Ok, so you find yourself on the slide from a relationship. You are a guy and you don't know how you are going to go on with life. Luckily for you, this biker has more than enough experience to point you into getting back into the swing of things.
Allow yourself to miss them
You are allowed to moan the love that has been lost. You deserve to mope about for a few days and lament all the things that coulda/shoulda/woulda been. You are human; it is natural to feel a great deal of pain. I learned long ago, that despite how drunk I get that the pain always returns. It also likes to bring along with it hangover and regret. I personally don't recommend buying that fifth of Jack and holing up in your residence over the weekend.
Accept some responsibility
Yes, despite what you think, you have some degree of responsibility for the break up. I don't care what the reasons were you had something to do with the demise of the relationship. I don't care if she slept with your best friend, or her best friend for that matter. We as males have to learn to realize that we did something that lead the ones we did care about to drift from us. Once we do this, we can begin to actually move forward with learning how to not duplicate those mistakes.
At some point we will tell a little white lie, it was either us being in a hugely popular garage band, being the person whom actually scored the winning state championship touchdown. Something that they eventually find out and they realize that we are merely mortal like them. That is when the sand upon which the relationship was built begins to shift and erode everything that was built upon it.
Accepting some quantum of responsibility for it is paramount. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can move on.
Learn to like yourself
Ok, so you have learned that you have faults, welcome to being an adult. We all have our faults, our weaknesses, and our kryptonite if you will. Now, you need to learn that despite your short comings, you are still an alright person. (This all assumes that you don't have any super freakish fetishes say like what Michael Jackson has been accused of or the like.) Now that you know that you have faults, you have to realize that you are still a great person that has something special to offer to someone special enough to realize that you are special. Learn to admit that you don't purchase Playboy only for the articles. Once you do that, you are able to acknowledge that you aren't a sick puppy.
Trust me, this is Ed; I have been referred to more than a few times as Special Ed. Yet, I still think that my sense of humor, my loyalty and my ability to listen and not wait to speak outweighs the fact that I can be a bit too stubborn. That I work too much, and that I enjoy a walk on the wilder side of life.
Get up clean up and shave
All right believe it or not some of the hardest parts are behind you now. It isn't easy doing this soul searching, and despite what has been taught on FRIENDS the next phase doesn't always lead you to a strip club and the objectifying of women. I have been to an 'adult club' fewer than five times in my life. I will freely admit to walking into an 'adult bookstore' more than the average male in my life. Hey its fun to look at the different ways we humans can be depraved.
You have got to get up out of that bean bag chair, put down the bag of cheetos, roll the kegs of beer back to the liquor store, stumble into the shower and actually use soap, shampoo, conditioner (if you have enough hair) and unless you want to do your own impersonation of Grizzly Adams, shave.
Why you ask? Because if you ever hope to be able to have a relationship with another human being it is pretty much required. Lets face it if you have gotten to be an adult and don't understand the basics of hygiene you have bigger problems than this article will be able to help you with. Honestly, go to the mall and visit the different fragrances and liquid shower soaps. I promise I won't question your heterosexuality or lack there of if you are using the entire Cool Water (my personal favorite) line of cleanliness products.
On a side note, women are not the only ones that should *trim certain* areas.
If you clean, trim, and straighten yourself up you will feel better. This will allow you to move onto the next section.
Learn to smile again
This can be one of the hardest things to do. I tend to think of breaks ups to be much like open heart surgery (not that I have first hand knowledge) you have to do the recovery in stages. You will not be able to get through them all in one day. There is no fast track or hard set rules to getting back on with life. Learning to smile and laugh again is paramount. Being a sourpuss all the time gets old real fast. Any friends worth their salt will be able to tell you that. In fact any friend worth their salt will try to get you to laugh again while going through the other phases.
