It’s been 42 days since my long-term partner and I ended our relationship. In the present moment, a salty puddle is forming on the floor beneath my eyes. The pain is incredible; I can feel it in every part of my broken self. Then, he speaks.
“Rest,” he says, and the pain stops. “You get 15 seconds, and then we’re going again.”
The speaker is a trim, bearded fitness instructor at a studio in Hell’s Kitchen. The puddle accumulating below me isn’t tears; it's sweat. I’m three-fourths of the way through a class called TRX 30/30, and it's the third class I've attended via ClassPass
, the popular fitness membership program designed to encourage people to try a range of exercise classes. As the sweat drips down my body, I say a curse and a blessing. I momentarily hate Beardy McFit, yet I'm full of gratitude for both him and my new fitness regimen — a.k.a. my breakup recovery tool.
As anyone who has experienced the dissolution of a long-term relationship knows, it's a bit like being reborn. Not in the twirling around, “hills-are-alive” kind of way — more like an actual birth. It can feel as if you’re slipping out of a warm, comfortable place into the harsh open air, assaulted by foreign sounds and faces.
Four weeks A.D. (After Dissolution), I had already exhausted a number of coping mechanisms: I had listened to the new Adele album, binge-watched Jessica Jones
, and eaten cookies for dinner. But since my breakup, which happened to occur the day after I ran the New York City Marathon, the one self-care action I hadn’t been taking was working out.