YOU! Yes, I mean you. You, who are seeing holiday engagement photos and getting teary thinking about what might have been. Watching kids ice-skating and remembering the names you had already picked out for your future children. Hearing jingle bells and thinking of her phone jingling with your text. Your fingers twitch toward the phone. Should I text my ex? you wonder. Just one message, you think. Just one casual, ‘hey, how-are-you… I miss you… please can we try one more time… how about my place tonight’ text. How bad could it be?
Babe, bad. You know it. I know it. Dua Lipa knows it.
Listen, we’ve all been there, especially around the holidays. With overpowering sentimentality in the freezing-ass air, it’s totally normal to feel those pangs of ex-related sadness. It’s also totally normal to trick yourself into thinking that one teensy tiny text won’t make much of a difference. But it will.
To reiterate the wisdom of every queer foremother from time immemorial, texting your ex—especially that ex (you know who we’re talking about) whose hot-hot sex is only topped by her radioactive toxicity—is a bad idea. It’ll definitely make you sad, and it will probably end with the two of you sleeping together, which will be admittedly amazing for 10 minutes (okay, eight hours), but undoubtedly make you even sadder afterward.
I am not an expert at not texting my exes. However, I am an expert at trying not to text my exes. So rest assured that I’ve spent some quality post-breakup time thinking up these high-caliber distractions. Leave the phone and take the cannoli (/dildo), because there are 11 things that you can do now—and I mean right now—instead of texting your ex-girlfriend.
1. Watch every Melissa McCarthy movie in order of lesbian subtext.
This exercise is best done with one or more friends who are equally committed to this important cinematic project. For the record, first place does not go to Can You Ever Forgive Me? That’s too obvious. The correct order is The Heat for obvious Sandra Bullock reasons, followed by the scene in Spy when Melissa McCarthy puts a knife through the palm of that evil Eastern European superbabe, which is totally a metaphor for not being fluid-safe. Gloves, Melissa!
2. Bake a huge-ass cake.
I mean HUGE. I’m talking layers, buttercream frosting, marzipan, homemade jam, and all that Great British Baking Show shit. The bigger, the better… because creativity heals, and this cake is filled with your feelings.
While you should obviously eat as much of this cake as you find pleasurable and freeze it for future cake needs, the pro version of this task is to bring the cake to your next community meeting, your best U-Hauling friends’ lesbian-filled apartment, or directly to your new crush’s house. Upon tasting your delicious cake, everyone will love you and want to date you, instantly distracting you from sad holiday thoughts of your ex girlfriend and yes this is an innuendo.
This one is obvious, but that’s because it’s so damn effective. For every sad text that you want to send, instead send a nice, conversational, non-sad message to a Tinder (/insert app of your choice) cutie. You may not be ready to date yet, judging by those irresistible thoughts of your ex. But realizing how many people find you irresistible will boost your confidence and fill you with horny, happy thoughts of the future rather than horny, regretful thoughts of the past.
4. Therapy. It’s great! Schedule an appointment now.
If you’ve never been to a therapist before, scheduling that first appointment might feel like a big step. But, honey, you’re a queer person in this big sad world, and that is hard. Mourning over any relationship is tough, and it’s even tougher if the relationship was toxic, abusive, or affected by stigma or discrimination. We all deserve the care to help us stay healthy, to enjoy loving relationships, and to thrive in all pursuits!
Use that burst of ex-texting energy to call your therapist and schedule an appointment. Text your chill, mental-health-loving friend who can recommend you a great queer-friendly therapist. Or find tips on connecting to a therapist here.
5. Get a dramatic haircut/color. Obviously.
There’s a reason why women in movies are always giving themselves dramatic haircuts during emo self-improvement montages, and that’s because Hollywood is repetitive. But okay, it’s also because DIY-ing a dramatic new hairstyle is cathartic as hell.
