Seven Podcasts to Listen To During Your Divorce

Getting divorced means you will inevitably have more time on your hands than you used to. Time you spent fighting with your spouse will now be spent on more productive activities like going to the gym, watching TV shows you actually like, and standing in the kitchen eating yogurt naked just because you can.

This got me thinking—as did the fact that National Radio Day is coming up this Thursday—that podcasts are an awesome way to coach yourself through this transitional period. Let’s be honest, we rarely know what to do with new freedom when it’s granted to us, it typically takes a while to figure out who we are in this new world of self-discovery. So while you’re wading around in the pool of alluvial muck that will become your new life, why not listen to some interesting and motivating podcasts? These are my recommendations.

Stuff to Blow Your Mind – “Animal Sexual Fluidity”
So, this is an amazing podcast, and I recommend listening to ALL the episodes as soon as you can. However, since you’re going through a seriously confusing time in terms of your personal life, possibly your sexuality and maybe even your family structures, I’d say start with this episode. The bizarreness of nature—and its insistence on change—will help put your current transition in perspective, while distracting you with lots of sexually diverse and crazy sex-changing animals. It will blow your mind.

This American Life – “Break-Up”
This is an old episode of this now world famous podcast (ca. 2007), but it has always stuck with me because of how cliché—and how sad—breakups actually are. And also how necessary they are. The best thing about this episode is that Phil Collins shows up to discuss possibly the best breakup song of all time, and to tell the story behind writing it. You’ll laugh, you’ll relate to Phil Collins, you might cry a little—this is just listening gold.

Stuff You Should Know – “Polyamory
Come on, you know you’re curious—and now you can look into things that titillate your curiosity without guilt! This episode of the Stuff You Should Know podcast looks into the myths and realities of what it means to be in a committed relationship with multiple people—and it’s probably not what you were expecting.

Serial
Officially, this podcast has nothing to do with your divorce, except that you are going to get so into it that you’ll forget all about your divorce for a few precious hours, and focus instead on this masterpiece of storytelling. The podcast is twelve episodes describing one reporter’s experience of re-opening the real-life 1999 murder investigation of a high school student. If you find yourself running over and over your divorce in your head, this is the podcast to break the cycle.

Berkeley’s Happiness Matters Podcast – “Is Divorce Always Bad for Kids?”
There’s a common perception—or maybe it’s just conventional wisdom gone awry—that having two parents together, no matter how unhappy they are, is better for children than having two divorced parents. This podcast episode looks at that question in detail, providing a lot of research context, in order to find out whether divorce is really always bad for kids.

Sex Nerd – “The Sex Slang of Urban Dictionary” (in 2 parts)
This podcast is genius from the folks at The Nerdist, and taps into subjects of interest and humor around human sexuality. This two-part episode is both hilarious and extremely useful (because you’re going to need to know this stuff now that you’re single). Enjoy your lesson!

RadioLab – “Who Are You?”
Let’s face it: you have no idea who you are anymore. Don’t worry—it’s totally natural to feel that way after a divorce. Even if you’re not getting divorced, it’s healthy to wonder about this question at least every few years throughout your life. (If you’re not getting divorced that means you’re just reading this post because you think I’m entertaining, and that means you are already awesome, so stop worrying.) But seriously, “Who am I?” is pretty much the most important question we can ask ourselves after “How do I get food?” and “Where’s the bathroom?” so this one really deserves your time. Plus RadioLab is funny.

 

Love and Radio – “Thank You, Princess.”
Did you know people buy used panties off the internet? Or that some people will literally pay good money to be harassed in a manner that possibly reminds you of your divorce? Have a listen to this crazy episode of Love and Radio, which is essentially an interview with a self-described “Humiliatrix”… and be prepared to be completely weirded out, yet completely fascinated. I want to put out a quick disclaimer that this is at times a strange podcast, and that this episode in particular is pretty out there. As such I’m not condoning the subject matter, some of which is likely to be illegal—but it is REALLY entertaining.

Happy listening, and Happy (early) National Radio Day!

