8 Nerdy Ways to Mend Your Broken Heart

This week, my girlfriend left for the summer because of “family” and “work” and she “stopped loving me.” (Well, not that last one, but this is my pity party and we play by my rules here.) To add insult to broken hearted injury,  my current boss cut my hours and job opportunities aren’t exactly coming out of the woodwork.

Fortunately, rather than just curling into the fetal position for two months straight, I’ll be periodically un-curling to treat my emotional wounds with this arsenal of geek time-suck coping mechanisms. They’re great for all around escapism, and also for hearts shattered into thousands of tiny pieces, like I may have mentioned.

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons 1-7

If you’re reading this, I think you understand. My girlfriend’s gone and it’s time to bring out the big guns.

2. Star Trek: Birth of the Federation

Play as the Klingon Empire, United Federation, Ferengi Alliance or Romulan Star Empire and CONQUER EVERYTHING. Build an army, discover new technology, make friends/enemies with minor races, colonize planets, all time-consuming activities made even more time consuming by the fact that it’s turn-based. Time consuming is key here! You don’t want to go to the dark place, do you?

3. Final Fantasy VIII

Four discs long, people. FOUR. Probs you’ll all want me dead for picking this one and not FFVII, but this one is chock-full of full of despair and angst, and each randomly-encounter battle victory infuses me with the false sense of achievement I need to carry on in a life devoid of spooning. Also: pretty, overwrought cutscenes! And, Quistis is clearly a babe.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Playing Wind Waker means spending about half of a game just travelling across a beautiful, hypnotic expanse of ocean. Which is, y’know, annoying, unless you have hours upon hours to kill. And I do.  Maybe you do too?


FFFFOUND is an image bookmarking site, so it’s kind of like Tumblr, except you won’t end up publishing terrible poetry in your darkest hour.  In fact, there are no AB rhyme schemes in sight; it’s all pictures! FFFFOUND’s got an unlimited amount of pages to browse through, of everything from rare gig posters to to neat typography to artwork of birds with jetpacks to…well, just go look. And don’t just look at hot girls. Stay on track!

6. Portal

Mac gaming client, Steam was giving Portal away for free a little while ago, so I scooped it up and I’m so happy I did. This game is the ultimate mindf*ck, so at least your brain will get some.

7. Quake III Arena

As one of the first games designed expressly for multiplayer play online, Q3A was a Big Deal back in 1999.  And it’s still a Big Deal to me.  Quake III Arena is crazy addictive, offering hours of playability with all the difficulty levels (ranging from “I Can Win” to “Nightmare”). It’s good for releasing some aggression, some frustration and some sad feelings. Violence can make you less depressed, remember?

8. Planet Earth

When I start feeling like a jerk for blunting my emotions and building that (admittedly elaborate) shrine to Joss Whedon, it’s time to check out Planet Earth. Watch the Discovery one (not the BBC) because it’s narrated by Sigourney Weaver. And she’s got a pretty husky voice, if you know what I mean. Sharks, caves, jungles, baby ducks– it’s all here. Just don’t get too caught up in all that spelunking imagery. That’s backtracking.

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Kim is a student doing a double major in English and Gender Equality & Social Justice at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario. She works part time at a small brewery, and thus mostly smells like wine/ beer / a homeless person at the end of the day. In between enabling many an alcoholic and getting schooled in the ways of close reading and thinking critically, she plays a lot of video games, reads a lot of comics, spends a lot of time in the library, occasionally blogs, has feelings about the aforementioned things and then she snuggles with her cat / writes about them. The feelings, not her cat.

Kimbit has written 5 articles for us.


  1. Woah, do you know what I did last fall when my ex dumped me? I rewatched all seven seasons of Buffy, cried my heart out to that one season finale, you know, when she kills herself to save Dawn and tells her “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it” and I thought “why the hell am I crying because of this woman, look at THOSE problems” and felt better afterwards.
    Now it feels like this thing my roommate and I have, when we feel like our brains are merging when we both go grocery shopping at nearly exactly the same time and both come back with mushrooms and milk.

    this whole post is amazing, especially when you KNOW that something on this list helps. btw, we’re trekkies here, too. we will make christmas cards for our friends and families this year, dressed as star trek characters, but don’t tell anyone, it’s a surprise. the next time my heart is broken I will play that star trek game for sure!

