Sex + Love

Cures for Love

Rituals to get you to the other side of heartbreak.


The Emotional Envelope lets you take comfort in a hopeful future when you’ll be able to give your ex all the stuff you’ve been collecting and say, “Here, I saved this for you while we weren’t talking.” The Emotional Envelope:

  • eases the discomfort of disconnection without actual contact, which would make it waaaay worse.

  • stashes the pain of the present in the more-forgiving future.
  • brings the forgiving future into the painful present.
  • is portable and easy to store.
  • is scientifically proven to help.

4. Problem: Music.

Music triggers feelings, which in your current state can be a curse. It can also be a holy tool straight from the breakup gods to help you through this. Depending on how you like to work through your feelings, you can use one of a several musical strategies.

For me, feeling better is always on the other side of feeling my worst, so my technique is to assign a song to the person, preferably an unbearably heavy one I have been actively avoiding (ALONG WITH MY FEELINGS OK), to throw on repeat listen until I get sick of it and consequently the part of the heartbreak it represents. When my aching heart gives me only two choices, “let it burn” or “let it bleed,” I choose BOTH by listening to “You Appearing” by M83. The vocals are sad and quiet enough to scream-cry over, like a backing track for sadness karaoke.

You can also use music to borrow other people’s emotions. My friend Merrill champions karaoke: “It’s cheaper than therapy, there’s always a supportive crowd, and you get to pretend you’re singing about Rihanna’s feelings instead,” she says. (If you can’t get out to a karaoke venue, may I suggest the internet.) Unlike me, my friend Ali doesn’t like to wallow: “I don’t really do the mopey song thing. I like a good ‘fuck you, I’m awesome’ song so that when I’m walking around the city I can imagine myself in a montage of being a Strong and Empowered Single Woman Taking Charge. That is…my music fire extinguisher.” (She likes Basement Jaxx’s “Good Luck.”)

After one breakup where a guy dumped me because he said he had “just met the most beautiful girl in the world,” I went through all 525 songs in the the Mountain Goats back catalog until I could precisely represent any of my changing shitty moods via a carefully curated 15-song playlist.

Your music project doesn’t even have to be related to your new ex at all. I was so lonely one time that I listened to Prince’s “Erotic City” 100 times in a row to see if it counted as getting laid. It didn’t, but listen, you guys, it’s the journey, not the destination.

5. Problem: Torch-bearing.

Torch-bearing is the act of loving someone who is no longer there, and it has a terrible reputation as a way to spend your time. But I find it almost impossible to NOT carry a torch for at least a couple weeks, so I’ve figured out how to turn it into a positive experience. I’m going to groove on this a little bit.

Most people assume love is like this: you <---❤---> Dylan

So when: you <---❤---> ✌

What’s left appears to be: you

But it’s actually: you ❤—>

Your feelings, including love, are always your own. They don’t belong to anyone else. Even though ideally love is a mutual exchange, all the good ways your ex once made you feel–smart, strong, really funny–are still yours to have. Take the healthy parts and use them to keep pushing yourself forward. Let’s call this being “true to the torch.” (I’m ribbon-dancing right now, FYI.) Maybe this week being true to the torch is doing alone that thing that you were supposed to do together. Or doing that thing you were/are afraid of.

Or maybe being true to the torch is memorializing the time you shared. Make some breakup art! “But it’s soooo bad,” you say. Listen: Do you know who breakup art is bad to? People not going through breakups. Do you know who doesn’t need it? Those dudes. Do you know who does? You. Get out those acrylics. The only mistake I made in the creation of this sculpture to honor an old relationship was giving it to my ex instead of keeping it for my mantle (sorry for the bad pic):


The divorce planner in this story on Japanese divorce ceremonies asks a very good question: “Ever since I was little, I wondered, if you have a wedding ceremony, why not have one to mark your divorce?” There are a lot of ideas in that article to DIY, like floating a handwritten message about your hope for the future out onto a river, or making a PowerPoint about your relationship. Use what you got, especially if what you got is an open body of water. (My friend Dandy writes down “everything that i wanted to say to the person, like ever, and roll it up, put it in a bottle and throw it into the ocean.”)