Respectfully,
James J. Sexton

Heartache Sweeps the Grammys

We are knee deep in awards season. In addition to it being Presidents’ Day Weekend,(Anti)-Valentine’s Day weekend and the close out of Lunar New Year celebrations, it is also time for the Grammys!

If you have a pulse, you know how important music is to everyday life. It pumps us up, calms us down, makes us fall in love, makes us embarrass ourselves when we think no one can see us dancing in the car, and perhaps most importantly, helps us get through horrible breakups. Here’s a free idea for you marketing people and business executives: sell a breakup bundle containing a pint of ice cream, a box of tissues and an Adele album. As everyone knows, only time and Adele can heal all wounds.

It’s not just us regular people that know heartbreak songs are integral to life; the people handing out awards have taken note as well. Heartache and yearning win big at the Grammys. There have been a ton of stomped, smashed, broken hearts collecting golden gramophones for Record of the Year. Let’s take a look at some of them!

*Quick music industry lesson: Song of the Year honors the songwriting; Record of the Year honors the performance and recording. And with that knowledge you’re basically Clive Davis, so go take over any record label you want.


Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Sam gets it. He knows what it’s like to wonder “what if” as dawn breaks during a one night stand. He knows this isn’t meant to last. He knows this is just a one time thing. The person next to him is a relative stranger, but still, what if? What if he stayed? What if they got breakfast? Just some orange juice and all butter croissants at that cafe down the road. On the walk, a single ray of sun breaks through the clouds on that cold January morning and makes the golden streaks in the stranger’s hair glisten. And in the daylight Sam notices his eyes are really more aqua than green. And he falls in love and everything is fine forever. But it isn’t!!! Because it was all just a thought as the stranger gathered up his stuff and scooted out the door while Sam was lost in a daydream. A very, very lucrative daydream that made Sam Smith a household name.


Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know
It’s summer 2012. You’re excited for the Olympics and nervous about the election. You haven’t yet noticed the fine lines that have begun to form around your eyes. You are young and dumb and it is great. Somewhere around the opening ceremonies you get dumped and the only person who can understand your pain is a Belgian-Australian who you could have sworn was Sting from the sound of his voice. His name? Gotye. His song? “Somebody That I Used to Know.” You haven’t heard from Gotye since, and possibly never will.

Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Queen of heartbreak. Princess of pain. Duchess of the dumped. When she’s not making us cry or being totally hilarious, Adele is writing Grammy winning songs in one afternoon after a breakup. I was barely able to pick up groceries and my dry cleaning last Sunday, but apparently Adele only needs three to four hours to change the musical landscape with a catchy, giant eff-off anthem.

Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Lady A, as they’re called in the biz, have seen you at your weakest. They were peering into your window at a quarter after one in the morning, silently watching as you kept picking up and putting down your phone. They know exactly what you were doing. You were feeling lonely, and your will power was nowhere to be found. You needed someone now.

Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
Poor Caleb Followill was feeling empty. Maybe it was life on the road that got him down. Maybe he felt his celebrity status was keeping him from meeting genuine people. Did they like him for him, or because he was Caleb from Kings of Leon? He’ll never know, and we’ll never know. But he channeled that longing into “Use Somebody” and won himself a Grammy, and now he’s married to a model so I guess it all worked out.

Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
This gem needs no introduction for it was burned forever into our brains as the theme song to the greatest love story ever told on water. James Cameron had a dream and that dream was to make seventh grade girls cry in movie theaters around the world. He succeeded. The audience fell in love with Jack/Leo then he went and died and all we were left with was a Canadian chanteuse’s promise that our hearts would go on. The song lives on in dentists’ offices and Chinese restaurants around the globe.

Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
I don’t think I’ve ever been in a restaurant within one hundred yards of a palm tree that wasn’t playing this song. And while it brings back great memories of many a rum-based drink served in a pineapple, it’s actually quite a morose song. Don’t let Norah’s relaxed, whisper of a voice trick you, she is full of regret and isn’t entertaining the option of forgiving herself. Fun fact – this is a cover, so it wasn’t even Norah’s heartbreak that got her a Grammy.

Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
This song was originally offered to Cliff Richard. This Cliff Richard. Imagine! I think this one’s about giving into lust and throwing love out the window because,“Who needs a heart/ When a heart can be broken?” Take a second. Imagine Cliff Richard singing it. Oh wait hang on, you don’t have to imagine it.

You’re welcome.

Carole King – It’s Too Late
A fun game to play is “Did You Know Carole King Wrote That” because Carole King has written one million perfect songs. “It’s Too Late” is no exception. It tells the story of a crumbling relationship that has fallen apart despite both parties really trying to make it work. Yes, it is about James Taylor in case you were wondering.

Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
This is of course a cover of the Dolly Parton classic. It sounds awfully romantic, but Dolly wrote it for Porter Wagoner, her songwriting and singing partner, when they decided to split ways professionally. Dolly’s version is sweet and country tinged. Whitney’s is a stadium-sized belter filled with emotion and longing, and it blew the other nominees out of the water.

What do you think will win Record of the Year this year? Probably “Uptown Funk” right? Let me know in the comments or on any of our social channels: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

As for your playlist -- Enjoy!

Respectfully,

James J. Sexton

 

What if You Caucused Your Divorce?

The culmination of seven hundred ninety-eight months of campaigning is finally upon us. It’s Iowa caucus time! Have you been pretending to know what a caucus is every time it’s mentioned by your coworkers and stepdad Steve? You’re not alone. Also, what you thought was Iowa is Nebraska. It’s one more to the right. Yep, that’s the one.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “caucus” bandied about, but what is it really? Well, it’s sort of like a primary but more ye olde. It’s the Sturbridge Village of the primary process, if you will. People don’t just stop by their polling place and pull a lever, instead they come together as a community and discuss the candidates. There’s a little stumping and a little mingling. And then people take sides either by ballot or by physically congregating together. Is there cake? I don’t know but there should be.

Caucusing is kind of great. It makes people feel like an active part of the democratic process. Plus it’s old timey so everyone can feel a bit in the founding fathers spirit without shelling out the big bucks for Hamilton tickets. It’s also a great way to decide things as a group. Gather your family and caucus to decide what to get for dinner tonight. Make impassioned speeches then have pizza congregate by the door. Thai by the dining room. What else can you caucus? Well how about who deserves the blame in your divorce? Fun right?!

Divorce is usually a private process and that’s all well and good but how sure are you that your ex-spouse was really totally at fault for your break up? What if you had a definitive answer decided by a group of your peers and neighbors? Well, that’d be a caucus!

Republicans caucus in Iowa by secret ballot, and that’s boring, so we’ll pretend your marriage is a Democrat for the purposes of our exercise. Democrats pitch their candidates with little spiels, then they gather in groups according to which candidate they support. Then they pitch a little more to sway the undecided group until one candidate is declared winner. So here we go, for your consideration:

A Divorce Caucus

FADE IN:

INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CAFETERIA – DUSK:
People milling about everywhere, chatting and taking off winter weather layers. Some fill paper cups with coffee from carafes. There is a positive vibe and excitement in the air.

DENISE, mid-forties, holding a clipboard, walks up to a microphone stand and taps the microphone. The crowd turns their attention to her and they all go silent.

DENISE
Thank you all so much for coming out today. As you know Paul and I have decided to get a divorce.

CROWD
(Cheers and whistles)

DENISE
Yes, thank you! We are excited, too. As I was saying, thank you all for coming out, I know it’s freezing out there, we really appreciate it. You’re here today not only to make your own opinions known, but you are doing the community a greater good. The importance of designating one of us as marriage poison cannot be minimized. By the end of the night, we will have a clear-cut person at fault. I know a lot of you came in here with your minds made up as to who really destroyed this marriage, but before you congregate together with your chosen side, really think it through. This is serious. The winner of this caucus will not only get the house, the lake house, the kids, the dog and the jet skis, the winner will also get the most coveted prizes of all: the bragging rights and the dignity.

Just to get the logistics down. If you believe Paul is totally at fault for the crap sandwich that was demise of our marriage, please head over to the right side of the room near that life-sized scarecrow I have dressed in Paul’s clothes, threw six dozen eggs at, and pierced with several arrows.

