARD
“To this day, all I have for him is love. He’s such a good man, and so is his family. That was such a hard part because we had grown up together. To lose a family and a husband was huge. Like this weekend my sister got married and he called me to wish her good luck. He talked to my sister and mom too. But we talk only when we exchange the dog or about big things. I don’t have a vision for how we’ll be in each other’s lives going forward. I never actually thought about that. It’s strange to think about being around him and another woman, or me and another man. We’ve not done that. I know he’ll be there on my deathbed, but other than that I don’t know how involved we can be in each other’s lives. It’s so hard. Because right now when I look at him, I feel sad and there’s a lot of emotion around that.”

HER RITUAL
“Our divorce was just finalized. We were separated for a solid year and the divorce took about a year because the court lost some of our paperwork. When the papers came in the mail, I just put it in my file folder. It was surreal. Last year I went to Burning Man and it was my first time. And there is this thing called The Temple and it changes every year. It was a huge wooden structure that was very somber and quiet. People write inside and outside of the temple, and the day after they burn the man they burn the temple. The man burn is a big party and the temple burn is a very quiet, respectful experience. Walking in the temple was when I recognized what I was going through and I just broke down as soon as I walked into the space. I started sobbing. This guy came up to me and handed me a pen. And our song is Nickel Creek, a bluegrass band, called When You Come Back Down and some of the lyrics are “When you’re soaring through the air, I’ll be your solid ground. Take every chance you dare, I’ll still be there when you come back down.” So I wrote the lyrics to our song on The Temple and I really wanted to stay and see it burn, but at the same time, I had my moment there. For me, that was my release.”

HOW SHE MENDS
“I saw a therapist twice a week. That little pup over there [points to her puppy lounging in the corner of the room], he is amazing. The day that we decided we were going to get a divorce, when I got home, I just collapsed on the floor, sobbing, and this little guy came, licking the tears off my face. He’s an amazing little thing. He’s helped a lot. Yoga helps me for sure, and meditation. During this time, I started going down to the beach every morning to meditate by myself. Then my roommate started joining me, and then our house would go together, and then we started bringing friends, and we’ve started a little community around Monday morning meditation. We meet at 7:30am, walk down to the water and do a group mediation. That helped a lot, building that community and surrounding myself with people that were positive. And also, I just focused on my career. I dove in. I started this show with NBC. That was huge because it was my first big break and that took a lot of my time. And I really just focused on shooting as much as I could. And getting in as many other jobs as I could. That helped a lot too.”

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AT THE BOTTOM
“I had never been single. I didn’t know who I was so I kind of took some time to find out who I was. And it was hard because when I left my ex, I didn’t take anything from him. I didn’t ask him for money. I didn’t even take any of our furniture. I literally took nothing. I wanted nothing. I literally wanted a fresh start. He owed me nothing, you know. That was hard for me because as a new yoga teacher in LA, I wasn’t yet established. I was literally scraping by. I had to ask my mom for help. I was in a really bad place. So I totally went through a transition. I was broken down. I was at the bottom. But it’s been amazing. I thank my ex for moving me to LA. At first, I hated him for it, but it’s been so good. I really have been so lucky. I’ve had amazing people supporting me and the right opportunities coming my way without even looking for them. I feel really lucky.”

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
“For me, it’s been a learning process because I only knew 1 person. So I did go out and date a little bit and did explore. And now I’m in a relationship with someone who is the complete opposite of who my ex-husband was. And so I’m learning new things. I’m learning a whole lot about me actually. About how I interact and how I communicate. My ex and I just created these habits and we really didn’t know that they existed. Now that I’m with someone else, I’m learning quite a lot.”

MARRIAGE
“I asked myself, ‘What do I want from a relationship? Do I want to get married again? Do I want kids?’ And in reality, yeah, I would get married again. I would not ever do a big wedding. I want to be on a beach in a white bikini with my man, and that’s it. I don’t care about anything else. And I think that that’s one of the problems with marriages, that it’s an event and a party, and I think we take it very lightheartedly in our culture. People don’t realize how hard it is and how much work it is on a daily basis. It is something that I would walk into again, but I would not do it lightheartedly.”

HER MANTRAS
“There are two quotes that are huge for me: ‘Rise by lifting’ and ‘Does this limit or liberate you?’ Those are the two things that are constantly with me.

WHAT SHE’S WORKING ON
“Teaching, modeling, retreats, filming. Most days, I teach 1 or 2 yoga classes. And I travel a lot. I am going to Tulum next week with Alo. They sponsor me right now and they’ve been amazing. My girlfriend Philosophie and I are working on this project called Step Into Your Power. After going through our own transformations, we really wanted to help other women successfully get through whatever they’re going through, accomplish their dreams and goals. We feel like we are now living them and we want to help other people do the same. So we’ve created this 3 part workshop series, which we hope can become week-long retreats.”

HER INTENTION
“Live clearly. Because I’ve had so much support in my community, I often get wrapped up in it. And lately, I’m trying to find more solitude and solidarity and that helps me be very clear of what it is I really want as opposed to getting wrapped up in other people’s things. To live clearly, honestly, integrity, and earnestness as much as possible.”

Poet Jessica Semaan’s Advice on Tinder Heartbreak, Dating and Passion

Jessica is a poet and author of Child of the Moon. Previously, she helped people find and launch their passions through her company, The Passion Co., which helped people identify and start their passion projects.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK

“The first one was when I was 15 and it was my first boyfriend. He broke up with me. He just wasn’t answering my calls. I remember not being able to get out of bed for days. He literally ghosted me. My mom saved me – at that age you think it’s the end of life, the end of the world. I met up with him this year to ask him what happened, 15 years later, and he said that he found out I was talking to another guy. I wasn’t cheating, but I did go to a concert with another guy and didn’t tell him. Of course I had moved on, but it was closure because I was always wondering if something was wrong with me. I was making stories that linked to other stories.”

MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK

“I wrote about it. I had written a New York Times Modern Love submission, but it didn’t get accepted, so I posted it on Medium. It was someone I met on Tinder. We weren’t really together. It was one of those things where we met and, while we lived in the same city, we were in different countries at that time. We built this love that was long distance, without meeting. He upped the ante by saying ‘I love you, I want to be with you.’ He checked a lot of the boxes and we were in similar circles. But then when we met, it felt cold and different. It was over.”

MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK 

“What’s fascinating is it was more of a heartbreak than the three-year relationship that had ended six months before that. Daniel Jones [the editor of Modern Love] has written about how technology has changed the way we connect. I don’t think it’s normal because people hide behind the computer. It’s not as vulnerable. It’s not as scary. The internet makes it easier for people to escape truth.”

THE EVOLUTION OF DATING

“I think we must look at online dating as another way of meeting people versus as something that’s better than other things. It’s just a means to an end. The most important thing is not to spend a lot of time getting to know someone online. Make sure you meet with someone in person. That extreme supply that happens with online dating tends to work better for men than women in my experience. As a man, if you want to just hook up, you have such access. For women, if they want a relationship, they find themselves at times having to go the hookup route. Guys get more and more spoiled with choice. Many men still want to court women. I think that’s not happening as much, but it’s still ingrained. A lot of men need to go through courting to fall in love, but sometimes as women we forget about that. We’re like, oh of course I’ll hook up with you and then we’ll figure it out. And then you wonder for a week after you’ve slept together about what’s happening. Obviously, this is a generalization, and there are exceptions. Now I’m being more mindful if I want a relationship to put a boundary at the beginning.”

HEARTBREAK DAYS

“During the breakup I was still at Airbnb and starting my own company. It was really difficult. You’re not technically sick, but you are bleeding. You can’t tell your boss you have a heartbreak and you want to take a few days off, but it hurts more than being physically sick.”

HOW SHE MENDED

“I did three months of no dating. I realized that heartbreak caused me so much stress, in the sense of questioning. How could I fall in love with someone I don’t know? That meant I was missing something. So I read books on relationships, I hired a relationship coach, I really went all out. One of my favorite books is The 7 Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I also read If the Buddha Dated and If the Buddha Married. I also read Calling in the One. I’m such a geek on this topic. I’ve done a lot of research. I also read this great book called How to Be an Adult in Relationships. I saw the therapist that wrote it speak at Spirit Rock, a Buddhist retreat center in California. I wrote a lot. Writing was my biggest healing tool. Every day I journaled. This breakup got me so many pieces of writing (laughs).”

MODEL RELATIONSHIPS

“I have some friends that have beautiful relationships. There is a lot of respect and care and joy and humor, which is something I came to appreciate more this past month. A couple can create a dynamic where some things are taken lightly.”

HOW SHE STARTED HER COMPANY

“I was in business school at Stanford. At 24, I was killing it on paper, yet I was feeling very depressed and unfulfilled and didn’t know what was wrong with my life. That led me to ask questions about what I was doing. It became clear I was living life to impress others and be validated by others. It wasn’t sustainable anymore. I had lost touch with myself. That journey of getting to know myself got me to ask what I love to do. One of the big things was writing. I decided to start a blog called Passion Stories, with stories of mainly women who are pursuing their passions. It took me a year to actually do it – we always procrastinate on the things that are good for us. But I met this photographer at Airbnb and she offered to do the photography for the interviews, so I was then actually forced to do the interviews (laughs). So I said, how can I take what I’m learning in these stories, so that beyond inspiration, it gives people the tools and structure to make a change? The biggest learning from the interviews was to start a passion project on the side. Most of the people I interviewed started that way. So The Passion Co started as workshops in my apartment, and we now have an official five-week program, The Passion Program, in San Francisco that graduates 30-40 projects every other month. They range from a new beer brand to a blog on dating to a book on body image.”

HER MANTRA
“Do what you love.”

Therapist Daniela Tempesta’s Advice on Breakups, Grief and Finding the One

Daniela is a familiar name around here and very close to our hearts at Mend — she was one of the first guest contributors to take a chance on our concept of a “breakup website” when we launched. She is a Stanford-trained psychotherapist and founder of The Tempesta Group in San Francisco, a practice that blends psychotherapy and coaching to help people design and live a life they love.

At the time of this interview, she had also temporarily become a bakery owner When her mother Bonnie Tempesta  (also known as the Baroness of Biscotti for bringing biscotti to the American market) passed away suddenly, Daniela was faced with a decision: stay in her successful private practice or take over her mother’s business. She decided to take over the bakery for a time before returning to her therapy practice.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first time my heart was really broken, in the ‘I want to crawl into a hole and never come out’ kind of way, was my senior year of college. At the time I truly believed that I had found my soul mate. We seemed to align on everything and suddenly there was someone in my life that seemed to love all of me, the good and the bad. Even though our relationship was long distance, we still managed to see each other every two weeks. It was an intense relationship. Our lives revolved around each other. Our families spent holidays together. We often spoke of our plans of getting married in the future with friends and family. Though we had some geographical issues to work out, I felt like I was set for life. We planned to move in together for the summer before I went away to grad school and a few weeks before graduation he ended things with me really abruptly. I felt like I had been hit by a freight train. I knew things weren’t perfect in our relationship but I certainly believed that we were both committed to working through anything that came our way. His reason: ‘I just miss the way it used to be in the beginning when everything was easy and we didn’t have to work at it.’ It took me years to fully recover and learn to trust in relationships again.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HER YOUNGER SELF
“Maintain a sense of self and really know your own value outside of the relationship. I really lost myself in that relationship. While all my friends were doing fun stuff senior year of college, I spent most of my time traveling to Boston to see him or in my dorm room on the phone. If I could go back in time I would have had a lot more balance between the relationship and the rest of my life. And also, there is no reward without risk. Even though your heart’s been broken, keep putting yourself out there. I was so afraid of getting hurt again, that for years I only dated people who I knew liked me more than I liked them in order to protect myself. But if you want that  Oh my God, how did I live my whole life up till this point without you  stomach-flipping kind of  love, you HAVE to be willing to take the risk to get hurt. Once I finally figured that out, I met my husband. I don’t think the timing was a coincidence.”

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HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I recently learned that heartbreak comes in many forms, not just the ending of romantic relationships. In September of 2014, I lost my mother to breast cancer. She was my best friend, hero and the person I relied on most in the world. I can honestly say that losing her was the most painful heartache I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt like I lost a limb and that I had to learn how to walk all over again, but this time with just one leg. I’m still learning how to walk. Grief is an unpredictable little beast. It’s much more chaotic and uprooting than anything I’ve felt before. One minute you’re laughing, and the next you’re laying on the floor pounding your fists and screaming like a child.”

AN UNEXPECTED SHIFT
“My mom spent her entire life in the food industry. She was actually the first person to introduce biscotti to the American food scene back in 1983 when she started her first company. Most recently she had started a small, artisan biscotti company called Boncora, which is focused on high quality, locally sourced products and also a commitment to giving back to the local community. When she passed away I was faced with a difficult decision — keep the bakery open or close its doors. Keeping the bakery open meant walking away from my psychotherapy practice and stepping into a whole new world, one where the learning curve would be high and I would be a complete beginner. I mean, I literally knew nothing about the food industry. The logical decision would have been to stick with my thriving therapy practice, but my heart kept pulling me back to bakery. And I decided to listen to my heart on this one. Having the opportunity to carry on my mother’s legacy feels like the most important thing I could be doing right now. Things are finally starting to come together and the product is picking up some momentum, so I’m really excited to see where I can take the business in the next year. I’m focused on getting the product to a broader audience so everyone can enjoy what my mom did best.”

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HOW SHE MENDS
“Marathons of awesome TV shows! As a therapist, I’m generally not a big fan of avoidance as a strategy for dealing with suffering, but when it comes to breakups you just need to get your mind off of it for a while. Getting sucked into the lives of fictional characters is a good way to temporarily forget about your own sorrows. After one breakup I think I must have watched 3 seasons of Sex and the City in 2 days. I soaked up all the love I could get from friends and family. The loss of a relationship can sometimes leave a big void, so I let it be filled by the love and support of all the people out there who adore me. And I practiced mindfulness and self-compassion. This is the hardest but also probably the most important. Finding stillness, accepting what is and being compassionate to yourself are essential tools for healing. I highly recommend checking out Kristen Neff’s work on self compassion, a very useful resource during a difficult time. I particularly like the guided meditation Soften, Soothe, Allow.”

HER BREAK UP VICES
“Cyberstalking. It’s bad news bears. It’s like a rash – it itches so you want to scratch it, but when you do it just spreads and gets worse. And the worse it gets the more you want to scratch.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“Honestly, it really depends on the situation. Every once in a while it can work, but I’ve seen it cause more problems than it’s often worth.”

HER PHILOSOPHY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
“I don’t stay connected to exes on social media. I think it’s best not to get ambushed by constant updates of what your exes are up to.”

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HER HARDEST LESSON ON LOVE
“Love doesn’t always come in the package you expect. I had a lot of silly rules about how my “future husband” would have to be, but in the end, love is about connection, not a checklist of traits. Be open. Stretch yourself. When my now husband told me he had children from a previous marriage on our first date, I seriously contemplated playing sick and leaving the date early. I wanted no part of being a step-mom. Kids equals deal breaker, I thought. But it turned into a 6 hour first date. Two months later he gave me the keys to his place. And 3 years later we walked down the aisle: me, him and my amazing step-children. The heart wants what the heart wants.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK
I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt.”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“I truly believe that we are put on this earth to love. I’ve learned through my personal experience and my work as a therapist that loving and being loved are as essential to our well being as water and oxygen. Getting your heart broken sucks, but denying yourself the chance for real love is a far greater loss.”

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HER INTENTION: MANIFEST
“I really believe that we can manifest the things we truly want in our lives if we focus our attention and intention towards them.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Sonoma, CA.

