Enduring the Rain to Appreciate the Sun: On Living with a Broken Heart [Dear DBN]

Is there anything worse than heartache? Arguably yes, but who can argue with the broken-hearted?  This week, it’s time to remember that a broken heart doesn’t mean a broken path.

“I’m a college freshman and I’ve been in a relationship with this one guy since the start of senior year. All my friends thought our relationship was destructive and I’m finally beginning to acknowledge I did make a lot of excuses for him. I think I loved him and still love him. But it’s time to go our separate ways now. As of right now, we are taking time off from each other to think. Come Thanksgiving break, we’re going to meet up and talk. How do I prepare for this? How can I get over him?”

It’s OK to be in love and leave. It’s OK to fall in love with someone who doesn’t treat you right. It’s OK to crave and miss someone who held you back. Love is addicting and misleading and blinding. It is OK to realize you chose poorly. And it is OK to be intimidated by the process of recovery. Love doesn’t make sense, so your breakup doesn’t need to either. You don’t need to list reasons, you don’t need to argue logic, you prepare for the end of a destructive relationship simply by saying, “I’m not happy in this relationship, and I do not want to continue with it.” And you don’t just say that to him, you say it to yourself.

You’ll never have a wider pool of options that your freshman year in college. Literally. You’ll never be surrounded with so many people your age with common interests and values ever again, so enjoy the hell out of it. You know the best way to get over a loss? It’s not just to plan to win the next time… there’s too much time to stew in between.  No, the best way to get over a loss is to have a supportive team that learns from mistakes and knows how to make the down time fun. Now that you’ve lost a round, now that you’re feeling low, it’s time to let your teammates help you back up. Spend all the time you can with the friends who wanted you out of a destructive relationship. Those are good seeds. Spend time getting involved on campus and meeting everyone you can. Go on a bunch of dates; meet all the flavors of the rainbow. Introduce yourself to anyone who looks remotely interesting. Great colleges are like dandelions. Those seeds blow everywhere, and those seeds can help you down the line, if even to offer a couch to stay on when you’re driving across the country.

You’re already prepared and you’ll get over him just fine, so stop focusing on the loss. You’re at the very beginning of the rest of your life.

“I, completely unintentionally, fell for my best guy friend. After a year of turmoil of whether or not to tell him how I felt, I found out from another friend that he had started dating someone we both know. I confronted him about it and he was extremely apologetic, but I am so hurt as to why he kept it from me. I am completely broken. Am I being irrational?”

People keep the things they do not know how to share.  He didn’t tell you he was seeing someone because it would be difficult to tell you and it would hurt you, as it clearly did. Your rationality in this situation is irrelevant – you are in love with someone who is dating someone else. Regardless of circumstance, you would be diagnosed brain dead if this didn’t incur some grave emotions. Your best friend kept a secret from you! That in itself is enough to be hurt, but couple in that you love him and that he’s dating a friend, my dear would you ever be anything but broken?

It’s unclear from your question whether you confessed your feelings, but it’s rather clear from his actions that he was aware of them. The brutal bit is that he didn’t feel the same way. Both sides of that coin sting, there’s no denying that. And since there’s no denying, the best thing you can do is ruminate in the pain with terrible movies, sappy songs, long walks, macaroni and cheese, and then get over it. You fell for someone special who didn’t fall for you and then he treated you with cowardice. There’s no irrationality in sadness. Don’t let anyone gaslight your broken heart. Instead, surround yourself with people who love you and respect you. We too often beat ourselves up for having emotions. Don’t squelch and temper them. Don’t stay in the air-conditioned living room of your heart. Get outside in the rain and thunder so when the sun finally comes out, you can feel it.

CollegeCandy is excited to announce that we’ve partnered up with one of our favorite Tumblrs, DateByNumbers, to bring you some of her very best dating advice. Each week she’ll tackle your questions. Life, love, sex, the real world…nothing will be off limits. To submit a question of your own, visit her “Ask” page and keep an eye on CollegeCandy every Thursday afternoon!

Is He Signaling I Should Ask Him Out? [Ask A Dude]
Is He Signaling I Should Ask Him Out? [Ask A Dude]
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