Although I spent the majority of the last few days on my couch watching any and every March Madness game that I could (and watching my bracket get worse and worse), I also spent some time talking to a couple different friends who recently went through breakups.
And as I chatted with them, I realized that the phrase “going through a breakup” is so true. Breaking up is not really a one-time conversation where you and your significant other decide to part ways. It’s a process that can take a long time to fully come to terms with.
Both people I talked with this weekend were in relationships that probably needed to end. For one reason or another, things just weren’t working and it was time to let it go. I’ve not dated a lot, but when I have gone through breakups, I’ve definitely gotten to a point where the sadness and mourning of a breakup is a better emotional state to be in than the constant stress and anxiety of being in a bad relationship. At times I’ve felt extreme relief when I knew I was no longer tied to something that was making me so miserable, even though I knew that I would be mopey and heartbroken for a while.
Dating, courtship — whatever you want to call it — is for the purpose of deciding if you should marry someone. Sometimes I think we’re too picky when it comes to whom we should marry, but every once in a while, you come to the realization that things just won’t work with a certain person. So you separate and then deal with the breakup blues, as Lauren Winner puts it.
When you’re in a relationship, that person becomes your best friend — he is the one you share your day with, you plan your weekends around, who has to care what’s going on with you. When you break up, those things go away, and it just takes time to get used to life without them. You’ve probably thought about your future with that person, and those dreams suddenly disappear. Sometimes you feel weary at the thought of having to go through the process of another relationship — it takes time to get to know someone well, and it’s a lot of work. You get angry and try to remember how awful things were — it’s easy to villainize in the pain of a breakup. Or you face loneliness, and sometimes, you begin to remember only the good things about your relationship and you try to convince yourself that things probably weren’t so bad, and “yes, I think we should definitely get back together.”
If you’re going through a breakup, don’t worry. Those back and forth thoughts are normal. It’s a difficult time and one that you probably won’t be over immediately. Wounds will reopen the first time you see her again or if he starts dating someone new.
I advised my friends (because I am very wise, you guys) to take the time they need, to ask the Lord what He has for them to learn through this experience, and to spend time with good friends who will see their situation clearly, even when they can’t. If you’re going through a breakup, pray and ask God to heal your heart, and ask Him to surround you with good community who will help you see that life will be bright again someday. If you trust your family’s input, ask them for their advice as you move forward. Learn from your mistakes, and apply your new wisdom to your next relationship. Do not rebound date. Most of all, trust the Lord. He is good, even when our circumstances aren’t. He loves us and will truly bring us comfort through the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Eventually, those breakup blues will go away. But it takes time. And probably some ice cream.
Copyright 2012 Denise Morris Snyder. All rights reserved.