Photographer and Grlswirl Founder Monroe Alvarez’ Advice on Love and Breakups

Monroe Alvarez is a photographer and creative director based in Venice Beach. She’s also the co-founder of @grlswirl, an all-womxn skate sisterhood. She sat down with us to share how she’s learned to listen to her intuition (it’s usually right), what it felt like to be overcome by jealousy and mistrust when she was cheated on and the utter chaos and unpredictability of how love works. You can follow her on Instagram @dontbeafool.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I actually hadn’t had my heart broken until last year. What I had thought was a broken heart wasn’t really. You know, it was young love. But once I actually had my heart broken, I was like, Okay, none of that was real. You know how people say that before you die, you see your whole life flash before your eyes? Well, I saw my whole past and future with him burn up in flames. It was the scariest thing. I got super dizzy, my feet… I couldn’t stabilize myself. I had never cried so hard in my life. I found out that he’d cheated on me, and it was so unexpected. The crazy thing is, when it actually occurred, my body knew the moment it happened. But then once I heard from a friend, I literally lost my breath. I lost sight.”

TURNING INTO SOMEONE ELSE
“I didn’t talk to him for almost two days. Then I finally gave in– you know, because you love that person– and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I went over and talked to him. He was crying, but all I could see was that he’d broken that seal of trust. It turns you into someone you don’t want to be. I’m usually the girl who’s like, ‘Sure, you have girls you want to hang out with, I totally trust you.’ And then once that [cheating] occurred, I turned into a whole different person. I remember I spent the night in Malibu with a friend, and I knew he was at a bar. I literally got of my bed in Malibu, left the house, and came to the bar he was at in Venice, just to make sure he wasn’t doing anything. Like, that is so not me! I would never do that, you know? But I just felt sick in my stomach, and I just felt like a crazy person.”


A REUNION + AN ENGAGEMENT

“We ended up going on a trip together 3 weeks after it occurred, and it was our first time trying to spend time together again. He begged me to go, and I kept saying I didn’t want to go. Eventually, I was like, Fuck it. If I’m ever going to try this again, let’s do it. So we went to the San Juan Islands, where his family has a cabin. There was no wifi or cell service, so that was probably the best week of our whole relationship because we had no attachment to the outside world. He ended up proposing to me at the end of that week. We were on a boat, like a tow boat, sitting there. It was about midnight, and I remember thinking, If he were ever going to propose to me, I guarantee now’s the time. And the same way I’d known when he was cheating on me, I pictured the whole conversation in my head, and seconds later, it happened exactly the way I’d thought of it. So we were engaged, but it was tough for me, because I still needed to forgive my boyfriend before I could forgive my fiance. I don’t think it happened when it should have happened, and it complicated the relationship. I ended up distancing myself emotionally and physically, and seeking a way out in a way that I probably shouldn’t have. I developed feelings for my current boyfriend while I was ending the relationship with my ex. It was so dramatic.”

BOTH SIDES OF THE TABLE
“As shitty as it is to be cheated on– I’m not proud to say it, but I’m a cheater too. Cheating is not okay, and I always told myself that cheaters are the most disgusting things in the world. Then I became one. I know I’m not a bad person, and I know why I did it: I wanted out. I needed an excuse, and I was emotionally disconnecting. So as awful as it is, I get why I did it. Once my ex cheated on me, I could relate. I couldn’t be like, ‘Fuck you, I never want to speak to you again,’ because I had done it before. I could understand. So I can totally mend from being cheated on, only because I can relate. I’m not proud of it.”

BALANCING WORK + HEARTBREAK
“I pretty much didn’t work for 3 weeks. I have a flexible schedule, so I didn’t have to wake up and go to the office and deal with it. I think it’s also really good to involve yourself in work, but I think you need a couple of days to be with your friends or by yourself and cry. I remember I had a photo shoot 3 or 4 days after I found out [that he cheated on me], and I so didn’t want to go. It’s tough to balance, because you’re crying on the way to work, and once you’re there then you have to pretend everything’s okay. But once I was there, my mind was off of it.”

HOW SHE MENDED
“Once the whole cheating situation happened, I lost my shit for a few weeks. I had to get to a dark place in order to get back up. I think people who try to push it aside and not deal with it… I don’t think that’s healthy. I think you need to be crying every day. So I cried until I couldn’t cry any more. I was hanging out with my friends at all times because I didn’t want to be alone. I needed that love and support. I was reading a lot. I love Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss. I was spending a lot of time at the beach. And then I got to a place of doing a lot of meditating and understanding. I’ve been meditating for over 2 years now. It’s so important to me, so I want the person I’m with to be part of that as well. I always wanted my ex to do it, but he never did, so that was a disconnect. I spent a lot of time looking at why the cheating happened, because I didn’t want to get to a place of blaming, either.”

MOVING ON
“Once I realized I was emotionally interested in someone else, I didn’t bring it up to my ex, because I didn’t know what it meant. It just showed me that I needed to end things with my ex. So we had a week of crying every night at dinner, like, ‘Maybe we’re not meant to be together ,’  but then at the end of the conversation, we’d conclude that, no, we needed to be together. It was a week-long of that shit. And eventually I was like, It   just has to end. It has to be over. It was good at first. We stayed friends for a while, until he realized I had fallen for somebody else, and then he lost his shit. Now I don’t want to be friends with him. I thought I did for a really long time, and I supported him in a lot of ways. But the words he said to me after we’d broken up were probably the most disgusting words you could ever say to somebody. I was like, Wow, so this is who you really are. When he initially cheated on me, not once did I speak to him the way he spoke to me.”

TRUST YOUR BODY
“Every mistake you make, every dark time, is all for a reason. So I would never tell myself to do anything differently, I would just tell myself to trust my body, my intuition, my instinct a little more. I think I had quite a few moments when my body was telling me to get out. You get your heart and your gut and your head all confused.”

ON BEING VULNERABLE
“I probably came into this new relationship more open and more vulnerable than any other relationship. I’m more myself with him than I have been with anybody else. In my past relationships, there was always something stopping me from being my full self. With him, there are no barriers, I can just be all me. I think in my last relationship, I was intimidated by him in certain ways. He was so good with words and making himself right all the time that I would never allow myself to get in a fight with him. I’d always want to smooth things over and keep it even-keeled because I’d never win. Where with my current boyfriend, it’s not like that at all, so if anything comes up for me, I’ll bring it up. I feel a little stronger in this relationship than I did in the last one.”

WHAT SHE’S LEARNED ABOUT LOVE
“Knowing that love can’t last forever, and love can have a timeline. Every guy that I’m with, I tend to think I’ll be with that person forever. Now I look at it like, I love this person so much right now, who knows what the future is going to hold for us. And if one day one of us isn’t happy anymore, then we should respect that and go our separate ways. I think the toughest thing with exes is that as much as we’ve hurt each other, I’ll always respect that person. It’s tough to say, Okay, he did this and this and this wrong, but it takes two to tango. With everything that he did wrong, I probably did things that he didn’t like either. People always hate their exes. I try not to ever hate an ex. So as shitty as it is that we don’t talk, which is probably the way it should be, I’ll always have a degree of respect for that person. If I loved that person with all my heart at one point in my life, I’ll always have a level of love for them.”

RELATIONSHIPS IN HER LIFE
“My best friend Ally and her boyfriend are the cutest thing: their communication and their respect for one another, I really look up to that. But there’s not one particular relationship that I want to model my own after. I really think both partners have to have respect for each other, and to make each other a better version of themselves. And it’s so important to be yourself. If you can’t be yourself with the person that you’re with, or if you don’t respect the person that you’re with, you’re never going to have a good relationship.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
“We’ve unfollowed each other on Instagram, but you know, I’ll have friends send me screenshots, like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ But I feel like you can never get over that other person if they’re still in your life, even if you’re not talking, because they’re still in your consciousness. You have to disconnect in order to move forward. I do post about my relationship now, but it was really hard at first, because I was like, I don’t want to hurt him [my ex]. I didn’t want to devalue what we had just had, or be disrespectful. So it wasn’t until recently that I posted a photo.”

WHAT SHE’S UP TO
“I’ve been working on a couple of look books lately, which are super fun. I just went up to Santa Cruz with my 2 best friends and shot them for it. And then I’m shooting another one here in Venice. I’ve also been collaborating with this hotel in Nicaragua, Maderas Village. I was just there, and I had so much fun, I’ll be back in 2 weeks. When you go there, it’s all creatives that go in and out of the place: photographers, artists, musicians, super creative people. I’m stoked on that.”

HER MANTRA: AUTHENTICITY
“I think it’s really important to be your authentic self at all times. I’ve spent so many years in relationships putting myself second and saying things and doing things to please that person. As long as you’re yourself at all moments, what’s there to regret?”

Self Care CEO Danielle Cuccio’s Advice on First Love Heartbreak

Danielle is a yoga instructor and the CEO of self-care brand Cuccio Somatology. You can follow her on Instagram @daniellecuccio.

FALLING IN LOVE EARLY
“I was in a 9 year relationship that was full of ups and downs. I met him when I was 13. My parents have been together since they were 12 so I thought oh this is normal, this is just what you do. I met him when I was 13 and it was just a roller coaster as relationships are at that age. He was on the basketball team and I was a cheerleader and he was the love of my life – I thought I was going to marry him. He went to college and I was heartbroken – we’d break up and then get back together and then break up and then get back together. Then we got back together after college. I had dated people in between when we weren’t together, but nothing serious, you can’t obviously when you had something that strong. And we were together for a year after college. We bought a house and moved in together and I thought that was it. It all made sense – I was on cloud nine. I thought this is it. We made it through college and we’re good.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“At some point, I remember I just stopped wanting to come home. It was the weirdest thing. I just stopped caring. We worked well together as kids, but we just didn’t work as adults. I went to beauty school and he was an artist. I was in school from 7am to 6pm every day and I would come home exhausted. He would have just been doing whatever he was doing all day and I when I would get home, he would want to go out and do things and I just couldn’t. I was too tired and he could never understand that. I had to end it. It was really hard. We owned a house together for the last three years. It’s a long time to have been with someone when you’re only 27 years old.”

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COHABITATING
“We lived in the house for 5 months together. We were so occupied with getting the house and moving in. That’s the scary part – people can get so wrapped up in what they’re doing and then when it’s over, and they’re like ‘ok, now what?’ I’m sure it could even happen with wedding planning. I think that’s a really scary thing. I think that was happening with me when we were buying the house, but I didn’t realize that until after we moved in. It was really hard to face what I was feeling, but there was no more going back. So I initiated many conversations. It was almost as if I was reeling him into breaking up. It was conversation after conversation.”

ONE MORE CHANCE
“At one point, I wanted to get back together with him because I was so scared. I remember so clearly giving him one more chance: “You can take me to dinner and a movie and we can try to keep this working.” That night, he had friends over and was drumming, doing his own thing. So I went to dinner and the movie by myself. I had never been to a movie by myself and ended up watching a documentary about love. It was so cheesy and ridiculous and yet so perfect.”

THINGS TAKE TIME
“I went on a trip to Italy with my friends and I remember crying and talking about it and my friends just told me I had to stop talking about it. But in a way, I still wanted him to be a part of me. It’s been four years now and I think I’m really past it. I never thought I would get there.”

GETTING BACK INTO HER BODY
“After the break up was when I started doing yoga. I would go to yoga and I would cry. I didn’t want the teacher to see me, but now, plenty of my students cry and I’m like bring it! I started teaching Yoga Booty Ballet, a fitness class that is a lot of fun and it makes you feel so good. When you’re going through a break up, I think you really need that. You need something that will physically get you moving and distract you. That’s why I loved yoga so much. I was a dancer my whole life and yoga got me back into my body and I would walk out of class feeling so much more peaceful, thinking, I’m by myself and I don’t need someone right now and I’ll be okay.

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WHAT SHE READ
“When I started dating again, I read Why Men Love Bitches. Its message was ‘Don’t deal with assholes!’ That book is great.”

ONLINE DATING
“I tried online dating and it was such a good experience. I don’t have a bad thing to say about it. You get to know yourself so well. I probably went on 12 dates total. I met some great people. Some of them weren’t for me at all, but you learn what you like and what you don’t. It felt like I was going on a whole bunch of interviews and you really get to know yourself. I remember I kept saying to the guys that I really wanted to do a yoga certification class. I thought why do I keep saying that? And then I just did it.”

MEETING HER MATCH
“After the break up, I dated someone that I used to see and then another guy in the same group of friends. I decided I had to stop that. I’m going nowhere. They’re cute, they’re fun, but this is going nowhere. Those guys are still noncommittal to this day, it wasn’t me. You have to remember it’s not you. So I started online dating. If there was one weird sign, at the very beginning, that the guy was noncommittal or not right for me, I just ended it. I wasn’t going to get involved with something that wasn’t going anywhere. And it really worked. I started meeting guys that were ready to commit. There were no games and when you’re dating, that’s the line you have to draw. I met Tyler on Match. I was really attracted to bad boys with tattoos. When I met Tyler, he was very put together, wearing a button down shirt. But when I found out he had tattoos and a different side, I was like yes! It’s about finding a good mix.”

COMMITMENT CAN BE INTIMIDATING
“When I first met Tyler, he was just so ready to commit. I knew that he was very serious, I got scared and we broke up. I still regret it. I was so miserable when we were apart. I felt alone and I didn’t want to go back to my old life. We started talking a little bit through email and we decided to go to dinner. I realized that this guy was 100% here. It was a big decision to make but we were like alright we’re doing this! So after a month of being broken up, we got back together and we have been together ever since. I think I just needed that time for myself. I was going through my yoga teacher training during the break, so I really needed that time for myself. Of course I wish we didn’t have to go through a break, but it’s what happened.”

FRIENDS WITH HER EX?
“No. I honestly don’t know my ex would fit into my life. He’s someone who if you’re his friend, he really needs you to be there and I can’t do that, especially with Tyler. Tyler is really easy going about it. He’s not a very jealous person. A few years ago, I would have said that my ex would be like an uncle to my kids. I always imagined he’d be part of my family because he was really close to them. But now, it just makes much more sense to not talk to him.”

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HER HARDEST LESSON LEARNED ON LOVE
“We would all love to end up with our first love because that sounds perfect. But you’re seeing the situation through rose colored glasses. You’re totally blind. I think that we would all love to end up with that. But as adults, that is just not the case. As an adult you’re looking for different things. You could be with someone who is so sweet and amazing but they might not be able to be as driven as you. And that’s important to me. I think that was a pretty rude awakening. I really had to think about what I wanted in a partner and what I wanted from our life together. That never used to be a component when I was younger. A relationship can only last long term if you have a vision together. Daily things have to work as well – who takes out the trash and that kind of thing. That’s a shift for me after being in a relationship with someone for 9 years, growing up with them and then entering adult life.”

PROJECTS SHE’S EXCITED ABOUT
“My parents are in the beauty business and have been for 30 years. So growing up I was always around that. My sister became a doctor and my dad always said to me “you’re going to work in the family business.” I’m growing my wellness brand, Cuccio Somatology, “soma” means body and “tology” means study of. I’ve taken anatomy and nutrition courses. I’m an aesthetician. I’m a yoga instructor. I have a yoga DVD and book. Eventually I’d like include probiotics, supplements and skin care into the line. I want to do it all!”

HER MANTRA: LOVE
“I think that we can all get so caught up in our lives and not realize what’s important. People need to stay with what they love. Love what you love to do, love who you love, stay where you love to be. My whole life is driven by wanting to live on the beach one day. I love the relaxed lifestyle and I’ve wanted it my whole life.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Patricia Echeverria’s Advice on Breakups, Forgiveness + Finding Purpose

Patricia believes everyone has a purpose. She is the founder of Experiment on Purpose, an experimental studio at the intersection of personal transformation and human-centered design. They have collaborated with the Hub LA, Hub Madrid, Global Innovation Summit, TED Conferences and No Right Brain Left Behind. When she’s not leading her six-week Purpose Program or coaching clients, you can find her surfing.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“There was an initial breakup and we got back together again, and then we broke up again. In previous relationships, I wasn’t fully invested. I didn’t realize at the time but I just wasn’t fully vulnerable. The more I’ve grown, the more vulnerable I’ve allowed myself to be – so the greater the heartbreak.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HERSELF NOW
“I feel like breakups are a long process. Usually that’s the painful part; that it’s a process. It takes a long time. But when it’s not working, you know. I would tell myself to trust my intuition with the next person. I have a really good sense of whether something will work or not. But sometimes we don’t follow that. I would say to trust my intuition and follow that with whoever I meet. Towards the end there was a gut feeling it wasn’t working but there was a part of me that wanted to make it work. I let myself go, which I don’t often do.”

