Breakups are hard.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee. Ending something that was once good is always sad and often heartbreaking. It will likely be the biggest thing on your mind for the next few days, weeks, or months.
And while working through it and dealing with your emotions is necessary for moving on and obtaining closure, too much wallowing and self-pitying isn’t good for anyone.
Distracting yourself is essential. So here are five books to lose yourself in, when the wine, exercise, and rom-com binging isn’t cutting it.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Yes, it’s definitely the most cliché, and probably the most read book on this list, but it’s still a good one. Gilbert’s solo travels through Italy, India, and Bali, and the lessons that come with it.
It will remind you that adventure, growth, and happiness await, even if it doesn’t feel like it in this moment.
So re-read it, when you need to do some serious, multi-continent soul-searching without the multi-continent price tag.
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
This laugh-out-loud, chic lit classic is great for filling those nights where you just feel lonely and sad. Fielding’s heroine does lots of things wrong, and a few things right.
But her ups and downs, and attempts at finding that elusive “inner poise” will keep you giggling, turning pages, and feeling not so alone in this ever-difficult dating world after all.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Strayed’s second best seller (her autobiography, Wild, is another great post-breakup read) is a collection of her best Dear Sugar columns. In it, Strayed covers everything from heartbreak, to loss, success, and personal reinvention.
As you read through it, you might find line after line to highlight, and be reminded that you’re strong enough to come out of a hard situation. You can be happy and successful, and new beginnings are there when you’re ready for them.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron is the queen of romantic comedies and heart-pulling love stories, so it’s no surprise that her autobiographical novel about the breakdown of a relationship would be wonderful as well.
The story makes me laugh and cry every time I read it, and, given its subject matter, has a surprising way of being poignant and hilarious rather than bitter and biting.
So read it and be reminded that not all people and partnerships are bad or destined for failure.
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
This novel, set up as dictionary entries, tells the story of a couple that falls in love and then falls out of love. The format reads quickly, and the entries are tragic, hopeful, and raw.
The feelings conveyed in the book are universal and relatable (but be warned, the language isn’t always family friendly), and are a great starting point for reflection and recuperation.
It’s always the books that remind us we aren’t alone in our experiences that are the best for distraction and healing.