How to early 2000s romcom your way through a breakup
Letting your friends sing Chiquitita to you fixes everything
During what has possibly been the worst year in memory for most of us, the last thing anyone needs is a breakup. Well here I am to say, try having two. When the tears were in full flow I couldn’t tell whether I was crying because I was so devastated at the breakup, or just because I fully couldn’t fathom 2020 getting any worse (upon reflection it was definitely the breakup, but 2020 really wasn’t helping).
And what do you do when going through a breakup? Watch early 2000s romcoms. In all of the classics, the girl always seems to be get over her ex one way or another. Cher convinces Tai to have a clear out, Tess eventually gets over George, Elle Woods is the breakup queen. So I decided I would try all these tactics, from getting drunk to screaming at a wall. I knew that if Bridget Jones, Elle Woods and every character Katherine Heigl has ever played (for those of you unaware, that’s a LOT of characters) could get over the heartache, then so could I.
I rated every breakup remedy out of 10 for effectiveness and reviewed them all for the rest of the heartbroken souls of the world to learn from.
Disclaimer: maybe don’t try some of these at home- they don’t all end well…
Get drunk and cry, the Bridget Jones method: 2/10
Where better to start than with the tried and tested Bridget Jones method: a lot of wine, a lot of Céline Dion and some very out of tune singing. Upon reflection, this is the WORST place to start. Yet, it is also where everyone starts so, being the sheep that I am, this is where I began my breakup journey.
The positives: Getting trashed numbs your feelings for about two hours and you stop crying which is ideal.
The negatives: The numbness is short-lived and surpassed by an excessive desire to drink any alcohol you can get your hands on, loud crying and some angry neighbours who don’t appreciate you singing Nothing Compares 2 U at 4am.
The result of drinking all the alcohol you can find in your heartbroken state is not pretty and it begins the start of your new relationship – with the toilet seat.
So Bridget, whilst we have all been in this place, I have to say your breakup remedy is not the most successful.
Eat your feelings, as seen in Legally Blonde: 3/10
It worked for Elle Woods in Legally Blonde but it definitely did not work for me. Maybe when the nausea stops I will return to the eating my feelings to see if it works?
The positives: People feel bad for you and don’t know how to react, so just buy you all your favourite foods.
The negatives: Can you actually stomach eating any of sympathy snacks you have been given?
No one ever tells you just how sick being broken up with makes you feel so, for now, all the chocolate and ice cream in the world could not console me. Although, I have found that even though soup is meant to be for when you are ill, it also does bits when you’re heartbroken – all warm and filling.
Whilst Elle Woods is the breakup queen (like who else thinks “ah yes I have just been broken up with, I will now apply and get into Harvard Law Schoool AND if that wasn’t good enough, I’ll come out top of my class”), sadly her approach of eating your feelings isn’t a winner.
Copy Tess in 27 Dresses and get absolutely raging: 4/10
27 Dresses is literally a romcom based on heartbreak set to the backdrop of countless weddings. If anyone could relate to how miserable I was feeling it was Tess. How did she respond to her heartbreak? SO MUCH ANGER. A combination of screaming and attacking a wall ultimately built up to Tess ruining her own sister’s wedding at the rehearsal dinner. Whatever way you look at it that’s quite peak.
The positives: You’re feeling all your feelings, moving through those stages of grief (yes, heartbreak is a form of grief, fight me)
The negatives: You might embarrass yourself as Tess does. Smashing up your stuff is expensive and literally only provides about three seconds of relief.
In true dedication to my romcom cause I tried Tess’ exact raging strategy – shout motherfucker and beat up a wall. I am not sure much can be gained from this form or raging although I can see the overall potential. Maybe trying a more constructive form of raging like writing feelings down and burning them, going boxing or to a rage room may have a more therapeutic effect, but the Katherine Heigl motherfucker method has limited relief.
Listen to advice and learn from Andy in How to Lose and Guy in 10 Days: 9/10
How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, otherwise known as the ultimate romcom, presents possibly one of the strongest relationship remedies you will see in this guide. Listen to advice!!! Especially from your friends, because unlike you, they are still thinking rationally and they do genuinely care about you. Listening to my friends who have been through the same thing was perhaps the biggest comfort and the only thing that reminded me that my life wasn’t fully over.
The positives: You’re reminded you are not alone, people step in when you’re about to do stupid things, you have someone to explain your feelings to, someone else justifies your response making you feel better.
The negatives: You’ll always have those friends who are more like Andy and will be pretty savage in their response.
You will find those friends who just give you an incredible new perspective on your relationship and how you are handling the breakup, and it is these moments that give you the good vibes you need to keep plodding on with it.
The best piece of advice I’ve received was “flip the way you view your heartbreak and just think how lucky you are to have found someone you genuinely love so young”. It was this pearl of wisdom that helped me reverse my feelings of anger towards the world and made me appreciate how fortunate I had been. So grab every single strand of advice you can get, some of it may not be what you want to hear at all, but all of it is beneficial to helping you move on into the next stages of your life.
Get some space: 7/10
Jamie certainly had the right idea after Dylan broke her heart in Friends with Benefits: get away from it all, take in the view and reflect on whats happened. Taking some time and space to process what actually happened to you is so important. In the beginning, everything is so chaotic and such a blur that you need the time to work out how you feel and how ready you are to take the vital steps to moving on. No one is expecting you to be absolutely fine 10 minutes after you had your heartbroken.
The positives: You get some time to yourself because sometimes having your friends and family being SO caring can be a bit suffocating. It also gives you the time to work out your own feelings on the matter rather than everyone else’s.
The negatives: Being by yourself can be when your circumstances hit you the most and it’s often the times where you feel the saddest.
