12/01/2011 08:34 am ET Updated Jan 31, 2012

Dating Advice: How To Get Over Him (With A Little Help From Your Friends)

Recently, I met a guy who I thought was great. We were introduced by a mutual friend. He was handsome, gave me money for the jukebox and he made me laugh. We hit it off and hung out a few times. There was chemistry. We had an official date scheduled, and THEN ... he had a "work conflict." This was communicated via text. I texted back, and then ... I never heard from him again.

First, I shrugged it off. "Whatever/not meant to be/guess he couldn't keep up with me/I'm too busy and didn't need him, anyway." My female friends confirmed all these thoughts. I felt okay with it. There is that side that argues that maybe the guy has fallen into a coma/moved to Alaska/his uncle died and he's away at his funeral ... there could be TONS of "good" reasons why he didn't call ... but even the most logical and confident of us can spiral downward and turn it against ourselves.

By the time I've hung out casually with someone a few times and they've asked me out on a date, I've already imagined the next few months of our yet-to-be-materialized relationship. I've analyzed my potential suitor to death with my best friends and propped him up on some pedestal that I know I shouldn't put him on. But this is just the way I'm wired.

As women, we've been trained to want romance since we were little girls. However you feel about Sex and the City, it's hard not to identify with Charlotte when she declares: "I've been dating since I was 15! I'm exhausted! Where is he?" We have read all of the generic pre-dating, dating, breakup/rejection dating advice. But do we ever stop and laugh at what we put ourselves through? I've started doing it -- looking back on the mess I can sometimes let myself become -- and I have to say, it helps me feel a lot better about the whole ordeal.

With that in mind, here are some classic breakup defense mechanisms women -- or at least I, with the support and company of my dearest friends -- employ from time to time.

The Four Phases of Breaking Up:


I'm not sure why, but going through all of these admittedly inane phases helps you work through it. And when you surface on other side, perhaps with a tattoo but otherwise unmarred, you tend to remember your own awesomeness. Friends, of course, help with this. Mine remind me that I definitely don't need him, that he clearly wasn't THE ONE. And until my one shows up ... well, I've got plenty of things to do, places to go and people to meet. Mr. Right can come find me right where I am.