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ATTRACTION
“Nowadays, when there’s an intense attraction initially, I’m vigilant of that. I don’t necessarily go with it. I’ll watch. I don’t necessarily say, ‘That’s the person!’ The best relationships for me have been when it was neutral at first. I was attracted, but I didn’t feel like I had to be with them.’”

A SELF LOVE PRACTICE
“I allowed myself to be very nurturing and loving to myself, and I focused on that. I felt there was this big thing missing physically and emotionally, so I made sure all parts of me were taken care of. I felt a lot of upset in my stomach – the most visceral part of the heartbreak was there. So I would say ‘I love you’ and put my hand on my stomach and worked with that. I did a lot of yoga. I did things to feel taken care of and it was important for me to take time off from what I was doing, to not be focused on work. I took time to go to the beach, even though I had things to do. You have to allow yourself to go through the mourning process. If you just go on to the next activity, it’s still there.”

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FORGIVENESS
“I realized that: in the process of recovering from heartbreak, I did a lot of forgiveness, I listened to forgiveness meditations and practiced self forgiveness every day for at least 45 minutes, for the first months, and it was one of the most powerful and healing experiences for me. This process truly allowed me to recover from the emotional upset. It was super important for me.”

COMPATIBILITY
“I remember talking to Mary [the Founder of University of Santa Monica, where she got a second degree, in Spiritual Psychology] about how she found her husband. She was so clear. She told me, ‘Don’t settle. Look for character.’ For me, it was perfect to hear that. Part of me felt guilty or responsible, like ‘Oh shit this should have worked.’ But talking to people made me feel like I did the best I could and for some reason we just weren’t compatible. If you’re both going the same direction, you don’t have to struggle. You don’t have to be doing all the same things all the time, but why not find someone who is more compatible? For me it was important for me to be with someone who is my partner, someone I’m also working with. I know it’s challenging. It’s tough because I have my path and I’m going on my path, and I am still developing what it is that I’m doing. But my experience with couples that work together in the personal development sphere is that there’s something really beautiful and powerful there. It’s the masculine and feminine energies balancing each other out. Like with Ron and Mary, it feels like they maximize each other’s potential times 100. It becomes a larger thing that’s not about two of them.”

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MUSIC THAT MENDED
“I listened to more depressing songs than I would normally listen to. I like the work song by Hozier. I watched this beautiful video of these couples dancing to the song and I found it so beautiful. It’s a beautiful, romantic video. I never listen to lyrics. I don’t pay attention or ever remember, so I wouldn’t even be able to tell you which songs are about heartbreak. But to me it just has that heartbreak feeling. I also loved to listen to All I Want by Kodaline, which feels heartbreaking and beautiful all together.”

THE PRINCE THEORY
“There is this idea that men go through different stages; that they have to be kind of settled in their career, often times, before they can be with someone. It’s called being in the Prince stage, when they haven’t found themselves. Even though we live in a more gender equal society, there is still an expectation for a man to be stable. Before they get to that point, they’re just experimenting with relationships and they may not be committed. It makes sense energetically. Men want to know that they’re doing a good job. If they’re unstable, it will be really hard for them to be in a relationship.”

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LETTING THE WOUND HEAL
“The vice that happens to everyone is that you breakup and you want to see the person again, even just going on Instagram to see what they’re doing. I’m on a social media sabbatical right now, but I just un-followed my ex on everything. I didn’t unfriend on Facebook, but I removed notifications. The vice is the part that wants to stay in it, and that’s the part that makes the heartbreak longer. I knew if I just cut it off, it would allow for the healing process. It’s like a wound. You have to cut it off so the wound heals. If you just keep creating an opening for it, it just never closes. I’ve had that experience before, so I knew I needed to block him completely. And I told him that it was important not to see him. I told him that yes I love him, but I can’t do it right now. I made it very clear.”

FOCUSING ON THE VISION
“I have a lot of willpower. I think of what I really want, and what I really want is love and I want to feel completely cherished. I want to be with someone who loves me, who is my soulmate. So it makes it easier that when it’s not working, I have to let go and trust that I have this larger vision that I’m going for. In order to go for that, I have to sacrifice what’s here now. I trust and I know that if this guy that I just broke up with is meant to be with me, he’ll come back. I’m not concerned. I think the strength comes from having that larger vision.”

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HER SOCIAL MEDIA SABBATICAL
“Social media made my life feel very busy, when it really wasn’t. It was so distracting. It depends which point in your career you’re at. For me, I realized that there’s something really important about going in and then creating from that space. I’m at a very generative stage right now professionally – all of these things are being created – and I don’t want it to be coming as a reaction to the outside world. I actually want to take the time to see what’s really important for me and what I want to put out in the world. Being on social media puts your antenna out but doesn’t allow you to go in as much. It automatically puts you in comparison mode, not even consciously. I would wake up and look at other people’s lives without focusing on what I was doing with myself. I’d rather wake up with an affirmation or intention for myself instead of waking up and seeing what the rest of the world is doing.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I think it depends how long you’ve been with the person. You just have to let enough time pass. I think it can be problematic if you’re still single and you’re searching. As long as you’re at a neutral place inside.”

Patricia8

VULNERABILITY
“I think being vulnerable is very difficult. I can’t say I’m like that all the time. I’ve met some guys recently and it’s put to test when you meet someone you sort of like. That’s when you can assess whether you’re open. But I know that if I don’t open my heart, there won’t be anything there. There was a period of time in my life when I was completely closed off. I could have relationships, but they weren’t as fulfilling. I know that whatever relationship I have next I want it to be a completely vulnerable one. It’s the only thing that counts.”

HER MANTRA: YOU ARE LOVED
“I want to remember that I am loved and I don’t have to worry.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Singer Mereki Beach on Grief and What They Don’t Tell You About Love

Mereki Beach is a songwriter and artist, and she’s also the founder of non-profit Be Kind. We caught up with her about finding the courage to scrap an EP that wasn’t feeling right, living authentically, and how she pulled through a barrage of heartbreaks that happened all at once, including the loss of her father.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“I lost my dad about a year and a half ago. I suppose it was a slow burn heartbreak because he had cancer for 5 years. He was given 3 months to live initially, but then fought it for a long time through holistic means. In November of 2013, I went back to Australia for his birthday. His health had really deteriorated, so I ended up staying there in the months leading up to his passing, which was at the end of February 2014. I was in a long term relationship at that point, but I’d never had a serious breakup, and the heartbreak of losing my dad was unprecedented. I felt like I’d almost been living in a bubble-up until that point. When I experienced the pain of his passing, it was like, oh, now I get it, now I see what everyone’s going on about. This fucking sucks. My dad and I, we were like the same person. We were so close. And he was young, only 62. My mum and I were looking after him at home. My two sisters, my mum, and I were all actually fortunate enough to be with him as he took his final breath. We were all holding him and watched him take three small breaths and then go. It was a very profound experience. Life-changing, for sure. But it hurt like nothing words can express.

NEVER PREPARED
There’s a lot of shock in the aftermath of death. It was interesting to watch my sisters and my mum all going through it differently. My mum had been taking such beautiful care of my dad for such a long time at that point, so I think she was really relieved that he was able to go so peacefully. For me, I think that no matter how much preparation I had for his death, I was still totally shocked when it happened. Even though it was really beautiful on so many levels. It was a full moon outside with the moonlight shining into the room and onto him, the iPod was on shuffle and Van Morrison’s ‘Moon Dance’ had come on as he went. My boyfriend at the time and I went outside and lit a fire later. It was very beautiful, but extremely confronting. I think it’s so strange — death is almost a taboo topic. Every person that you ever see or meet is going to die, and yet we don’t really talk about it. It’s so bizarre to me. Losing my dad really made me question my beliefs spiritually, and my thoughts on what happens when you die. I grew up in a very spiritual household, not religious necessarily, but I was sort of fine with the idea of it all and then when I actually experienced it first hand, it was quite another thing. I was very angry about losing my dad for quite a long time.”

AFTER THE BUBBLE BURST
“It totally changed me as a person. Up until the point of his death, it was like I had lived in this really safe bubble created by his unconditional love. I had this person, this male figure, who loved me so wholly, almost to a fault – we had a really special bond. I always felt very safe and protected in a world that isn’t always kind. So, when he passed away, I felt extremely vulnerable. Since then, I’ve had to work through becoming my own protector and looking after myself a lot more, which has been really difficult but very rewarding. There’ve been hugely positive leaps and bounds in my personal growth because of this loss, which I think can be true of all heartbreak.”

A STRONG FATHER FIGURE
“I always had this really strong male figure in my life, and so it was weird but it was like I didn’t need a partner for that ‘security’ that I think a lot of people crave; I already had it. I was always very happy on my own. I had small relationships here and there, but in high school I was never the girl who had the serious boyfriend. It sounds weird, but my dad and I were almost soul mates; we were honestly just the same in so many ways. We had very similar personalities and understood each other with such ease. When you’re looking for a romantic partner, you’re looking for that sort of connection with someone. I got into a relationship with my now-ex-boyfriend around the time my dad’s health was starting to deteriorate. I think that my dad’s sickness played into that relationship and I was subconsciously trying to fill that void, and of course I needed support, too. Not that I didn’t love my ex boyfriend, I did, very much. But I think it is interesting how humans operate.”

TRIPLE ARIES
“I started to write really angry punk music for about a year afterwards. I have a pretty fiery personality – I’m like a triple Aries. So I got furious. I was so, so sad, but I was really fucking angry. I was like, screw you, why do I have to lose one of the most important people in my life? This isn’t fair and this isn’t how it’s meant to be! Fuck you, world! My dad was the best and some people don’t even like their parents! I was never a rebellious teenager, but when my dad died, I feel like I went through that phase. I wrote so, so many songs. Content-wise they weren’t necessarily about my dad, but energetically, I just wanted to kick and scream and shout. Thank god I had music to direct that energy! It makes sense to me that people who don’t have a creative outlet might go down darker paths to manage this sort of heartache and grief. I was lucky because I got to perform a bunch of those songs live in LA and New York, which was super cathartic. Being able to get all of that raw emotion out was so helpful, I don’t know what I would have done without that, honestly.”

Mereki Tongue

A REBIRTH IN ICELAND
“I was lucky enough to be invited on a songwriting camp in Iceland a few months ago. I was there for a week, but I felt like I was there for a lifetime, it was really strange. Iceland is an incredible place. The people at SEASAC and Downtown Publishing who ran the camp created this beautiful, honest environment for us to write in. We were creating in some of the studios that Bjork had recorded songs in. It was just an amazing experience, and it was freeing, artistically. I started the week on the same poppy, punky sort of things I’d been doing, but by the end of the week I was writing from a much deeper place and much softer. I came back to LA and had a full existential crisis, like, oh my god, what have I been doing in LA in this pop world? I hate all of my songs. Who am I? I had made this EP that was produced by great producers, it was mixed by an amazing engineer, it was mastered, it was ready to be released. And then I got back from Iceland and I was like, I don’t think I can release this. It’s not right, it’s not pure. It was true to form to how I was feeling at the time, but as my first official release, it wasn’t honest to my core; I had gone off course a little, understandably perhaps. So it took me a month or two to work through that. I was freaking. I was so confused. When you’re working toward something for so long, and then all of a sudden, you’re like ‘wait, what? This isn’t right.’ But after that rebirthing experience in Iceland– amazing, so powerful, everyone needs to go to the Blue Lagoon– I just came back, and I wasn’t angry anymore. It calmed something in me and took me to the next step in the grieving process, which I think is maybe acceptance.”

HOW SHE MENDED
“I leaned a lot on my best friend who is here in LA, Ashleigh. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I’m really fortunate in that I have a lot of really special, really strong women around me who have been my savior many times. That, coupled with a lot of work on myself. I meditate every day now, I have to. When you get pushed to that sort of breaking point, you either go down into a dark well of self pity and bitterness, or you pick yourself up and figure out the things, any things, that are going to help. I think it’s a lot of trial and error. But for me, meditating daily is something that I have to do now. I really notice if I don’t do that. Exercise: necessary. I really like running. I’ve recently gotten into Pop Physique, and I’ve started doing yoga. My parents have a property back in Australia, and they would have weekly yoga classes. I always wanted to get into yoga, but found it so boring. But I just recently found this guy who teaches at Yogala on Echo Park Avenue, and he’s fucking hilarious– he’s like, ‘just breathe in, now just let that shit go, just fuckin’ let it go.’ He’s really funny. So I’ve finally gotten into yoga recently.”

THE LAKE
What else did I do? Nature. I came to the lake [Echo Park Lake] a lot. There’s a dam on my parents’ property with lotus flowers and there are always dragonflies. One day in particular I remember that dad and I saw a dragonfly so illuminescent it was like it was made entirely of glitter. Every morning when I was home my dad and I would walk down to the dam to check to see if a new lotus flower had opened up. That’s probably why I like the lake so much. When I arrived home in November there was only the bud of one little lotus that we saw bloom and by the time Dad passed away the dam was covered in lotus. Just before I came back to LA it rained so much that the dam flooded and the water covered over all the flowers.”

SOMEONE TO TALK TO
“When my dad passed, after I got back to LA, I actually had phone counseling for a little while. It was a cancer support line kind of thing, because I couldn’t afford a counselor. It was wonderful. I think everyone would benefit from counseling and speaking to someone unbiased who has experience with whatever you’re going through and who just listens. I found it so helpful to have my own private outlet because a lot of people didn’t– and couldn’t– understand what I was going through. I was mad about that for a bit too. I met a woman who had lost her dad 6 months prior to me and there were a lot of parallels in our stories – we would meet up for coffee and talk. Having someone who truly understood what I was going through was an incredible gift.”

Mereki Lake

HEARTBREAK UPON HEARTBREAK
“My dad passed in February, and then I came back to LA in May, and then my boyfriend of three years and I broke up in August. We were living together, and he was there when my dad passed away. And then two weeks after that, my grandmother passed away. If there was ever a point that I was going to break, that was it. I remember the day I found out my grandma died, and, you know, it was my dad’s mom, and I was just shaking uncontrollably and still deeply heartbroken about my ex, and also still heavily grieving my dad. It was just all too much and I was having trouble breathing. I called my best friend in hysterics and she brought over some food and love. To be honest, I’m still dealing with the repercussions of all that. I loved my ex a lot. We loved each other a lot, but it was just one of those things that didn’t work.”

BREAKUP VICES
“Any sort of contact. I don’t think you should judge yourself, because everyone does it. I haven’t seen my ex now for 5 months. But it’s too hard to – when you’re in love with someone and you make that decision to stop seeing each other. That love will never go away. And if you’re making a decision that’s for the better, then you should try to stick to it as much as possible. Communication just confuses the process. As hard as it is – and oh, it’s so fucking hard! I still want to talk to him all the time – he was my best friend! It’s so brutal. But if you ever want to have a chance at being friends again, then you need to have that break in communication for a while, I think.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
“I blocked him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, everything pretty much immediately. Looking at an ex’s social media is only ever hurtful and counterproductive to mending. It wasn’t until I cut him off completely that I really felt like I had the space to start moving forward. It takes a long time. Heartbreak is hard, really, really hard.”

WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT LOVE
“He was such a huge part of my life for a long time, and such an important part. He knows my family, he came to Australia with me, and we used to make a lot of music together. We’re on the same publishing company, so we share close friends. We’re very intertwined, which also makes it more difficult. I love him. I always will. That’s something I feel like they don’t tell you: once you love someone, you will love them forever. It doesn’t go away. I think that even when you’re 40 and married to someone else with children, I still think that you love that person. Which is so bittersweet. On one hand, you’re so lucky to have had that beautiful connection with another person, but on the other hand, it’s just so so so sad to no longer have once you once shared. We used to laugh together so much and it was so intimate and we’ll never have that again and that sucks. I do think that exes can be friends, but I do think it takes willpower on both parts, space, and time. I’m still going through it but I miss my ex and hope that we can work towards a friendship in the future.”

EMBRACING THE DARKNESS
“In our society, we’re so prone to only showing the lighter, happier emotions. We’re allowed to be excited or joyful but oh, you’re feeling depressed? You feel like crying? Don’t share that! That’s for behind closed doors. It’s like, no, fuck that. Everyone feels those things. And if they were more widely and publicly accepted, then they would be a lot easier for everyone to manage.”

Mereki Standing 1

THE NEXT TIME YOU CRY
“I have this whole video concept where I reached out to all of my beautiful, strong, independent girlfriends and asked if they could film themselves the next time they cried. I collected all the footage and cut it together with a friend of mine into a music video. You know, real people cry, everyone fucking cries, but for some reason, you’re not supposed to do it publicly. I’m a pretty do-what-I-want-when-I-want sort of person and after my dad passed away I cried every day for nearly a year, which I think is fine. But I ended up feeling guilty for crying in front of people because it would make them feel bad. I was like, no no no no, you didn’t just lose your best friend/compass/biggest fan. I did! I’m supposed to be sad. I’m allowed to cry! Why should I feel bad that you feel bad about seeing me crying? They’re just tears! I know you have them too! I got really angry about it, as you can see. I was like, what the fuck? I didn’t realize that the world was set up this way. That’s silly. I liked the idea of maybe young kids seeing this music video of a variety of people crying, like, oh, wow, these people are human, like everyone else. Everyone’s the same. We all have emotions, and that’s okay! Emotional transparency and honesty in society is definitely something I would fight for.”

HONESTY IN HER MUSIC
“The whole time I was writing angry songs for me, I was also writing pop songs geared toward pitching for other artists. There were a bunch of songs that I disregarded as my own at the time, and now, with this change of direction, I’ve gone back to. There’s this one song which I’m going to release, and it’s very directly about losing my dad. And every time I listen to this particular song, it’s so real and it makes me cry, so I have no idea how I’m going to perform that live. Every time I think about it, I’m like, oh, so not going to be able to sing that. But I think that’s good! I want that honesty, I want it for everyone. If everyone could be more honest and vulnerable with their emotions, I believe that the world would be a better place.”

ADVICE FROM A FRIEND
“When I got back from Iceland, I was back in bed. I couldn’t do anything. One of my friends actually said something really profound when I was telling him about it when I first got back from Iceland. I was like, head in hands, like, I don’t know what’s going on! He said something like, ‘I think you’re confusing negativity with confusion.’ Because I got back from Iceland, and I just didn’t know what was happening. Before I’d gone, I was writing a lot, and I was in this flow of doing things, and then I got back and I was just questioning everything. But I think that it was really important to identify that my confusion wasn’t necessarily negativity. I was just confused about the next step– I feel like this happens so much in life– and about what had taken place in Iceland, and what the next steps for me were going to be. So that was really cool. And I was really patient with myself, and I gave myself the time to work through it. And so in the last couple of months or so, I’ve gotten back into writing, and I’m writing from a more honest place than ever. And everything I’m writing feels so much more like me at the core, which feels so good. But that was so daunting because I’d done all this work, and it was sort of like starting from scratch again. But I’m not starting from scratch. Its all a process. I think being patient with yourself is really important. And I’m really lucky, I’m really in tune with my body and really trust my intuition. I think people go against their intuition all the time, and it’s a waste because you always know. You might not want to admit that you know, but you know. I’m not playing live shows at the moment, and I’m hoping to debut a bunch of new stuff in maybe October, so that’s the idea at the moment. I’m dying to get some of this stuff out, it’s just the practicalities of getting it all together. I’m really excited.”

NOT DATING IN LA
“I don’t know if I’m open to new people yet. My ex and I got together when I was still living in New York, so when I moved here, I was with him. I only just realized that I’ve never dated in LA, and I realized, like, fuck, it’s been almost a year. And then I realized no one ever asks me out and I was like, what the hell? But it’s all about the vibe you’re putting out, I guess. I think putting yourself out there takes time, and it depends on how sensitive you are, and on your needs. I’ve taken this heartbreak and tried to turn inwards. I want to grow, I want to become a better person, and I know that to do that you need to focus on and work on yourself. I want to be the best me that I can be and that takes time. I’m such a firm believer that when things are meant to happen, they do and they will. We all think we’re in control but we’re not really and surrendering to that can be so freeing.”

FINDING BALANCE
“I would love a great, wonderful, healthy, laughter-filled relationship, of course! But only if it was right. Relationships are so… they’re a lot. I think to be in a good relationship you have to really know yourself, and you have to have worked through some of your personal demons. I don’t want to put any of my shit on someone else. I feel like I did that a lot in my last relationship. I was going through such a rough time and became sort of codependent. I don’t want that again, you know. I want a balanced, uplifting relationship that I don’t lose myself in. I’m very happy on my own, I’m very independent, and I have great friends. So I’m not really interested in ‘dating’ in LA, per se. It just doesn’t sound that appealing. I mean, never say never, but it just doesn’t sound that interesting. Unless they’re really funny.”

LOOK AT YOURSELF FIRST
“I think there’s a weird societal thing that tells you that a relationship should be two people, like, intertwined and holding each other up or whatever. I disagree! I think a good relationship is two people looking after themselves, and they’re going along side by side giving each other high fives and hugs accordingly. I think that’s a good relationship. So for me, my lesson is always looking at yourself first. In relationships it’s so easy to put your issues onto someone else, and that’s not fair or nice or healthy.”

Mereki Grass

HER ESCAPE
“It’s really funny, I realized this the other day, but emotionally, I don’t actually turn to music when I’m heartbroken. I mean I definitely do when it comes to my own – I write out every inch of my heartbreak but weirdly, when I know that there’s some emotion in me that’s laying dormant, television and movies are usually the things that bring out my emotion. And there’s no one movie or show I go to. But maybe because music is so close to me and it’s so personal, you know, I write all the time, so I have a different relationship to it. I’m trying to go to the movies more often. I think actually going to the movies is such a great way of having a break from reality. So for me, it’s like, give me a break from real emotions and let me indulge in Gilmore Girls or a rom-com and cry about something lame so that my real emotions have some space to breathe.

HER HEARTBREAK SONGS:
“Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson. “I Can’t Believe We Were Married” by Paul Kelly. “You Saved My Life” by Cass McCombs. “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney and Wings.

A LASTING MESSAGE
“My dad sent me the most beautiful thing. He would get these spiritual quotes sent to him, bless, and I found this one in my emails after he passed away.”

Screen Shot 2015 08 16 At 11.05.58 Pm

THE BIGGEST LESSON
“I feel like the biggest lesson I learned from heartbreak happened in the seconds after my dad passed away. It was an overwhelming, oh my god, that’s it, he’s gone. Wow, life is so precious and fleeting, we HAVE to make the most of every single second that we have. This was obviously coupled with crippling sadness and fear of the unknown at the time. So for me it’s about accepting what is, and not fighting against that. Just making the most. You know, shit is always going to happen. There’s no denying that. So it’s not about the shit stuff happening, it’s about how you deal with it. It’s also just about finding that little bit of good, or humor, or a lesson in the shitty thing. Life is way too short to not be making the most of as many moments as possible. Life is way too short to not be doing all the things that you want to be doing. I was like, woah, we’re all going to die, none of this bullshit matters, there is no time to waste being afraid or insecure. I need to be doing what I want right now and always.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jen Chrisman’s Advice on Breakups, Vulnerability And Motherhood

Dr. Jenn Chrisman is a clinical psychologist and professional coach based in the Los Angeles area. She teaches women how to transform critical self-talk, grief, trauma, and fear by healing the unconscious negative patterns that have collected over a lifetime. She also writes for Tiny Buddha and Mind Body Green.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My first real heartbreak was when my dad committed suicide, just before I turned ten. That was my first introduction to the fragility of relationships, and the devastation and disappointment that happens when someone can’t show up for you the way you’d expect them to. This set into motion a belief system that I see in myself and so many other women: we often personalize someone else’s behavior as a reflection of our lovability, and we do it as children and into adulthood. For me, it was such a poignant moment in learning that his actions had nothing to do with my lovability. Unfortunately, it took many years to understand this and instead I spent most of my young life personalizing his actions – I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough – this was a mentality that stuck around and really prevented me from being able to have a typical, adolescent, twenty-something experience. I was so convinced that I was unlovable. That if I did love someone, they would leave me. Any time there was any possibility of anything happening with someone, I would shut it down so fast.”

HOW SHE COPED
“I zipped myself up very neatly and put up a wall of perfectionism. I was very intuitive emotionally, and smart, and I could read people easily. I knew who I needed to be to get through, so I became that person. I made a declaration at a young age that I would never follow the path of my parents, and I did everything I could to be sure of that. I wasn’t a straight A student or the hardest worker, but there was this drive in me to succeed. The problem was that it was totally based in insecurity, in this need to overcompensate for how small I really felt. A lot of success and amazing things have come to be because of that part of my resilience, but at the same time, it’s been very difficult for me in terms of actually learning how to connect with people.”

WORTH THE WORK
“Of course, I would want to instill the message at a younger age that I was lovable, that the people in my life who weren’t able to show up for me were really limited; that they were human beings in their own right, going through things that had nothing to do with me. That I didn’t need to take things personally. That their actions were not a reflection of my lovability. But it’s hard to imagine where I would be today if I hadn’t had to work so hard to find that on my own. There’s something to be said about finding that resilience in yourself. We don’t often hear about it because there’s so much focus on post traumatic stress, but the other side of it is post traumatic growth. We’re forced to go inside ourselves and find resources we didn’t know existed. I’ve done that for myself, and I think it’s allowed me to find an authentic confidence, as opposed to the pseudo-confidence of accomplishing things and never believing that I was worthy. I’ve fought for myself and come so far from where I started, and I can be authentically proud of that.”

HER MOST RECENT BREAKUP
“I was in a friendship with someone who brought out all of this neediness in me. My entire sense of self became invested in this person. Throughout my life I had been so cautious with people, only letting in a select few, and only those that allowed me to maintain my secure distance. For whatever reason, this particular relationship brought out the exact opposite in me in a way I’d never seen in myself before. I was so dependent on this person’s attention and approval. It was just a really unhealthy relationship. It got to a point where it was so toxic, and they were the one who “broke up” with me, but it was more of an emotional cut-off that happened because we were still connected in a professional role that required us to see each other. I was devastated. I spent a year trying to win the affection back, and it was a very low point in my life. Because of the circumstances, we were still around each other and this person wouldn’t even acknowledge me. It brought out the youngest parts of me. I just wanted to be loved, and this person was not having anything to do with me. I tried and tried. It was such a confusing time: there I was, a married, professional woman who’d just had a baby and was going through heartbreak like I’d never experienced. It forced me to have to look at myself differently; to see how lost I was. I felt like I literally had no sense of self.”

THE AHA MOMENT
“I once had an important issue and needed to talk about it with them, and they were like, ‘Jenn, when are you going to realize I don’t care? I. Do. Not. Care.’ It was a moment where I felt so small. I was holding on, clinging so tightly, so afraid to let go, so afraid to be on my own. I didn’t want to leave the friendship, but it was like another part of me took over, knowing that I needed to. I had read a memoir around that time called I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway, which was such a life-changing book for me. She describes how she had to do kung fu with her mind. It really resonated with me that I had to make an effort. I had to actually practice changing the way I saw myself in the world and adopting new belief systems. I had to find what I was looking for within me, rather than outside of myself. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and pilates helped me learn how to make contact with myself in a new and different way. I learned Buddhist principles that helped me come to terms with the fact that I have no control over another person: I can say and do all the right things, and they’re going to feel about me however they’re going to feel about me.”

SET FREE
“I was already licensed, had my doctorate, had been through intense training, had been in therapy, and also doing therapy for years at that point, but inside I was still in such a dark place. For so many years I was in this space of feeling like a hypocrite. I was working with people and caring about and loving them, but not really believing change was possible because I was still in so much pain myself. And then this breakup happened, and it was my bottom, for sure. It forced me to get honest with myself about how I’d lived my life continually searching outside me for the answer; whether that was attention, the way I looked, weight loss, money, or accomplishments. And so I actually had to start practicing what I had been preaching. I really threw myself headfirst into re-learning everything that I thought I knew about myself and the world. For five years of my life, this person had played a huge part in my personal and professional development. But leaving was really when I think I found my strength. It was hard, but it set me free, losing the thing that I thought was so important. My life was so small back then. Now I have a thriving private practice with interns who I get to mentor and supervise. I have two babies now, my family, which I want to go home to and be a part of. I don’t know that I would have been able to show up as well for this life and these people if I hadn’t said goodbye.”

VULNERABILITY IN MOTHERHOOD
“I’ve been with my husband for 13 years and we were friends for a few years before that. He was my one and only boyfriend and has been my best friend for most of my life. There is something to be said about friendship being the foundation for a relationship and the safety and security I’ve always felt as a result of that. Throughout our relationship, there were certainly moments where I thought I was being vulnerable and putting myself out there, but I really think it was my children and becoming a mom that made me experience what vulnerability in love actually is – the pain and beauty of it. I’m a different person now that my children have shown me what it actually means to love, and the pain that comes with loving someone and being able to show up in a relationship. I think across the board it’s made me a better, softer person, with more compassion for myself and the world. As cliche as it might sound, I sometimes feel as though I have an advantage: my kids make it so easy to believe in love and the purity of the human soul, even when they’re assholes, which they are sometimes. There’s something about seeing it, I just can’t question the goodness in people, in the world. It makes me want to be a part of that, despite the possibility that it might hurt.”

COMPASSION IN THERAPY
“Sometimes there can be an over-identification for someone’s heartbreak. You have to have really good boundaries to not take that on and bring it home with you. But mostly, when someone’s really in an authentic pain, there’s something very beautiful that happens. It’s a love, actually, that I feel for my clients. Often people talk about therapist burnout, and I get asked how I can sit and listen to people’s problems all day: people complain, or they don’t really want to change. But when someone comes in with so much pain, and it’s authentic, you can actually feel it. It’s such a privilege to be with them in that place. I have so much compassion in my heart for just how hard it is to be human sometimes. We’re so hard on ourselves and critical of our pain, so I try to help my clients experience love and acceptance as they move through their lives. Of course, we never want to see anyone hurting, so it’s natural to want to take away other people’s pain. But really being able to sit with someone in it is actually the most healing thing you can do.”

BRINGING MINDFULNESS TO WOMEN
“For a while now I’ve been feeling like you can only go so far in private practice, and I have certainly capped out. There are only so many hours per week that one can see clients. So I’m working on building an online course bringing mindfulness to women. It’s what really changed my life and how I live my life.”

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY
“I do a lot of work on the idea of emotional sobriety. A lot of people think, oh, emotional sobriety, what does that mean? You stop having emotions? Well, no. It’s about relating to your emotions differently. It’s about knowing that I can have a feeling, and I don’t actually have to do anything about it. I can have a feeling of insecurity in my relationship and know that I don’t have to interrogate my partner, or read through their text messages. I can actually sit with the feeling and recognize that it’s going to pass eventually.”

