Ask Andrew W.K.: How to Get Over a Devastating Breakup

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[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]

Dear Andrew,

My girlfriend of four years just broke up with me last night. I'm totally devastated. Even though we've had our ups and downs, she just dropped me from out of nowhere. She also told me she cheated on me, which just makes this all worse. We had been dating since high school and I thought we'd be together forever. She said she wants to stay friends and to help each other through the breakup by staying in contact. My heart is shattered and I still love her, even though I'm also angry and so hurt. I can't imagine how I can continue living a regular life without her. How do I stop all these feelings and forget about her?

Sincerely,
Devastated Dumped Dude

See also: Ask Andrew W.K.: "I'm Contemplating Suicide"

Dear Devastated Dumped Dude,

You don't stop all these feelings. You should feel devastated. Your heart should feel shattered. That's how you can tell you were really in love, that you're really alive, and you're really a human being. It's also how you can tell that you really allowed yourself to be truly open and intimate with someone else. Many people can't handle the pain of really loving and caring about someone else, so they avoid intense relationships and the vulnerability that comes with them. You should take pride in the fact that you've been strong enough to be weak. The strongest people have the capacity to really let themselves feel. Sure, it hurts. But it's also how you got to experience all those wonderful feelings too. Don't let the pain trick you into closing your heart to the world and the future.

And don't try and forget about her. Odds are you'll remember her for the rest of your life and think about her constantly, even years and years after you've recovered from this initial onslaught of painful emotion. When you're in a relationship with someone for a significant amount of time, they become part of you forever. You've exposed your soul to them, and whether you like it or not, they'll retain their place in the story of your life for the rest of your time here on earth. But you'll find that your memories and thoughts of them won't always be painful. They won't necessarily be enjoyable either. They'll just be thoughts. Like remembering a dream. Don't be afraid of your thoughts or your dreams or your nightmares. You can think about things without always having to feel emotions connected to the thoughts.

As far as "staying friends" and "helping each other work through the breakup," I think that's a bad idea. Many people I've met somehow stay friends with their exes, but I've never really done it and don't understand how it works. No offense to those who pull it off, but my advice is to never feel it necessary to talk to your ex again, especially if they cheated on you. It's something that has ended, like high school.

You don't go back to high school after it ended and start taking freshman classes again just to keep in touch. You've moved on to a new part of your life. If you get fired from a job, you don't go back and do some shifts just for fun to help your boss out. It's over. You step forward into the next adventure that awaits. Have the courage to make a clean break. If you keep picking at the wound, it won't heal as effectively and will keep re-opening. Be done with this and keep moving.

Most of all, stay strong. You will make it through this time. You will be stronger because of it. You will be OK again. In fact, you'll be better than ever. You will meet a woman that's the one. Probably when you least expect it. You will hurt and you will also feel excitement. Your attachment to the past will morph into curiosity about the future. Whatever you do, keep your heart open. Do not let this relationship be the end of your life. Let it be only the end of that time in your life. Now is the only time that matters. Your time with her wasn't wasted. Every moment is precious, even the moments that suck. I'm thinking of you and sending you strength.

Your party will continue. In fact, it's only just begun.

Love,
Andrew

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My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
acjohnson55
acjohnson55

I feel for the LW. Almost 10 years ago, I experienced the same sort of heartbreak -- I was dumped apparently out of the blue. The next year was very very difficult. For those first few months, I felt something I can only describe as nearly physical agony. Through it, I just kept trying to improve myself as a person, even though I didn't really feel like there was a point to doing so. All these years later, I look back and realize that out of all that pain came some amazing growth.


In retrospect, I wasn't a great boyfriend, and that's probably why I got dumped. I approached the relationship with infatuation and near-obsessiveness. I thought it was our destiny to be together, instead of something I needed to work for. I depended heavily on my ex for my happiness and dumped my emotional baggage on her. I communicated poorly and with passive-aggressiveness.  


My later relationships were much less turbulent. I learned from each one that there were many things that first major relationship lacked. I gained a lot more perspective, and more importantly, I learned that I have to be strong for myself before I can be strong for someone else. Today, I'm engaged and I couldn't ask for a more blessed life. My fiancée never met my ex, but she can't stand her, because I honestly still carry some small echo of that pain. I tell her she shouldn't hate the girl because I'm a much better person and partner for what happened all those years ago.


To anyone who goes through this, my advice is that you need to take care of yourself. Channel your pain into positive action. Become a better student, friend, artist, or athlete. Don't give up. Eventually you'll start to see beauty in the world again, and when you do, you'll be a better person than you ever were before.

suepreedy11
suepreedy11

Hi I am sue preedy from London I got a love spell done on my fiance actually he left me after one year of engagement I was shocked when he told me he does not love me any more he is going to marry with another girl it was very difficult to believe because we were in love from last 5 years he was the guy who never thought to live without me for a second he used to give thousands of phone calls in a day and he was saying to me he does not love me any more, it was a worse news for my family because I gave a very good treat to my friends and raletive on my engagement and we put engagement ring to each other in front of hundreds of people now if he didn't marry me so it was shame for me in my society so I decided that I will get him back any how, than I found Dr.Trust on Internet I told him my problem he told me not to worry I will fetch him back to you he said that he will come himself and will beg me.he gave me 48 hours time and of course it happened before 48 hours he come back to me and said he is sorry for what he did to me,that he is ready to marry me. we get married and we are happy now as husband and wife. really Dr.Trust is a Miracle Man. contact him for your own help ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com call me +2348156885231