PAUL, mid-forties, fixing his hair and rolling up his shirt sleeves steps up to the microphone.

PAUL
Yes and if you believe Denise is the one who drove our marriage into a lake of garbage, please congregate over on the left side of the room near the steel trash can full of Denise’s clothes that is — Dave, go ahead (DAVE sets trash can’s contents on fire)– currently on fire.

DENISE
Right, thank you Paul. And if you are undecided, please move to the center of the room near that pile of our wedding pictures which Paul and I have painstakingly poked holes in all the eyes and on which we drew classic schoolboy-style graffiti penises.

PAUL
Ok, so if everyone’s got their fill of coffee cake, thanks again to Denise’s mom (Denise’s mom waves from the crowd), I think we can get going.

DENISE
Yes ok, so I call this divorce caucus to order and with the power vested in me by Ben Franklin and St. Helena of Constantinople, the patron saint of divorces, I officially open this caucus.

CROWD
(Cheers and whistles)

The crowd disperses. Eight people congregate around the scarecrow. Eight people circle around the trash can fire. Six people remain in the center of the room around the wedding picture pile.

PAUL
(Waving his arm and counting quietly) Ok, so looks like we’ve got ourselves a tie right now. As per divorce caucus rules, Denise and I are not allowed to stump for ourselves, so each faction must appoint a delegate to speak for the group.

CROWD
(Mumbling and conferring)

GINA, early forties, steps forward from the group surrounding the trash can.

GINA
I’d like to speak on behalf of all the Denise haters.

DENISE
The caucus recognizes Gina Thompson. Even though one could argue Gina Thompson’s affair with my husband was the quote, unquote, straw that broke the camel’s back in regards to my marriage to Paul. Also please let it be noted, Gina Thompson was my best friend for the better part of the past thirty years.

PAUL
Both points are noted, Denise. Please step forward to the microphone, Gina and might I say that’s a lovely dress. Who will be speaking for the faction who hates me?

ANNA, early seventies, Denise’s mom, steps forward.

ANNA
That’d be me, Paul.

PAUL
Great, if you both could make your way up here. Gina, would you like to speak first?

DENISE
You’d like that wouldn’t you Paul?

PAUL
I would.

GINA
(Walks up to the microphone.) Hi there, as Denise mentioned, I’m Gina Thompson and Denise and I have been best friends for the better part of thirty years, and as such I can tell you Gina is the worst person I have ever met. She’s petty and cruel. She once threw six meatballs at Becky Stafford in sixth grade. One by one, for no reason, and with no remorse. She does not give up her seat on the bus for the elderly. She has never once wiped down an elliptical machine after use at the Y. She does not recycle and for six months in 2014 she would not shut up about her paleo diet. Paul did his best but there is only so much a person can take. She spits gum out of car windows. She regularly cuts the line at Trader Joe’s. She leaves the gate open at the dog run. She is a cancer upon this town and I wouldn’t be surprised if she was sent here by Lucifer himself. Thank you.

ANNA
(Steps to microphone.) Hello. I’m Anna, I’m Denise’s mom and I’ll cut right to the chase. Paul cheated on my precious baby angel with this woman (points to Gina). I don’t blame Gina. She’s from a broken home. We did all we could to invite her into our family to give her some structure but facts are facts, she was a latchkey kid with unlimited access to cable television. There was nothing we could do to save her. I’m not here to demonize Gina though she makes it pretty easy wearing outfits like that. I’m here to tell you about Paul.

Paul keys cars in the Stop’n’Shop parking lot. Now I’ve never seen it with my own eyes but I have heard rumors and as we all know there is no smoke without fire. He does it to get his jollies off when he’s not cheating on my daughter or doing hard marijuana drugs in the school parking lot across from his office when he’s meant to be at staff meetings.

