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Posted on Nov 8, 2011 in Dear Diary | 78 comments

Post Mortem

It’s about to get serious up in hurr, so I offer the following picture to ease you into it. You’re welcome.

sadface

What with all the hair dyeing, binge drinking, cupcake face-stuffery, and vague allusions, you may have surmised that things have been a little off with me lately. Well, you would be correct. I’ve been trying to wait, take a breath, and let my most volatile feelings about the situation subside before tackling it on the interwebs, but in the end I figure, hey, it’s my blog and I can cry if I want to.

You are probably well-aware of the fact that I am a rather, er, emotionally charged person. I just have a lot of feelings. And while I don’t want to rant, rave, or divulge too much for fear of any libelous/slanderous/true accusations I’ve put forth on the interwebs coming back to bite me in the ass, this blog is about my life. And this has been a significant part of it, so here it is.

A week ago, my relationship with my boyfriend of almost three years ended. I wasn’t blindsided. We both knew that things hadn’t been great for a while. But for whatever reason, call it optimism or merely naΓ―vetΓ©, I still had hope. I thought we were worth saving, and I still wanted to try. Unfortunately, as many clichΓ© sayings and rom-coms have taught me, it takes two to tango. And ultimately it just wasn’t enough.

I have a lot of mixed emotions wrapped up in this breakup. After all, three years is a substantial chunk of my life! Right at this moment, it’s difficult for me not to feel like it’s time that’s been wasted. Objectively, I know that’s not true. I know that I’ve grown because of this relationship, that I’ve learned things about myself that I might not have otherwise. Objectively, I understand what’s happened. I even get why it had to happen. But the thing is — and it may shock you to learn this — I’m really not a very objective person. So I’m hurt, and I’m sad, and most of all I am angry. Not so much at why it ended (I know that there is plenty of blame to go on both our shoulders), but I’m angry at HOW it ended. At the way it was handled, at what’s happened since.

The sadness, I can deal with. I’m handling the hurt, the blows dealt to my self-esteem, the loss of a friend. But the anger? I don’t really know how to deal with this. I’m not asking for a justification or rationalization of my feelings. I know I’m allowed to–no, entitled to feel this way. But it’s still just a lot to handle, even for someone who runs the gamut of her emotions as frequently as I do.

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep busy. I’m attempting to divert the self-pity and rage with a full schedule, and it does help. I have plenty of emo songs queued up on Spotify, and that helps too. I’m also taking solace in the fact that for once in my life, I’m not turning to food to soften the blow (wine, on the other hand…)

I know this isn’t the end of the world. I know that I’m young, that I have lots of life left to live and plenty more heartbreak to endure (oh, goody.) But this was my first real, serious, committed relationship, and it’s over. That sucks. The fact of the matter is that breakups are hard. I don’t know if some of you are questioning my decision to broadcast this so openly on the blog, but I needed to. This is me, after all. I needed to chronicle this chapter of my life coming to a close.

Fall

So we mourn, and eventually, we move on.

78 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry:( And I just gave you that cute Hello Kitty book too:( Wish I were there to give you lots of hugs, talk about it, and then watch P & P 600 times in a row. I love you. <3

  2. I can’t really offer any help. Because breakups suck and there is no getting around that. Even if they were a long time coming and for the best. They still suck.

    As always, e-mail me/gchat me if you need to talk about anything. Even if you just need to spew the feelings that you are DEFINITELY entitled to.

    Hugs. Love. And lots of puppy kisses.

  3. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your relationship. It does take two to tango. It seems like you know what you need to do to move on. The heart and the mind don’t always cooperate with each other though. I normally throw myself into work/friends/family when I’m emotionally vulnerable and try to avoid emotional binging.

  4. Oh Gretchen. You poor thing – that really, really sucks. I’m sorry. I think most of us women have been there and gotten through it, and you will too.

    When I was 21 I ended a 3-year relationship, and like you I was just so angry about it. I was angry for a really long time, too. Just let yourself feel what you feel for now and be gentle with yourself – but in time, in the next few weeks/month, when you start to move out of survival mode, start some new patterns in your life to help you adjust. Use your anger and your energy and channel it into your upcoming race, for instance.

