Never Getting Over You Is Going OK
I'm something of a getting-over-the-fantasy-of-people athlete.
Illustrations by Joel Benjamin
Ending a relationship is one thing. But getting over the fantasy of a person is a whole other thing. For me, it's harder to accept the death of a fantasy than it is to stop texting a person. I can block a person on my phone. But I can't block them in my brain.
Or can I? Through the deaths of my many fantasies, I've found that training the mind to forget is actually possible. It's kinda like training a puppy. My mind isn't cute like a puppy. I like puppies and I hate my mind. But in order to deflect the euphoric recall of memory (as well as blot out the recollection of those totally amazing qualities that maybe never even existed in that person) I need diligence, consistency, patience, and gentleness.
I've been romantically obsessed with so many people that I've kind of become a getting-over-the-fantasy-of-people athlete. I want to share with you some of the tactics I've incorporated into my training: the ones that worked and the ones that didn't.
1. Conducting "research" by checking the person's Twitter, FB, Tumblr, and Instagram every second, all the while feeling proud that at least you aren't liking and faving their shit anymore
What are you doing? Stop doing this. Close all the tabs right now. If you feel like you absolutely can't stop, try abstaining for 30 days. Or seven. Count the days.
Once you abstain from checking their social media, you will enter a short period of withdrawal. This is because you aren't getting that hit of dopamine from seeing the person's face pop up—or that shot of adrenaline from the sudden appearance of a mystery person in their selfies. You're eliminating what may feel like your last connection to them.
But what you're also getting is a reprieve from that emotional hangover every time they tweet something good (note: the tweets are never that good, you just want them to be). Soon you are going to feel really free.
If you really love yourself, you will block and unfollow the person on all social media. But if you really love yourself you probably don't read this column. So let's take it slow.
2. Giving the person a new nickname amongst your friends, like "heroin" or "pancake ass," or "teletubby," and only referring to the person with this nickname
Yes. This is one of the best ways to "reframe" the image of a person in your mind. Sometimes we don't want to give up our idea of a person, because it provides us with a beautiful place to go in our heads—even when that beauty is painful. Well, laughter is beautiful too. I fully encourage you to impale that vampire on the cross of his tiny penis, simply by giving the tiny penis a name.
3. Writing down the person's name on a piece of paper and throwing it into a fire or any other type of "magic goodbye surrendering ritual"
Eh. This can be freeing for, like, ten seconds. It's exciting when a $30 candle promises to eliminate the memory of a person forever. But it's unrealistic to suspect that you'll surrender the entire fantasy of a person and never go there mentally again. And if the candle doesn't work, you might stop believing in magic. I think it's important to never stop believing in magic.
4. Having sex with them again "one last time"
There is no last time.
5. Having sex with someone else (or multiple people) immediately after having sex with the fantasy person to avoid the "come down" off of sex with the fantasy person but sort of sustain the emotional high
This can be powerful, in a fake way, like being the militaristic dictator of your own sex nation. But you're probably going to end up comparing the second person to your fantasy person. Usually, the second person won't be able to live up to the fantasy person and it'll just be sad.
It should be noted that this tactic can work really well on the rare occasion that the second person is as hot and amazing as the fantasy person (or at least, you perceive them to be). But be warned: this tactic can backfire if you end up getting hooked on the second person too. There's nothing worse than waiting for texts from two (or even three) fantasy people and not hearing from any of them.
6. Getting into a relationship with someone else who you don't even like and pretending that new person is the fantasy person while you are having sex with them
Relationship experts say that fantasizing about one person while fucking another person is natural and normal. But it's one thing to fantasize about someone you've never had feelings for, and it's another to be re-enacting Wuthering Heights in your head with an old lover while fucking a totally new lover. For me this has only resulted in crying during sex. And not in a good way.
7. Trying to "stay friends"
You have enough friends.
Do you really want to just be friends? There is nothing worse than just being friends with someone you're in love with who isn't in love with you. Actually, being friends with benefits with someone you're in love with who isn't in love with you is worse. But friendship with no benefits is bad too.
You'll know when (if ever) it's finally time to be friends with the fantasy person if they text you and it's just boring and annoying, rather than intoxicating. Like your real friends.
8. Changing the person's name in your phone to DO NOT CONTACT or STOP or the toilet emoji
I'm a very slow learner and I don't like being told what to do—not even by me. The little warnings I leave for myself on my phone never seem to deter me in the moment of bad decision-making. I've sexted with the word STOP for hours. I've declared my love for a toilet emoji.
But this method will probably work for some of you, and I encourage you to try it. Maybe try using the cop car emoji.
9. Reading the other person's horoscope to see what's going on in his life and if he is ever coming back to you
No. Stop doing this. Also, let's take a break from reading the love section of your horoscope. Also, let's stop googling "how to seduce Aries" and "how to make Aries man fall in love with you." For the record, I think Aries men should just be avoided entirely. Aries women are fine though.
10. Going to a psychic
Depends on the psychic and depends on what they say. If they say that the fantasy person is your "soul mate" you're fucked.
11. Talking to your craziest friends about their love problems
Yes! Pick your craziest friend. Ask her about some douchebag she is obsessed with. Watch her try to turn the douchebag into a knight. Observe her inability to see that person as he really is, because if she did, she'd have nothing to obsess about.
Be grateful. You may be in a shitty place, but you aren't as crazy as her. Remember that you have the potential to be that crazy if you don't let go of the fantasy person.
12. Get a mantra
Mantras have saved my ass so many times. If you have an overactive mind like mine, it's very hard to continually deflect your thoughts away from the fantasy person if you don't immediately have a replacement thought on deck. Definitely get a mantra. As soon as you catch yourself thinking about the person (even if it's hours in) go to the mantra.
Different mantras work for different people. Some people like doing positive affirmations, but those just make me feel like a loser. Instead, I prefer weirder, trippier, psychedelic mantras and prayer mantras so I feel more like a space cowgirl than someone who is trying to tell herself she is worthy, whole, and loved.
I feel like therapy doesn't really work, but that's only because I've been in therapy my whole life and I'm not perfect or "fixed" so I'm always like therapy is stupid.
That being said, I can't imagine not being in therapy. I may never become a completely whole person, but I might have a shot at becoming ¾ of a person. ¾ of a person isn't bad.
Final assessment: therapy is stupid and annoying, but it works just well enough that you should still do it. Definitely get help.
14. Become totally obsessed with the fantasy of someone else
Don't do this. But obviously, you're going to do this and so am I.
So Sad Today is a never-ending existential crisis played out in 140 characters or less. Its anonymous author has struggled with consciousness since long before the creation of the Twitter feed in 2012, and has finally decided the time has come to project her anxieties on a larger screen, in the form of a biweekly column on this website.