The other night, while watching my new favorite show Parenthood, I started bawling. I always cry a little while watching that show, but this particular episode really got to me because in it, 18-year-old Haddie is dumped by her 20-year-old boyfriend Alex. He breaks up with her simply because he fell out of love with her. He isn’t a jerk about it at all; in fact, it’s clear to see that it breaks his heart to hurt her. He just doesn’t have feelings for her anymore. What was once there simply is not anymore.
I think the reason this hit me so hard is because… well, for one, I’m pregnant, but that’s besides the point. It was devastating to me because I was watching it from the perspective of both Haddie and also her mother, who is pained by her daughter’s heartache.
Daughter, I’m gonna give it to you straight: this kind of breakup is the worst kind there is. When a boy dumps you, you almost want it to be the result of something you’ve done wrong, so you know exactly what happened that made him want to leave. But when he tells you he no longer is attracted to you, it’s so hard not to feel badly about yourself. You’ll ask yourself questions over and over again: “Does he think I’m ugly now? Did I annoy him? Is there someone else?” And there’s no real closure, because you can’t pinpoint the exact moment that everything went south. But it did and the man you cared about is gone.
Now I’m depressed.
But there actually is a bright side to this. Because what happens after the breakup can be one of the most uplifting, character-building opportunities you’ll ever experience. This is when the people who love you—who will always love you no matter what—come to your side to support you and help you realize that you are wonderful, just not meant for this particular man. It’s when you look back at the things you could have done differently, the result of which will benefit future relationships. It’s when you come to a point where you can choose to keep wallowing and wondering, or you can get back on your feet and move on. You will survive this, after all. It will get better every day, and someday, believe it or not, you’ll stop thinking about it altogether.
I’ve had a few of these painful breakups in my past, and I know I’m a much stronger woman because of them. I can handle rejection better because I’ve lived through it and survived it. Plus, now that I have a man who couldn’t be more perfect for me, I’m so grateful that it didn’t end up working out with those guys. I’m grateful that they helped pave the way to a loving, fruitful marriage, to a man who loves me without fail.
It pains me to think that you might someday experience a breakup like the one Haddie did. But I know you will bounce back from it and will be stronger because of it. And any time you need to hear a reason why you are worthy to be loved… well… I’ll give you a million and one.