Here’s a question: how many of you have been forced to read Paul’s (makes air quoting gesture) novel? (The entire room raises their hands.) My condolences. Now I don’t know what’s more insulting, the painful purple prose or the fact that the main character, Harry, is clearly meant to be based on old Paul here. Except Paul isn’t a delicate, tortured soul whose genius is pummeled by his corporate world commitments. Paul’s a sad sack of trash who has yet to accept his role in life — average man in an average town with average looks and average intelligence who thinks he’s way funnier than he actually is. That’s not to mean you should give up the writing Paul! Keep going so building that extension on the house for your writing room isn’t a total waste of money! Sure your son will never have the braces he so desperately needs, but we’re all glad you’ve got a big room for your antique typewriter that you’ve been too lazy to go get fixed, so you use your work laptop to write on instead. On the couch. In the living room. Paul is awful. Thank you.

GINA
Just one last thing, thanks to Facebook, I am sure you’re aware that Denise is part of a pyramid scheme.

DENISE
(Yelling) It’s a multi-level marketing sales program!

(The entire crowd walks over to the trash can on fire.)

DENISE
Well. Ok.

PAUL
It seems I have won! Wow. Ok, I was not expecting this because of the whole affair with Gina thing. Wow. Ok, I’m honored really. Thanks guys. Thanks a lot. I really love those jet skis. And the lake house. Oh and yeah the kids, the kids too, obviously. But wow, the jet skis! This is so great. Thank you. Thank you everyone. And a big shout out to hydroverdeplasmine glycol, the ancient seaweed extract proven to regenerate cells and activate collagen production causing visible plumping, because without it Dylan and Meadows Beauty would not exist. And without Dylan and Meadows’ pervasive, predatory pyramid scheme, Denise wouldn’t have bought into the company and would not be carpet bombing each and every one of your Facebook feeds, walls and inboxes, annoying the everloving guts out of you. And without that, I wouldn’t have (yelling) both jet skis right now! Wooooo! Yeah! (Pulls Gina towards himself, dips her and kisses her.)

DENISE
Ok. Well. Thanks everyone for coming out and participating. And listen, if you’re looking to spend more time with your kids and quit the daily grind because you just can’t take one more long-ass commute, come talk to me about becoming your own boss. And if you do end up googling Dylan and Meadows, please be aware while the income disclosure chart looks like a pyramid, it’s actually a triangle. A triangle of financial independence for you and your family. I just need four more members on my team to zero out my initial investment of twelve hundred dollars.

FADE OUT.

And that, my friends is how a divorce caucus would work. And if any community theater groups are interested in performing my caucus piece, please reach out and I will file my Writers Guild paperwork ASAP.


Respectfully,
James J. Sexton

Think They're Still Together? Teen Couple Movie Edition

We had so much fun in our last installment that I thought it’d be a treat to once again use the firm’s years of experience in the world of failed romance to offer our predictions on the Romeos and Juliets of our formative years; the people who really taught us how to love — teen movie couples! Grab your popcorn and let’s go for a walk down Romance Lane…

She’s All That – Laney & Zack

Still together? NO.
Zack and Laney came from two different worlds – a cool jock one and a loser art one. In true teen movie fashion, what started out as a bet led to true love. Zack was trying to prove to his friends he could turn any girl into prom queen and while Zack thought he was teaching Laney lessons about popularity, turns out Laney was teaching Zack about the real world the whole time. They got together in the end, but I don’t think it lasted. Zack doesn’t know which way is up, he’s a ship without a sail and eventually I think that got to Laney. That and the hacky sack. They probably made it through the summer but when it was time to head off to college Laney wisened up and kicked him to the curb.

Pretty In Pink – Andie & Blane

Still together? NO.
Blane, major appliance, and Andie, poor person, were mismatched from the start. Blaine was ritzy and rich and Andi was poor and stricken with terminal Duckie disease, but they fell for each other against all odds, and against Steff’s wishes. Sure they showed a divided town that love knows no boundaries but they totally broke up like a week after prom. The thrill of their social subversion wore off pretty quick and they realized they had nothing to talk about. Andie was always going on about sewing and being destitute and Blane couldn’t focus on his Ferrari catalogs while she was yapping away. So, they broke up, Duckie came out and Steff murdered a prostitute.

