To my friend who broke up recently,

I know what you are feeling. Rejection. Betrayal. Anger. Yet I don’t really know what you are feeling. I cannot imagine how many times you have cried yourself to oblivion but woke up in the middle of the night from the pain in your heart. I cannot feel the ache in your soul – an ache for the person who betrayed you but whom you are still wishing the best for. I can only guess at your desire for love; love from friends and family to make up for the love that slipped away.

What I do know is that I am helpless in the face of your pain. What can I say? What can I do? Time heals things, but time is never mine to give. What I can give is a listening ear and cold hard advice. Advice that is well meaning but may nevertheless sound callous to you… because truth is, no one can truly empathise with you until they have gone through the pain that you are going through now. But paltry as my efforts may seem, I will still try to offer up consolation.

My dear friend, take a break! I know you are weighed down by tons and tons of homework. Your project mates do not care whether you are going through a rough patch (to them, any reason to lighten your workload is an excuse). Your CCA mates expect you to stick to your commitments.

But is meeting other people’s expectations really that important? Even more important than your health?

You have heard people say that love is a drug. Well, it is more true than you realise. Similar to an addiction, your body experiences withdrawal symptoms when you are taken off love support. The areas in your body associated with physical pain are activated—your body’s way of forcing you to go back to the love you used to love. Too much stress hormone being released in your body not only cause you to fall sick more easily, but in extreme cases, cause heart failures. People have actually died from a broken heart.

Now you tell me, which is more important? Meeting other people’s expectations or healing your broken heart? Take MC! Miss classes! Skip CCA! Nothing is more important that tending to your raw wounds right now. Use that time to eat healthily and exercise. Good food and a good workout do more than just strengthen your body. They make you happier and they take your mind off that person.

My dear friend, when you are bombarded with negative emotions, do not just bottle them up until they bubble over. Confiding in a friend is therapeutic. So is writing down your feelings. Cry if you want. Scream if you like.

But eventually, you got to move on. Obsessing over your ex becomes destructive beyond a certain point. The person isn’t in your life anymore; don’t let that person stay in your nightmares. Life is worth living before you met that person. Breaking up does not change any the fact that life is still worth living. In fact, this is the perfect chance to get some me-time instead of we-time, and rediscover the things you love but never had the chance to do. Forget shouting half-hearted cheers for Liverpool. Instead, watch a French indie movie that your ex never had the brains to appreciate. Doing things that you love (laugh) will help you heal. And eventually, you will remember the wonders of singlehood.

In the meantime, hang in there. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And you will emerge from this ordeal better than ever.

Your friend