A letter to my niece.
Dear T –
I won’t beat around this bush, it will suck for a while. So feel the pangs, go ahead. Cry if you have to, then put cucumbers on your bags so you don’t look like crap in the morning. You will go through bouts of self-analysis that won’t always be comforting. Like you said, the new girl is pretty, smart, and nice but so are you, darling. So here are the things I learned when dealing with the fact that an ex (who, may I remind you, you don’t want back naman) has a new girlfriend.
1) Limit your comparison thoughts. While I doubt if she’ll best you on all counts, I think you will just find yourself either vain or miserable when you engage in this activity. Note how I said “limit” because I understand we cannot help this- so I say limit. Curb it! Time yourself if you have to, then end. This clause includes surfing, slight-stalking her/his Facebook photos, Instagram account, perhaps their blogs if they still blog. Limit. Set a deadline. (e.g. “Okay from now til 820pm, I will sift through it, but by 821pm, I should be lacing my sneakers and going out somewhere.” Or whatever.)
2) Allow yourself to grieve the past and a marginal amount of time looking through your old photos with him, that’s normal, but while doing this, try to remember the times you weren’t so cool with things. In fact, the best way to get over someone (na hindi ka galit) is to remember the times he was baduy. Hahaha. I know it’s crazy, but the best way to be relieved a relationship is over without being bitter is when you’re making him alaska in your mind. (E.g. may shoes siya na ayaw mo, may gupit sya na medyo ngeh, may habit siya or music syang trip na trip na may pagka-ngrrrr) If you focus on the things na hindi mo gaano ‘type’ – matatawa ka lang, ma-re-relieve, at hindi ka galit o bitter. Parang ang goal ay umabot sa “shet buti na lang hindi na kami, hindi ko na kailangang makinig sa (for example) Gangnam remix 2012 na paulit-ulit sa kotse.)
3) Refrain as best you can from contacting his folks. Yes, even if you got really close to them and you consider them friends, presyo yan ng sitwasyon. Hinay-hinay – especially for the first 6months to 1 year na bagong break kayo. Ganun talaga. That’s his space, give him that. Pag galang yon at parang ang stalkies ng dating mo pag nakiki-epal ka pa sa family space niya. I’m sure you also want him to leave you alone in your family space, diba? So wag na muna. If they get in touch with you, well and good, pero wag na ikaw ang mag effort, okay? Just try.
4) Do not, I repeat, do not call nor SMS when drunk. This one I give no leeway, this one’s absolute. 100% ako don. BASTA just believe me. (Tip – delete his number or log it under his last name or another name para pag lasing ka na, hindi mo mahahanap sa phonebook.)
5) He’s still your friend so NO BAD MOUTHING the EX. That’s not cool. You loved him, too, for a length of time (5 years ba kayo?) and you grew up together. It was not all bad, accept that. He took care of you too as you took care of him. So yes, that qualifies as friendship in the end and all friendships deserve respect that way. If you bad mouth an ex, you bad mouth yourself – dahil minahal mo eh. So dali ka dun. Say gently, “Yes he was cool, but that’s over now, but it was cool when it was cool.”
6) When you party or go through major events and he is no longer there (I know you’ve had 5 Christmases, Bdays, etc etc) …better to watch your words when you describe things. Don’t say, “It’s not as fun without….” better yet say, “This year’s Christmas is different w/o him, still fun, but different.” That way you acknowledge naman his absence, but you also acknowledge that fun did not leave the premises just because he’s gone. Because guess what – YOU are the source of all your fun-hood. (It doesn’t look like it now, but it will be, I guarantee it.)
7) No funky stuff. Meaning, no making up ways to see him. Should you need all your things back from him or his apartment, get it all in one go. Do it yourself, magpasama ka kay Tav who will promise to drag you out of there as soon as you stumble and make a (possible) scene. Though I hope you won’t have to go through that. If you can let those things in his possession go, let it go na rin. OR – wait a bit – and pick up your stuff with your new boyfriend. Haha. That’s possible. Because —
8) ….if he is happy with his new girlfriend, it is not a reflection that things were bad with you, it just means that – he’s happy with this new one. BECAUSE when YOU’RE eventually happy with your new beau (which is highly probable ESPECIALLY if you don’t RUSH it nor lower your standards just because you’re lonely) you can calmly say, “It was good then but I’m happy now, too.” Walang siraan or basagan ng nakaraan. Leave it be. Kalmante ka lang. Cool cat, walk away. Sashay.
9) You will have nights when you want him back, when you’ll want him back so badly you will cry, want to call, want to drive to his house and ask him to come out and walk in the sidewalk, you’d miss him so bad you will make pa-simpleh to call his dad or his friend – that’s normal. But always always always PAUSE before you do any of those. I’ve done those before, and I ALWAYS felt more god-awful after.
10) Re: the new girlfriend. Never hate. Don’t hate. (Okay, rant privately with me if you want but never on line or to common friends. Haha.) Remember, she’s like you. She’s a cool girl, too – deal with her like a successor who is inheriting something you also took care of. (I know how it objectifies, no? But this is an unusual time, we need to compartmentalize things, you will be forgiven some day for this, haha) Tandaan mo, inalagaan mo rin si EX so ayaw mo naman na walanghiyain ng next owner diba? Parang kotse lang yan. You can watch it drive away, a bit wistfully, and say, ‘that was a good car, we had fun times, we went places,’ but it’s time to make space in my garage for a new car.
11) Keep doing what you do. Show up. Finish grad school. Get your dreams on. Make lists. Travel. Shop. Work in new places. Meet new people. Write. Dance. Run. Gym. Go to San Diego again. Take care of your sisters and your brothers. Take care of your Mom. You have more time now! Cry, sure, but forward — always forward.
12) The only direct contact I will allow you to do with EX is to thank him. Thank him for a wonderful 5 years, say sorry for being the occasional pain, then wish him well. And tell him to wish you well, too. No sense in burning that bridge. And no sense in looking tanga either. Wala na yan, he’s into this new one, face it. There is nothing you can do to get him back right now, not while this new relationship is fresh and sparkling. We’re on this side of the coin now, face it. So might as well deal with it with your self-esteem intact.
Lose the boy, keep yourself.
You can do it, my darling.
I’m always here for you.