    Also, right now what you are feeling is normal. The anger, the grief, and loneliness – it’s all normal. No matter how “off” things were in the relationship and no matter how much better off you both are single, it’s going to take a lot of time (and negative emotions) to adjust to the loss. Just take things one day at a time.

    I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but a lot of your posts remind me of myself when I was your age and in that newly single post-college wasteland. I do want to tell you though that it gets better! I think you will be just fine. πŸ™‚

  5. I don’t know about you but I created my blog as a therapeutic outlet for myself first and as an entertaining read for the masses as a close second so I don’t see anything wrong with posting about your break-up. It’s your blog and if people did have a problem with it, it takes absolutely no effort to walk away and stop reading.

    I’m sorry to hear about your break-up, they suck and all of the emotions you are feeling are not only normal but healthy. I can only hope you bounce back quickly because you are an awesome gal and you’ve got your whole life in front of you!

    <3 Jamie (long time lurker, first time commenter)

  6. I’m really sorry to hear about the breakup, they definitely suck but things will get better which I am sure you already know. πŸ™‚ I completely understand the anger you’re dealing with, I once had a guy break up with me over the phone after being together for 5 years. He called back two hours later apologizing saying he wanted to get back together. It’s laughable now but at the time I was beyond angry.

    I think it’s great that you’re willing to share your life with your followers & if anyone has anything negative to say about that then screw ’em.

    Chin up!

  7. I have to scroll back to the picture of the puppy because I am tearing up! Gretchen, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I’ve had my share of “Boys Suck” moments and I’d be glad to start a club with you!

    Keep your chin up! You’re amazing!

  8. Im so sorry your heart is broken and the situation didn’t end well. Unfortuantly the only thing that (I have found to help) is time.
    But I will say you seem to be an awesome lady! and what is meant to be, will be.
    Glad you are keeping busy and not turning to food (thats what I do haha)
    Keeping moving and focusing on your goals!

  9. sending hugs and cupcakes. Let yourself heal. One tip that helped me with my last breakup: I took a box of Christmas cards I’d bought on sale and realized I’d never send to people and each day wrote a card to my ex. Sometimes it was just one sentence: how could you do this to me? and sometimes it was a letter about how much I missed our friendship. We lived in the same building so I always saw his car. I knew I was better when I no longer wanted to do bad things to his car. Christmas cards are dirt cheap at Rite Aid right now. I think I still have the cards I wrote, somewhere…

    But oh, that sucks. And right before Thanksgiving. I like how you softened the blow with the cute dog picture.

    xo,
    Suzi

  10. That’s really unfortunate to hear. Breakups are really tough to deal with and I wish I could offer you some help, I truly do.
    I know that you say that you are overly emotional, but all I see when I read your blog is a very strong woman. You will get through this. I know it.

  11. Ohh, I am so sorry about what you are going through. I know it isn’t easy but I also know you are strong. You continue to be you and continue to accept the lessons you willearn (sounds silly and something like mom would say, but I know it’s true). And if it helps at all, it is on to be angry! It’s healthy to go through that little stage. You are great, remember that.

    You picture yu posted made me think of the song “Smile”. Just smile πŸ™‚

  12. Aw Gretchen, this post made me so sad. I understand those feelings you’re having and it’s just a terribly unfun place to be. I know it feels awful but you’re so young and fun and pretty – you’ll find someone who appreciates you for you when you’re ready to be with someone again. Also, if you ever want to get together – so the pups can finally meet and become BFF’s – let me know. I have the world’s worst break up story and while it’s old (like me) I think it will give you some hope that things definitely get a billion times better from what you’re feeling right now.
    Big hugs! <3

  13. I’m so sorry to hear that your relationship has ended πŸ™ Losing someone, especially someone you’ve been so close to for so long, is always really hard and it’s impossible not to be hurt by it. You’re really strong and you’ll be able to come out of this stronger than ever. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy <3

    • (PS. I’m commenting from work and hope to god the YouTube clip you linked to was the one from Mean Girls, otherwise I’ll have made no sense.)

