Tuesday, January 17, 2006
      ( 9:55 AM ) Rebecca  
In this week's advice column, BB pretends to know a thing or two about heartbreak.

Dear Breakup Babe,
I started seeing a guy who was a trusted friend for years about a year and a half after my husband died. Bad timing -- he was in the midst of divorce and of course I was still not over my husband's death.

Anyway, we moved along pretty fast and then his almost-ex accused him of being "as bad as" her and we shut down until after the divorce because he felt so guilty. Now, post-divorce and 3 months later he still feels we were wrong to be together sexually during that time and wants to be casual friends, not dating or seeing each other, and has taken someone else out to dinner a couple of times. He thinks we can't go out without progressing to the sex.

I can't find the words for this pain. What now?

Dear Lost,
Pain sucks. Not only are you dealing with the pain of being rejected by this confused dude, you are still dealing with grief from your husband’s death. The problem with grief is that it hurts so bad we sometimes do stupid things make it go away, like date alkies and druggies and divorcees and lunatics, which in the end, of course, only makes the pain worse.

So, how to deal with the pain in a healthy manner? I have a question for you: (Tom Cruise will smite me down for this, but f*ck him.) Have you thought of antidepressants? They completely RULE. Now mind you, they don’t make the pain go away – they just turn it from a pounding jackhammer into a distant drone so that so you can get on with the business of making yourself even *better* and *hotter* and *more successful* than ever before! (Sheesh. I should get Celexa to be a corporate sponsor for Breakup Babe’s international book tour!) Of course, antidepressants go hand-in-hand with therapy – which I also highly recommend.

In any case, it also helps to remind yourself that pain is not forever. We, as adults, know that. Even if we forget it sometimes, because we are in such excruciating pain that we feel we can’t bear it, we know that we can bear it and we will bear it, and it will get better – with time. But there is no way around it – pain just has to be gotten through. For the worst moments, when time slows to a stop, and all you can do is think about how bad you hurt, try thinking to yourself: “This is one more second of pain I won’t have to live through later.” “This is one more minute of pain I won’t have to live through later.” Sooner rather than later, time won't weigh on you so brutally - but when it does, this technique is *BB-proven-and-tested!

Meanwhile, also know that grief can be one of life’s greatest catalysts, which is something I learned not so long ago. Right now, of course, you are down in the dumps and not expected to be out there conquering the world. But when the pain becomes more manageable, through drugs or therapy or time, or whatever - it can also become a powerful force for change. Hell, if I hadn’t gotten my damn heart smashed to bits three and a half years ago, I wouldn’t be the almost-rich-and-famous-novelist I am today! Instead I’d be probably be unhappily married and f*cking the gardener (hmm, that part might not be so bad) and wondering when in the world I was ever going to write my novel but feeling too frightened by the disaster of my impending and inevitable divorce to do anything about it.

So, Lost, right now, the answer for you is learning to manage the pain. Soon enough you’ll find out what it can do for you and what doors it will open. One day again you’ll be on top of the world. Oh, it won’t last of course, but nothing does. But that goes for pain too.

Good luck,
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This blog was the inspiration for my novel. It helped me get through a horrible breakup and kept me entertained for years. But all good things must come to an end. I will recycle oldies but goodies from the archives here, but will blog about about writing here, and about all kinds of other stuff here.

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