real life

Zoe Foster Blake on break ups: "The right partner and relationship will enhance this happiness. They won't be responsible for it."


The following extract is from Zoe Foster Blake’s book, Break-Up Boss.

What am I meant to do with all my time now?

A friend of mine went through a nasty break-up with a guy who treated her like a slightly elevated servant, and who broke up with her because he was feeling trapped. She did not like this. (I did: So long, suckface.) So, she actively blocked the break-up out of her mind, and went on as though nothing had changed. She’d call and text him daily (instead of, ‘Hi babe, what film should we see? xx’, it was, ‘I’m so sad, what could I do different, why why etc’). She would go to his house, and she would even have sex with him, despite him saying it was wrong and they shouldn’t, and pushing her away. (Naww. What a good guy.)

Like many freshly single ladybugs, my friend had found herself in the township of Complete Denial, where she had just appointed herself mayor. Unwilling to give up all the habits and routines she had been in for the past year, she just… chose not to. This is normal, and to be expected, especially if you’re the dumpee. But it’s unhealthy, and it needs to stop.

You’ll find new habits and routines before long, but when you’re freshly single, you don’t think or care about that shit, you just want safety and comfort and familiarity. This bit sucks. It cold, hard sucks. It hurts a hell of a lot, and symbolically, is not dissimilar to experiencing withdrawal symptoms after being a drug user.

But you will get through this.

It’s a huge and important part of the growth that comes with breaking up. Do you think it’s fun for a grub to be trapped in a tight, dark cocoon until it can become a butterfly? Probably not. But this is a Crucial Growth Moment (CGM) for you, and one you have to ride out. You can’t go back in time, and you can’t go forward, you just have to be here now, and suck it up, and make the most of it. So, do.

  • Book in at least three dates a week to fill in The Old Date Schedule. See your mum for dinner. A movie with a friend. Breakfast on the weekend with a work buddy. Fill your week
    up so much that it begs to unbutton its jeans.
  • It’s controversial, but catch up with an old flame or male buddy (one you’re not at all interested in) for lunch or a drink. Your ego will be stroked, you will feel interesting, and there goes a few hours you would’ve spent at home watching Girls.
  • Find a big time-consuming project you can ‘date’. (I once wrote a book to take my mind off a frustrating boy.) You could work on your fitness. Start marathon training. Begin a blog. (Cos, boy, does the world need more blogs.) Bake tasty stuff for all your friends. Garden. Take up gambling. (That was a joke.) If all that’s not working, time to get tough.

Seven years ago I decided to write a book on break-ups. Because I think they’re a gift. A chance for epic growth. Painful but largely misunderstood, like Justin Bieber. But life got busy, and the idea was parked. Then, last year, I realised it should be an APP, not a book! So, I jammed a books’ worth of content into a tidy little app, and today that app and idea is finally live. It’s called Break-Up Boss, and it has a singular goal: to help women handle, heal and move on from their breakup in a healthy, positive way. To act as a digital pocket coach for your traumatised, fragile, gorgeous little heart. After all: Why should a break-up be the boss of your life, mood, personality, diet, social life, sleep patterns, and (now ravenous and atrocious) drinking habits? Fuck that. You gotta take back control. You gotta be the boss of your break-up. You gotta make it work for you. And hopefully, with Break-Up Boss, you will. With illustrations by the glorious @bymariandrew, and LOTS of advice (much of which you will hate me for), as well as very fun extra shit – like daily pep-peps, a ‘text your ex’ function and Spotify playlists – but I can’t detail in full here or they’ll turn the music up and usher me off stage, @breakupboss acknowledges that while break-ups definitely suck, you don’t have to suck at break-ups. Link to story in my bio, or find the app in the App Store. (Android version almost finished!) #breakupboss @breakupboss

A post shared by ZOË FOSTER BLAKE (@zotheysay) on

Imagine you are your ex. You see your name come up on your phone (again). You roll your eyes and say to the friend you’re with: ‘Jesus. She just doesn’t GET IT. I don’t wanna hear from her! I’m actually just embarrassed for her now. She needs to get a life.’

Ouch. Doesn’t feel good, does it? Good. I want you to feel bad so you won’t pine over them any more. Now, put your sneakers on and get outside already.


A full and rich life is not dependent on another person. Being single is the very best time for you to start working on making you and only you responsible for your happiness. The right partner and relationship will enhance this happiness, but they won’t be responsible for it.

Break-up Boss by Zoe Foster Blake.

Buy Zoe Foster Blake's book Break-up Boss.

Download Zoe Foster Blake's app, Break-Up Boss.

Buy Zoe Foster Blake's Break-Up Boss care package.