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Did You Win the Breakup, or Are You Just Emotionally Constipated?

Process your feelings!

It’s Good 4 U.

By Alana Rae (she/her) and Kubra Iqbal (they/them)

It’s been three days since you two have broken up, and you’re thriving. You’re out every night, God complex in full force, and suitors in tow. Your old relash is the furthest thing from your mind. You feel unstoppable, immortal. Is this you? Or is this your ex?

To win a break up is to feel indifferent, untouchable, and as though the tenure of your relationship meant nothing to you… or at least for it to look that way. In the digital age, getting sucked into this toxic little game is all too easy and even a little fun. You post a boomerang to your story, clinking glasses, flashing lights, you know how it is. Feeling smug when you see that familiar username view your story in the first ten seconds. You think to yourself, "I’m definitely winning the breakup". News flash, you’re not.

Here’s why: The concept of winning a breakup isn’t actually about your own feelings, it’s about how others perceive you and how you feel validated by that. And let’s be real, everyone froths at a little validation sometimes. The toxicity is then heightened by the assumption that the so-called loser is worse off because their emotional process looks different to your own.

“Losing” is an ego crush because no one wants to be seen at their worst. We’re at our most vulnerable when we are in a relationship, so having someone see that side of you and decide to leave it? That shit blows, dude.

Speaking of hot messy break ups, let’s take a look at the case of Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo. Lil Joshy was dragged in Olivia’s Sour slamfest, so at first glance you’d think she definitely won the breakup. She’s got the fame and money to back it up. Her album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and Driver’s License, the song you had on repeat for weeks but now can’t stand, has well over a billion Spotify streams. Meanwhile, Joshua was pixel-punched by defensive Livies and anyone with a Twitter account. Rodrigo: 1, Bassett: 0. Or so it was perceived. The complicated reality is that neither of them won. Olivia found an outlet - albeit a public one - to process her emotions, and Joshua is now here, queer, and back to being loved on social media. This goes to show there is no reigning supreme in a breakup, you just need to get a grip. And while your breakup may not have been as public, this relatable rollercoaster may hit just as hard.

And what better way to channel those emotional loop-de-loops than into a petty competition with your ex, right? Wrong. Maybe instead of worrying so much about how they and others perceive you, do a little soul-searching and figure out why “winning” is so important to you. Putting genuine effort into yourself as opposed to your image is eventually going to make you hotter than ever.

What we’re trying to say is that there’s no right way to deal with a breakup, but bottling up your feelings and posting about how great you’re doing definitely isn’t it. This short-lived power trip makes a cute band-aid, but it isn’t enough to distract from your real feelings. Don’t be afraid to feel your breakup. Punch a pillow. Cry to Taylor Swift. Maybe drive to Taupō with some friends, get an Airbnb and get fucking plastered. Not speaking from experience. As long as you’re not being a dick to the other person or a dick to yourself, everyone’s a winner.

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