It’s hard to be broken up with, especially if you think the relationship is going well so it comes as a bit of a shock. But these recommendations are for the breaker-upper. Because breaking up with someone that you love is also hard, even if you know that it’s just not quite working. It’s something you probably spend a long time agonising over, with a fear that you’re making a terrible decision and hurting someone you love in the process.
One of the things in that situation is to turn to the creased spines of old favourites – immersive worlds that have a kind of comforting familiarity to escape in. You will know what book that is for you. For me, that’s probably the seventh Harry Potter book, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick.
I’m not suggesting Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan & Molly Ostertag for the title, but because it’s essentially about someone trying to do something in a new way, a way they think will be hard but better, but a way that everyone is telling them is the wrong thing to do. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s great to read, and as a graphic novel is perfect if your concentration span is down and you’re not up to reading a novel.
For another comic, try the first volume of Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky. It’s funny and weird and filthy, and also about two people who feel alone finding there’s someone else just like them. The second and third volumes go more into some of the difficulties in their relationship once the initial euphoria passes, which may or may not be for you depending on how you’re feeling. But the first volume is definitely a good shout.
If what you feel like is something sad (because sometimes you don’t want to distract yourself from the bleurgh, you just want to lean right into it), try Undying by Michel Faber. Written in response to his wife Eva’s death, it’s a poetry collection about telling the world she existed, that she loved and was loved by him. Breaking up with someone even though you love them is usually about feeling there’s something missing, that there’s something more. Through grief, this collection will show you that more.
If you only have five minutes, read these two poems by Richard Brautigan:
For Fear You Will Be Alone