Jamie finessed her escape from reality by going to the one place in New York City with no service. Sadly with wonders of Wi-Fi, 5G and social media getting away from it all in 2020 is a little harder. However, deleting all my social media apps gave me the time to process all of my emotions without being reminded that whilst my world had stopped turning, everyone else was still getting on with life.
The Drunk Interaction, as demonstrated by Rachel in Friends: -100/10
Whatever you do, drunk texting, drunk calling, drunk turning up at their house is SUCH a bad idea. Rachel does a stellar job of proving this in Friends when she drunk called Ross insisting she had closure (when she clearly didn’t). As promised, all of these methods are tried and tested and I can confirm this one is possibly the absolute worst decision you will ever make. You end up stuck in this hole of self-loathing because chances are you either don’t remember what you said or you at least didn’t mean it.
The positives: There are literally NO positives. Whatever you think you wanted to say 100 per cent it would come across better sober.
The negatives: The embarrassment, putting salt in your already huge wound, upsetting yourself and your ex, big typos hindering what you’re actually trying to get across. The list of reasons you shouldn’t drunk text your ex is never-ending, but it doesn’t mean you won’t do it (hahahahah).
After you’ve drunkenly made your bed you have a choice of lying in it or trying to blag your way out of it the next day. Although trying to smooth things over with your ex is never easy, especially when the last thing either of you wants to be doing is hashing out a conversation with the other.
Ultimately, the moral of this story is to delete your ex’s number, get one of your friends to take your phone off you when you’re steaming or block them on everything. Just do everything in your power to prevent these drunk interactions because they just take you right back to square one on your road to recovery.
Go Cher style and have a chuck out: 8/10
Whilst Clueless is a pre-2000s romcom, Cher’s advice on relationships (on occasion) is timeless. Getting rid of your ex’s stuff is such a cathartic but useful breakup remedy. Sadly, I did not have the foresight to go full-blown Clueless and burn my ex’s belongings but I did give them to a mutual friend the day we broke up so I had them out of my house. Considering I find it upsetting to see that he’s active on Facebook having his belongings as constant reminders lying all over the place certainly didn’t seem sensible.
The positives: You’re not stumbling upon constant reminders of your ex and the longer you leave it to get rid of the stuff the harder it becomes.
The negatives: Getting rid of your ex’s stuff makes it feel very real and can be super upsetting. Side note specifically on the burning, it has the potential to be messy and your flatmates will not be overly pleased when you gas out your uni house with smoke.
Seriously, getting rid of my ex’s stuff as quickly as possible (in my case on day one) was one of the best decisions I made. I didn’t have to overthink what I was doing with it, whether I wanted to keep it as a memory (do people do this??) or whether I wanted to see him to return it all. I was in the fortunate position to have a mutual friend who could return all the stuff, although if you and your ex don’t have any mutual friends I don’t see the harm in a bit of pyrotherapy, let the belongings burn! I think in most cases avoiding seeing your ex is a good plan because seeing them so soon after the breakup is just sheer torture.
The iconic Grey’s answer to everything, dance it out: 9/10
Grey’s Anatomy is just 16 series of romcoms that began in the early 2000s. Initially, I was sceptical about ‘dancing out my problems’ because I already felt like a massive idiot for being broken up with. So surely making myself look more stupid would just amplify that feeling? Well, it actually did the opposite.
Postives: Super fun and silly, especially when you have friends who will join in.
Negatives: You can look a bit stupid in the process, potential to smash glasses and break things in a small space.
Dancing to some of my favourite happy sad songs: Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton; Dancing On My Own – Robyn; the entire Little Mix discography; actually made me feel a little bit more alive. It reminded me that there is this thing called being happy and that it is possible to get little moments of joy in a really really shitty time.
Mamma Mia your way through the breakup: 10/10
This one is perhaps the simplest breakup remedy to set into action. Clear four hours in your crying schedule, get some friends, get some snacks, get some ABBA and let Donna and the Dynamos give you all the relationship support you could possibly need. Let your friends sing Chiquitita to you because you can patch it up together (or at least try to).
The positives: It’s Mamma Mia, do I even need to explain the positives?? For those of you still wondering, you SING about how all the men of the world have wronged you, you get drunk with your friends and have a good time.
The negatives: Aside from the fact 20 years later Donna still hasn’t moved on and the actual breakup methods put forward in the films are not that achievable (i.e. not everyone can just run away to Greece, bring up a child alone age 22 and set up a hotel) Mamma Mia is fantastic!!!
Without trying to spark too much controversy, Mamma Mia 2 has some absolute breakup bangers including: One Of Us, Why Did It Have To Be Me?, Knowing Me, Knowing You and of course the Lily James version of Mamma Mia. The joy of watching Mamma Mia when you’re feeling really crap about yourself is that either Piers Brosnan or Dominic Cooper will start singing and you’ll be reminded that at least you weren’t cast in a musical (twice) when you really can’t sing.
Obviously, not all romcom remedies will work for everyone and every breakup comes with its different hurdles and challenges, but seeing all these strong, loveable and stunning women go through the wars when their relationships go wrong does feel slightly comforting. It’s a reminder that you’re not alone in your heartbreak, and you’re also not the first person to make some of these classic mistakes.
Sadly none of these romcom tips will cure your heartbreak but they might ease the pain. For me, they certainly provided a distraction from everything that was going on around me. They also took me back to a time pre-Covid where life was arguably better than it is today. For starters you could hug everyone and not have to worry about social distancing and spreading the rona.
So, escaping into the dream world of the early 2000s is not the worst thing to do when your heart is hurting but, more importantly, some of the cures themselves have their value. Listen to advice, take some space, get rid of your ex’s stuff, maybe don’t get hammered and ultimately look after yourself. As the ends of most of these films show, it does get better and one day you’ll wake up and your heart will break just that little bit less.