      • Haha, no worries. That’s EXACTLY where it links to. Great minds… πŸ™‚

  14. I’m sorry you are going through this. It’s never easy to handle the change that comes along with a break-up. I hope you can get over the anger because it’s always hardest to deal with an emotion you aren’t used to feeling.

  15. What a bummer. So sorry you’re going throught that right now. Try to keep your head up. A good attitude is the best way to get through any tough situation! (((hugs)))

  16. So sorry, Gretchen! I know how hard it is to go through something like this, and you will get through it (no matter how much you don’t want to hear that right now!) Sounds like you’re dealing with it the best way – keeping busy, and keeping a bottle of wine within arms’ reach! You’re awesome, and it’ll just be a matter of time before someone else comes along! Everything happens for a reason (something I go back and forth on all the time – does it really?!?! Anyway…) Hugs and love to you!

  17. Gretchen, I wasn’t aware that had happened and am sorry to hear you’re going through this. Don’t let something like this sideline you from your goals in life, as you’ll look back on this in ten years and find the silver lining. As for the anger, run your heart out. Run until your lungs hurt. Run until your legs feel wobbly. It’ll be the best way to get the aggression out without overdrinking/eating/dating. And then realize that you really are a special girl and that, in ten years, you’ll be happily with whomever your forever guy is and won’t remember this as anything more than a blip on the radar map. Long-term relationships like this really do serve a lot of purposes, other than the heart-break you feel when one ends. I was in a couldn’t-get-enough-of-each-other-but-very-volatile-5-year relationship once and it let me know what I did and did not want in a partner later on. A few years down the road, I was introduced to Dave-o and knew he hit on all the qualities that I learned I did want. From your relationship with He Who Should Not Be Named (no, he’s not at all like Voldemort, but I am trying to make you laugh), you’ll learn what qualities you want in your relationships and it’ll also be something that can be introspective in that you’ll know what to bring to the table. Anyway, I know it sucks right now and I’m sorry you’re hurting. If it helps – You’re looking HOT girlfriend! Keep it up. If you need to chat, you know how to reach me.

  18. I’m sorry Gretchen πŸ™ I know it’s tough now, but it sounds like it was for the better, so you just have to stick out the hardest part and know you’re doing the right thing.

  19. Ok so I thought this was going to be able one of your dogs dying and I almost didn’t read it. That being said, I’m happy that both pups are alive but the death of a relationship always sucks (especially one as long as yours was) I have no words of wisdom other than keep your chin up!

  20. I’m sorry Gretchen. It’s a crappy thing to go through. Hugs to you.

  21. (((hug)))

    I am so sorry to hear that you are going through such a sad and emotional time of your life right now. I echo what everyone else has said in the comments. You are an amazing chica! Keep ya head up girlie.

    (((hug again)))

  22. *hugs* to the Gretchen. Time helps but it will just kind of suck in the meantime. That is what wine and friends are for!

  23. Well that totally and absolutely and completely sucks. Not the most eloquent way of putting it – but it does. Just keeping being you…and you are totally entitled to these feelings. Let me know if you want to get together and drink some wine together!

  24. Hey Gretchen, I’m really sorry to hear about the break up. I can totally relate; I was in a 4 year relationship, and he ended things earlier this year. It sucked, I was hurt, but in the end, I’m better off. If the relationship’s not right, its not right. There’s someone even better out there for you!

  25. I’m SO NOT questioning your decision to voice this on the blog – it’s your prerogative! πŸ™‚ And yes, I did follow that phrase up in my head with “It’s Britney b*tch!” lol

    BTW, I totally know how you feel on the whole 3/12 years is a long time, I thought that was something worth saving thing. I felt the same way about the very first guy I dated. Next thing you knew I had been in an 8 1/2 year relationship that should have probably only been 3 years.

    Looking back I wish it had ended much sooner. So for what it’s worth – it really is best to walk away from something that’s not working.

    Anywho . . . *hug*

  26. Aww, Gretchen I’m so sorry. I know you’re probably not feeling stellar about this right now but time really does fix everything. I also believe that everything happens for a reason even if we can’t see that reason from where we are at the time.