HER MANTRA: HAKUNA MATATA
“It’s about bringing playfulness to life, and really keeping things in perspective. We tend to take ourselves so seriously; going through life investing so much of ourselves in things that really don’t matter. Most of the time the things that work us up are really not a big deal when you think about it. I’ve always been a very serious person with this dark inner self, and that was my identity, the brooding, angsty teenager for so long. So hakuna matata really does sum up my approach to life these days.”

Chef Mary Shenouda On Living With An Open Heart

Mary is The Paleo Chef, and she is also the creator of Phat Fudge, a real ingredient performance food (and it’s delicious; we scarfed some down during our interview). You can follow her on Instagram @paleochef.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My very first relationship. I was nineteen and while it was pretty serious, it was also not the healthiest of relationships. As such, that relationship had a very clear end. What was painful, or rather confusing, was that in that time in my youth, I had this mindset of oh, this is forever we will work through anything. That was not the case, and so began a slight shift in my mindset of what relationships and love might look and feel like. There were other things that probably played into how I handled that breakup. One being that I was already well into corporate America, having had an early start at seventeen, so I was an adult. I had rent to pay, bills to handle and a job to execute. Those responsibilities contributed to a lot of high self-worth. I really liked myself. Don’t get me wrong, there were and still are things I’m always trying to improve but I, unwaveringly, really liked who I am.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“That was about a year ago in August. It was very difficult because it was the type of dynamic that built up over time. This man was my friend for the first couple of years, and over time became very persistent about a romantic shift. At first, I was like “No, no. I’m cool. We’re just friends.” But, slowly, I fell IN TRUST with him, which to me was far more profound than falling in love. Trust has always been a huge factor to me, the integrity of two people at its core. At a particular point, I realized I didn’t belong and that there was unfinished business from his past to be dealt with so I essentially had to find the courage to break my own heart. I came to the conversation as the big kid and said “This is what I’m seeing. This is what I’m feeling. This is what I’m not feeling be reciprocated. I feel as though you have some things in your past you probably have to revisit so I’m going to remove myself from this situation. I love you just the same. I support you and your decisions but this isn’t good for me.”  That was really hard and I can still feel that pain talking about it now. Part of me felt really proud because you should never apologize for standing up for yourself and you should always have your own back. I did what I had to do in that relationship so I wasn’t left sitting here, hoping waiting, wondering. It sucks but it is what it is.”

UNCOMFORTABLE, UNWILLING OR INCAPABLE
“I’m mostly heartbroken over the fact that this man was either uncomfortable, unwilling or incapable of keeping the friendship. That was where it all started, after all. It wasn’t my first rodeo. It’s not the first time I had someone not reciprocate feelings for me, so I was very comfortable with working on the friendship because there was so much good stuff there. It was so odd because I was the one with the broken heart; he was the one that was uncomfortable with keeping the friendship. It’s a disappointment because of the “I fell in trust with you” depth to the dynamic. I’m an over-communicator, whether it’s business or relationships. I’m always telling the other party how I feel and what’s going on, for clarity’s sake, in case I’m ever misreading a situation. So I feel good about being very transparent in that relationship the whole way through. I’m a little disappointed that they were uncomfortable, unwilling or incapable of friendship but that says a lot of about us and about what wasn’t there.”

THE EIGHTY YEAR OLD TRICK
“All heartbreak sucks, but I’ve never gotten to a point where I couldn’t eat, sleep or function. I think it’s because I have immense self-love, so when something is over, it’s over. It hurts. I definitely mourn it. I can feel that pain but it doesn’t keep me from performing or doing what I know is best for me. Thinking back to my relationships now, I can remember oh that one hurt. And that one hurt a lot too. Oh, yup, THAT one. Through it, I was still eating right, working out and going to work, bringing my A-game. I would be just a little more quiet and when someone would ask me what’s going on, I would be open and say that I was dealing with a little booboo on my heart. Another thing that I’d do sometimes is pretend I was eighty years old – that I was this really wise and strong woman who would talk about her many great loves, in full appreciation. I’d be really dope about it!”

HER PHILOSOPHY
“I have a philosophy that no one can take away the one you’re meant to be with. So it doesn’t matter if it’s the person you’re with now, a person from your past or a person you’re going to meet in the future – if they’re going to be yours, it’s going to happen no matter what. So when I would have those moments, I’d just think no one can take away the one you’re meant to be with and then I’d feel a sense of calm. It’s learning to trust pain, trust your insecurities, trust your mistakes, and trust your heart. I started saying and feeling that mantra when I was sixteen, before even my first kiss. I had it written in one of my little, teenage poetry journals I carried around with me. I looked at the universe as if she and I are best friends and she’s going to take care of me in some way.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“The men that I have dated are generally really cool, chill guys and since I keep who I am dating private, their names come up in conversation or interviews a lot, day to day. There isn’t that opportunity of just silence about them. So it’s painful sometimes, when you just want to go twenty four hours without hearing a name just for the sake of wanting to mend. Yeah, that sucks sometimes. I don’t want to hear their name and cringe. I guess that’s not necessarily a vice as much as I just have a harder and longer time to mend. I don’t drink when I’m sad or have these bring me down vices. In fact, I only drink when I’m happy…or if it’s Sunday.”

THERE’S NO AVOIDING PAIN
“Because I like to be present at all times, there’s no avoiding pain. There’s a line from poet David Whyte that reads, “A true well felt pain can be just as generous as a true well felt joy.” I find a lot of beauty in pain and when I find myself sad or crying over a heartache or a loss of any kind, loss of a friendship, loss of a life, when you get into the thick of that pain, there’s, for me, the sudden sense of immense gratitude, appreciation and awe for the vast miracle that is the universe. And I’ll find beauty in that.”

A SENSE OF MORTALITY
“Yes, heartbreak was painful, and I don’t want to take away from that fact, but I contrast it to having a really keen sense of mortality. There are worse things that could happen and this really is not the worst. I started doing hospice and bereavement counseling when I was sixteen on a volunteer basis. At the same time, my aunt was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and I really wanted to understand what was about to happen in her decline, so I put myself right in it. I experienced death in such a unique way there as well as the mourning process with the family members. It did not make the loss of my aunt or the following loss of my grandmother any less painful but I felt grounded in my mourning process. By the time I was twenty, I had lost many friends that were my age to freak accidents. One to cancer, who I had gone to school with since I was in the third grade. He was such a talented baseball player with scholarships to prove it. Another to an ATV accident, also many shared memories going back to junior high. Another to a car accident. I have these old school photos with them all of them in the photo, all smiles, and it’s such a trip to look at. Then there was a car accident and I was scheduled be on that particular ride. The friend that I would have been sitting next to, she passed away at the scene. Life is just so fleeting.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I think it depends on the maturity of both people. I do think it’s possible, though. I am very close friends with some of the people that I have dated. Then there are some I just don’t keep in touch with, while there are a couple in which there was a friendship but when they came into a new romantic relationship their partner wasn’t comfortable with the friendship so it became distant. That definitely sucks.”

TRUST YOUR GUT
“I think it goes back to really trusting your gut. I’m not just saying it for the fact that it’s a flashy hashtag. But sitting by yourself and learning to enjoy your company so much that anyone else you bring into your circle has to add to that – not take away from that. I have not been in a serious long-term relationship and I used to get asked, “Why is that? What’s wrong with you?” I used to think Yeah, what is wrong with me? Now when someone asks me that question, with full conviction I go, “I think I believe in ‘the one’ so much, that I might just make it ONE. And what’s wrong with that? Why have you had ten serious relationships? Let’s talk about that for a second!”  I’ve spent a lot of time single and with myself, I can go on a date and be honest with someone by saying “I really enjoy your company. I think you’re a really wonderful person. I just want you to know that I don’t feel this going anywhere serious.” And it’s not because I have standards or I’m too picky – I’m just simply looking for that ALL-IN feeling.”

LIVING WITH AN OPEN HEART
“I’m very, very open. I went on a date last night. I have a date tonight. If I was doing this ten years ago, I would be stiff and uncomfortable on a date, trying to figure things out. Now when I’m on a date, I’m very much myself. I’m very goofy. I’m very affectionate. So yes, I am accepting of love. I’m not trying to go on thirty dates in thirty days, hoping that I will find the formula for the one. But I’m also not NOT going to put myself out there.”

HER IDEAL PARTNERSHIP
“I think it’s a feeling. Resumes are bullshit. Like that checklist – it’s disappointing when you actually get everything on the checklist and you’re just like what up dude, where’s that last invisible thing on the list?! I think it’s just a feeling. It’s a fleeting, indescribable feeling. I think the ideal relationship is very healthy. I think there must be mutual respect and mutual love and mutual pride for the other person. I don’t think it’s anything overly mystic. The trivial stuff for me – I’d like someone I can banter with because I have a little bit of a snarky, aggressive side and I appreciate someone who will banter with me. But also, when I get out of hand, he’ll gently say “You good? You done now?” and I’ll smile and relax around that. So someone I can really rally with. A partner in crime and conquest!”

DOING THE WORK
“I’ve always been surrounded by really great relationships. My parents have been together for thirty-one years, and all of my close friends are in relationships that they had been in since their teens or early twenties – because of that, I have this model of what it looks like, not just when it works but also when it’s hard. None of those relationships were free of hardships or difficulty. Both parties were willing to do the work to stay together and also confident enough to take time apart when it was needed, knowing that all roads lead back home. I don’t want to say I’m picky or have high standards, but I’ll just know if the person across from me will be on that level, my level, with me.”

EAT, PLAY, CRUSH
“I was really sick from second grade to age twenty-four: chronic migraines, chronic hives, emotional issues, hormonal imbalances, ER visits every month. I would pass out from vomiting so much due to the migraines. And when you’re young, being rushed to the hospital in vomit, they assume you’re doing drugs. They assume you’re trying to overdose. And through the pain, you’re trying to explain to them that it’s just a headache, and they think you’re making it up. There was a two week period where they had taken at least thirty vials of blood from me, testing for everything, and they were coming up short. I was frustrated, so I started doing my own research and came across a Ted Talk by Dr. Terry Wahls called “Minding Your Mitochondria.” It was about everything that causes inflammation in your body – which is a lot of processed foods, grains, dairy, soy. So then I sent out my own lab work and when it came back, it came back stating that I was full Celiac and it was the greatest day of my life. I was like, I just need to not eat these things, that’s it, and all these things are going to go away. And in three months, every pain – everything – was just gone. No need for medication. And on top of being more clear and present, I naturally lost thirty pounds. And I’m not going to complain of a natural slim-down. My day gig is a private chef. I’m always expanding the private chef and coaching aspect of it. I’m not your typical private chef. I’m really bossy to my clients. If you just want food, then I’m not the right chef for you. I’m here to support you through a transition into paleo and into eating clean as a full lifestyle of embracing Eat, Play and Crush.”

PHAT FUDGE
“Phat Fudge is actually a serendipitous product! It’s a recipe I made for a client, which he enjoyed so much while putting him into ketosis, which is a state in which your body is burning fat very efficiently. It’s all the ingredients I had in my coffee recipe that I call “Unicorn Fuel,” which won an award for Best Coffee Hack, and I made it into this fudge form. I posted the recipe online, the recipe went viral and then a lot of athletes were taking pictures of themselves making it at home, putting them in sandwich bags and taking them on marathon runs. So I was like alright, let me test the market and just do fifty orders of twelve-packs on Shopify. I didn’t set up the back-end correctly to cap at fifty and I ended up selling 268 orders in twenty-four hours and was like What the fuck did I just do?! And so Phat Fudge was born.”

HER MANTRA: NAKED
“My theme right now is Naked. To be really open, and strong and vulnerable, and when I think about all the things I want to be which include being in my power, being kind, being balanced, being fierce, and even being gentle. At the core, being comfortable with being “naked” allows you to achieve all those things. We come into this world naked and that’s kind of how we’re going to go out of this world, totally exposed and vulnerable, so I want to be strong in that.”

Yogi Rachelle Tratt’s Advice on Breakups + What Keeps Her Heart Open

Rachelle is a wild, free, gypsy soul. It is her magnetic energy, her ability to feel the needs of her students and her delectable playlists that keep her yoga classes packed. When she’s not teaching or leading yoga events, she’s spreading beautiful blue hamsa necklaces around the globe as the founder of The Neshama Project which she started in honor of her mother. You can follow her adventures (and her cute pup Bailey!) @theneshamaproject.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My first heartbreak happened when my mom died. I was a nine year old little girl and my mother passed away very suddenly and tragically. That changed my life. I went through post-traumatic stress as a little girl, so my body actually shut down and I don’t remember a lot of my childhood due to that. And it’s been a constant journey ever since to get back to matters of the heart in a healing, conscious way and hoping to help others that have gone through something similar.”

INNER WORK
“I’m a big advocate of self-help and psycho-spiritual work. I’ve been seeing various forms of different healers and therapist since I was a little girl. So I actually think it’s weird when people say they haven’t had therapy in this day and age. Right now I’ve been seeing a traumatologist. She helps people who have been through trauma in their body to get it out of their body. A lot of times, we store it in our bodies and you can get triggered very easily. It’s interesting how I’ve chosen a profession where I help people get more embodied and sometimes I’m not. A lot of what we do is inner-child work and so I actually have a photo of myself as a nine year old little girl, in my house, and if matters of the heart get triggered, I’ll visualize her and that I’m holding her hand and I’m like ‘Hey were perfect right now. Life is perfect. It’s great. We’re here in the present moment, and we got this.’ Thats a great visual. I do a lot of visualization work with that.”

REASSURANCE SHE WOULD GIVE HER NINE YEAR OLD SELF
“Life is beautiful. You did it. You made it and this pain that you feel now is going to help people in ways that you don’t know yet and it’s going to deepen you in ways you’re too young to know. And you will love again and you will have your own family one day. You will be a light in the world because of this.”

REBELLIOUS HICCUPS + FINDING YOGA
“There were different life events that forced me to go inside, such as rebellious hiccups I had as a teenager. I was forced to take a look at myself and reasoned with myself, Ok what path do I want to go down? If I go down this path, I don’t know what’s going to happen and if I go down this path, I have a chance to live and thrive. And that’s actually when I found yoga. I was eighteen. It wasn’t just a physical aspect for me, but also to be still – in my head. And it eventually started to permeate in every area of my life and turned into a lifestyle. But in the beginning it wasn’t. In the beginning it was physical and it was a way to get a little more space in here [points to head].”

HER FIRST ROMANTIC HEARTBREAK
“It was when I moved to Venice. I was living in Florida. I grew up in upstate New York. I’m the gypsy of my family so everyone is still there and after high school, I was like peace out. I went to Arizona and then to Florida, and then moved out here seven years ago. And I moved out pretty much on a whim. I came out to do a yoga training with Shiva Rea and, at that time, I was not doing that type yoga and it changed everything. I was here for a week. I was in Venice Beach and I hadn’t traveled yet. I was twenty three, and at that time, I had been in a two year relationship with a really beautiful, amazing person, who was older and he was ready to settle down and I wasn’t. So I pretty much broke his heart, picked up and moved my stuff in a matter of a month. My family didn’t support me. They told me I was crazy for breaking things. I had about six months worth of savings in my bank account. I brought my dog Bailey, hopped in my car, and moved in with the only person I knew. And so that decision was very heartbreaking. It was like leaving a life of comfort and stability for the unknown, not having a supportive network and just trusting. I just had to believe that it was going to make sense one day. I regret the pain that was caused on someone special, but I don’t regret my decision. And that was about seven year ago.”

HER MENDING RITUAL
“At that time, things were intense because I had just moved out here and everything was new. It was challenging. I had Bailey, was working a few jobs and was trying to figure out how to make it all work, but my ritual was always yoga. Yoga, walks with Bailey and nature have always been and always will be my source. Get on the mat, move it out, get into nature, connect.”

HER HEARTBREAK VICE
“My rebellious hiccups when I was in high school. I was very into partying. I wouldn’t drink every day but when I would drink, I would black out. I was just numbing. I was finding ways to numb. Not wanting to cope and not having the tools yet to cope with such an intense heartbreak that I dealt with as a little girl.”

