by Evan McArthur Kane
There may be another month to go before Uncle Sam and Aunt IRS make their perennial attack on your wallet, but many of us are still recovering from a different annual taxation. With few exceptions, more money is spent on retail between Black Friday and Valentine’s Day than the other nine months of the year combined. And if you are in, or pursuing, a relationship the price tag is likely to be even more staggering. I would argue, in fact, that the infamous mass exodus from commitments which begins at winter’s end are more often caused by the realizations of fiscal auditing than premonitions of warm weather indulgence.
But cutting ties over a deficit can carry a secondary sting. Second guessing the paper trial of dollars and cents is senseless and tortuous–the paper cuts. And questioning your own generosity can easily lead to more expensive (retail) therapy or other vices. What you really want is to “feel” good ‘n plenty again, affirmatively desirable and worth someones worth–without the obligations that accompany mutual attachment. You want to take yourself out. You still want to be taken out. You just don’t want to be TAKEN. So here’s an action plan to get through the volatile phases of relationship transition. “Spring foward” and ensure that you get the attention, affection or even that daily supply of Vitamin O that you so deserve.
Phase I: Get Sad
Sadness is an emotion we typically would go out of our way to avoid. But there are healthy and even enjoyable ways to deal with the times when it is unavoidable. Don’t dwell in it. Drown it. Alcohol by the pitcher, preferably in Sangria form, at La Tasca in Gallery Place is damn good place to start. And if your misery is fortunate enough to find the company of an empathetic friend, treat your shoulder to cry on to the $50 dinner and a movie deal (includes 5 tapas, 2 glasses of Sangria and two movie tickets). Laugh now, cry later, head over to the DC Improv and have your humor prescription filled by one of their many nationally touring headliners. Or graduate from laugh-er to laugh-ee at their comedy school.
Phase II: Get Mad
Let it out…punch, kick (maybe scream a lil’)–repeat. This is the fight club you can talk about, and they’re always looking for new recruits. Tucked away in a Chinatown office building, the Krav Maga DC studio is your training ground for the world renowned self-defense fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces. Release some of that tension by unleashing your aggression–but whatever you do, don’t let the cool down slow you down. Warm things up few degrees. Blow off the rest of your steam in the heavy heat of Bikram Yoga (Capitol Hill or Dupont Circle). A sauna-esque 105 degree room awaits for you to stretch and pose into 26 postures, with two breathing exercises, for 90 minutes of mind and body blissful synchronization. I feel better just typing about it.
Phase III: Get Even
Put down the keys and the box cutter. The paint job and tires are innocent. Not to mention the fact that it could land you in a jail cell–with no internet. Then how’re you going to read my column every week? Vengeance is supposed to be sweet, not bitter. So getting even should be about pleasure, not violence–unless you like it rough-ish, but that’s a conversation for another day. I’ve been advised by numerous sources that the Hitachi Wand Massager more than does “the trick” for women who need a few home runs but don’t have a designated hitter. Now when a substitute just won’t do (and they often don’t), for a deeper thrill you might prefer to share your indulgence in the company of other ladies and gents, try this Swinger’s Club just outside of Baltimore. And bring back a report to share with the class.
Phase IV: Get Over (It)
The most challenging phase is moving beyond whatever frustration remains after you’ve mastered the first three phases. Your first thought might be to get back in the mix with a familiar face. Easy perhaps. But it’s not necessarily uncomplicated and may not be the best move. Sometimes you can’t get over it because “it” isn’t entirely over. So don’t go time-traveling to bridge the gap of a hiatus and make the road to reconciliation longer than it has to be (trust me on this one). Sometimes we just need to try something new–not someone new. We seek vices outwardly for an outlet, but all too often, the answer is the mirror. A change. A dream. An adventure. It might be as elementary as joining a book club for inspiration and conversation or maybe a different kind of swinger’s club than you tried in the previous phase. You might find a new peace and growth through sacrifice as a volunteer. Let your passions take flight. But whatever you do, stay sane and grounded to find the best ways to manage the days of life ahead. Don’t get stuck. Get well. Then get better.