    If you ever need a distraction, I’m available. Maybe we should organize a dog party and get all your readers and their dogs together for a massive cuteness fest. There can be wine involved.

    • I think that dog party idea is FABULOUS. We need to make it happen. Forreals.

  27. Ugh…so sorry, even though it sounds like it was the right decision for both of you. Wish I could give you a big squishy hug!

  28. So sorry to hear you are going through this Gretchen. It takes a lot of courage to share how you actually feel about your breakup. It’s hard not to be angry when things end. There’s no cliche phrase that will make that feeling going away. But friends and good karoke sessions always help (I always liked Pink’s “So What” for these situations…maybe that makes me a tad dorky).

  29. πŸ™

    I’m happy you have your lovely little pups to smother you with love right now.

  30. So sorry Gretchen! Thinking of you.

  31. Oh gurrrl, I have been there. Last year I broke up with my first serious boyfriend from college (or rather, he broke up with me) and, like you, I kind of saw it coming, but I was still DEVASTATED. The light at the end of the tunnel: it gets better! Spend time with friends and family, cry, treat yourself to a pedicure, focus on your race (!!), and eventually things will get to a new (better!) normal. AND!! you’ll find someone else (icing on the cake).

  32. I was so worried about your pup when I saw the opening pic!!! Relationships ending are the hardest. I can totally relate. BUT, something great is on its way to you…. I can feel it! Keep your head up, my dear!

  33. I think we are very similar. I’m so, so emotional and so, so not objective and heartbreaks suck the big one no matter what. I think your decision to put it out there was great. Carrying untold emotions around is just too much work. Just the act of opening up about something always makes me feel better. That why I write and it’s more or less why I blog.
    It sounds like you’re handling this incredibly well and doing what YOU need to do to get through it, which is exactly the right first step. We’re all here for you!

  34. Gretchen, I’m so sorry to hear that! Thanks for sharing with us, because I’m sure that wasn’t easy. But as you can see from all the comments above, you have tons of support here! When my last boyfriend and I broke up, I totally thought that it was the end of the world, but then I met a great guy who is 467 million (that is a factual statistic ;)) times better than him to me. You will find the same, and be oh so happy! Enjoy being single-ready-to-mingle-Gretchen while it lasts, because I’m sure someone will scoop you up in no time!

  35. Gretchen gurrrl, you are so utterly fabulous, beautiful, smart, articulate and talented! I know you’re hurting now but soon you will see there are soooo many fish in the sea and many more for you, if you want them. Believe in yourself! Take care.

  36. I’m so sorry to hear about this, Gretchen. No words can console you through heartbreak really but…time heals. I hope you start feeling better sooner rather than later.

  37. I’m sending lots of sparkles your way. Breakups are hard, expected or not, with fault or not. I hope you feel better very soon <3

  38. Awww Gretchen – I wish I could take all the pain from you and smush it into a ball and send it far far away. You are amazing!!! I’m here if you need anything – running partner or sushi partner!

  39. I’m sorry to hear that. It sucks and will suck for awhile, no doubt.

    My first real relationship lasted 6 years (started dating when we were 18) and it ended over the phone. I had to ASK him if it was over. And then he took up with a girl I knew and proposed to her about 8 months later. Thay’re divorced now. Life goes on! πŸ˜‰

    But anyway, take care of yourself. One day it just won’t hurt as much. That’s a great day.

  40. I’m so sorry to hear this Gretchen :(. I really cannot imagine how you must be feeling. I will say a little prayer for you.

    Can I offer a consolation? I do have 2 cases of that La Croix stuff that I bought on sale at Target and I don’t like it!!! I tried just one yesterday and it, to me, tasted horrible. One is in coconut and one is in cran-raspberry. Let me know if you want it – I’d be happy to meet you anywhere to hand it off. That way, you can drown your sorrows in that instead of wine?? Better calorie bang for your buck!

    • Wow, I won’t say no to that!! Email me, maybe we can meet up for a coffee or something too?

