I was recently dumped by one of my two partners. I miss him a lot, and am really, really sad I don’t have that relationship anymore, but every ‘how to deal with breakup’ thing under the sun is about being alone / single, which is like. Not the case. I have a girlfriend, but that doesn’t change how I feel. How should a poly kid cheer up after losing a partner?

First off, big hugs to you. Getting dumped sucks and I’m sorry. Interestingly, I recently had a relationship of 3.5 years end and I was pretty wrecked over it, and like you, I felt frustrated that there was very little practical advice for poly folks nursing the wounds of a breakup. The whole “go out with your friends and celebrate your new singleness by flirting with people at the bar” is just not relevant. Nor is “learn a new hobby to rediscover who you are without that person” sounds ridiculous too. So I totally get you.

One thing I always tell friends dealing with a breakup, and something I made sure to remind myself too is this: there’s a reason you dated, and a reason you broke up. Both those facts of reality can exist simultaneously. Thinking only about the good times can get you in a sad-spiral of missing them and wishing you could get back together. Thinking only about the breakup and re-framing them as the worst person ever is toxic and can put you in a shame-spiral of blaming yourself for making such a mistake. The reality is often far more complex and acknowledging the complexity can keep you out of some of those spirals.

As for the rest, if there was a magic cure for breakup sadness, someone would be selling it for a lot of money. This sort of thing takes time. Let yourself be sad for a bit. Losses are to be mourned. Getting dumped sucks. It’s okay to let your girlfriend know that you’re very sad about this and let her comfort you. You’re not “alone” now, but you’re still grieving a loss, and the fact that you’re hurt about this doesn’t mean your girlfriend isn’t “enough” for you.

Do your best to take care of and indulge yourself. Go out for your favorite meal. Take sick day to sleep in and watch Netflix. Solicit love from your tumblr followers. Try making a playlist of songs that make you feel better - after my breakup I made a playlist of pumped-up shouty-vocals power-lyrics fuck-you music that let me indulge my anger at my ex and also remind myself that I can be strong and independent even when I don’t want to be. (He follows me on Spotify so I just titled it X to be especially passive aggressive.) Do whatever makes you feel good, because you have a wound that needs healing. 

It’s tough but important to find the right balance of “letting yourself feel the feelings” and “find distractions to keep you from wallowing.” You don’t want to push away or deny your feelings. It’s okay to feel hurt, disappointed, betrayed, confused, angry, sad, whatever, but it’s not productive to just feed those feelings until you get stuck in a misery spiral. Do what makes you feel better without feeling like you’re responsible for just snapping yourself out of any bad feelings.

Hugs hugs. It’ll get better, I promise. And if you find anything else that works, please do come back and let me know.