THE HARDEST LESSON ON LOVE SHE’S LEARNED
“That in one moment everything can change. That just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you are right for one another. And that timing in life truly does take a big role in how a relationship will play out.”

BEING AUTHENTIC
“I had to go through various heartbreaks and experiences so that I could understand myself a little bit more. And even with my current relationship, at one point in the beginning I said to myself I’m just going to show up as me and I’m going to do the things that I like to do in relationships. I’m very giving. I like to leave notes. The second that I’m doing it because I’m expecting it in return is when I have to stop and look at myself.”

PUZZLE PIECES
“It’s very new but all these puzzle pieces that I’ve been putting out in my life are coming together. I often feel like I’m a walking dichotomy. I’m a yogi, I’m an entrepreneur. I grew up with a traditional Jewish background and I love Israel, but I go to Burning Man – how am I going to meet someone that’s going to meet me on all levels? My older, protective brother was like, ‘Rachelle, I’m sorry but I just don’t think that your GQ, spiritual, Jewish, Israeli, entrepreneur, model exists.’ I was like, ‘Thanks bro, but I’m not going to buy into that.’ I don’t live my life thinking that way because that’s a very limiting point of view.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I have always believed that love doesn’t necessarily go away once you are broken up. While the relationship may not have worked out, if there is still love that exists, a genuine care for another human being, than yes I do believe you can still be friends. It will always be a little weird at first, and new boundaries need to be put in place, but I am still friends with some of my exes who I care deeply about as beautiful souls that I was lucky to cross paths with at some point on this adventure. If you find yourself stalking your ex on social media and getting triggered, then I highly suggest to stop following them. Only positive vibes.”

THE NESHAMA PROJECT
“The word ‘neshama’ means soul in Hebrew and when you’re in Israel, everyone sort of uses it as a term of endearment. Theyre like, ‘oh you’re such a neshama’. The ‘N’ is in honor of my mom – her name is Nicole. While teaching yoga in Florida, a student of mine from Israel gave me this necklace. It meant so much to me because I was like, Oh my god! This is from where my parents met. And people commented on it everyday and it became a conversation starter. The necklace was about overcoming love and loss and principles of yoga and Israel. I was around twenty at the time and in the back of my head, I was like I’m going to do something about this one day. I bought the domain and it stayed dormant for nine months because I had no idea what it was. No idea. Then I went back to Israel, found a manufacturer in Tel Aviv and got thirty stones to start. I went to Downtown Los Angeles to find some chains. I picked up Trader Joe’s bags because they’re a better brown hue than Whole Foods. I’d get a typewriter and type out different positive sayings on the card. And I would put those on the cards the necklaces came with. It wasn’t because I thought it would be business – I just needed to create. Then one person wanted one and another person wanted one, and I sold out. A friend was like, ‘I’m going to build you a website because I believe in you.’ And then I went back to Israel and got more stones. I partnered up with Innovation Africa. They’re an Israeli company and they take Israeli technology and bring it to African villages. It’s really exciting and now we’re in the process of figuring out what our next campaign is. It’s been me with a little bit of help, and what keeps me going is the stories of how it connects me with people around the world.”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“Honestly, I believe that life will constantly give you opportunities to both break your heart and crack it wide open. You can either choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a survivor and take your heartbreak and turn it into a beautiful piece of art that starts to paint the portrait of your life story. I choose to survive and thrive and create meaning from heartbreak, not just for myself, but also to help inspire people along the way.”

HER MANTRA: SHOW UP AS LOVE
“The world and people are constantly going to break you heart. In any given moment – no matter what is received or given back – how do I show up as love for myself and for the people in my life? I think so much of the time, people are afraid to be themselves, especially in romantic relationships, because their minds get filled with ‘oh maybe I’m too this, maybe I’m too that.’ Fuck that! If you’re too much anything, then you’re with the wrong person. No matter what, show up as you, as love, at all times and it will eventually be received by the right person. I’ve been told that I’m too much by many people, and I just don’t have any room for that anymore.”

Comedy Writer Molly Mitchell Shares Her Breakup Rituals: Loser Laps And Bathtub Wine

Molly Mitchell has a sense of humor about everything, especially when it comes to single life. She is a TV writer for The Late Late Show and Grownish and she also shares her artwork on @dailybutts. You can follow her Los Angeles adventures on Instagram @mahmitchell.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“Part of the reason I broke up with my college boyfriend was that I felt like he taught me so much and showed me all these new parts of myself that I needed to explore on my own. I needed to figure out what it meant to be me. So I took a break from any kind of romance – low touch, in-depth or otherwise – and then I met a guy through friends. We were all on a trip together. It was a good chunk of time after my last relationship and I was avowed I was going to just ‘do me’ but when we met I felt like I had this new sense of being seen. As a comedian you’re always putting your mess out there and being seemingly super vulnerable, but then there’s this locked away portion that you hold at bay. And so when I met this guy, we just really connected and the things he liked most about me were the things I wanted to be seen for. I felt this elation and we had this great weekend – all our friends left and we ended up extending it and staying together. But once someone’s one foot in and one foot out, that’s probably not going to change. We continued the romance after the weekend and I felt like we were growing in a beautiful way together, but it lacked this core component of commitment. That made anything that he was doing outside of our relationship not technically wrong, but it made me feel crazy. And things just kind of just exploded. I had never had that before because I’m pretty non-confrontational. I just remember having this extreme feeling of sadness because I’d really let someone in, and they’d welcomed it. They’d really entertained it. And then they rejected it.”

THE PUNCHLINE
“I felt as though he was setting the pace, so I thought I was following in turn. In a much less funny way, it’s how it feels to be in the audience of standup. We’re bringing you in, bringing you in, and then when you think you’re on the same page, we totally subvert it and that’s the punchline. But the punchline was my heart. I’ve definitely been in positions where I’ve been the crazy one – you know, where you ask me what kind of coffee I want, and then I’m planning our life together. But this wasn’t like that. I remember saying to him that it felt like he was making promises he couldn’t keep.”

THE LESSON
“You know, I learned that someone can only welcome you as much as they can love and accept themselves. The dearth or dissonance that I observed him feeling with me was creating that same resonant sadness within me. I hadn’t had that before. It was my first time loving with this new, open heart and I went all in and then I felt like a piece of cured meat; all the wounds were so well-salted. It was so intense. A good lesson in life is to get to a point where someone else’s dissonance with you doesn’t create dissonance within yourself. But I didn’t know that then and it totally sunk me.”

GROWING APART
“We weren’t living in the same place, so as things were growing, and then falling apart, we kept having to encounter one another because every few weeks our friends would get together. We talked about it a lot. It wasn’t that he lacked EQ or awareness – he knew he couldn’t be fully available, but he couldn’t admit it. I knew it, but you know you have that wistful, cinematic soundbyte that’s like ‘No, I can be the one to change them!’ He was so charming and sweet, but he just couldn’t follow through. We would go back and forth, not talking and then seeing each other again – I’ve never been involved in a saga like that before. And I was also feeling this self-criticism about being involved in that saga. I felt like I had grown my heart to this new place and it really made me aware that there’s joy in expanding your capacity to feel, but you can’t curate it – you’re expanding your capacity for all feelings, including being really sad or really fucking pissed.”

THE MUMPS
“This is how I know, if there’s a God, that they have a sick sense of humor – I got the mumps after that breakup. You know, cases of mumps pretty much never happen. But I was supposed to visit him, and I got this sore throat. The doctor thought it was strep and asked me to come back in a day or two. The day before I left, I woke up at 5am and my face and neck were so swollen. I went to the emergency room and they didn’t know what to do. Finally this doctor comes in and says ‘Okay, we think it’s the mumps. To be honest, none of us have ever seen the mumps.’ So they bring in this older nurse, and she’s like ‘Yeah, my brother had it in 1947 and it looked just like that!’ It turns out I had been given a bum mumps vaccine. So flash forward to being out of the hospital – I was on leave from work for an entire month, going insane with only my thoughts. And the guy goes AWOL. MIA. I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. The person I called first and frequently was my mom. I called her every ten minutes. I would call her and cry about the guy, and then cry about how I didn’t have enough turtlenecks to cover my face so I could leave the house. She was eventually like ‘I’ve actually updated you on everything…you know what the cats are doing, you know what’s in the fridge…of course I can talk to you, but I can’t talk to you anymore. Why don’t you take a nap?’ It was the worst storm of crazy. Honestly, the only redeeming thing was, come Christmas time, I was able to give my friend a beautiful ‘Mumps of the Year’ calendar.”

LOVE ALL AROUND
“My friend Leah sent me this care package of all the things you would want if you’re feeling like you’ll never leave the house again. Magazines, nail polishes, an eye mask to de-puff your face and a journal. I really like the concept of journaling but hate the accountability of it. But she just told me to write down every day, at the very least, ‘The direction I’m moving in is the right direction.’ She said ‘If you can write more than that, write down one thing you’re grateful for.’ I was really touched. Part of the magnitude of going through a breakup is that you feel like love is lost, but that experience held a magnifying glass to the love all around me. I’m probably not going to sleep with or marry Leah, but there’s a lot of love there.”

MAKING A DECISION
“There wasn’t that one moment where I felt whole again, but I remember making a decision to just accept what he had been in my life and then let go of it. We continued to be in the same circle of friends, but we stopped communicating. I put it out there that I didn’t want to talk. I felt like I could stand up for that decision. I can think of a time where maybe that would have felt dramatic or bitchy. But I was like, no this is a decision I’m making for myself, and it’s not spiteful or vengeful. It’s just that what we had was great, but I’m not in a place where I can live in the wake of that reality. In the same way we can’t be boyfriend or girlfriend before, we can’t be friends now. It was still painful every time I saw him, and there was a temptation to bring it up. I don’t remember when it was that I was finally over it, but there was one day where I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t want to date you anymore. The day has come!”

BOIFRIEND COMPETITION
“There’s not an intentionality to me staying single. I’m pretty open. But I do think there’s a level of comfort and comedic thriving in being single that allows me to keep being single. I’ve always defaulted to being single over partnership, versus my sister who is 21 and has had 5 serious boyfriends. She’s a really great partner. That’s her thrive mode. Whoever I date next has really big shoes to fill compared to my imaginary boifriend. They’re going to have to do a lot of silly shit.”

BATHTUB WINE
“When my friend went through a really devastating breakup she made a playlist called ‘No One Puts Kasey In A Corner.’ I was like, ‘fuck yes!’ One song I really love when you’re just getting soulful is Lauryn Hill’s Ex Factor. And I’m really obsessed with Fiona Apple, Paper Bag. She represents this gnarly, electric energy. I don’t even know if I understand the lyrics, but that’s a good one when your hair is in a greasy bun and you just want to get in your bathtub with a glass of wine. And it’s not that sexy Sade bathtub wine. It’s that drinking in a bathtub at 8am on a Tuesday wine, when you’re just like ‘I don’t give a fuck!’ Then the get over it pump up song is anything by Kanye, because my god, as a model of confidence…”

LOSER LAPS
“This isn’t eco sustainable, so I might have to sunset this, but I have found that if I can make myself amused, that’s a good place of levity. You don’t need to feel happy or joyful. I’ve found when I sing in my car, I’m really amused by myself. Sometimes when I’m frustrated or pissed about a guy, I will just go and do loser laps. I’ll cruise around blasting whatever song and I’ll just crack myself up. I’m able to realize it’s not that bad, go back home, park and resume an outward projection of normalcy.”

WHERE THE GOOD STUFF IS
“When you’re single you’re, necessarily, open to so many experiences. One, you have more time, but also there are a lot of things in the gray area that you have to cut out when you’re honoring a relationship. But as a comedian and a storyteller, that’s where all the good stuff is – the gray area! You know, I’m only alone at 2am buying fried chicken at Von’s when I’m single. All the fun and crazy things that have been material for me are born out of the randomness with which you live your life when you’re single.”

HOW SHE KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“Being in the field I’m in has been a great lesson in being open. When you go into something as crazy as acting, or as crazy as finding a soulmate, you know it’s a wistful pursuit – but your heart is in it. The probability of finding yeses is so disproportionate to the nos, but the more nos I plow down the closer I am to a yes. Statistically is that true? No. It’s 50/50 every time. But experientially, there is a sexiness to the fortitude. As an actor, hearing no is a part of your work. Going to an audition and realizing they don’t know what they want, or they aren’t looking for someone like you – that’s moving towards your end goal. You went to work for the day if you did that. You get more comfortable with rejection and stop looking at is as rejection. It’s just refinement. It’s nothing personal. And it’s the same with relationships. It’s a them thing, not a me thing. Before I would have felt that was just fodder for confidence, but now I think that’s true. I can look back at times when it was a me thing, not a them thing. People were perfectly kind and and wonderful and charming – the kind of thing I would proclaim to want now – and I just wasn’t open to myself, so I wasn’t open to them.”

WHAT SHE’S GRATEFUL FOR
“The majority of my life revolves around humor and that’s been a really great blessing. Sometimes it can be a defense as well, but it helps when you’re forced to see the humor in everything by practice and by passion. Like, ‘Okay that was fucked up, but that was also pretty fucking funny.’ We don’t get to choose our personalities and there are a lot of things I’m working on, but that’s one thing I’m grateful for on the daily.”

HER MANTRA: LOVE
“My mantra is to love every little thing. I used to have a perception that there could be some massive love, whether it’s the love of your life or love of your career, that could fill you up and brighten all the darkness in your world. But over time, I’m seeing that it’s actually finding the amusement and delight in the small things, the day to day.

Meditation Teacher Megan Monahan’s Advice on Breakups + Talking to Your Ex

Megan is the modern meditation teacher. She knows when to talk mantras, but she also knows just when to crack a joke. After years in the music industry and a few life events that caused her to re-evaluate her purpose, she turned to meditation to heal. After becoming certified at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and working with them for five years, she returned to LA to begin teaching meditation privately and at Unplug meditation studio. You can follow her on Instagram @megmonahan.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My dad was an alcoholic so I grew up completely terrified that I would marry an alcoholic, like my mom did and my grandmother did. A lot of what I heard when I was young had to do with not ending up in that situation. So I waited awhile before I let myself fall in love. I told myself I was not going to let myself fall in love until I knew that I was strong enough to leave that person if they weren’t right for me. So I did that. And at the age of 21, I fell in love with this amazing English football player – very charming, very kind of enigmatic, huge personality. And he was a really amazing alcoholic as well, of course. So of course I needed to attract that to go through that story myself, that fear, that conditioning. So I fell madly in love and started fighting the gut feeling that was telling me ‘This is not okay, this is not what you deserve, this is not what you want in a relationship.’ I let myself do some things – picking him up at the bar and paying his bar tab at 2 am – that I wouldn’t do now. I definitely went down the rabbit hole. What I do know now is that I was doing some amazing spiritual work in the midst of all that dysfunction; work that was absolutely necessary for my evolution.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“My dad passing away a year and a half ago. There ended up being a duality to that heartbreak because my heart was very much cracked open and filled with this unconditional love and forgiveness and acceptance, but at the same time it was just full of sorrow. The last romantic heartbreak I had was another alcoholic. He was the last one in my list of karmic stories that were being replayed over and over. And luckily with him I learned the lesson that I needed to learn and I have yet to attract another one since. And that’s amazing. I think that’s really important. Especially with romantic relationships, we tend to attract the same person in different bodies until we work through what were supposed to work through.”

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ON THE POWER OF MEDITATION
“My meditation practice is what constantly fills me up. It is what allows me to navigate my life not constantly looking for the external charge, not looking for the relationship to complete me, not looking for that validation. I know at my core that I’m good and I’m whole and I’m lacking nothing. I very much enjoy a relationship – whether friendships or romantic – but I know that I have everything I need in me. It takes away that attachment to holding on to those romantic relationships. We do that a lot. We latch onto it very tightly and then when it leaves we are left with this big hole. I miss them and I’m sad when something reminds me of them, but at my core I know I’m good and I feel that.”