  41. Gretchen,

    I know exactly how you feel when you mentioned the anger, and the feeling of “did I just waste three years??”. Although I can say that I’ve never had a serious long-term boyfriend (the longest one lasted about 9 months, and I **know** I did not waste time there because I learned a whole lot about what I did **NOT** want in a relationship), I have seen my twin sister go through a terrible breakup in which the guy she dated for four years broke up with her via text message the week before she was flying out to see him graduate from SEAL school. I kept wondering if she felt the same way.

    And the anger. OH the anger! All I can say is sometimes it goes away, sometiems it doesn’t. (That doesn’t sound encouraging at all; but you just have to find something to channel your anger into, and for me, that was working out, which lead to me loosing 90 pounds!) What made me the angriest is that I knew I was loosing someone who I wanted to be friends with for forever. I could try and be foolish and say we could still be friends, but it never worked. It was always too painful to see them happy with someone else.

    I hope you find some peace in all this. We’ll be cheering for you πŸ™‚

  42. Sending love and positive energy your way, lady!! You’re going to get through this. It’s ok for it to really Fing suck for a while. You don’t have to pretend it doesn’t. ♥

  43. Thanks for sharing this with us. Ugh! Hug your pups a lot!

    I love the new hair! I think it’s very flattering.

  44. All I can do is ditto everyone above. You have a fabulous crew of caring hearts here, so dig in to our big hug.

  45. Hair dying, wine, cupcakes…sure signs of something big.

    I can’t offer any revelations that anyone else has not already said. Read some Douglas Adams, run and snorgle puppies. And if you need to get away I am happy to dye hair and drink wine with you in Baltimore.

  46. Dearest Gretchen:

    I’m glad that you decided to share. Just as JOY is multiplied when it’s shared with others, SADNESS can be lightened by sharing as well.

    I’m praying the “Peace that passes all understanding” over you, Dear One. This means, that you too can receive the PEACE that comes only from the Lord, even if you can’t explain it. You may not understand it, but you will know when you have it.

    Blessings upon you and all whom you hold dear. (Even the “peeps” with 4 legs!)

    Cheri

  47. Oh Gretchen. I’m so sorry to hear. Trust me, I can relate. Let’s get together this week or next? I miss you!

    • Definitely. Drinks Friday night? Email or text me!

  48. I saw a tweet of yours a couple of weeks ago and wondered if this was what you were going through, but how weird would it have been to ask? I’m sorry. Breaking up is different sort of animal – one that I never handled very well. I think you’re spot on in trying to stay busy. I think you’ve learned along this weight loss endeavor that you’re worth more than the way outward appearances and relationships might try to pigeonhole you as. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Keep moving toward it.

    On a totally unrelated and slightly creeperish note, I watched a pretty horrible Hallmark Channel movie the other day and the lead character reminded me so much of you! This girl in this sappy Christmas movie (don’t ask how I got sucked in!).

    • Haha, that’s the actress who plays Kaylee from Firefly, and I love her! I’ll take that as a compliment!

      • Oh, yes. Definitely meant as a compliment! She was cute as a button!

  49. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. It sucks – and you can talk about or not talk about it on here, as much as you want. It’s your space, and I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with that.
    I get where you are coming from… really. I had a *major* breakup when I was your age, which was my first big relationship as well. He ended it – (I was living in England, btw – WITH him), and then I got sucked back into it all when he backtracked a few days later. That didn’t last long, and I kicked him to the curb – after he proposed to me(Oh yes – to “make it up to me”!) – and anyways, that jerkizoid is dead to me now. We stayed friends for a bit, but I see now what a L-O-S-E-R he really was. I had a lot of anger as well – and all I can say is, it did WONDERS for my weight-loss at that time. (An angry Angie is an active Angie, what can I say?!). So, there’s that.

    (I’ve just been catching up with your posts from the past couple of days… btw – I LOVE the new hair color).

    Hang in there. It gets better.

