Life’s just tripping along like it always does. You think everything is going fine and then BOOM–your partner comes to you and says I want to break up.
Huh? It seemingly came out of nowhere and knocks you to the ground gasping for air. What the hell just happened?
Unfortunately, life just happened.
I spoke to a young man (age 34) who’d recently been delivered such a blow. He was (and still is) in pain–real, gut wrenching pain. The break up plowed him between the eyes, took him by complete surprise and everything became muddled and dark–life as he knew it ceased to exist. A heavy blanket of damp fog descended and he could barely move let alone make sense out of what had just occurred.
We spoke at length. I listened. He cried. I listened some more and he clamored for answers where there were none and then he cried some more.
In those beginning hours and days, it’s near impossible to see any light or meaning behind the larger picture.
I remember being dumped over the phone once. It was something I didn’t see coming. In fact we’d talked marriage and I seriously thought that’s where we were headed–boy was I wrong. The reality knocked me to my knees. The next day I went to work in my heels and business suit only to excuse myself every twenty minutes to go bawl in the ladies room. It was gut-wrenching and I seriously wasn’t sure I’d make it through the day let alone tomorrow or beyond.
There is really nothing anyone can say to make you feel better. That only comes with time and healing.
The guy I talked to was having a very difficult time in letting go but it was also very fresh. During break-up discussions, the young lady broke down and told him flat out that she didn’t love him anymore. WHAM! Now that’s a difficult thing to hear–it’s even more difficult to accept.
In this particular instance, there is a significant age difference between the two parties. The young lady is 25 and he’s 34. Not a big deal in the overall scheme of things but this was her first serious relationship and they’d been together for almost five years.
Who knows how much this played into the break down of the relationship? The thing about age is that it’s all conjecture. For many it means nothing while others shift in their thinking. Love is real at any age but the thinking may be different Auntie Says…Love is Real at Any Age
People can change a lot in five years.
Your 20 year-old-self is not the same as your 25 year-old-self and you’ll be even more different at 30. While that sounds obvious, in a relationship it’s important because you’re together and while it feels like you’re growing together at the same speed, but one may be in a completely different place without realizing it.
As one gets more comfortable the other could be getting restless–hence a blindside.
We never really know what someone else is thinking until they share it. Communication is key in any relationship but so is maturity and equality (whether in the sense of power, world experiences, or self esteem).
Giving a piece of your heart to someone is done without strings, expectations, or conditions. That’s the only way it can work. You can’t force someone to love you or go back into a situation they’ve chosen to leave.
If you find yourself in this horrible lonely place there’s a few things I want you to do.
A. Find someone to talk to in an open and honest manner. This is imperative. Talk and acknowledge the pain and the shock. It’s okay–you’re human. Cry. It’s healthy.
B. In choosing that person–whether it’s a friend, an auntie, or the guy at the gym–ask them to simply listen. This is not the time to have someone calling names or judging the other person in the relationship. That’s not fair, it’s immature, and it’s destructive.
And, that goes for you too. If I hear you calling your ex derogatory names or slurs then you’ll have to answer to me. NO NAME CALLING! I know it hurts and you want to sometimes lash out but it is never okay to demean, slander, or belittle someone you purported to love (or anyone else for the matter).
There’s also a possibility of reconciliation and once those names/slurs are made they’re out there. Even if said in supposed support it is NOT acceptable.
Let me know if you need clarification on this.
C. It takes two to be in a relationship. Sometimes it’s just blip and you can get back on track after taking a break (remember Friends when Ross and Rachel took a break–go watch it if you don’t). But, a break-up does not mean you’re ultimately going to get back together. You need to respect the other person’s wishes.
If you do decide to take a break in a relationship then prepare to accept that things do not stay the same. People constantly change and you can’t go back to the way it was– only forward. Anything that’s occurred or been said in anger/fear/hurt can’t be unheard or unsaid.
Be real. Don’t fantasize on how things could or should be. All you have it the here and now.
