One of my friends just recently went through a breakup after being in a serious relationship for about four years. Now, although she was the one that initially ended this relationship, parting ways with a person after that much time is never an easy thing to do.
When I saw how she was doing after the breakup she seemed at peace with most of it, it was of course challenging for her, but she seemed content. I knew she was going to be OK, but the way I saw her ex-boyfriend handling it was not something that sat right with me.
Loving someone can be a beautiful, life-changing, magical experience, but it can also be challenging, toxic, and it makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do. Seeing the things my friend’s ex-boyfriend was doing, posting on social media, and what he was saying about my friend made it clear he wasn’t going to handle this the right way.
I understand endings can sometimes come as a surprise, and in the moment your life feels frozen and you aren’t sure what to do. I’ve been there, we all have.
However, there are some certain things that you just don’t you after a breakup, especially after dating someone seriously for four years. And those things are spelled out in the unwritten rulebook for dating that everyone should read, which I am attempting to write some of now.
First of all, after a long relationship, whether that be a year for some people or four years like my friend, you do not, I repeat, DO NOT, turn around and start dating someone else a month after the breakup. This is just childish and disrespectful. Especially if that person broke your heart, you need time to heal, and throwing yourself into a new relationship is something you think will help you take your mind off things, but it is truly disrespectful toward your last partner. Have enough dignity to accept the choice of your previous partner, and take time to focus on yourself and rebuild what you want for yourself. Throwing yourself at someone else right away will only make your previous girlfriend, or boyfriend, realize that they made the right choice after all.
Second of all, even if you didn’t want things to end, or you weren’t ready to go your separate ways, putting your significant other down for the decision that he/she made only makes YOU look bad. In a serious relationship, the other person plays an extremely important role in your life, but you have your own life too, and in the end, you have to do what’s best for your own life because you are the only one that can.
Acting like you never loved the person you were with, saying condescending things about them to friends, or starting false rumors about them only reflects negatively on your character, and once again will probably help the girlfriend or boyfriend that broke up with you realize that they made the right choice.
We are all adults now, and part of being an adult and being invested in a long-term relationship has to do with accepting change, even when it’s so difficult you don’t think you’ll survive it, but accepting that change in your life and theirs, and wishing them the best in what they choose to do, instead of putting them down because they didn’t choose you. If you really loved them, seeing them happy would be the only thing that truly mattered anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, breakups suck. Especially after a long period of time where you have genuine memories and moments with a person that you really love. It hurts. And it will probably hurt for a long time. Everyone has had their fair share of this feeling of heartbreak, but choosing how you show that heartbreak is a way you show others who you really are.
So, the next time someone breaks your heart, or you must make the difficult choice and break the news yourself, try to understand how the other person is feeling too. Because whether you’re the one breaking the heart, or the one getting your heart broken, it's not easy for either of you. Although your special bond is coming to an end, acting disrespectful toward each other will only break that bond permanently and forever.
There is no rulebook when it comes to dating. There is no dating “bible” that one most follow to ensure the success of a relationship. But, in my mind, these acts of simply showing respect and considering the feelings of the other person involved are things that all people invested in serious relationships should be conscious of.
The journey of love is an ongoing journey for some. And if one journey in life closes for you, most likely another door will eventually open up. So, have hope. Just feel blessed you had an opportunity to love and be loved back. Be grateful for the overall experience, and look to the future, instead of putting down people of your past. This is easier said than done, but continue to work on it, because I promise you it’s a better solution than acting like you never loved. Acting like you never loved, is one of the most heartbreaking things you could do to someone, and to yourself.