I was talking to a friend this week who’s going through a marriage break-up. There are young kids involved, she’s a wreck and she wanted to talk to me about all the big, scary decisions she was trying to make. In a hurry, no less.
This is, I think, the worst thing any heartbroken person can do. Because you’re not really thinking straight.
The days and weeks that follow a break-up are discombobulating in the extreme. You feel hopeless, helpless, sick with nerves and completely out of control. In the worst way, you just want your world to return to the way it used to look.
For me, the best way to describe how your brain feels at this point is like walking into your house and finding everything off-kilter – pictures are tilted, the cushions are all over the floor, clothes are spilling out of your wardrobe, the sink’s full of dirty dishes. Nothing’s in its rightful place.
And, it’s tempting at this time to flail around and do something, anything, to restore order, but it’s probably not a great idea when you’re clouded by sadness, desperation and in all likelihood, an irrational kind of panic that’s especially hard to ignore.
Acting on that troubled trifecta may well lead to what experts call ‘bad decisions’. The kind of decisions that involve sending 17 increasingly stalkery text messages to our exes, or doing numerous drive-bys their house/place of work, or sleeping with them, or … er, spray-painting their car.
Decisions you can and should make right now include anything involving long hot baths, good movies, books, boxset marathons, cups of tea, naps, walking by a river, sitting in the garden in the sun, or lying in some long grass watching the clouds drift by.
Anything else can wait until your temporary tilted world rights itself, and you’re in a better place.
Made any bad decisions yourself after a breakup? Did you or do you regret it?