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Always remember: You will come out the other side stronger!

Stage 1: Vomiting up your ex’s keys from your stomach


As soon as it finally sinks in that you won’t be going to their apartment for dinner and Netflix or late-night booty calls anymore, you’ll finally purge those spare apartment keys one final time. No use having them just sitting around in your stomach anymore. This is the first step to getting over your ex, and it’s a very important one!

Stage 2: Trying to parasail into the sun

Anyone who’s been through a breakup can identify with this moment of pure desperation, when you strap into the parachute harness and yell at the boat driver to go fast enough that you are flung from Earth’s orbit directly into the sun. You may try to parasail yourself into the sun for days, weeks, or even months, but the pain will subside in time. Everyone is different, but it’s okay—just allow yourself to feel this way.

Stage 3: Trying to forget that you built a well-reviewed public transit network for a major city together


You will spend a lot of time thinking about your former relationship, and of course you’ll linger on the time the two of you conceived, designed, and oversaw construction on the greater Miami-Dade public transit network, which wowed industry critics and laypeople alike. Whenever you see your 2009 APTA Award for Best New Light Rail, you’ll relive your breakup all over again.

Stage 4: Texting your ex the entirety of the Articles of Confederation


You’re furious with your ex for breaking your heart but still can’t help thinking about them, so in a moment of weakness, you’ll inevitably text them the entirety of the Articles of Confederation. Even though you know you shouldn’t be sending them the state sovereignty clause from this vestigial governmental document at 2 a.m., you’ll do it anyway. And that’s all right!

Stage 5: Going on your first post-breakup date and realizing that you haven’t gotten the tattoo of your ex’s face removed from your face


Getting back on the dating scene can be awkward. The horror of realizing that you have the tattoo of your ex’s face that you got for your one-month anniversary still tattooed on your face is something we all go through. It’ll get easier soon, though, we promise!

Stage 6: Becoming a spokesperson for a major aspirin company


Whether it’s for Tylenol, Advil, or even Motrin, at some point you’ll find yourself in front of a camera for an ad shoot or speaking to assembled media members, talking passionately about how your migraines are no match for the eight-hour relief found in one easy-to-swallow gel pill. It may feel a bit weird or uncomfortable, but it’s totally natural. It’s only a phase, and you’ll be able to laugh about it with your friends in a few months.

Stage 7: Realizing that you are, on a deep, comprehensive level, unlovable, and there’s nothing wrong with that


Yup. We’ve all been there. Just when you feel like you’ve reached your emotional rock bottom, you come to the grand realization that you are, at your very core and essence, inherently unlovable, and, hey, that’s just fine. At the end of the day, there are some people who will probably never find a life partner who loves them unconditionally, and chances are that you’re one of those people. So, why not focus on other things, like cycling or drawing or being a merchant marine? At least you’ll stand a chance there. Now, get out there and be the confident, acutely loveless shadow of a human being you were always destined to be!

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