Everyone knows that parting ways with a guy is hard. But even after the deal is done, there’s often still a feeling of entanglement. No doubt that’s why some women participate in ‘breakup rituals’, acts meant to wash that man right out of their hair (or in some cases, kick his stuff right out of the house).
You might have heard the report that after splitting with Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston torched her wedding dress on the beach outside her Malibu, California, home. Well, it supposedly isn’t true, but experts say it might not have been such a bad idea.
‘When you’re dealing with heartbreak, symbolic acts of cleansing can be cathartic,’ say Jeanette Castelli, author of Extreme Breakup Recovery (Urbantex). ‘They can help you transition from a state of loss to a feeling of empowerment.’
Plenty of us who aren’t celebrities fantasize about it and follow through with these ceremonies too. For example, one woman COSMO talked to made a point of marking her ex’s e-mail address as junk mail so that any of his attempts to contact her were automatically sent to the trash (before she saw them). Since it took superhuman discipline to do this, for her it really did turn the page on the relationship and made her feel much better.
Unfortunately, that initial feel-good state of mind can be fleeting.
‘Whether or not these actions help you move on with your life depends on where you are in the breakup,’ explains psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of Calling in ‘The One’ (Three Rivers Press). ‘If you’re still angry, these rituals can actually intensify your hurt. But if the initial pain of the split has eased and you’re genuinely interested in making a fresh start, then go for it.’