Wednesday, October 17, 2012
1. “It has nothing to do with you.”
It’s an unfortunate reality that many people who are dumped, despite being utterly broken up over the whole ordeal, were unwittingly the cause of things not working out. Some people just aren’t compatible, and you may happen to be the opposite of things that the person you love is looking for in life. Where they want someone who is more quiet and methodical and reserved, you may be loud and spontaneous and outgoing. And that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you — it only means that you’ll be much better suited to a different relationship. But acting as though, in every case, the breakup happened despite the fact that the two of you were absolutely perfect for each other in every way is just absurd.
2. “You’re better off without them.”
There is no need to qualify people as being “better” or “worse” in the context of a relationship every time there is a breakup. Sure, there are going to come obvious times when someone has escaped from a situation that was hurtful or damaging, but that doesn’t meant that every time a relationship comes to an end, you are automatically better for being single. Sometimes you were very happy, and just as kind and good, when you were with someone else. Just because it ended doesn’t mean you need to trash the person you were when you were coupled up.
3. “They’ll never find someone as good as you.”
It’s a very hard thing to hear, but someone who isn’t like you may be exactly what your recent ex needs, and they may be better than you — not in some objective, ultimate way, but for your ex. There may be someone out there who does and sees things in a way that is just fundamentally easier for them, that makes more sense, and which makes them more happy. That doesn’t mean anything negative about you personally, it only means that when it comes to relationships, “good” and “bad” is about as subjective as anything can be. One person’s brussel sprouts is another person’s red velvet cake, as they say.
4. “[The new person] is a bitch/loser/asshole.”
Especially when a breakup stems from someone finding someone else, the temptation to demonize the new person who came between the two of you is extremely high. It’s easy, and simple, and makes the whole thing fit perfectly into the narrative that works for you. If you can just write off the new person as being a horrible human being, there is nothing wrong with hating them, blaming them for everything, and still preserving the idealized image you have in your head of your ex. It’s never the ex, always the person who stole them away. But the truth is, sometimes we are simply happier with other people — and that’s no one’s fault. If the new person actually is an asshole, fine. But don’t slap that label on an otherwise good person just to make yourself feel better.
5. “You’ll find someone again soon.”
You might not find someone soon. In fact, you could go years without meeting someone with whom you want to be in any serious way. And that doesn’t make you any less worthy — your navigating the emotions of a breakup should not be predicated on waiting for someone to come and make things better. That’s your job.
6. “There’s nothing you could have done.”
What if you did do something wrong? What if you were neglectful, or harsh, or disingenuous, or cold? What if you truly hurt them? It’s possible that you had absolutely no fault in the breakup, but there is also a high chance that you did something at some point that contributed to things ending. And this doesn’t mean you’re a terrible, worthless person who will never love again — it just means that we all make mistakes, and you are one of us. There is something to be learned from here, something you may not want to do again the next time you have someone’s heart. And automatically dismissing your participation in the relationship as being flawless is an easy way to never grow as a person.
7. “You just need to get out there!”
There is going to come a time when people — likely your well-meaning friends — will encourage you to just “get out there.” And by that, they probably mean things like going to bars, getting on dating sites, going out with new people, partying, and having fun. You may want to do these things, they may fit exactly into the vision you had of recovering from the breakup. But you might just want to be alone and reflect, or listen to sad music, or stay at home and watch movies with friends. You may not want to date again for a while — and that’s okay! There is no rule that says you immediately have to start chasing after new opportunities the second your last one has ended. And we all know that bars can be a harsh environment when you’re feeling particularly emotionally frayed and are constantly hovering over your text inbox, moments away from sending an incredibly unfortunate drunk message. It may, in fact, be best to avoid that for a while.
8. “They are going to regret this.”
They might not regret it at all. They might be much happier immediately after the breakup, and — even if they will always think of you fondly — have no interest in rekindling things. It happens to everyone.
9. “Now you get to enjoy the single life!”
If you go through a period in which you find it difficult to enjoy being alone and getting used to doing things by yourself, there is no reason to feel like you’re some terrible hermit who should be locked in a belltower. Sometimes it can be really disorienting to get used to being solo for many of life’s activities, and it can mean enduring a period of sadness and loneliness. It can mean longing to be back in a relationship. It can mean not really enjoying the things you get to do now that you’re no longer tied down. And that isn’t a bad thing — just because you’re not canonballing back into dinners for one, doesn’t mean that you won’t ever get back to normal.
10. “You’ll forget all about this one day.”
There are some people that you’re simply not going to forget. You will always think of the person they were, the person you were when you were with them, and everything you created between the two of you. There will be good things that your brain will tend to favor, brushing over the parts that make you cringe with remorse or embarrassment. You may still get a flicker of nerves when you see their name or a photo of them, when you are reminded that they still exist without you. It’s a risk we all take when we get into relationships, when we allow someone to meet the person we rarely show to those around us. But falling in love is worth taking that risk — and never forgetting someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because one thing that people might not tell you when you break up is that getting over someone doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting they exist, sometimes it just means realizing that you can exist, too.