    ~

  50. So sorry to hear this! I’ll be thinking of you.

  51. Thanks for sharing! I love your blog for its honesty and bear-it-all approach, so kudos to you for not only sharing, but for using your writing as a therapeutic tool. We’ve all been there (as evidenced by the large number of comments), but there’s no healer greater than time. Hoping time flies for you on this one! XOXO

  52. So sorry to hear the news, Gretchen. I feel like sharing it on your blog was brave and I hope that putting it out there helps you more forward. I am big fan of keeping busy in times of emotional upset. I find that being pissed off and sad makes for excellent running fuel, and it’s oddly cathartic to cry and run at the same time… that’s just from one overly emotional girly to another. Keep busy, but don’t forget to schedule some time in your busyness for a little grieving. Wishing you ease in the adaptations and changes you are experiencing in day to day life.

    Love and light!

  53. Ugh. Breaking up blows! I don’t have any kind words or uplifting words. I really believe in just being miserable for a little bit (why is this so awful?!) and then just getting back into gear. It stinks. Chin up. Things will get better and that anger will pass. We are here for ya!

  54. Hi! You don’t know me, I don’t know you, but I feel your pain. Must be something in the air, or the time of year.. don’t know, but had the same thing happen to me. 6 years down the drain..

    No words will make you feel any better, thoughts of the future blur your vision, and the past tends to be hard to stomach. Just take it one day at a time, think of the NOW and keep pushing!!

  55. I’m really sorry to hear about your loss, other people’s break ups always make me feel so sad, almost as is it were my own. Now I could offer words of wisdom (not that I really have any haha) and tell you to forget about it and focus on yourself and to picture yourself on an island full of hot men waving you with a fan and feeding you fancy pineapple-y beverages to ignore the pain.. but i won’t (though the last part doesn’t sound half bad haha πŸ˜‰ ) I share with you now a real jewel of wisdom from a certain episode of Greys Anatomy: “Everyone told me I was better off without him. It’s not supportive, it’s condescending”. So feel your feelings, drink your wine, eat your cupcakes, mope around in your pj’s and watch trashy tv if you really want to (just don’t gain 20 pounds from binge drinking like I did during a similar situation 3 years ago πŸ˜‰ ) But most of all, just know that there are people here for you. I’ve only been reading your blog for the past 3-4 weeks, but we’re the same age and you are so easy to relate to on so many levels. There are people all over who are here for you during this hard time πŸ™‚

  56. the dirty dog and Im not sorry I said it!!!!!!!!1

  57. Awww, Gretch! I’m sorry to hear about the breakup, but you will feel better in no time and move on with your awesome journey. Let’s get some sushi! Sushi fixes everything =)

  58. Aww Gretchen. I’m sorry but it sounds like you objectively know it was for the best. The emotions will work themselves out in their own time.

    In the meantime enjoy some fun time with your pups and family.

  59. Unanswered prayers Gretchen. Some day it will all make sense and you will be thankful.

    Hugs.

  60. Sending hugs your way.

  61. Boooo! Just boo, relationships are weird.

  62. I’m so sorry, Gretchen. My first serious relationship ended after 4.5 years and bam- nothing but hurt and anger. You’re right though, it wasn’t time wasted at all! And over the next few months, years, etc., I’ve come to be so thankful that it ended when it did and not in a divorce down the road. You’re strong. You’re hot. You’re funny. And you’ve got wine! Sending huge hugs your way!

  63. Aww boo bear πŸ™ You know I love you and am behind you 100%. I know you’ve been having such a hard time with this break up and I hope writing about makes you feel better. Sometimes just letting it all off your chest helps ya know?

    Anger is the hardest part to overcome. At least for me when a relationship ends. I can cry out the sadness and overcome the hurt, but the anger is hard. Time (and wine, obviously wine) helps.

    oh and so does theatre dates with a sexy red head. At least that’s what I’m told πŸ˜‰

  64. I’m so sorry! I know that this is a difficult time for you. And all the emotions you are having are perfectly normal. It is hard to deal with them but with time they will pass. You did not waste that time. It was a learning experience for you in some way.

    You are a strong woman with so much potential when you are ready the guys will be beating down you’re door. In the meantime enjoy the wine, your friends, your dogs, and know that hugs and prayers are coming your way!

