Hi! Can share a little about yourself and what you do?
Lauren: I am Lauren, one of the hosts of It’s Complicated, a podcast about the complicated world of dating and relationships. My co-host, business partner and BFF Jen Golden is the guacamole to my chips! We produce and create all of our content, from social media promo and podcast formats including every little detail that leads us all the way through to the final show! We divide and conquer our tasks throughout the week in order to stay organized and keep the show running smoothly. I feel lucky to be able to talk about dating and relationships with my friend, sort of like what we do in real life, and share what we have learned and are still learning as we interview experts, authors, actors, app creators and tons of other fun guests on our show!
Jen: I’m Jen, one of the hosts of It’s Complicated, a weekly podcast about the world of dating and relationships. Along with my bestie and business partner, Lauren Leonelli, I produce the show as well as co-host it, and promote it via social media. Additionally, together we create concepts and pitch reality shows. I am currently single and on the hunt for my guy, and the mother to my adorable rescue dog, Mochi.
Can you tell us about a significant heartbreak and how you recovered?
Lauren: I recovered from a significant heartbreak when I was in my mid-twenties, after my relationship ended with a guy I was with for over four years. We were extremely close, we were great friends and very in love with each other but our lives took us in different directions and we had to part. It took me a long time to recover, mostly to decathect emotionally, but also to say goodbye to the life I thought I was going to have with him, our families and our surrounding friends that I didn’t want to lose too. Getting use to those differences and life without someone I was so close to was hard to deal with. I had to allow myself to move through the sadness at my own pace but I also had to put one foot in front of the other and continue to move ahead.
Jen: I was dating a guy for two and a half years, and let me tell you, we should have broken up several times during the course of that relationship. We were wrong from the start, and it only got worse. To complicate things, my best friend began dating his brother and we spent all of our time together. He also lived on my block! When we broke up it was really tough on me because I had given it everything I had and begun to start questioning whether the things he said about me were accurate, and whether I would find love again, or if I was destined to be single forever. Also, since we lived on the same block, I had to find new places to go in order to avoid him…and his new girlfriend! One of the most difficult things was keeping my best friend and his brother out of it so they weren’t put in the awkward middle position. To kickstart my healing process, I gave myself a week to be devastated and go through all of the emotions and that was it. After that I threw myself into self-help books and funny break up books. I spent time with friends and focused on me. After time had passed and I adjusted to my new single life, it was very clear I was better off.
What are major red flags for you when you start dating someone new?
Lauren: I think major red flags that show up and should NOT be ignored in the beginning of a relationship are signs that someone’s actions are not aligning with their words. Obviously, it is hard to tell how honest someone is being right of the bat because everyone is on their best behavior in the beginning and opening up can take time; however, if these inconsistencies show up in the everyday little things, they will be magnified when the big stuff comes to the surface too. Don’t continue to date someone who says one thing and never follows through. Furthermore, don’t make excuses for this kind of behavior. Pay attention to signs indicative of this when it reveals itself and take it for what it is.
Jen: I agree with Lauren! Also, if someone forgets they’ve told you something, or is inconsistent in their story, or evasive, I would pick up on their shady factor. Another red flag is how recent someone ended a relationship. I’ve been in more situations than I can count where the guy goes back to his ex, despite all of the not-so-lovely things they said about the person. If he can describe the fundamental issues that went wrong or caused them to not be a match, then they probably meant to break up and it’s in the past. If they don’t have anything concrete to say as to why they broke up, there may be a red flag there that they could get back together.
What are your favorite mood elevators to uplift and inspire you?
Lauren: One of my favorite mood elevators is working out. I try to make time for it in the morning because it jump starts my day, gives me energy, makes me feel accomplished and it is time I have to give to MYSELF. I also get anxious very easily and working out has been proven to help relieve stress and anxiety. Exercise releases serotonin and it has preventative benefits too! Plus it makes me feel strong and thats a good feeling for me! I also like to enjoy a good meal and a nice glass of wine or a cocktail. The social aspect of eating, drinking and talking with a friend or your significant other is something that I enjoy and look forward to.
Jen: I love being around friends, family and my dog, so whenever I am surrounded by love, and also have a great glass of wine, good food, and interesting conversation, my mood is increasingly elevated. I also enjoy cozying up on the couch and watching all of the movies on the Hallmark Channel, and practicing yoga because it’s a great time to spend with friends who also go, and simultaneously helps my mind, body and spirit!
Do you stay friends with your ex? Unfollow or follow them on social media, etc?
Lauren: I don’t believe it is a good idea to stay friends with your ex….right away that is. It’s unrealistic to think that you can be in a loving and sexual relationship with someone and then suddenly you must become just friends. There should be an appropriate amount of time and space created in order to allow both people to move away from the intimacy they once shared. If that means asking your ex not to contact you, unfollowing on social media or blocking the number from your phone, then do what works best for you. Broken up couples should realize the amount of time needed might be different for each individual so you must be sensitive not to pressure your ex too quickly into a friendship just because you might feel ready. Be mindful that the desire to keep a friendship right away is most likely a fear of loss creeping in and an effort to hold onto someone that feels like they are slipping away. The ultimate goal is to be friends eventually, or at least cordial and polite, but if you end up not landing in the friend zone at all, that’s ok too. Sometimes people are meant to stay in you past.
Jen: I think it depends on the circumstances of the break up. If two people break up and have animosity towards each other, they shouldn’t feel obligated to maintain a friendship thereafter. If the couple splits on relatively good terms and they just grew apart, or realized they aren’t a good fit, then after some healthy time apart they can revisit a friendship, since maybe they were better as friends to begin with! If being friends with your ex causes you more heartache, skip it. If it causes your new significant other heartache, be considerate and aware of their feelings and tone it down! I think someone should only unfollow someone else if seeing their posts and engagement online hurts them. If it’s out of spite and rash, then maybe you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’d been spiteful and rash during the relationship too. Time for some help!
Any tips for our users on moving on from heartbreak?
Lauren: The best tip for heartbreak is time. I know that sounds like an unsatisfying and clichéd answer but I really believe it’s true. The amount of time varies based on life situations but eventually it heals all wounds. After the dust settles and the feelings of denial and heartbreak start to clear, the real healing starts and that’s when the self reflecting should begin. At the end of the day, you are only left with you and the choices you made. Use the time with yourself to look at why you’re in your current position, what you are proud of, what you can be better at, why patterns in your life might occur and how you can be use this knowledge to move forward and grow. We all can look back in the past at dark times knowing that there was a light of the end of the tunnel that we eventually found. Remember that is proof that things will be brighter with time!
Jen: This too shall pass. We’ve all been sad before and while we’re in something, it feels like it’s the end all be all and extremely important. But we don’t even remember the sadness we felt in the past because we’ve moved on and had other life experiences. Avoid doing anything that will ultimately hurt you more like going out every night if you don’t usually like going out, or drinking more than you usually would to drown your tears, or sleep with someone because you think it will help you get over your ex. Instead, it’s time to date yourself. Do all of the things you would do in your ideal relationship. If going to the farmer’s market on a Sunday is what you envision, go and buy yourself some flowers! Treat yourself how you want to be treated and put yourself first. You need to heal and become whole again, adjust to this new chapter, and come out an even better version of yourself, so do it with all of the care and love you gave to what’s-his-name because you actually deserve it.
To listen to an audio podcast, check out It’s Complicated on iTunes.