  2. How did you know, Kimbit, that my girlfriend left a week ago and came back not “feeling that spark anymore”? She dumped me over facebook!

    I’m not too upset, as we didn’t have a ton in common either way. I mean, she could have never have understood why this list is so perfect. If only there were Autostraddle forums…I’m sure ladies of the geeky persuasion would hook up for cute, geeky dates locally like ALL THE TIME.

    • Jenn, it could be that we are connected by the fact that I was once broken up with via facebook myself.

  3. Hahaha, “That’s backtracking.”

    I’m sorry you’re lonely, Kim! But it sounds like you’ve got plenty to keep your heart alive. However, I’d also like to suggest Doctor Who. I know, I talk about it far too much, but really. It’s so wonderful. And whenever I find myself sad or lonely, the Doctor fixes it. That’s what he does, after all. Start in 2005 with series 1 with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Took the words right out of my mouth! Of course a broken heart couldn’t go wrong with skipping through to season five. Amy Pond will cure whatever ails you.

    • You know, I always mean to start watching Doctor Who but somehow it never happens! Also your article about the new series definitely gave me the itch (the urge-type itch, not the STI itch, thank goodness.)

      • You know, I’ve never seen Doctor Who either, but as I just discovered in a moment of sheer heartbreaking panic, you can watch it instantly on Netflix.

        As for Buffy, skip right to Season 3. Faith makes that show, and all of your lesbian fantasies come true.

  4. You know what I’ve successfully done this summer? Re-watch Buffy seasons 1-7. I think it’s appropriate for all situations. Oh and I did have a nasty break up but whatever. Obvs, Willow helped me move on.

    Portal and FFVIII are both lovely suggestions and this just reaffirms my love for Autostraddle. You guys totally get me.

    • Willow is kind of a cure-all for everything, I think? she is magic, after all.
      I’m so glad we understand each other!

    • I’ve been watching for so long and now Willow and Tara’s relationship is so freaking strained and guhhhhhhhh I want season six to be different this time :(

      • I know it’s so terrible and sad! I really love Buffy but all of the super angsty and abusive relationships in season six aren’t ideal for post-breakup heart-mending. My solution is to find vapid, fluffy Willow/Tara fanfiction that’s canon-divergent after mid-season five and they can just save the world with lesbian magic and live happily ever after with Miss Kitty Fantastico.

        • And who can argue with that approach? I gotta say, Miss Kitty Fantastico is definitely one of the more underrated cast members.

    • I love the sims. I haven’t been dumped lately (I’ve been single and not looking for three years) but when all my friends are busy I like the idea of creating a new world where I am God:)

    • i was actually just thinking of starting that up again so i can cheat and make my sims have lots of money and giant houses. that’s how you win at life right?

    • Oh man. My girlfriend and I broke up over the weekend (we’re working on it, we’re working on it, she fantasizes about power tools and you know that power tools mend everything) and I was like five generations into our descendants. WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO TELL MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDSIMS.

    • Ah shit! Now you’ve mentioned that I’m going to have to go home and spend the next 4 days installing, uninstalling, deleting registry files and re-installing all of the sims games so I can spend the next 6 months of my life wondering where the hell the last 6 months went!

      Seriously, I don’t remember between the ages of 17 and 18, purely because of this game.


      Tip: Don’t download the guinea pig off the sims resource… Yeah, looks cute but it bit the ONE GUY I didn’t cheat with who was like a multi-millionaire and HE DIED. Let that be a warning to you all.

    • oh dear. I used to have it bad for the Sims as well, ages 15/16 are all kind of a blur of sitting at my computer playing Sim City 2000 or in my room playing The Sims for Gamecube. Maybe it’s time to saunter over to Sims-land.
      avoid the virtual guinea pig, check.

  5. aww… hope you feel better soon and remember throwing balloons at pictures always helps *gigantic hug through the internet*

    • I am always up for an internet hug! Thank you, Natalie! I am feeling better already, what with all the amazing feelings happening on this thread and the summer being nearly half over!