If they say they don’t love you or don’t want to see you anymore–take it at face value. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t love you? Remember you always deserve the best–don’t settle. You wouldn’t want to hear that someone ‘settled’ for you…that would be very sad.
In addition to this, don’t push the other to talk when they don’t want to. The other partner may have been thinking about how to break-up for a long time. They don’t need to be pressured to explain over and over again. Be respectful.
D. Start a Gratitude Journal. It doesn’t have to be a literary work of art but something just for yourself. Every single day you’re to write THREE things you’re grateful for. I don’t care if it’s the fact that your socks match or you were able to brush your teeth–it’s imperative you find something. Auntie Says…Make Gratitude Part of Your Daily Life.
Gratitude is key to allowing yourself to get back into life.
E. Allow yourself to hide in your room and burrow under the blanket. If the peace, security, and familiarity of it makes you feel better then fine–BUT--put a time limit on it.
It’s a time of grieving.
There are many memories, conversations, and thoughts to process and go over in your mind but you can’t stay in bed hiding forever.
Take a week or even two and then boot your butt out of that bed and go for a walk. Isolation is dangerous and damaging. It doesn’t allow you to talk it out and nor does it allow you see the light that will draw you forward.
F. Let the healing take place. Auntie has a rule that after a relationship you need to stay single for one full year. This means–no dating, no online dating, no sexting, no one night stands, –it means taking the time to heal yourself and grow as a person. Auntie Says…After that break-up you need to take a full year off to heal.
Learn to like your own company. Learn to support yourself both financially and emotionally.
I know you’re going to survive but it can feel like an uphill battle. Do the things above to make life a bit easier and stay focused on your future and not the past.
One foot in front of the other.
One day at a time.
Is there any good to come of a break-up?
That’s a question only the ones involved can actually answer. Sometimes we don’t realize the positive things until much later.
The reality is that it’s never easy when you lose someone.
I know it’s cliche to say that it happened for a reason because sometimes the reasons are so stupid and unreasonable they make no sense. It’s a catch-all for many to say and who knows, maybe one day it’ll all make sense, but in the here-and-now it makes no difference.
If someone says this to you, just nod. There’s no need to get into it. People will say it because they don’t know what to say.
One thing I did tell the young man I spoke to is, I know he will find love again.
It can be so tempting to try and return to the familiar, to want to feel that special feeling again, but it’ll never be the same ever again. If, in a couple of years, he and his ex reunited they’d be different people with new experiences and the relationship would need to be redefined. You never know what’ll happen–just know you can’t go back.
I know the young man I spoke with, will be fine in the long term. The short term is difficult though as choices were made for him that he didn’t ask for.
He is working so hard to stay up-right and functional. I’m proud of him for reaching out and being real.
Sometimes it feels like you’re grasping at straws but there were a few positives to take into consideration and be thankful for. Namely:
- The young lady in question obviously dug deep for the courage to be honest and I so admire that. It takes a lot of guts to admit feelings have changed. Imagine how hard that would be to say to someone you still care for.
- There were no children involved–this is a huge plus.
- The break up happened prior to marriage. The couple was living together and co-owned some things together but there’s no divorce or significant joint property that will take lawyers/money to settle.
- An opportunity to move on and find the one who will be your life partner.
- When a break up happens and you’re in a place of disbelief and agony there is a pin-prick of light if you look for it. Often it comes from friends, faith, or self discovery. If you’re on the bottom there’s only one direction left to go.
Care for yourself.
Keep the lines of communication open with your family and friends.
Don’t become a hermit.
I’m so sorry you have to go through this but please know that it WILL get better.
(((Huge virtual Auntie Hugs)))
10 thoughts on “Break-up Blindside! How to Stay Strong and Survive the Pain.”
This is very well crafted. Excellent, well considered advice. Thank you, Auntie!
And Thank You John for stopping by to read and comment. That means a lot. Nice to “meet” you.