I have frequently attempted this strategy. New pixie cut to externalize desperate high school crush on a straight girl? Check. Self-made bangs in a fit of frustration against endless gross male attention in an Italian hostel? You know it.
Your approach to this can be DIY (please be careful with scissors) or you can spend some cash and get it done by professionals. Either way, your dramatic new haircut should make you look like a whole new you! And maybe also like Black Swan lesbian Natalie Portman.
6. Do an *art project*!
Paint some shit. Anything will do. Use a paper bag and some food coloring for all I care. Just take all those big, drippy texty feelings and translate them into some big, drippy Frida paintings.
My younger, more glamorous, angsty self took this exercise up a classy notch by habitually dealing with erotic frustration by painting my feelings on huge pieces of poster board in lipstick and then plastering them all over my wall. It was a good look. And like any top-notch ex distraction tool, it accomplished two important things at once: 1) it externalized my angst and heartbreak; and 2), it alerted everyone who came into the space to have sex with me that I was a seriously artsy lady with some deep lesbian feelings who absolutely looked like Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, except actually bisexual and thankfully not created by Woody Allen. Did this also cause some potential lovers to doubt my emotional stability and never text me back? Without a doubt. But damn, was I rocking that artsy vibe!
7. Massage. Get a massage. Give a massage. Facilitate someone rubbing someone’s skin in a relaxing, consensual manner.
Cosmo tells us that science tells us that when people touch your body, you feel the effects of happy chemicals. So what could be happier than someone touching your body for sixty minutes with aromatherapy? There are many ways to approach this. Exchange massages with a friend. Exchange massages with a special friend. Just walk in somewhere. Spend an upsetting amount of money on a suburban-dad-chic massage chair. Anything to get those muscles melting.
Yeah, I know, I sound like a wellness lady in a straight magazine. But putting your phone down, standing up, and moving your body in a way that you actually enjoy (that is not having sex with your ex) really will make you feel better.
It’s not a great idea to turn to exercise as a form of self-punishment or discipline, so I would encourage you to opt for something that is pleasurable and delightful and affirming. I usually choose things that either improve my dancing skills or let me splash around in an aquatic environment or feel stretchy and awesome. While some have argued that yoga is a straight woman thing, I argue the opposite. How else do you think I have such remarkable wrist stamina and flexibility?
9. Go dancing!
You’ve been sitting in your den of sadness long enough. Put on something awesome, call up some friends, and leave the damn apartment. The holidays are a time for sentimental, family-friendly nostalgia, but they are also a time for gyrating in sequins.
Find some fun new porn. Get a new sex toy. Invent a completely original kink and go to town on it. Read vintage pulp fiction. Light some candles, like the copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves my mom gave me in 2006 advised. Stop being lazy and actually use some lube! Explore your butthole. Basically, this should be some serious, committed, full-body, sensuous as hell, luxurious masturbation.
It’d probably be healthier if you aren’t fantasizing about your ex when doing this. But, then again, thinking about her is better than having sex with her—so whatever gets you through is, honestly, fine by me.
11. No, really. Masturbate.
Because at the end of the day, there is no better cure to horny post-breakup sad texting than taking those itchy fingers off your phone and onto your favorite pleasure-causing body part.
And remember: Whatever you choose to do right now, we love you… and you’re gonna be okay!
Healing from relationships, especially unhealthy ones, is hard. It’s messy. It requires time and space. It often requires quitting someone you might still love, are still attracted to, or feel really wounded by and messed up about, cold turkey (which means all at once, not ‘tasty the morning after in a sandwich’). Quitting any intoxicating substance, including a lover—especially a lover you’ve had some complex shit with—is a struggle. And it will probably involve a few relapses. That’s okay! Just remember that the sooner you quit, the sooner those cravings will fade.
And listen, even if you do slip up and text your ex: We still love you, you’re still fabulous, and you still deserve healthy, happy love. We know you’re gonna get it!
So happy holidays, and here’s to blocking some contacts in the New Year!