Where was this book two years ago?

Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott is about exactly what you think it would be about: getting over a break up. It’s not one of those “your ex is evil and you are fabulous” books. It’s written in a calm, soothing tone that makes no judgements against who dumped the reader. It focuses on how the dumpee can start putting the past relationship in the past and then move ahead.

I like Elliott’s way of comparing getting over a breakup to grieving (makes sense since Elliott is a grief counselor). I thought back to my bad break up two years ago while reading through the book, and my reactions then were a perfect match. Maybe I did roll my eyes when Elliott went on and on about daily affirmations, but there is a lot of good advice here, like “NC” — no contact. Nothing, zip, zilch, zero. And no going back to said ex for “closure.” It’s done. Let it go. Getting back in touch again will not help.

How timely. I read this book for work, but once and a while I’d get an email from my ex, who is now engaged, just saying hi. He called me last month, and when I saw the number on my phone, I let it go right to voicemail. I considered asking him for an apology for everything he did (he was a lying alcoholic who left me for someone who he said was “younger and hotter.”) But why bother? I’m confident in myself now. I have a wonderful boyfriend who is 1000 times better and makes me think all those over the top romantic songs CAN be true. When I heard the ex was engaged, my first reaction was “that poor girl.”

I don’t need his closure. I got that on my own, and you know what? I think I’m stronger for it. Call it a cliche or whatever you want, but I don’t think I’d have done everything I did if I hadn’t gone through that. I didn’t return his call, and I set up a filter on my email account so that anything from him is sent right to the trash without crossing my inbox. Very liberating to do that.

Will I thank him? Of course not. I hate that I let someone walk all over me like that. I sometimes can’t listen to music I know he liked, but that aversion is fading (I’m listening to my Anberlin Pandora channel as I write this, but I don’t think I could ever enjoy Angels & Airwaves again). I came out if it OK, which is why I think Elliott’s book can help people stuck in the depths of despair over a break up. Minus the affirmation stuff, it’s clear of self help mumbo jumbo too. Interesting book.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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