The Hindsight Shuffle

By: Laura Hillis

The most dangerous part of the end of a relationship is what I call the “hindsight shuffle”. After you’ve settled with yourself, listened to Meredith Brooks, “Bitch” a million times, and ate a grand total of 4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s, you tend to become bored with your single status. Thus, the beginning of the “Hindsight Shuffle”. The stages of this dance are as follows:

1. You’ll make a mental list of all the men/women you’ve dated or have even thought of dating, your most recent ex not included (unless this somehow takes place several months later).

2. Systematically you go down the list, revisiting each one, like an archaeologist. You look over all the fragments of this previous failed relationship (or attempt at one) and analyze whether it’s possibly worth revisiting.

3. The two or three losers that seemed to have some possible value are contacted.

4. Regret following up with said losers.

Break-ups are beyond horrid, I get it; being wanted is addicting; I get that too. After break-ups, feeling undesired is a hard pill to swallow, and getting a fix of that desire seems paramount, but don’t do it! Speaking from experience, (A LOT of experience) the hindsight shuffle leaves you with a lot less than you started. You also might be tempted to tackle the next person who winks at you on the bus, but don’t do it. Because 1. they might have had something in their eye and 2. I can almost guarantee it’s not going to go anywhere. Real life is unfortunately not a rom-com. But do what you must. I am, too, guilty of this (who isn’t, really?). I’ve rebounded — many, many times — and what happens when you rebound, more often than not — you end up back in the same place that you started. Here, my lovelies, is an alternative: LET YOURSELF HEAL. Yes, I know — not nearly as exciting or enticing as the hindsight shuffle or the prospect of a new romance, but well worth it. Take time for yourself; go to the movies alone, try a new hobbie. I know it all sounds very “blah” and “been there done that” but what I’ve noticed more and more is that people are afraid of being alone. I completely get that, it’s scary to be by yourself, but if you commit to it, you’ll see what it’s worth. Now I’m not saying you have to go off the grid or anything, as humans we’re social animals, but we’re also individuals, and to develop ourselves we need to spend time with ourselves. And it will only help in future relationships and future break-ups as well.

This revolutionary notion of spending time with myself came about in 2012. I had gone through a pretty rough break-up — with my best friend. We had fallen out over a guy ( please do not ever let anything petty like a boy get between you and your friends!) and I was devastated. We went 2 months without talking and although I missed my friend terribly (we’re besties again, by the way) it was probably a couple of the best months of my life, solely for the fact that I was able to get to know myself. It was those months that I discovered my love for ballet. I found a studio that held adult classes in classical ballet and went alone. Was I terrified? Uhm, yeah — just a little! But I went anyway, and I fell in love and I found that I was actually really good at it. At one point, my teacher had stopped class to declare that I was “ a ballet dream”. Still to this day, that was one of the proudest moments of my life. I found out something else too by spending some QT with myself: I’m kind of awesome. Like really awesome. And I actually enjoy spending time by myself. I mean, don’t get me wrong — I’m now in a loving relationship, and I feel so #blessed, but I make sure to take some time for myself. Knowing who you are, liking who you are and knowing what you want can help in all aspects of your life, especially where relationships are concerned. Do you want something long term? Are you able to handy a pesky ex of a potential partner? Can you dig their extensive action figure collection? Spending some QT with yourself will help you answer those questions and I’m pretty sure you’ll find out that you, my darling, are pretty rad on your own.

We may end up feeling ruined and lost when we go through a break-up. We’re suddenly thrust into an awkward happenstance and are often left to flounder, picking up the pieces of yet another heartbreak. One of my go-to quotes for starting over is from Eat, Pray, Love, and I’ve returned to it time and again to help me heal “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.” So take this ruin and run with it. The Hindsight Shuffle, as tempting as it may be, is only going to set you back, because to do that dance you’re looking back. Look forward, and look inward, towards yourself and find out what you want and need and make sure you give yourself time to figure things out. Give yourself time, that’s the most important thing to do, before you go and give your time to someone else.

About the Author: Laura Hillis is a working professional, writer, coloring enthusiast, cat lover and raving foodie living in Boston.