It happened. My oldest is suffering their first heartbreak. The fledgling relationship they were in came to an end a few weeks ago. All the sad signs have ensued. They’ve slipped up in school, spending all their time in their rooms listening to music, mooning around and lashing out at us.
They finally admitted the breakup to me a few days ago. I felt bad because I could tell how down they were. All I could do was understand. Because lord knows I’ve been there before. How hard it is. How by the wayside you feel. How you’re sure no one has ever felt like this before.
The only thing I could promise them was that it wouldn’t be the last time. And it won’t ever get easier especially if you care for that someone. And that down the road lurks the one, the one breakup that cuts your heart out with surgical precision and leaves you reeling for air, trying to survive. It’s undebatable and unavoidable.
All that and it still may be for the best. That no matter how hard it is, how hollow you feel, staying strong is the best and healthiest course of action. The signs or manipulations or betrayals or abuses or gut instincts that caused the breakup were real and they didn’t go away in the face of this seductive heartbreak. They’ll be right back when the waters calm.
It’s the hardest kind of self-preservation. Failed by many. And just knowing something better, truer, is around the corner is rarely enough to beat the cry of loneliness and need. Those who are most successful at this fickle game called relationships are the ones who beat these demons finally breaking free of unhealthy habits.
Flash forward a few days. The two young exs are still friends so we suggested inviting her over to hang out as friends. Get to know each other as friends and take away all this grown up stuff that even the grown ups can’t figure out. Worry about the second part of that word, friend.
Where you laugh together, like roll on the ground silly laugh together. Where you can sit quietly because it’s comfortable and not feel that sticky feeling of needing to fill the silence with words. Where you know their interests and they yours. Where you can’t wait to tell them things that you did that day and you’re excited to hear what they’ve done. When they can order dinner for you and get it right. Where you know exactly how it feels to settle in next to them on a couch. Or hold their hand. Where it’s hard to imagine life without them and not just out of habit. That’s the real stuff.
Then worry about the girl side of that word.
And know it never gets any easier.
None of it.