The Heartbreak Hangover: Despite All the Whiskey, It Is Still Over


By Stefanie Marshall

Sometimes in the midst of heartbreak, all you want is a shot of whiskey and someone who will kiss you hard and tell you you’re not doing it incorrectly. But, I promise you, that relief won’t last longer than that kiss, and it surely won’t last through your hangover. Heartbreak hangovers last so much longer than, say, a bachelorette party hangover. After a heartbreak hangover, you have to face reality. And the reality unfortunately is, that despite all the whiskey, it is still over.

Recently, I went through a pseudo break up. (Explaining the pseudo is a whole other monster.) For a week after this ending, I drank about it. I rehashed every moment to whoever would listen while I cried into my wine glass.

I needed to wallow for a minute because this loss was hard. At 30, when you enter into some semblance of a relationship, things are heavier. You think about the future more immediately. And even though this relationship was slightly unrealistic from the beginning, I still fell hard and got lost in the muck of it.

So I wallowed. I lashed out at him a bit. I blamed by myself. I drank bottles of wine. I cried to my friends. I sent him one half drunken text that said nothing (and everything), and then I woke up with one of those heartbreak hangovers. My head hurt, but my pride hurt more.

When I was younger, I would have fought back. I would have cried more and drunk more and blamed myself. I would have obsessed. Now, I just don't want to feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest and run over by an 18 wheeler. I desperately want to let go; something I’ve never been in a hurry to do in the past. I want to learn what it is to really let go and grow from heartbreak.

It doesn't matter how long this relationship was or how important and how real it felt, it is over. No more drinking about it. No more heartbreak hangovers.

The hard part is: when I love you, you become a part of my heart. So when that part goes missing, I need to fill that hole. It doesn’t need to (or probably shouldn’t) be with someone else, but it must be something. It’s usually writing for me. I always say the men who date me aren’t safe from my pen, and it’s true.

This time though, I need more than writing. I've turned to yoga, and between poetry, movement, and meditation, these last three weeks have been much easier. I still need time to heal, but I feel like this breakup is grown up. (Other than that first week because no one is perfect, right?)

I can let him go because not only do I have no other choice, but because it is healthy to do so. I can let him go because what we had was real and great, but it is most definitely over. I can let him go because there is someone out there who isn’t going to see my heart if it is clouded by him. I can let him go because I am strong enough.

Today I didn’t think about him until I wrote this. Tomorrow the memory of his kisses will linger less. The next day I won’t remember his smile as vividly. One day, I will drink that glass of whiskey with my best friend and not wonder about him at the end of it, and I will wake up the next morning without the sting of a heartbreak hangover.

The space he used to occupy in my heart will fill up, scar over, and fade into the landscape of lovers lost. Letting go is a gradual process that shouldn’t break you more. If you’re doing it right, letting go will put you back together.

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Stefanie Marshall

Stefanie is a writer and a hopeless romantic. Probably both because of the other. She likes her whiskey neat and her men bearded. Mostly, she's told she's the good kind of terrifying.

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