Which brings me to my final strategy for mending a broken heart: Maybe you’re really good at this torch-bearing thing. Have you ever thought about making it one of your friendship services? Helping others is always healing, and chances are you have a friend who is suffering through a feelwave you’ve already conquered. Someone hit me with the zen thought that you should see your broken heart as broken open to the world. It helps you empathize with others who might be in pain. The more people you talk to about heartbreak, the easier it is to realize that this is bullshit we all go through. Every new connection, especially to a community of similar cool brokenhearted people, speeds up the healing process. In fact, thinking of you reading this is, right now, this very second, helping me get over my most recent breakup. Thank you, Heartbreak Buddy. We’ll get through this! ♦


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  • spudzine June 12th, 2013 12:58 AM

    OMG you have no idea how much I needed this right now. Like actually. I mean, sure, I haven’t actually been in a romantic relationship, but these tips actually help with a bunch of other reasons. I’m getting through some hard times and difficult feelings, and these ideas are kind of like therapy for me. Also, I hope this doesn’t come off as uptight, but there’s a spelling error in the first paragraph about the Emotional Envelope in the second page.

    • Anaheed June 12th, 2013 1:21 AM

      Not uptight at all — thank you!

  • poethelena June 12th, 2013 1:19 AM

    All of the above. Thank YOU heartbreak buddy.

    • Lola June 12th, 2013 9:39 AM

      yo we’re gonna do this! ❤

  • Tyler June 12th, 2013 1:58 AM

    I love love love this.

  • thenoisythinker June 12th, 2013 3:08 AM

    Thank you. I really needed to read this.

  • giov June 12th, 2013 4:04 AM

    I’ve recently created a playlist called “june” which contains, in no particular order: songs begging him to come back (mostly by the cure), songs telling him to get fucked (mostly by lil kim), songs that remind me of him (mostly by of montreal) and songs with the name amanda in it. also, “all my little words” by the magnetic fields, jeffrey lewis’ whole discography and joy division. (and the postal service, but we don’t talk about that).

    • Alltomorrowsparties June 12th, 2013 3:51 PM

      LITERALLY just added “All My Little Words” to my current breakup list! Stephin Merritt makes for the best wallowing

  • thisisaflag June 12th, 2013 6:07 AM

    Agh, the Too Hard to Keep archive is so sad and beautiful! In the wise words of the Wizard of Oz, “hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”

  • Sophie ❤ June 12th, 2013 6:46 AM

    This is really cool!

  • gogobionicgirl June 12th, 2013 6:54 AM

    Thank you so much for this! currently going through a summer breakup..

    already have a friend holding onto belongs

  • joannna June 12th, 2013 7:15 AM

    Thank you so very much for this article. It’s been already 9 months since my bf left me and I still find myself looking at pictures of two of us together, writing letters to him about how I feel and how I miss him (not sending them, of course), and wondering how is his new gf like, or imagining two of them having sex. I’ve always thought it’s embarrassing and pathetic and felt like shit doing this, but I couldn’t not doing this sometimes. It’s kinda relief, to get to know that it’s normal, it’s ok, that other people go through this too and there is nothing wrong with me. Reading this article, I thought about all those stuff I’ve read and heard about heartbreak. I mean: websites, magazines, my friends, my mum, culture and society even maybe. Everyone says: fuck that jerk, forget him, just stop thinking about him, don’t text him, don’t cyberstalk him, throw out the photos and just pay your attention to something else: working, creating, hanging out with friends, etc. What a bullshit, actually. All of those advices, although they were said with good intentions, just made me feel guilty and ashamed, that I’m not able to do the right thing, that I’m weak and pathetic. I tried to deny my feelings and pretend to be strong, but it failed, and that made me frustrated. I really like the strategy you suggest: to do those ‘embarrassing’ things, until being totally bored with it. When you’re bored with something, it becomes less important, less serious to you. It’s not such a dramatic act, but just a boring activity. After reading your article, I told to myself: What I feel, what I do, is ok. I allow myself to feel that way, I accept that. I guess accepting my feelings and commiting to myself, that I feel what I feel,
    is already a healing act. Thank you again.