After you have been to the mall to get you some good smelling fufu juice, go back in a couple of days, and just walk around practicing your smile. Go up to the little kiosks and talk to the poor college kids bored out of their skulls and be polite. Ask questions and smile at them. DON'T TRY TO PICK EM UP! You are a goober for doing that and you aren't ready for it. BABYSTEPS! Slow and easy is the way that you wanna go. You wanna have a relationship that has more that just sex as the underlying theme. (You are not John Holmes and she doesn't think that a good roll in the hay will pay for what you think you need.) Simply smile, and be polite and learn that you can smile without it looking like it is forced. That is worse than not being able to smile at all. You will look like a ninny if you have the perpetual *forced smile* on your face.
Find a support group
Even if the entire break up is your complete fault; i.e. you slept with her sister, mother and best friend in a drunken stupor. You need to find a support group, either for being addicted to sex or just a group of guys or gals that will allow you to vent a little. These folks need to be able to be honest with you. There is a difference between being brutally honest and just being plan mean.
Prior to my second marriage I asked my best friend, who was also my best man at the wedding. What he thought of the impending bride. He gave me the thumbs up, it wasn't until I was staying with them once the marriage hit the skids that he and his long time girlfriend let me in on the fact that folks were setting the over / under on how long the marriage would last. I asked him why he hadn't said anything to me, "I didn't want to hurt your feelings."
I turned a steely blue eye glare upon him, "Dude, next time, hurt my feelings. I get myself into bigger trouble when you spare my feelings." We have since come to the understanding that, I may not like what he has to say, but I know it is meant in love.
We all need at least one person that we can trust to be brutally honest about the situation that we are in. If you can find a group of folks that share your same interests you will be able to see more clearly the things happening around you. This will help you learn to be happy with yourself, and lets face it, that is what we are really working on here. That leads us to the next point.
Rediscover your hobbies
Are you creative? What do you like to do in your downtime? What do you do to relax? Did you used to read all the time? Go to Half Priced books or some place like that and find the books that you loved to read as a youth. While you are there pick up a book of something totally different that what you are used to reading. I don't care if it is a How to play the guitar in six chords or How to make the perfect quiche. What we want to do is getting you doing things that you used to do, as well as getting you to do something different.
Take a course at the local community college. Now, I am not saying go back and work on that forgotten about bachelor degree. Take basket weaving 101 or Guitar chords 102 or something. We want to get you back to enjoying being by yourself. These are low stress classes that you don't have to *pass*. These are low stress fun classes to get you back to interacting with folks outside of your normal 'close friends'. Think about what you used to lay awake at night daydreaming in bed about being when you grew up. Did you fancy yourself a writer of best sellers? Take a Writing Composition 101 and write for the Piker Press. We are a great support group that welcomes new writers, hell; I am still a young pup on the block when it comes to the other great writers here. This leads us to the next phase.
Go out in public
What is that you say? You have been going out in public? Yes, but have you been showering and shaving and smiling and not trying to pick up somebody? Put on your best set of wranglers, and best set of ropers, stay away from the brush popper shirts they died out with Garth Brooks. Go out looking like you have a million bucks in the bank account and just have some fun. Yes this is where it is acceptable to go to the local Baby Dolls strip club and just kick back. NO, do not give that stripper your business card or try to give her a lift home. All she will do is call you on a Wednesday afternoon when things are slow at the club and she needs to make some extra fast cash. She is still gonna charge you for those lap dances and the drinks are still going to be watered down. With everything else that you have going on in your life right now the last thing you need is to have a stripper call your office asking for you by name. No matter how cool your boss is, this will get you pink slipped faster than anything. If you give her a ride home she will milk you for some extra cash for the babysitter or the new term book she needs for school. Most strippers these days are not just working their way through college, they are normally professional strippers that enjoy what they do and know how to separate a man and his money with well placed stories of sorrow.
When I say go out in public, what we want you to do is realize that you are able to exist without your former significant other. That you can actually function without having someone up your backside at parties or up your bum with other gerls about. This is a refreshing experience and it can be a depressing one. I never said these steps were going to be pain free did I? If I did then I apologize now.
