It seems like everyone’s got a little nugget of wisdom they want to share when you’re fresh off a breakup. I know that my friends and family care about me and they hate seeing me sad, but hearing these things over and over again when my heart is broken is seriously not helping.
“You’re better off without him.” While that may be true, it sure doesn’t feel like it right after a breakup. If I’m the one who ended things, it was probably difficult and a painful decision to come to terms with — I don’t need to be told I’m “better off” without someone who was, for a time, really important to me. If I’m the one who was dumped, well, then saying that becomes just downright cruel.
“You should get back in the saddle.” Yeah, that’s super not helpful at the moment. Saying this right after a breakup is like telling someone, “Hey, you were in a car wreck and broke your arm! Why don’t you get back in that car right now and try to drive with that broken arm!” It just doesn’t make sense to recommend taking a broken heart out for a spin two seconds after a relationship ends.
“You don’t need a man.” Okay, true. Nobody needs another human to survive. I know I can make it on my own. That’s not the issue. Don’t salt the open wound of my breakup by insinuating that I look like I can’t survive one more day without a romantic partner. I didn’t need my ex to live, I just wanted him in my life. There’s a difference.
“You were too good for him anyway.” This is equally unhelpful because I just spent months of my life emotionally investing with this person. If you really thought I was too good for him that whole time, why didn’t you voice your opinions sooner? Telling me now doesn’t help me feel better, it just makes me feel worse for choosing someone who you think was beneath me all along.
“He’s not worth your tears.” Whether or not he’s worth them, they’re coming anyway. This won’t make me stop crying and it won’t stop my heart from hurting. This is what happens after a breakup — grief. I can’t stop it, and telling me he’s not worth the heartbreak doesn’t do anything other than make me feel guilty for feeling that grief.
“You need a girls’ night out.” People get over things in their own ways. For some, that might be taking to the town and getting drinks and dancing. For others, it looks a lot more like Netflix on the couch under a fuzzy blanket with periodic trips to the freezer for ice cream. Pressure to conform to someone else’s idea of a good time isn’t helping anyone who’s suffered a recent breakup.
“Don’t waste your time.” My time is my own, and sometimes I don’t have a choice on how to use it. If I’ve been bruised, I’m going to need the time it takes to get over the experience, no matter how that conforms to someone else’s timetable. I get that it’s meant to be a comforting sentiment, but it comes off as very dismissive and doesn’t help me much.
“You’ll find someone better.” That’s not really the point right now, though. I wanted this particular someone until it was clear it wasn’t going to work out. And it not working out doesn’t mean I stopped wanting them. It’s meant well, but it doesn’t come off that way to me. This relationship I’m grieving was important to me.
“At least it ended sooner rather than later.” You could say that about literally any length of time, whether it was two weeks or two years or 20. It doesn’t mean that much unless you’re trying to make a comment on the ebb and flow of the space-time continuum. The end of my relationship doesn’t have anything to do with sooner or later, it has to do with it ending right now.
“Men are trash anyway.” Okay, so uncalled for. Sure, it may be true (according to some points of view!) but if I’m upset over a guy, it doesn’t help to tell me that I’ve invested my heart into a piece of trash. Plus, it erases whatever went wrong between us by blaming it on the fault of an entire gender, which doesn’t seem very fair.
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