  6. I’m so with you on the Buffy, FFGFOUND, and Wind Waker suggestions! Also, Angel (the series) can be helpful too, but don’t watch “I Will Remember You” because it’s really damn depressing and emotional and yeah. Not speaking from experience or anything… no way…

  7. I would like the SIMS to be added to this list. I feel that it is easier to go on living in a made up world sometimes than the one you are in. When someone in the SIMS dies in a terrible kitchen accident, you suddenly realize that it doesn’t actually matter that much and then you go back to the real world happy that your real friends didn’t just die from not having enough cooking experience.

    • they die from shit like that? christ.

      when i was in highschool, our newspaper staff was a handful of disenchanted, too-cynical, ne’er-do-wells like myself. the yearbook staff the opposite, comprised mainly of our cheerleading squad and assorted other bubbly weirdos. in a terrible mistake on somebody’s part a long time ago, our newspaper room and their yearbook room were adjoining, with a shared small center office.

      some time after we realized no one read the newspaper we produced, we put the sims on a computer in our office. we then proceeded to make a eerily true-to-life version of each yearbook staffer. we then put them all in a sims house and slowly began to kill them off, one by one, in increasingly deranged ways.

      when we’d successfully offed one, we reported the death to their yearbook counterpart through the door that adjoined our staffs. i think they began locking the door after that.

      or maybe it was because we dismantled their office furniture with a toolkit during late night lay-out sessions. i’d like to have answers.

      • For sure the Sims is an excellent coping mechanism! When playing it I totally tend to feel like, “at least I’m not a robot living in a robot house with other robot people doomed to die when my dishwasher catches on fire and I don’t reach the phone in time to call the robot firemen.”
        Taylor: thank you for sharing. That story was equal parts disturbing and hilarious aka perfect.

  8. I just got dumped, and what do you know, I’ve been living on a steady diet of Buffy, Star Trek, and Doctor Who.
    Mends all my wounds.

  9. Ok first: What if you are more the dumper (or perhaps asshole?) in the story and the other person will not leave you alone? When do you stop being the asshole and they just become weird and creepy? This is totes hypothetical. Not an anecdote or anything.

    2nd: Do I get bonus points for currently penning a song called “Even a Vampire (Can’t Heal a Broken Heart)”. Vamps can’t but that song just might.

    • The ex in question becomes weird and creepy when you have a totally legit reason for breaking up (i.e. a total divergence in faith, politics, goals, ethics, levels of monogamy, kinks, sex drives, etc. that are no one’s fault but don’t mesh, cheating, abuse, boredom, mistrust, and so on) and they refuse to see it as something that’s just not working out. If your ex believes “just trying hard enough” makes all boundaries insurmountable, and that going all Steve-Earle-love-song on you will magically make it better, then that’s creepy and unfair to your needs and wants and beliefs and wanting them to go the hell away isn’t bad at all.

      If you just got bored, wanted another girl suddenly, or wanted unreasonable amounts of deference/control, then you’re a jerk. Stalking and whining and begging is still not OK, of course, but you’d have to admit an undue amount of selfishness there.

      Bonus points will only be awarded if “Even a Vampire” is set to jangling, lush, baroque-heavy roots music, which may not be possible.

  10. I would also like to recommend (Not a time-sucker, but a bloody good way to relieve some post-dumping blues) a film called ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ Anyone heard of it..? Hm, probably not. Worth a trawl around Ebay for though, absolutely fantastic film, makes being dumped seem like a minor annoyance, but it’s not depressing, yay!

    Dot x

      • Mine too! It inspired my tattoo (that I don’t yet have but plan to get someday when my girlfriend decides she likes tattoos.) Man it was hard to get a copy to play in the UK. Got the soundtrack too, which I put on in the car when I’m feeling low. This has inspired me to go home and watch it. JCM is a genius.


    Who the fuck needs a girlfriend when you’ve got fucking Star Trek?

      • That’s sad and totally unfair, dude, because any girl who’d want Kira Nerys as her girlfriend should at least settle for me OR share her. >:(

        I actually thought Ezri was totes adorable, too, and I wanted to have long discussions re: emotional maturity with her AKA makeouts over raktajinos. I should have known I was gayer than a handbag full of rainbows when I first saw her and squeed.

