Dear Tuffy Love,
A week or so ago, my friend’s boyfriend of three and a half years broke up with her citing that he “wanted to experience college and allow her to do the same.” Every day last week consisted of her crying. My roommate is her best friend from high school, so she is always in my room. We all eat together, work out together and hangout together when we aren’t in class. I’m trying to stay supportive and deal with the negativity, but in the past few days she’s taken her obsession with this breakup to a new level.
She looks at their old pictures, messages and all of his things that she has. She not only will log into and stalk all of his accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), but because she bought his phone, she can (and will) constantly look at where he is using the GPS. Why? To make sure he isn’t with other girls! All I hear anymore is her ex’s name, how the next girl has big shoes to fill and that she wants him to realize how good he had it. She has almost forgotten that she’s her own person. She doesn’t seem to understand that he does NOT want to be with her, although it’s obvious to everyone else around.
I know people heal at different speeds, but this type of grieving is almost excessive. I don’t know how to act around her, but I feel like this is unhealthy and it is really starting to bother me. I have to keep up my studies and the negative energy of this breakup is killing me. I’ve been mentally drained, on edge, and ready to snap lately. All the advice my friends and I give her goes through one ear and out the other. I want to be a good friend, but I don’t know if there’s really anything I can do anymore. Please please please help me!
Dear Clueless Consoler,
Well, I mean, it’s only been a week. Honestly, I think you should cut the girl a little slack. Three and a half years is a long time to be in a relationship, and Aunt Tuffy is guessing she thought she’d be spending the rest of her life with him. So, yeah, she’s not going to be over it in one week. And, frankly, if she seemed to be over it in one week, I’d be worried for her. But she’s not in denial. She’s upset. Like, super upset. Like, scary upset.
And that’s where I agree with you. She has GOT to chill the floop out. She DEFINITELY should NOT be cyberstalking him. No good can come of that. She’s either going to get upset or get in trouble. Either way is poop. So maybe that’s a good way to broach things with her. Tell her you’re worried she’s making it worse for herself by checking all his accounts (and the GPS–geez!!!) and that it actually could get her in trouble with school or even with the law if she’s not careful. Tell her (GENTLY!!!!!!!!) to put down the devices and come out for a cup of coffee.
And then limit her venting to over that cup of coffee. Once that session is over, don’t be available to her for the rest of the day (or couple of days, whatever works for you). Be completely there for her during her venting session with you. Be totally present and understanding and sympathetic and let her talk all she wants. Give her an hour of your time to vent. That’s being a good friend. And then take the rest of your time to do your work and live your life. That’s being a reasonable person.
Don’t let her problems overwhelm you. It would be one thing if she’d had a real tragedy in her life, but everyone experiences breakups. It sucks ash, but every single person goes through it multiple times. It’s absolutely reasonable for her to be upset, especially after only a week. And that’s the key: She’s got to grieve, but you don’t have to grieve with her.
Hearts & Skulls,
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