Yes, you have to do laundry, and while we are on the subject, have you cleaned your place up recently? Yes you are a big guy now, with big guy issues and you get to do those big folks chores as well. There is nothing more, 'I am a big guy,' than knowing that you are able to separate your whites and your colors, and be able to make sure that your white undies don't come out pink because you left a red shirt in the load. Place them in the dryer and turn it on. I know that this can be a bit of a novel concept, but you do have to actually turn on the utility. Take the clothes out of the dryer promptly; we do this to keep them from wrinkling. You can take your wranglers down to the drycleaners and get the 'Cowboy cress and starch' put into them. Yes they will be stiff, but you will be able to get the jeans to last a bit longer this way and you will look spiffy in em as well. That is of course if you have the butt for them, otherwise just hang em up and keep them straight.
Why all the fuss about clothes? Well eventually we want to attach a potential mate prospect for ya. You will attach a more discerning woman if you are able to show that you are able to fend for yourself. Part of that is looking like you are able to actually help around the house. So it is imperative to get that chili cheese stain out of your favorite football jersey. Yes you do actually have to have shirts other than old rock concert shirts and old hockey jerseys. I know that it can be a painful thing, but you have to wear something other than that classic Van Halen (not Van Hagar) shirt. They broke up get over it, Diamond Dave isn't coming back.
Go groceries shopping
How are you going to be able to cook that 'Perfect Quiche' with out the proper ingredients? Go groceries shopping for something besides Cheese Puffs and soda and beer. What are you going to do when you actually bring a date home and she sees the immaculate apartment and a loaf of bread, a three pack of light beer, half a container of old bologna and mayonnaise in the refrigerator? Show that you are able to get up off your arse and actually gather food and provide for someone other than yourself. Turn on a cooking show, Sportscenter loops back on itself every hour or so. Learn how to make more than fried bologna sandwiches. Nothing makes a potential future Ms Right swoon more than coming back to your place (immaculately clean of course) to the aromas of a lovely dinner (not burning in the oven), with side dishes created by you.
NO YOU AREN'T TRYING TO SCORE wipe that cheesy smile off your face now. You are showing that you have values, and that you are able to act like a mature adult. Wine is fine to be served at the meal, just don't try to get her drunk. Speak about current events, stay away from overly controversial topics. Unless you are trying to push her buttons to see how compatible you guys are long term. Which you shouldn't be, you are trying to get your feet wet. There is no sense in jumping from the high dive just yet. We want to keep you in the kiddy section for a little bit so that you can become a bit more confident in yourself. Remember it is all about you to a point, which brings us to our final point.
Forget your past when on dates
There is nothing that turns of the future Ms. Right than hearing you drone on and on endlessly about your last love gone wrong. I actually learned this the very hard way. I worked with a woman with world class looks, and brains too. We went to lunch a few times and she would sit and listen to me lament endlessly about my first failed marriage. She later told me once I was in another serious relationship (who ended up being dead end marriage number two) that she had found me attractive and that she would have, at one point, enjoyed seeing our relationship go further but that she took my droning on to be that I was still in love with my ex.
Well ya coulda knocked me over with a feather. Here was probably one of the top five most beautiful women I had ever known personally. She had an excellent head on her shoulders and a career to boot. Telling me that she had at one time found me to be worthy of her interest, but that I had dropped the ball because I talked too much about a relationship that for all intents and purposes was dead.
So speak briefly about the prior relationship, or ask direct questions much like you would on the witness stand. Answer the question without giving too much extra information. If she wants to know more, she will ask follow up questions to get what she deems to be needed information.
While on the subject of former relationships, this is a major thing. Do not make your new relationship(s) pay for the sins from your prior ones. This new person is just that, someone that hasn't wronged you in any way. They haven't lied or deceived you in any way. That you know of yet, so treat them as such. Listen to them when they speak, don't just wait to talk. Treat this new relationship as a bud of a flower. Nurture it in honesty, trust it, and listen to your heart. When you feel it needs space, give in. When it needs water and light do so. Relax you don't have to find someone to justify your existence. You, just like Jack Handey used to say, are all right just the way that you are.
Article © Ed Moyer. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-04-24