Clueless – Cher & Josh

Still together? YES.
Would Cher and Josh break up? As if. (See what I did there?). After playing cupid to set up two of her teachers, Cher turned her attention to more trying charitable work by making over tragic fashion victim Tai. In the process Cher chipped through the veneer of her superficial personality, found herself and accidentally fell for her own grunge listening, save the whale protesting, college liberal stereotype of a step-brother. Woopsie.  Odds and social convention may have been stacked against them, but I think they made it. Cher grew up to be Elle Woods and probably joined her father and Josh in the family litigation business. Cher still has her ditzy side but Josh finds it endearing. And Josh’s veganism became less annoying, and more of a fad so Cher hopped on the soy wagon. They bicker and get on each other’s nerves, but there’s a solid foundation there.

Sixteen Candles – Sam & Jake

Still together? NO.
Sam and Jake got together after Sam’s whole family forgot her birthday and a lot of questionable, often racist things happened at a school dance and house party. Sam’s unrequited love was finally, um, requited thanks to Farmer Ted’s matchmaking skills. Sam and Jake shared a tender kiss over birthday cake and a million girls’ hearts exploded all at once. But did their love flourish? Maybe for the rest of Jake’s senior year, but after that, probably not. But what a year it was! Homecoming, winter formal, and prom were, I am sure, wonderful experiences. Then Jake split town for college and Sam basked in the warm glow of her hard earned popularity for another two years of high school.

Empire Records – Corey & AJ

Still together? NO.
It was hard for Corey to realize she wasn’t in love with Rex Manning and that she was in fact in love with sensitive artist AJ, but she got there in the end. And really, what better way to bounce back from total humiliation at the hands of sexy Rexy than having AJ profess his love on a record store rooftop? But did it last? Nah. Corey and AJ moved to Boston where Corey obviously developed a cocaine problem to cope with Harvard stress. AJ dropped out of art school after one semester, hitchhiked to Portland and founded a radical yarn bombing collective. Corey suffered several nervous breakdowns but eventually became a doctor and on slow nights in the ICU she gazes off into the distance and thinks of AJ and what he’s up to. He graffiti knits on lampposts, Corey. He’s happy and thinks of her often.

10 Things I Hate About You – Kat & Patrick

Still together? YES.
Bianca Stratford could only date if her uptight, ornery sister Kat did. New kid Cameron wanted to date Bianca. What’s a teen to do? Scheme of course. Cameron paid rough and tumble bad boy Patrick to woo impossible Kat, and wouldn’t you know it, it worked and along the way Patrick fell for Kat. Did they make it though? Yes. Kat and Patrick moved to New York after graduation and continued to have an on-again/off-again relationship for the rest of their lives. There are probably kids in the mix now that are raised on a steady diet of riot grrrl and unpasteurized milk. Begrudgingly they left the lower east side to move upstate to Rosendale or somewhere so Patrick could have more room to sculpt and Kat could have a proper writing room for her poetry. No one knows how the bills get paid but they do. Every six months or so there’s a big bust up and Patrick leaves for a few weeks, but he always comes back and the cycle begins anew.

Can’t Hardly Wait – Amanda & Preston

Still together? YES.
Preston loved Aman-DUH from afar for years. Finally, finally, finally he had the guts to tell her, in a letter, at movie history’s most wonderful and unrealistic high school party. The movie’s end credits told us “they are still together,” and while I find that a little questionable, who am I to argue with stone cold credits facts? They totally had a Barry Manilow cover band play at their wedding.

Drive Me Crazy – Nicole & Chase

Still together? NO.
Nicole and Chase were good friends until puberty and the cutthroat world of social climbing hit the scene. But one fateful day before the centennial dance, Nicole and Chase joined forces to trick two other students into loving them. It worked, but Nicole and Chase fell for each other during the process. Then their parents announced they were in love and moving in together. That’s odd to say the least. Girlfriend and boyfriend is hard enough, but add brother and sister on top of that, and it’s really hard to make a relationship work. They both went off to college and grew up and now make awkward eye contact over the Thanksgiving table.

