Older Women Share Their Advice On How To Deal With Heartbreak In Your 20s
The Debrief: We'll all have our hearts broken at some point, but here's how to deal, courtesy of some wise women who've been there before
Artwork by Beth Hoeckel
You know that old adage that goes ‘it’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all – as any one who’s ever had their heart broken will tell you, that’s utter bollocks. When you’re having your heart broken it feels like the worst pain in the world – almost too horrible to bear. But just like death and taxes it has/will happen to all of us at some point. If you don’t believe us, here are some wise words on the subject of heartbreak from a few wise women who have loved, lost and made it through to the other side without indulging in too many Miss Haversham fantasies…
1. Daisy Buchanan, columnist, regular Debriefer and author of The Wickedly Unofficial Guide To Made In Chelsea
I cured my broken heart with quarter bottles of champagne and M&S steaks for one. I genuinely thought I was unloveable, unfanciable and unfit for human consumption, but I found some solace in the fact there had to be some good in me because I could cook a bloody brilliant steak. I also bought myself a lot of flowers. I knew I was over him when I woke up one day and thought: ‘Why does my room look like a fucking church?!’
2. Laurie Penny, New Statesman Contributing Editor and author of Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
The best cure for a broken heart is a book. No matter how weird and twisted the end of your relationship, someone else has been there before you and written about it – and perspective is a great healer.
Other than that, I always throw myself into work. No boy or girl is worth sacrificing your passion or your future over. Have a cry, spend a day moping and watching soppy films, then get the hell out of bed and get on with your life.
3. Bryony Gordon is an interviewer and columist for the Telegraph and her memoir, The Wrong Knickers: A Decade of Chaos, is out now.
Heartbreak, though it feels bloody deadly, is actually just a healthy and positive sign that you are well on the road to meeting 'the one'. There were several times in my twenties when I thought I would not be able to live without someone, I was that miserable. Now I'm eternally glad they dumped me – because in breaking my heart they also opened it to the man I have a beautiful daughter with. So, yay to heartbreak!
4. Sali Hughes is a writer, editor and broadcaster and her new book Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion is available to pre-order now
Getting over anything huge like a break-up, a death, a job loss, is never about big decisions and grand gestures (I actively discourage making life-changing decisions during life-changing times). Healing occurs through tiny choices made every day. ‘Today I'm going to get dressed and put on some lipstick,’ ‘This morning I'm going to take myself out for an amazing breakfast/call my mum /clean out a kitchen cupboard/go for a one-hour walk’ – these are the sorts of actions that start to make life more pleasurable again, and in incremental steps, get you back to where you need to be.
And science says…
5. DR Therese Debaurvoir, clinical psychologist
I realise one of the hardest things for a person with a broken heart is just feel it, but that's exactly what you have to do – there is no short way out. Here’s sometimes difficult truth you have to face: You have to properly grieve in order to move on and you have to 'go through it, not around it'. It's only through going through intense pain and dealing with it head on that you can eventually resurface as a stronger person and the pain can stop having a hold on you.
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane
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