'Oystering' Will Completely Change Your Perspective On Breakups

Here's how to make the most of this pivotal moment in your life.

What Is Oystering In Dating? - Close-up of young woman being fed an oyster by man.
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Breakups suck. It doesn't matter if you're the dumper, the dumpee, or it was a mutual decision. A breakup is a loss. And depending on how much time you invested in that relationship, that loss can be, for some, not just heartbreaking, but tragic and even debilitating.

Although Oscar Wilde famously wrote in one of his many letters that "hearts are made to be broken," basically asserting that with love comes the inherent risk of heartbreak, anyone going through a breakup is likely to disagree — and maybe even have some strong words, riddled with expletives, for the writer (if he were still alive).

But, once you've pulled yourself out of bed — because you can really only watch Call Me By Your Name so many times — you realize that there is a strength within you that you may have forgotten was there. It's the strength not just to move onward and upward, but also to harness your inner Elle Woods and get out there and start oystering.

That's right; you're going to oyster your way out of that despair.

What Is Oystering?

Every couple of months or so, a new dating term makes its way into the community vernacular (think: ghosting) — and this time, it's "oystering." Upon initially hearing it, you may envision eating your weight in oysters as a means to get over your breakup, but that's unfortunately not was oystering means.

But what oystering actually means, at least in this context, is the post-breakup realization that the world is your oyster, and everything and anything is possible.

With oystering, "you're ready to learn, explore, and have fun anytime, anywhere, and with anyone you want," says Lia Holmgren, a relationship counselor and author of Hookup Without Heartbreak, a guide to finding more joy in casual sex and dating. "It's something great to hold onto during a breakup, no matter if that breakup ended badly or on good terms."

There's a feeling of intense freedom that comes with oystering. You're stepping out of the comfort zone of your former relationship and taking life by the pearls and making it yours again — and there's something pretty spectacular about that.

Why Oystering Is So Important After a Breakup

Oystering is an essential part of the healing process of getting through a breakup. It's not just about the ability to date new people, but also to focus solely on yourself, your needs, and your wants. You don't have anyone holding you back, therefore giving you a new lease on life.

"You should only share your time and energy with someone who deserves it and is willing to receive it," says Elsa Viegas, a designer and co-founder of Barcelona-based Bijoux Indiscrets, a women-led intimate wellness brand. "Breakups can be abrupt, [but they're] new starts, and you'll eventually see life with new [eyes]."

Even though sadness and nostalgia may linger, those feelings won't last forever. A breakup is a chance at a do-over and a do-better. "When you're ready, you'll see all the possibilities that are out there for you," says Viegas. (Also read: What Is Broken Heart Syndrome?)

Oystering gives you the opportunity to find yourself again and the parts of you that may have been lost in your relationship, so you can explore the you that you are now.

"Breakups can be lengthy, as well as time- and energy-consuming," says Holmgren. "And once it's over, you now have a chance to get more satisfaction and enjoyment out of life. It's like starting from scratch with better things ahead."

This satisfaction is empowering. While you may still be grieving your relationship, oystering means you're more likely to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, take risks you may not have taken before, and even renew friendships and relationships that may have been put on the back burner while you were in your relationship, says Viegas.

While healthy distractions always help when getting over a breakup, as they undoubtedly fill the hole the relationship left in you, more than anything, it gives you insight into who you were in the relationship and who you are since it ended. You have wisdom you didn't have before and a deeper understanding that life is fleeting and it's time to move forward. When my husband broke up with me, I booked a one-way ticket to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I had always wanted to see the Angkor Wat temple at sunrise — and that's exactly what I did. As I stood there watching the sun come up over the ancient temple, still with some grief in my heart, I had never been so happy — so truly happy. I almost felt high, intoxicated by the fact that I was fulfilling a dream. Nothing else mattered as the sky went from darkness to a brilliant pink that morning. The man who broke my heart never crossed my mind once. I could feel the happiness in my bones as my skin rose with goosebumps and I will carry that moment with me forever.

How to Make the Most of Oystering

While no one says you don't have the right to wallow and grieve the loss of your relationship, you simply can't do it forever. You owe it to yourself to get back out there and make the most of this time in your life while you're completely unattached. It's time to invest in you.

"I recommend using [oystering] for self-growth and reflecting on why the previous relationship didn't work," says Holmgren. "What are the patterns that you might be returning to, and which ones are healthy and which are unhealthy, or not serving you. It's an amazing thing to spend time with yourself and really get to know who you are and what you want." (Start here: The Self-Growth Guide That Has Nothing to Do with Chasing Perfection)

Some breakups can feel like you've walked through fire — and what do you do when you realize you've made it to the other side? You celebrate. You indulge in things that make you happy. You see mistakes as lessons that needed to be learned in order for you to live life to the fullest, as opposed to just wasting your days away.

"When you recognize the changes that need to be made, you also change the types of people you not only attract but [the types of people you] choose," says Holmgren. "This is an important time to take things easy, spend time with self-love and self-care, and visualize what you want for the future, alone or with a new partner. This is a great time to manifest as well." (Read: How to Manifest Love — and the Kind You Deserve)

But, as both experts agree, as much as you should lean into this new chapter in your life and acknowledge all you have to offer not just to yourself, but those you care about, it's not exactly the best time to run out and do anything too rash.

"I don't think it's a great time to do drastic things, because you might be over-dramatizing and do something you wouldn't normally do, and be upset about it later on," says Holmgren. Translation: It's best to let the storm pass before up and moving to another city or quitting your job.

Viegas highly suggests avoiding doing anything that's "irreversible" while you're out there oystering. "Changing behaviors? Hell yeah," says Viegas. "Going for a pixie [cut]? Not such a good idea. Trust me. Changing your hair won't change your life."

Although oystering may sound a little silly, depending on where you are in recovering from your breakup, once you get to the point where you realize, or rather re-realize your worth, then you'll embrace it with open arms. No one ever said life — or love — was easy. But we can all agree it's far too short to dwell on the past and not live in the present, looking toward the future with new and healthier perspectives. After all, the world is your oyster.

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