The way we break up is unhealthy.
Here’s a picture of the common breakup. 2 people date, the boy sits with the girl and tells her a vague reason why it won’t work between them. They both walk away. The boy tells his buddies that she is crazy, so he had no choice but to end it. The girl goes and airs his dirty laundry.
We insult each other. And this makes us feel better. Why?! Well… After WE break up with people, we insult to justify our own decision. We don’t want to think we made a mistake in ending it, so convince ourselves.
On the other end, after BEING rejected, our former partners go from “wonderful” to “terrible losers” in a matter of minutes. We can’t stand to think that a “wonderful” (not-crazy) person would end things with us. So we villainize them in order to help our own ‘healing.’
But that’s not healing.
In 7th grade, my little boyfriend moved schools and didn’t tell me. For us, this meant breaking up. I felt rejected, embarrassed, and hurt, but I couldn’t face that. Instead I went around to everyone I could find and informed them that he was a jerk. I felt better. He had the power before, but I had this new power to change his reputation.
When we break up, it IS easier to insult. Insulting makes us feel like we are claiming the power back. My boyfriend calls this the ‘spirit of rejection’ and you can see it everywhere. When we are fired, we call the bosses jerks. When we are ditched, we say “they’re annoying anyways.” We are hurt and healing, but instead of FACING those real emotions, we cover them up with insults of the people who hurt us. This may help us in the short-term, but it doesn’t heal us in the long-term.
With this 7th grade breakup, the moment someone quipped back “No, he is actually a good guy,” my whole base of self-assurance was threatened. My only comfort was that he was terrible. But if he WASNT terrible, I had no confidence. Maybe I was the worse-off one. Maybe he was great, and was justified in breaking up with me. Maybe this says something about my worth after all. My foundation of healing was so negative. I didn’t feel better, I felt hateful AND unhealed.
Why do we need to insult others in order to feel ‘okay’ in a breakup? I think it’s because we view breakups as an indicator of “I’m desirable and you’re not.” But that makes no sense when every person will not fit with the next. I think instead, we need to realize a few things in order to break up healthily.
First, we do not need to be ‘tough’ and act as if nothing hurts us. We are engrained to desire unbreakable love from romances, since romance was made to be an earthly picture of God’s unconditional love . It is natural to be hurt when our engrained desires are unsatisfied, and it is mature to admit, ‘Yes, that hurt.’
Second, we should not be desirable to everyone. Although watering ourselves down and becoming more ‘normal’ may get us more dates, being ourselves will attract the relationship we crave. We want to be truly known and loved. Some will not want to date you when you are being yourself. But its worth it, because the ones who want to date you, will be wanting the REAL you, and this is the relationship you can thrive in.
Third, when we are true to ourselves, rejection is not something to be feared. Rejection is, instead, a useful filtering process. A break up does not indicate a flaw or a lack of inherent desirability. We are not flawed because we don’t fit with every person. Sure, we all have things we don’t love about ourselves… But I believe our spouses won’t be deterred. For example, one of my ex’s qualities was difficult for me, but I sincerely believe his future wife will either be a game changer or she will appreciate the quality in him.
Finally, if we are broken up with, we can know that this person wasn’t right for us. Why? Because the person who is right for you will realize your unique greatness and will (imperfectly at times) pursue the relationship. If we try to be ourselves, we have nothing to regret. I’ve heard if a person wants you, he will not let anything get in his way…and I believe it.
(Sidenote: if there is abuse, this is different. If you are abused (emotionally or physically), please don’t stay in the relationship. If you are abusing your partner and he/she breaks up with you, there IS something you can improve on.)
With those things realized, we can break up without insulting others. People can be wonderful and not best for us all at the same time. Breaking up is a needed process for the majority of us who don’t marry our first sweetheart. Your worth is not affected when a relationship doesn’t work. Allow yourself to have a better relationship. Not because your ex was terrible, but because there is someone better for you. Wish the former flames well and recognize their greatness, yet know there is something better. Dont stoop lower because it hurts. I know breakups sting, but keep being yourself.
There’s more for you, I promise.