  65. Oh Gretchen I am so so sorry!!! Earlier this year my bf of nearly three years and I also broke up and I was a mess. I never blogged about it because I just couldn’t bring myself to write about it. Keeping busy definitely helped me get my mind off things, so if you need a blogger meet up holler at your DC blogger girls and I’m sure we’ll be happy to get you out of the house and get your mind off things!

  66. Breakups are tough, because even if they “make sense”, do they ever really make sense? Understanding never really fits in with the whole ending of a relationship, because your heart isn’t built for understanding like our brains are.

    It’ll all turn out alright. I find that I deal with anger best when I do something physical – maybe now is the time to kick up that training for the 15k?

  67. I am SOO sorry. I was just a little younger than you when my first “serious” boyfriend broke up with me after we had been together three years. We had been living together, and he dumped me two days before my twenty-second birthday. He told me it was because i was sick. (It turned out to be lupus, but we didn’t know that at the time. I was just — sick. And he “wasn’t strong enough.” Or that’s what he said. Of course, there were plenty of other reasons, all of them perfectly legitimate, but I didn’t know that then.)

    Man, I was furious. And truly appalled. I couldn’t believe I had just spent three years with a man so thoroughly wanting — as, in my innocence, it seemed to me then — in courage and character.

    I think most relationships, when they end, do so an unsatisfactory way. That is, I think it’s usually not just the fact of the breakup but the way that it happens that hurts us so terribly. Whatever way that is.

    I don’t mean to suggest that our complaints about “how it happened” are not real or valid, but rather that there is no way to experience a breakup that does not involve some kind of distress that is specifically linked to the particular circumstances surrounding the breakup.

    And quite often those circumstances represent a kind of a double-edged sword. That is, the very circumstance that offers the most solace may also give rise to the greatest unhappiness. Because I was told that my illness — and my boyfriend’s want of “strength” — were the reason for our breakup, I was spared some of the hurt that would surely have attended a different kind of conversation. “I don’t love you anymore,” for example, or “I’m interested in somebody else.” But if that narrow understanding of the situation reduced the sense of hurt and rejection, it also increased the sense of having been wronged — of having been not just hurt, but treated badly. And because my boyfriend exhibited such grief and almost — I don’t know, despair — over our parting, I was terribly confused. On the one hand, it was comforting and flattering, but on the other hand — why break up at all if that wasn’t what either of us wanted? Was all this anguish really necessary?

    I don’t suppose any of that really helps. Whether you are angry because you feel hurt, or because you feel confused, or because you feel you have been treated badly, anger is part of what you experience when you go through a breakup. For many of us, I think, it’s the worst part, the hardest part.

    I’ll close by telling you what you already know: like all emotions, anger is subject to change. You won’t have to feel this way for long.

    One other thing: you don’t know what is going to happen next. I broke another college boyfriend’s heart when I was nineteen. Nineteen years later I married him. We were married just a few yards from the place we had first met. We are very happy.

    Take care! My heart goes out to you!

  68. Ugh, it’s never, ever, ever fun. But, from someone who was there about 5 months ago, I can tell you for a fact that it gets better. In fact, it gets pretty damn awesome and I think you will really enjoy being single at this time of your life. I am having a blast!! If you ever need to talk, call me!

  69. Hi Gretchen,

    I discovered your blog a little while ago. Like many of your other readers, I was touched by your post. Having your heart broken by someone is never pleasant, no matter what the particulars; but, it does get easier (It did for me, anyway). The first time is definitely the worst, but you learn to move on. I had two relationships fall apart back to back; each about a year apart. I even had one guy stand me up on my birthday–definitely a low point. The time is not wasted–trust me on this one. I worked on myself (almost completed my PhD and lost weight by working out), got better at identifying men who I did not want to date, AND (here’s the really good part) met my husband shortly thereafter. If I had not had those horrible experiences, I don’t know that I would have recognized what a great catch he was from the beginning. More importantly, I began to realize that I deserved someone who treated me well, as my husband does. So, hang in there, keep working toward your goals and know you are truly worth someone who is as good and exceptional as you are. Happy Thanksgiving. πŸ™‚

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