RESETTING THROUGH MEDITATION
“I used to look at the world really cynically. I used to look at the world as what’s wrong instead of what’s right, and meditation is really the thing that reset that for me. Instead of looking for the grievances, I look at what I can be grateful for. When you’re going through a break up it’s really important to notice all of the blessings in your life and to have gratitude for all of the things that you do have. Spend time with the people who want to be in your life instead of spending all your thoughts and energy on the one person who doesn’t.”

THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES
“When you break up with someone it is very easy to create a story around it and to indulge in whatever thoughts you’re having and usually it’s not the positive ones. Usually it’s the negative ones that we obsess over. Right? We don’t obsess over the thought that ‘I know I’m going to be ok and it’ll be fine.’ That’s not the thought we obsess and focus on. We focus on ‘I really miss them’ and ‘What went wrong?’ and ‘Why aren’t we together?’ So meditation really gives you an awareness around all of that, which really helps improve your mindset.”

ASKING FOR HELP
“It took me a really long time to be comfortable asking for help and letting people know what I needed. And I found that if you’re just really upfront and direct with people about what you need and you communicate with them, you give them the opportunity to say ‘Yeah I can do that for you!’ or ‘No I can’t’ and people do that. Then there’s none of that resentment that builds up when you’re afraid to ask for help when you’re going through something and you need a hand or you need a hug. So I very much utilize my relationships when I’m going through a break up.”

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TALKING ABOUT YOUR BREAKUP
“You have to be really careful with how much and with whom you talk about your break up. I think that there is that tendency to walk around telling that story over and over and over to people because it feels good. Every time you say that story you’re just reinforcing it. And if you’re talking to a friend you’re also getting their take on it and their conditioned way of looking at things. So I think that can really set you back. I’m really careful. I have a few people in my life who will look at the situation with me and give me a higher consciousness response.”

TALKING TO YOUR EX
“I also think it is really hard to not give into those little impulses when you miss them. So you send them a text or you end up drinking one night and your guard is down and you end up calling them. That stuff is really hard when you’re trying to create that separation. I think moving forward takes a certain amount of space, especially at first. So I think you must find ways to not do that, not to give into that momentary impulse. It’s just a thought and it will pass.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“I tend to withdraw when I’m in pain or dealing with something. I tend to retreat. I’m not that person who is staying busy and going out. I very much go to that space of ‘I don’t want to see anyone, I don’t want to do anything.’ And that’s probably my biggest vice. To conquer it I just force myself out. I reach out to the people in my life and say ‘I’m not doing very well, can you take me out?’ Sometimes you just have to move through it. Where your attention goes is where you energy is going to flow, so if you’re constantly thinking ‘I’m so miserable, I’m so lonely’ that’s how you will continue to feel. If you’re able to say ‘I’m going to go out and choose to find things that will bring a smile to face,’ even if you think that is all bullshit, after you say that over and over one day you’re going to actually say ‘Oh yeah I’m okay today, how did that happen?’”

A REASON, A SEASON, A LIFETIME
“I’m not one to think you should definitely be friends with all of your exes. People come into your life for a reason a season or a lifetime. I think sometimes people come into your life for a season and that’s it. Just because you were dating someone for 5 years doesn’t mean they need to continue to be a part of your life. You don’t owe anyone anything. Especially if you’ve been with someone for a while, even in a friendship. We have this idea that just because we’ve been friends with someone or we’ve been dating someone for a long time even though they’re toxic or not good for us we should keep them in our lives because they always been there. You get to ask yourself in these relationships ‘Is there something in this relationship that is serving me and helping me be better?’ And I haven’t found with very many exes that that’s the case.  I have a lot of friends, I don’t need my exes to be my friends, you know? I do have some exes that I’m friendly with but none of my exes are my confidantes because we’ve never had that intimacy other than in a romantic relationship. It’s hard to go from that to just being friends. And I’m really careful to not let men take up that space in my life. If I’m trying to attract a new relationship, I don’t want this roster of exes taking up that space, energetically speaking, to get a little ‘woo woo’ on you.”

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FOLLOWING EXES ON INSTAGRAM
“I do not stay connected with my exes on social media. What am I? A sadist? No, absolutely not. No, I don’t need to see that you’re having an awesome time with that new girl who looks like me. And also everyone’s life looks amazing on Instagram. My life is epic on Instagram. No one sees the days that I’m a mess, so no I don’t need to see him being super happy and okay. I wish them well but I don’t need to see all of the wellness.”

FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
“Shake It Off by Florence and the Machine if you’re ready to move on. Drop the World by Lil’ Wayne is really amazing if you’re really angry. Anything by Jessie Ware if you want to cry.”

IT LEFT FOR A REASON
“I get that what I’m about to say is way easier said than done. My friend always says to me ‘What is meant for you will never miss you.’ And I think that’s true. When you break up with someone, especially if you’re not the one doing the breaking, it’s that sense of ‘I really wanted this’ or ‘This felt really good.’ I have trust that the things that are supposed to be in my life will and I won’t have to hold on that tightly to anything that is supposed to stay. You give the relationship attention and you nurture it and all of that stuff, but in terms of it staying in my life, I very much believe that if it doesn’t stay in my life, it left for a reason. I get to learn from it and I get to grow from it.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta.

Light Watkins Shares What He’s Learned about Relationships

Light Watkins is on a mission to inspire. He has been meditating for 20 years and has taught thousands of people around the world how to meditate. He speaks regularly on meditation (check out his 5 Most Common Meditation Myths talk at TEDxVenice), hosts At The End Of The Tunnel podcast, and authored the book Bliss More, on how to succeed in meditation without really trying. You can follow him on Instagram @lightwatkins.

HIS FIRST HEARTBREAK

“I was in my late twenties and I was in an on-again-off-again relationship with a wonderful woman, but I wasn’t in the space to go to the next level like I knew she was ready for. If something didn’t go right for a few days, I would decide to take a break. And she would be devastated. And we’d come back together and be together for another month, and then take another break.

I remember there was a point three and a half years into it where I found myself more attracted to her. I realized it was because she wasn’t giving me so much attention as she was before, which I felt was smothering (probably because my mom was so attentive). I was thinking, maybe this could work and we could be together if she’s getting back to who she was when we met – this independent, strong woman who didn’t need to be around me all the time. This was my 29-year-old mind. It turned out she had actually met someone else and that’s why she wasn’t giving me as much attention. I didn’t know that. I remember dropping her off at the airport to go on a business trip. She was flying to Portland and she walked out of the house with heels on and her nails are done. I thought that was odd. The moment I dropped her off it dawned on me that she was meeting someone there. That was my moment of realizing that it was over.

That’s when I discovered the Stevie Wonder anthology, and that’s the only thing that really got me through. Don’t Worry Be Happy, and all of those classic Stevie Wonder songs got me through that period. I listened to them over and over, on repeat, because I couldn’t sleep at night. You know, you’re just up in the middle of the night wondering the worst thoughts about what they’re doing with this other person. When she got back, I picked her up from the airport and we talked about the whole thing then. She acknowledged she was with someone and I was trying to work it out, but she didn’t want to get back together with me. She was happy with this other guy.”

THE ROLE OF TIMING

Looking back now, she was the best girlfriend I had in those days. She was everything I had wanted in a woman. Smart, sexy, attentive, maternal, family-oriented, all of those things. I was just 29 years old. I wasn’t even thinking about getting married. I’m 42 now and I just started thinking about all of that 5 years ago. Before that, I just didn’t feel it was a priority. Back then my priorities were building a career and doing what I felt contributed to my happiness. Having fun. Exploring. It’s not to say I wasn’t open to it, but my expectations were way too high for what a woman had to be in my life. I felt she had to be a perfect specimen of a person. And you realize with life that there is no perfection in anybody. And relationships take work. I didn’t appreciate that. As soon as we hit one snag, I’d be ready to jump off the ship and swim over to the next boat.”

HIS MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK

“My last girlfriend was a heartbreak situation. We tried to be friends after we broke up. I have a pattern of off-again on-again. I was always confused about women not being happy. I would take it personally. So one time I told her I wanted space, and it was a mishandling of the term. I didn’t do my part in reassuring her that I just needed space. To me, it didn’t mean ‘I’m not coming back.’ I should have said, ‘I love you so much and want to be with you, and I care about you more than anything in the world.’ But I didn’t say that and she cut it off. And that was hard for me. Initially, I resisted because I’m not that kind of person. And then I realized it wasn’t me. So I just didn’t take it personally. But the period after she cut me off – before I got to that point – it was difficult emotionally. My mind was wondering what I did and what happened.”

THE PIVOTAL BOOK

“The pivotal book for me was Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I learned a ton about women. Part of it was about the cycles and hormones and moods; that women typically have a dip in their mood every month, at least once a month. And at the same time, men typically have a desire to retract and have their own space. I thought there was something wrong with me, but it is very normal and expected. Once you see that there’s already a paradigm, you see that there are so many misread intentions. If people knew what the biology was around all of it, it would clear up so many issues.”

REDEFINING SUCCESS

“A relationship is sort of like a college course. When you’re in college, and you’re looking through the course directory, you read the descriptions. You go into this course not thinking that it has to last forever. Can you imagine? No one would take that class if it lasted forever. There’s a definitive endpoint and the intention is to learn something from it and contribute to it. Once you get to the end of it, you may feel that it was great and you learned a lot and that you want to take the next level of that course – the 102, and then the 103. Or maybe you realize that you learned a lot and you want to see what’s happening on another track. No one will feel bad about it. Maybe you want to study astrology instead, so you go there and you end up getting a PhD in that.

I think we have this idea that relationships if they don’t last a certain amount of time, aren’t successful. I’ve changed now to see that a relationship is successful if, in the length of time it lasted (whether that’s two months or two years), I learned something about myself and was able to leave the relationship in a better place than I found it. In my eyes that is the epitome of success. Some people you may want to take the next step with, and some people you may not. Once I made that adjustment, it made being in a relationship a lot more fun.”

RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE EQUALIZER

“Relationships are the great equalizer. No matter who you are, no matter what you do. You know, it’s like what Chris Rock said so brilliantly about Nelson Mandela. He endured almost three decades of imprisonment, and then he gets out of prison and after 6 months he files for divorce. Chris has a brilliant standup bit about it and how hard relationships are. They’re hard for everybody. I’m sure if the Dalai Lama wasn’t a monk and he was in relationships, he’d be going through it too like everybody else. That’s what we do. That’s how we grow. It challenges us. If you’re not in a relationship, it’s like you’re just staying in your neighborhood all the time. Yeah, you can be happy in your neighborhood. But if you travel somewhere where you don’t know the language or the customs, you get stretched in a way that expands your worldview.”

HIS BREAKUP VICE

“I think there’s a tendency to distract yourself with other people. I’ve gotten to the point where I am much better at sitting in the quiet space of my own self and mind, not thinking that someone else is going to help. I mean, I’ve run that experiment so many times. You surround yourself with so many other people and you are sitting there having dinner – you can hear yourself talking, but you are just thinking about this other person the entire time.”

THE BENEFIT OF SPACE

“I think everyone thinks they are going to be the first couple that becomes friends after they breakup. As much as I didn’t like being cut off [by my ex], it’s good to have some healthy, mutually agreed-upon separation. Maybe you have a conversation where you highlight the positive aspects of the person or relationship, and then you separate. Instead of ‘fuck you, I don’t want you talking to me again.’ You don’t want those to be the last words you say to someone or hear from someone.”

MEDITATING

“What people don’t realize is that your mind is obsessing over this person not because something is wrong with you or because it was meant to be. Our bodies become addicted to the way we feel around that person. Meditation is really good at breaking off the addiction because the chemicals that get released during meditation are an industrial-strength drano for dissolving those chemicals.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF RELEASE

“I’ve had people break up or lose someone and they don’t want to meditate because they find themselves obsessing over the person when they meditate. Meditation is a release valve for those feelings and as they are leaving the body, they are passing through the mind. It is a symptom that your body is releasing it. You have to let it out. That’s not a sign that meditation is not working. It’s actually a positive. You just have to sit and do it. You come out of every meditation less addicted to that person. That’s amazing.”

VULNERABILITY

“The thing about guys is that we want to be vulnerable. We really do. We have a necessity for safety as well. Men want to feel safe too. We want to feel appreciated. And when a man feels appreciated, he will have the conditions for being vulnerable. When he’s not appreciated, he feels like there’s something more he needs to get done before he can rest.”

OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LOVE

“I’m an optimist about learning and love is a means to learn. It’s the means and it’s the end. A relationship is going to take you to a place you can’t get to by yourself and it’s the outcome: you become more loving as a result of it. Each relationship helps me grow as a human, which means I try to understand the lessons, and as a result, I become more compassionate and patient (both with myself and my partner).”

HIS MANTRA: INSPIRE

“My mantra is ‘inspire.’ Since starting The Shine, I’ve embraced this Emerson quote: ‘Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.'”

MyIntent Founder Chris Pan on Heartbreak, Bro Advice and Intentions

Imagine if we all lived with more intention, more meaningful conversations, and more positive energy. That vision is what motivates Chris as the founder of The MyIntent Project based in Los Angeles. Their mission is to activate meaningful conversations and positive energy by asking one simple question, “What’s Your WORD?” MyIntent then creates a bracelet or necklace with that word (or phrase), which serves as a daily reminder and conversation starter.

Just a quick look through their website and Instagram @myintent will leave you feeling inspired. Perusing through the stories, it’s no surprise to us at Mend that a lot of the intentions are about love.

Now, on to our conversation with Chris…

HIS LAST HEARTBREAK

“Well, it could have been this past weekend. To me, heartbreak can be broadly defined as emotional pain. I think it’s interesting Mend is starting with romantic breakups, but the insights could apply to conflicts with family members or at work. The underlying causes can come from a lack in emotional or spiritual fitness. And practices of meditation, gratitude, and being present can benefit all situations. The heartbreak that really impacted me happened 2 years ago. It was a 5 year relationship. Out of that brokenness, I explored a lot of emotional and spiritual growth to heal, and am grateful for the experience.”

FINDING SUPPORT + PERSPECTIVE IN FRIENDS

“In my serious relationship, I didn’t have female friends that I could really confide in and get a female perspective on relationship issues. I had spent most of my free time with my ex and my work in tech was mostly guys. The summer after my breakup, I became friends with a few women and one in particular helped me understand people naturally have ups and downs, and that relationships require work. Growing up, all the emphasis was on achievement and not being in touch with my own feelings. I had cut off my own emotions and just focused on my work and band. I also realized I never actually ‘worked on’ my relationship issues nor my own issues.”

BRO ADVICE

“My guy friends were not helpful with the advice they were giving me. It was often the ‘bro advice’ like the, ‘Aw man I can’t believe she did that!’ It’s not the more emotionally mature approach. And I think that’s part of what you’re trying to do with Mend, taking the maturity of how we approach relationships up a notch or two, rather than just a more superficial approach. It goes deeper into personal and interpersonal issues. It’s also more empathetic.”

SPACE TO REFLECT

“During the relationship, we spent a lot of time together, but I didn’t have much time to really reflect on what I wanted. Life was on autopilot – work, play music, hang out with girlfriend, repeat. It was only after the breakup that I had some space to figure out what I envisioned my future to be. Coincidentally, my grandfather passed away that summer, and it gave me a sense that we don’t live forever. I was also turning 35 (on way to being 40) which actually felt very different than 34 (barely early thirties). I started to think more about my future and long term plans. I craved more meaning and stability.”

THE ADVICE HE WOULD GIVE HIS YOUNGER SELF

“I was making my love very ‘conditional.’ I had this idea that I could only really commit to her if she was x and y. It only occurred to me after the breakup that x doesn’t really matter to me and y was partly because of my lack of commitment that caused her to be insecure and unstable. I would also tell myself to spend more time on personal growth and relationship-building. I spent so much of my energy problem-solving issues at work or building my band. I wished I had done the personal growth work I did post-breakup such as attending the Hoffman Process, books I’ve read, and a coach I’ve worked with.”