  • lxmldrt June 12th, 2013 9:07 AM

    Minna’s piece for this article is AWESOME

  • momobaby June 12th, 2013 9:22 AM

    I love this! It’s written with such a light heart it lets you laugh at something that’s usually painful.

  • LittleMissE June 12th, 2013 9:53 AM

    Perfect. <3

  • Kirala June 12th, 2013 10:27 AM

    This is great! Definitely wish I could have found something like this during one of my (many) heartbreaks!

  • jfate June 12th, 2013 11:50 AM

    “the pit of shiny and well-meaning jellyfish I have come to understand as my heartplace. ”


  • elliecp June 12th, 2013 11:56 AM

    This is perfect.

  • Mollie June 12th, 2013 12:00 PM

    This is the best best best.

  • Mollie June 12th, 2013 12:00 PM

    So many good links!

  • strawberryhair June 12th, 2013 1:34 PM

    Oh Lola <3

  • emseely June 12th, 2013 1:53 PM

    Or you could do what I did and send a pathetic text asking for closure, to which the boy never responded x.x I need to get over this thanks for the help rookie!

  • Rose June 12th, 2013 2:01 PM


  • Merliss June 12th, 2013 4:52 PM


  • nancyboy June 12th, 2013 6:53 PM

    Oh, man, this is so good. I broke up with my partner of four years and FIANCE of once year recently. They promptly began dating a person who doesn’t like me at all (as in, once screamed at me that I should kill myself!). I reacted by compulsively defriending my ex on every social media thing in existence and then throwing the engagement ring they had returned to me off a bridge. So. Freaking. Good. I was really surprised, I thought I would feel embarrassed and possibly regretful about that particular gesture, but punting that ring off a bridge at 2 AM was so satisfying and just thinking about it makes me feel good.

  • lauraunicorns June 12th, 2013 8:21 PM

    This is excellent. I love that there are a bunch of suggestions for doing different things based on your FEELS because there isn’t one right reaction for painful feelings and sometimes you just have to LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, YO.

  • marengo June 13th, 2013 12:17 PM

    This is EXACTLY what I needed, thank you :’) I emailed a photo to the Too Hard To Keep blog.

  • takebackyourpower June 13th, 2013 1:55 PM

    Holy god this was GENIUS. Where have you been all my ex-loves, lola?
    Am I the only one who went on an ex cyber stalk after reading this?
    I am still grieving a relationship that ended three years ago. Life gets better, feelings change, but they don’t go away. Is it part of the laws of physics? Love can not be created or destroyed, it just changes forms…

  • notthestate June 13th, 2013 7:42 PM


  • Cactus Woman June 15th, 2013 12:02 AM

    Not only is the advice amazing and true, the article as a whole is extremely well-written. I wish I could give advice and write as well as you do. A dozen rounds of applause for Lola!

  • Kaylee Holliday June 21st, 2013 12:24 AM

    this makes me not want to sleep for a million years/ run away to a far away place and change my name.. thank you heartbreak buddy.

  • cleopatrapaws September 7th, 2013 2:30 AM

    I’m so happy I saw this article. This is incredibly inspiring and it was just the push I needed to get over my breakup woes. I was crushing on a 29 year-old man for a year until we finally went out last month and dated until a couple weeks ago when he met someone else and ceased all contact with me. With my own investigative work I figured out what had happened and why he had blocked me on Facebook. So, I just wanted to say, your article has certainly made an impact and I’m sure I’m not the only one to see this mid-heartbreak and be incredibly moved by it. I’m now ready to move on and kick some ass

  • Lydiarose September 15th, 2013 3:38 AM

    This is so helpful, gives me some hope that this feeling will some day stop..

  • Chanteclair September 25th, 2013 12:24 AM

    Lola, you’re awesome.

    “I was so lonely one time that I listened to Prince’s “Erotic City” 100 times in a row to see if it counted as getting laid.”

    I just played that song on my smartphone while taking a cab during the day. i forced the cab driver to make conversation with me, talking about prince and sheila e.

    Having a guy break up with you because he had “just met the most beautiful girl in the world.”

    Yup yup.

  • TinyWarrior October 8th, 2013 12:25 AM

    I needed this desperately. THANK YOU, LOLA! xox