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Pop Culture The Word 4 minute read

Break-ups and Booty Calls (INSECURE got me to thinkin’)

The best way to get over one man is to get under another.

I don’t remember the first time I heard that phrase.  I’m sure I was crying on one of my sista-friend’s couches, convinced that I was going to crumble under the weight of such severe pain and ultimately die because the love of my life (at the time) had broken my heart.  She told me, I’m sure what a fool the man was to lose me, how karma would pay him back, and how great I was and then provided that oft-repeated advice to get under a new man to help me get over the old one.

Let me be upfront, I did.  I have done it more than once.

Your self-esteem plummets post break-up, particularly if you were the break-ee and not the break-er.  Rejection makes you question everything from your weight, to your hairstyle, to your personality, to your sex-game.  Why wasn’t I good enough?  Why wasn’t I enough?  Why doesn’t he/she want me?

During the first phase after a break-up, we feel sorry for ourselves.  Binge eating, binge Netflix watching and binge weeping ensues. We text and call our friends to replay the last few conversations word-by-word repeatedly—until folks start avoiding your calls.

In Phase two—usually after one of your annoyed friends puts the verbal beat-down on your ass and says something similar to, “Girl, fuck dat dude.  I never liked his raggedy ass anyway. If he was dumb enough to let you go, then you don’t want his simple butt anyway.  You got it going on”, you think about building yourself back up.  You get your hair cut, highlighted, braided or you get a new weave.  You buy a new lipstick and pair of shoes. You throw away the salt and vinegar potato chips and M&Ms you’ve been sad-slopping and commit to getting finer than you’ve ever been.  Your girlfriends find you tolerable now and usher you into phase 3.

Phase 3 is designed to show you how desirable you are.  It is designed to remind you that although you were dumped, many others will be extremely happy to have you.  Just as on any given night, 1/4th of the people at bars and clubs are celebrating birthdays; another 1/4th of people are there because they are in phase 3 or supporting someone in phase 3 through their recovery.  We know who the birthday people are; but dangerously, we have no idea who the phase 3 people are.

And phase 3 people are dangerous.  They are looking for someone to lift their egos and to distract them from obsessing over their lost love.  Phase 3 people aren’t bad people, but they are broken people—ill-prepared usually to start a healthy relationship because they are emotionally unavailable.  Their hearts and minds are still fading from another relationship—leaving you with only their bodies and their time.

The victims of phase 3 people are clueless.  Their new love-interest provides them with a lot of attention and sex easily, so it seems as if they have an instant and deep connection with the other person; whereas the Phase 3er is trying to fill the time holes, ego holes, and heart holes left from the recently ended relationship. Victims of Phase 3ers are literally just a fill-in, making the likelihood of a successful, long-term relationship minimal and the likelihood of the victim ending broken hearted high.

And then the cycle continues—the number of broken hearts snowballs—as we use one to heal from another.  Ultimately, it seems, we all end up –not broken—but certainly with hearts that have more than a few cracks.

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