MAKING IT THROUGH DIFFICULT MORNINGS

“So I had met an exec coach Janet as I was being recruited at a startup. It started off being focused on work but as I was going through the breakup, it turned into realizing that I had a lot more work to do emotionally and spiritually. And my coach told me ‘For this winter, try to slow down and just feel. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel the pain, so really just feel.’ I have a habit of filling my time with stuff to keep me busy so I don’t have to feel. So that winter I would leave my schedule open. I would have days where I would wake up and wouldn’t have any meetings on my schedule. I would fire up my karaoke app (karafun.com) and sing for like a half hour, an hour, maybe more, until I felt better. And then I would feel better and I would move on with my day. The mornings were always the hardest.”

HIS FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK 

“The song Feel Again by One Republic was really big that summer and the post-breakup process really opened me up to feel. Another song that really spoke to me was Let Her Go by Passenger. I find it applicable to life in general. It’s about acceptance and being appreciative for what you have and not taking things for granted. It makes me understand that the reason we appreciate light is the darkness. If we lived in the Arctic Circle in the summer where it’s light all the time, you might actually miss the darkness.”

FOUNDING SPIRITLAB AFTER HIS BREAKUP

“SpiritLab is a nickname I’ve given to my house where I hosted events that incorporate many of the activities I used to heal and grow emotionally and spiritually. My goal has been to create something meaningful and positive for friends to experience together. I wanted to share activities that make me feel better (“spirit”) and I wanted it to be hands-on and experiential (“lab”). We would do things like painting, yoga, live music, tai chi, meditation, improv comedy, healthy cooking, and making intention bracelets.”

INCUBATING MYINTENT AT SPIRITLAB

“Of all the activities at SpiritLab, making intention bracelets and necklaces for guests turned out to be the centerpiece. The process invited guests to reflect on what each person wanted more out of life. It also encouraged friends to share something more personal with each other. “What’s your WORD?” became a common phrase at these events. Guests started asking for bracelets not just for themselves, but also for their friends and family. Then we started getting influencers that wanted to share these with their fans. For holiday gifts, a CEO bought a bracelet for each employee and shared inspiring stories of why she chose her word. Then Kanye West wore it on the cover of Time100 which was another powerful validation of the potential for the project.”

THE IMPACT OF SETTING AN INTENTION

“Well, on good days, I’m optimistic that if more people lived with intention, the world would be more beautiful. Some people could be very cynical and say that we’re just putting words on a piece of metal, and what is it that we’re really doing for anybody? Why aren’t you curing cancer? Why aren’t you out getting clean water for everyone? I was having that kind of moment recently. And my meditation teacher Light Watkins said to me, ‘You know all you can do is your part and let the bracelet work its magic through the universe. Trust that you’re doing your part and let the project work its magic.'”

Alexandra Lee on Her First Heartbreak And Learning to Let Go

Alexandra Lee makes things happen. As the CEO and founder of Arrayshe helps forward-thinking companies grow on their own terms. As a lover of the arts, she is an active member of her alma mater’s Friends of Art Committee. She lives in Marin County, where you can usually find her on a run or deep in conversation over coffee, using lots of hand motions. 

ON HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first person to break my heart was my first serious college boyfriend. He was an incredibly charming, intelligent, and attractive guy and I was head over heels from the word, ‘Go!’ I’d fallen for him when we were both working for summer camps in Boston and although we dated for just a few months, I remember thinking, ‘this is the guy I’m supposed to be with.’ He also had a wonderfully warm and welcoming family and in the way that you do when you’re 18 – or maybe just the way I did – you paint your entire life with this person WAY too quickly. It’s so embarrassing to think about now. I remember him calling me to break it off. I was on my way out with some friends to grab dinner and he very gently ended it over the phone. I sobbed in the parking lot – the really unattractive, snot rendering kind of sobbing. The kind of crying that makes you feel like a crazy person, but also the kind of crying that you look back on and realize that those tears weren’t for him but for this ‘plan’ you had for yourself that wasn’t really the truth of things.”

TRYING TO MAKE IT WORK + BECOMING FRIENDS
“After I stopped crying, I spent a few weeks tormenting him with emails about why I thought it could actually work. He was really kind and wrote me back beautiful messages (which I, in turn, misinterpreted as hopeful), but really he was just being a nice guy who didn’t want to hurt me. Amazingly, we got back to just being good friends after that. I’m still in touch with him (and his amazing family) and I even got invited to his wedding! So clearly, broken hearts heal and, with time, I was able to see him for who he really was to me – a dear friend with a big heart.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HER COLLEGE SELF
“I’d tell myself to honestly look at the relationship and consider if I was getting what I needed and deserved at the time, not just if it looked like the relationship I wanted. I remember being so wrapped up in this world I wanted to be part of – and that relationship was tied so tightly to my notion of ‘fitting in’ and ‘being part’ of the idea of something that I wanted – but it really wasn’t me. There was a lot of good too, don’t get me wrong, but I’d definitely tell myself that I deserved more than what I was getting.”

ON HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I broke my own heart and the heart of a guy that I spent many, many years with – but it wasn’t right. I don’t even know how to explain it. I just knew it wasn’t the relationship that I wanted to be in the rest of my life. I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing family and an incredibly supportive group of close women friends. My lady crew in particular were rock solid for me in the months following that breakup. More than giving me advice, they just made observations about me and the way I was behaving – that I seemed happier, that I was more willing to be out and about, that laughs were faster to come and I was smiling more, and just seemed more at ease. They never directly commented on whether they thought ending the relationship was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – they just sat with me through it. At the time, I was also training for a half marathon and there was this one life-changing run across the Brooklyn Bridge where pieces of my life came together. So long stretches of physical movement helped me a lot.”

LETTING GO OF WANTING TO CHANGE THINGS
“I truly believed that I could make it hurt less for my ex, but he had and continues to have his own experience and emotions around the breakup and I can’t do anything about that. For a few months I thought I could help him see why the breakup was good – but that wasn’t my right. The Executive Director of a great non-profit in Texas says this thing: ‘When we want something for someone more than they want it for themselves, it’s not help; it’s an act of aggression’ – and I come back to that over and over again. I wanted something for my ex during the relationship, and after – but it wasn’t my call to make. I had to give that up and let him live his life.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“I didn’t take any time to breathe after my last breakup – I just started sprinting after everything without giving myself an opportunity to sit with it for just a few minutes. I’m not sure I really conquered it, but at some point I started to allow myself to slow down.”

HER BREAKUP RITUALS
“Three things: cut hair (it really does feel that good), go on a solo vacation (preferably without cell phone reception), and write letters to yourself and then delete them. You have to process some ugly thoughts about yourself and you need to get them out but never re-read them. Never.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
“Bonnie Raitt – Can’t Make You Love Me”

THE MISSING PIECE
“I think love and heartbreak are so personal, there’s really no advice to give – I think in all instances you just have to remember to be kind to yourself and to be kind to your partner (or ex partner). I will say that Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Missing Piece Meets the Big O’ is the greatest love story ever told though. The possibility of finding someone who truly supports and understands me, and vice versa…that seems like an adventure worth committing to over and over again.”

#howimend: An Interview Series on How People Mend

I’m so excited to share our new column #howimend!

When you’re the founder of a startup that deals with heartbreak, you hear a lot of stories about heartbreak. Too many to count, really, though I’m trying.  Sometimes I wish I could just package up all that has been shared with me in the last few years and share it with you directly. 

I wish that I could share the conversations I’ve had over coffee with my mom, the conversations I’ve had on long drives with my closest friends, the conversations I’ve had on buses/trains/planes/automobiles with complete strangers. Something very magical happens when two people talk about heartbreak. We all open up, we all relate, we all have something to say. We’ve all been there. 

What I’ve learned is that, while everyone mends heartbreak differently, there are some common threads. Friends. Family. Self Improvement. Spirituality. Exercise. To name a few. 

Beyond those common threads, every path to whole heartedness is so different. I’ve talked with so many people, and no story is alike. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. And this is why we’re launching a new column at Mend where we ask lots of different people about how they’ve dealt with heartbreak.  Reading this column will feel like you’re sitting down with a friend, in a cozy corner of a cafe. 

We’ve got a great first round of interviews to share, starting with our interview of Alexandra Lee. In the meantime, think about who you’d like us to interview and send your requests to hello@letsmend.com.

Author Lisa Phillips Explores Unrequited Love

Have you ever felt so strongly about a lover that you ended up doing things many would consider obsessive, even after it was clear the feelings weren’t mutual? Actions that may be so embarrassing that you’d rather not admit to them? Whether that be excessive texting until you receive a response, stalking their Instagram like a hungry bloodhound, or even worse. I’ve been there and I know there are many that can relate. But why is it that we engage in all of this obsessive behavior, damaging our self-esteem and taking all of our time, when we know we have been rejected?

In Lisa A. Phillips’ nonfiction book Unrequited, she explores how romantic rejection can transform into a nasty, obsessive love. She delves into how, with the proper understanding of obsession, that rejection can actually be a blessing in disguise. I had the good fortune to talk with Lisa about her work.

Can you tell Menders about yourself and why you wrote this book?

I am a journalist and a professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz. The year I turned 30, I became obsessed with a man who was seeing someone else. Though he showed an interest in me, he didn’t want to leave his girlfriend, but I couldn’t let him go. My feelings overwhelmed me — I couldn’t think of anything else but him. Early one morning, I snuck into his apartment building and banged on his door until he opened it with a baseball bat in one hand for protection and the telephone in the other hand. He was about to dial 911. This moment — now more than 16 years ago — spoke volumes about how out of control, self-centered, and lost my obsession made me. Though I was eventually able to move on, I kept wondering why unrequited love can be so powerful. I decided to take my journalist’s instincts to bear on the subject, and the end result was my book, Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession. I put my own experience into a broader context, delving into the scientific and psychological research, cultural history, and literature of unrequited love. I also include the stories of people from both sides of the unrequited love experience: women who’ve obsessed over someone else and people who were the targets of female obsession.

You chose to include this passage of the poem Dirge Without Music in the very beginning of Unrequited: “I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.” How has this passage affected you personally? What purpose does it serve?

Edna St. Vincent Millay is inspiring to me because she was a woman who not only experienced great passion, but also believed in its necessity and its power. Though my book delves into the dark side of unrequited love and is unsparring in its criticism of behavior that becomes invasive and abusive, I defend the essence of unrequited love as a force that has the potential to enrich us, move us to new places in our lives, and help us understand ourselves better.

Throughout your work, you refer to your unrequited lover as B. Why?

I call my unrequited love “B.” for several reasons. I wanted to keep him anonymous. Also, the initial, a partial way of referring to someone, suggests one of the core truths of unrequited love: It’s never really about the beloved. He (or she) remains mysterious and ultimately unknowable. The longing is about the person who’s doing the yearning and what (not who) they are yearning for: love, a sense of possibility, personal growth, and other core human needs that become stubbornly “linked” to the beloved in a situation of romantic obsession. Also, there is a tradition in nineteenth century literature of referring to characters by their initials as a way of underscoring to the reader that the characters are inventions of the author. Incomplete beings, if you will. And though B. is definitely real, the experience of loving him so ardently and with so little payoff was very much about what I fantasized — what he would be for me if only he loved me back.

How important was it for you to include historical roots in Unrequited?

Where we’re coming from historically almost always has a great bearing on where we are now. For much of human history, the male unrequited lover was seen as a hero on a quest for what was rightfully his, but the female unrequited lover was a figure of shame and derision. Neither gendered assumption gets it right, of course, but by looking at history we can see why we’ve struggled as a culture to have an honest conversation about the nature of female longing and female pursuit. Shaming silences us — it’s why it took me years to face my own experience of unrequited love, and then only from the socially validating position of being a wife and mother — a “wanted” woman instead of the unwanted woman I had once been. I wanted this book to take what I call the “unwanted woman” — the woman who yearns and is not yearned for in return — out of the shadows.

You say that once you’re able to step away and understand your obsession, you can gain insight into what you actually want in life and in love. You then followed with, “Almost inevitably, [what one wants] is not the person we’ve been fixated on.” What would you say to those that are still hopeful that things someday their unrequited lover will requite?

The patterns I saw in my interviews include:

The beloved represents professional or creative possibility. One woman I interviewed could not hold down a nine to five type job because of mental health issues, but still craved creative expression. She took an art class and fell madly in love with her professor. Both of them were married. She eventually realized he represented the kind of life path she should have taken — and that idea what what she was really obsessed with, not him. Another woman, an opera singer, held a torch for the conductor whose commanding presence helped her turn a flaw into a triumph onstage. He represented the elite opera world she so badly wanted to enter, and it wasn’t until she came into her own as a performer that she could let him go.

The beloved represents the unconditional love that the unrequited lover didn’t have from her family of origin. One woman, a lesbian, described her love for her gay friend precisely this way — it wasn’t sexual. She wanted him to “be her family” because status in her own family of evangelical Christians was so fragile.

The beloved represents what’s missing from the unrequited lover’s marriage or relationship. One woman told me that she dreamed of a love without boundaries, where everything is shared, and she knew her marriage could never give her that (and probably no marriage could be that totalizing). But she regularly fell into unrequited love as a way of keeping that dream of a perfect union alive, even though it was unrealistic. Another woman was feeling restless and unloved in her privileged stay-at-home mother role. So when she saw an intriguing looking woman working out at her gym, she fell head over heels in love with the excitement and escape the woman seemed to represent.

The beloved represents the dream of an idealized future with a committed partner. This is probably the most common situation, and it makes all the sense in the world. As human beings we have a drive to experience deep romantic love, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But it’s important to eventually be able to step back and acknowledge that the beloved isn’t able to be that person — and the fixation on him/her, if it goes on too long, interferes with the quest for real, enduring love.

Based on your online survey, about a third of the women “responded that their unrequited love experience changed my life for the better.” Do you feel the same way?

Absolutely. After my obsession ended, I resolved only to date people who were good to me. It’s an embarrassingly simple formula. But it helped me see the ways I’d prioritized passionate feeling over, well, basic decent treatment. And that was a very important change that definitely made my life better. When I met the man I would eventually marry, my priorities were clear. I will also say that writing a book about unrequited love, inspired by my experience, also made my life better. It was an enriching experience, and now I get letters from readers letting me know that I’ve been helpful to them. That means the world to me.

What do you hope readers take away from Unrequited?

I hope readers who are in unrequited love will use the book to better understand their situation and themselves — and eventually move on. I hope the book helps any reader better understand the complexities of romantic love and the cultural myths and expectations we’ve built up around it. I also think the book is useful for parents who want to help their daughters through the “crush years” — I have a chapter devoted to that, as my daughter, who is eleven, is about to enter that developmental stage.

You described the time of your life when your unrequited loved became obsessive as “lost.” How would you describe your life currently?

I don’t feel lost in the way I once did. I have a settled, full, and challenging life as a working mother and writer. I still have a restless and dreamy mind, though, so a certain degree of “lostness” will always be a part of me — but it’s more in the intellectual/creative realm, as in, what will the next book be? How can I be a better teacher? A more insightful parent? That kind of thing.

What exciting upcoming projects can we Menders look forward to?

I want to continue on what I’ve come to call “the love and heartbreak beat” in my writing career, and I’m toying with a number of ideas for articles and books. Stay tuned!

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

The song Black Star kills me every time I hear it. It speaks to that feeling of inaccessibility in unrequited love or the end of a relationship. It’s a Radiohead song but I confess a preference for the Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings cover of it. Laura Marling’s song “Take the Night Off” is a close rival. I often thought of my unrequited love as a “beast” inside me, and I wanted it to go away and give me a break.

Thank you so much Lisa!