Never Been Kissed – Josie & Sam

Still together? YES.
Sure Josie and Sam’s relationship was forged on a lie where the false circumstances actually made the burgeoning relationship really, really wrong. But Josie fessed up and explained she wasn’t in fact a high school senior, she was an adult woman reporter undercover, and their illegal and frankly very gross flirtation was actually totally cool. It’s hard to get past the original circumstances though isn’t it? He was a teacher; she was a high school student. It was totally and completely inappropriate no matter how ~mature~ and smart and interesting Josie was. Sam is the real grossie in this story, huh? Anywho, are they still together? Yeah. Once you get past the yuck, bleh, and ew beginning and they’re both legal adults, they are really sweet together and I think they made it.

Respectfully,

James J. Sexton

The Five Stages of a Break-Up: The Playlist

Breakups are hard. Divorces, even the friendliest ones, can be like breakups on steroids.

That first love who broke up with you two weeks before prom – that hurt – badly. Now imagine she took your house or you have to see him every week when he picks up your kids who tell you about his new girlfriend “Kiki” who used to be their babysitter.

Luckily, there’s pop music to help guide us through the five stages of grief as defined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (the Kübler-Ross model — not just for death anymore!). Yes, that’s right. You can turn your pain into one epic musical reenactment.

Denial
This can’t possibly be happening. No Doubt’s Don’t Speak speaks to you on every level. Karen O’s pleading in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Maps hits you in the gut. Maybe this isn’t happening. Maybe this is all a terrible dream. Maybe we can fix this if we just ignore the situation for the rest of our lives. Maybe denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, maybe it’s a coping mechanism you’re using to keep from shattering into a million pieces.

Anger
Denial gives way to anger because who do they think they are dumping you? How dare they?! You howl along to Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River. You pogo to The Clash’s Train in Vain and pray no one ever, ever sees you dancing like this. You drink two gallons of wine and clear an entire karaoke place with your rendition of Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know. Sullen and alone you do The Supremes’ You Keep Me Hanging On as an encore. You try to hail a cab by bellowing Fiona Apple’s Criminal. No cabs stop for you. You cannot remember how you get home.

Bargaining
The hangover is bad. The anger has given way to desperation. Maybe they’ll take you back. Maybe there’s some sort of deal you can work out with the universe. Please Please Please, you beg along with The Smiths. Stay, you implore along with Lisa Loeb. When Can I See You, you blubber with Babyface. You force yourself out of the house. You look terrible.

Depression
You pick up take out. You see a familiar silhouette through the window at the bar on your corner. Only, it’s not one silhouette, it’s two. It can’t be. Oh you’d rather poke out your eyes than be witness to this. I’d Rather Go Blind by Etta James carries you home the rest of the way. You unpack your dinner. They gave you two forks. Two. Welcome to depression. You’re Crying with Roy Orbison. All Saints knows you’ve Never Ever felt so low. Blur knows there’s No Distance Left to Run. You Fall to Pieces with Patsy Cline. For your own safety you steer clear of more Smiths but can’t stay away from The Cure. You cry and cry listening to Pictures of You on repeat. During the first few bars of Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love, your neighbor knocks on your door to check that you’re alright. You promise them you’re ok but Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me begs to differ. You fall asleep to Love Is A Losing Game by Amy Winehouse.

Acceptance
Morning has broken. A sliver of light is peaking through the blinds. A new day has begun. You’re crawling out from under the depression/duvet and you feel almost alive again. You stand up. You feel the tiniest bit lighter. You stand up a little straighter. Katy Perry starts singing Roar and you think about putting on a flower crown, but it’s a Monday and you work in a bank not a beer stand at Coachella. You walk to the office. Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive echoes in your head. Charli XCX’s Breaking Up puts a spring in your step and you realize you’re better off without them.Your head is clearer. You want a sandwich. The journey is complete.*

**The journey will take longer than a weekend. The journey has been edited and condensed to give you hope that you won’t be miserable for six months to two years.**

**You may be miserable for six months to two years. The hope may be a lie.**

Respectfully,

James J. Sexton