SDefiance0220
SDefiance0220

"You don't stop all these feelings. You should feel devastated. Your heart should feel shattered. That's how you can tell you were really in love, that you're really alive, and you're really a human being." Right on AWK. This article really hit home for me and was the first article I read on this page because the topic really drew me in. I experienced a devastating break up over a year ago with a girl I had loved and been with for about a 1 1/2 years (my longest unfortunately). This article is great because Andrew gives an honest no-BS answer in the most realistic way by telling us we NEED to experience the pain that comes with this. We need to let is mold us into someone stronger. I for one have become a stronger, better person I feel because if you compared me to how I was before I think you would see a big difference in who I was to who I am now. Thank you Andrew, you are big inspiration to me not just as a musician but as a human being. I hope one day we can meet and trade philosophical viewpoints and musical interests!

olufalayespellhome
olufalayespellhome

my name is Serli nataya i want to share a testimony about a spell caster who was introduced to me by a friend. the name of the spell caster is Dr.kizzekpe, he helped me bring my ex back to me in 2days after i have tender my problems to him he also helped to gain promotion in the firm am working..he is such a good spell caster that he will check if the spell will work before casting cos he told me not all human spells work for..Dr.kizzekpe is such a trust worthy person and i also recommend him to make those sad happy again..am using this medium to once again thank Dr.kizzekpe for making me happy again and i know many are out there who want their ex back if you have tried and fail here is Dr.kizzekpe to make you smile. meet him on,kizzekpespells@outlook.com

olufalayespellhome
olufalayespellhome

my name is Serli nataya i want to share a testimony about a spell caster who was introduced to me by a friend. the name of the spell caster is Dr.kizzekpe, he helped me bring my ex back to me in 2days after i have tender my problems to him he also helped to gain promotion in the firm am working..he is such a good spell caster that he will check if the spell will work before casting cos he told me not all human spells work for..Dr.kizzekpe is such a trust worthy person and i also recommend him to make those sad happy again..am using this medium to once again thank Dr.kizzekpe for making me happy again and i know many are out there who want their ex back if you have tried and fail here is Dr.kizzekpe to make you smile. meet him on,kizzekpespells@outlook.com

Tim Cox
Tim Cox

A guy should watch Swingers and (500) Days of Summer, then get drunk, steal a car (preferably a Galaxy 500 or any model Datsun), drive it out into the middle of nowhere and set it on fire. Walk home. You're over her.

Tanner
Tanner

"They are part of your soul" -I've been lucky enough to spend time with some incredible people - love them, be loved back. Relationships that have lasted from a year to five years -Guess what? I'm still in touch with these 'soul' people. They continue to be apart of my life - but we let our egos go - to see how to help each other forward in our next steps - even though they are apart. If you can't remain friends (even if the other person cheated on you- (yes it does color things!) then you were never in love with the person to begin with. Love is loyal and unconditional. Not expendable. 

AndyBee
AndyBee

"You don't go back to high school after it ended and start taking freshman classes again just to keep in touch."


I've always said the same thing. Never understood why my  ex classmates add everyone on their social media sites to stay friends or keep in touch. I could see maybe 1 or 2 but not more than that. 


It's hard to move away from people you are in love with or roll with the changes. But it's better we do than try to save something that is no longer.

Tracy Fay
Tracy Fay

Damn, who knew Andrew W.K. was so thoughtful?

majkpo233
majkpo233

Damn, Andrew W.K., well written.

christopherkelvinjue
christopherkelvinjue

I and my wife have been having a lot of problems living

together, he 


always makes me unhappy because she has fallen in love with 


another man outside our relationship, i tried my best to make sure that


my wife leave this woman but the more i talk to her the more she 


makes me feel sad, so my marriage was now leading to divorce because she 


no longer gives me attention. so with all this pain and agony, i decided


to contact this spell caster to see if things can work out between me 


and my wife again. the spell caster told me what i will do to get my 


wife back, so he told me that he was going to make all things normal 


back. he did the spell on my wife and after 5 days my wife changed


completely she even apologize with the way he treated me that she was not


her self, i really thank this priest his name is priest ebafortare he has bring


back my wife back to me i want you all to contact him you are having 


any problem related to marriage issue and relationship problem he will 


solve it for you. his email is priestebafortare_solutionshrine@yahoo.com)


Janet Rucker
Janet Rucker

this is great. not many people will tell you to go through the pain; you can't avoid it.

cformusic
cformusic topcommenter

or he'll forever regret this one as the one that got away..could really go either way..sorry OP

Scott Conners
Scott Conners

i like his psychological insights and advice better than his music

Ted Cantu
Ted Cantu

I cant get away from this guy Jaqob Jackson

Steve Renko
Steve Renko

My weakness is a part of my strength.

theniallist
theniallist

@Tanner Not always true, it depends on the relationship and the people invovled. Everyone is different. There is no hard and fast rule for anything in love, so if the OP reads this, it's WAAAAY too soon to even think about that "was it real love?"stuff right now, don't even worry about that. What's more urgent is that it IS real pain, and I agree with Andrew that it's prob best not to have the one inflicting that pain around while the wound heals. It worked for me, anyway. If you do remain friends in the future then so be it, but you're not under any obligation to. 


theniallist
theniallist

@Tanner Also if she cheated on him, the "I wanna help you through this" is most likely her feelings of guilt.

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