        PS: if one of the Farscape girls doesn’t have you by the girl-mivonks, you are not the sort of person who should ever be shot into space!

        • Alright, you two can share Kira, and I’ll take Janeway and her bun of steel. Deal? Deal.

          • actually, my father still thinks I had a crush on Wesley Crusher as a child. I hadn’t. It was his mom, the hotness! ;)

            But yeah Kira. I wanted to have her crazy jewelry. Oh, and that nose, it was so cute!

        • so, settling or sharing, what’s it gonna be?

          being shot into space? no! they’d beam me up by mistake and because it was a mistake they couldn’t beam me back home, so they had to make me a member of the star fleet and I’d have this whole education on the Enterprise and was either living with Beverly Crusher or Kira. how gay and nerdy can an 8-year-old be, seriously?

  12. Hmm, if I do half of these things as part of regular life, does it mean I am subconsciously nursing a heart that I didn’t even realise was broken?

    Also, I think you’re missing out by going for the Sigourney voiceovers. Yes, she may have the sexy huskiness going on, but David Attenborough’s voice is like the ultimate soothing, avuncular whisper.

  13. OMG I love Planet Earth. I was so excited when I got the Dvds for Christmas that I made my whole family sit and watch it with me. They fell asleep in like 15 minutes.

  14. Do you know what I’ve been doing the last three days?
    I played “The Urbz: Sims in the City”
    and I spend most of the time hooking up with every “Pretty” Simgirl there was (hey, you can makeout with Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas in the Game, and Taboo and will.i.am are going to hate you, unless you makeout with them too)
    Now that I’m trough with this rather “old” (Gamecube) game… I’ll start and play Yoshi’s Island again. Super Nintendo. Hey… I was still a toddler when that was new… aww. Cute. First time I held a joypad. *-*

      • I didn’t know that there was another Planet Earth except for the David Attenborough narrated BBC one. Watching Planet Earth with a husky sigourney voice….I want.

  15. thank you for the wonderful suggestions, guys and gals! I am at work acquiring your thoughtful and impeccable video game, DVD and songwriting skill recommendations as we speak. I’m fortunate enough to have just gotten distanced this summer but as a dumper, dumpee, person with feelings and fellow member of the human race, I totally empathize with everyone who got broken up with or had to do any breaking up for the summer! After all, breaking up is hard to do.

  16. This article now makes me a little testy because when I first read it, I was like, oh poor suckers got their asses DUMPED. During the best part of summer no less!

    Well, karma’s a bitch and I find my own relationship on tenuous last threads and suddenly this article is my bible. Buffy here I come. x’s and o’s to all, who needs ’em anyway, and does anyone want to get drunk with me?

  17. World of Warcraft – so you can heal yourself and your party in-game despite the pain IRL. Plus it’s the biggest timesink of this decade, you’ll have fast-forwarded 3 months before you know it….

  18. Praise be to Autostraddle, I had already started watching Buffy so the other suggestions are greatly appreciated, distractions are much needed, silly women and their choosing of other people, le sigh, pass me the vodka please, Lou needs to get drunken! Vodka and Doctor Who will make it all better. :-)

  19. Perfect, epic win article. Buffy is my life. Lol. Just got out of a two year relationship, and although it was ended by me, things ending still hurts. Though I haven’t resorted to the fetal position playing videogames like I would if it were winter. I’ve been doing absolutely everything to be out of the house, hanging out with people, one in particular that is gorgeous and wonderful and totally not interested and taking a zillion photos. It’s a nice distraction from being sad and feeling guilty and like a jerk. Now that I read this, I feel the need to pop season 1 disc 1 of Buffy into my XBox and cuddle my pillow for the night. ;P

  20. Add Shadow of the Colossus. No game on earth conveys the sense of solitude, sadness and lung puncturing sensation of breakups. And slaying the 16 colossi feels just as sadly desperate as any breakup ever do.

  21. My boyfriend left me. I seek for help no one could do anything towards my condition not until a friend of mine from high school directed me to this genuine Robinson.buckler. I contacted Robinson.buckler @ yahoo. com he assured me that my boyfriend will come back to me. I took his words with faith and today my boyfriend is back to me as well all within 24 hours after i contacted him. If there’s anyone out there that needs his help should get in touch with him now

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