Dr. Jeremy...Breaking up is hard to do.
Apparently there's a whole set of these "Broken Heart" robots. They make me sad.
I wrote this article well over a year ago. Then it sat for months. Then I finished it. Then it sat for almost a year exactly. You can tell it's dated due to this mysterious "Page 3" I keep referring too. I never 'published' it because in the end I didn't really like it.
Also for every example I brought up of "kids" sharing too much I had a link to go with it, and at some point I lost that list of links.
I'm going to leave the article intact (save for some formatting and a James Frey joke that didn't stand the test of time) so any time frame mentioned is at least a year ago. I was bored the other day and re-read it and decided that maybe it was up to the NutCan's complete lack of standards after all. Add to that that Valentine's Day was right around the corner, again, and...well...Happy Valentine's Day you loveless wonders.
It has long been my belief that the generation slightly younger than us here at Page 3 are way too open with their lives on the Internet. If you have any high schoolers in a relationship on your buddy list check their away messages. It wont be long before you come across some hand written love poem written directly to someone, but sent out to anyone. Boredom, time, and Myspace has cemented my theory.
Surfing friends of friends of friends you'll start to see a pattern. Chances are if the person is less than 18 and has had a failed relationship there are at least two commonalities between all of them:
1) An amount of profanity that would make George Carlin blush.
2) Too much information about said failed relationships.
So I take it upon myself to offer up some advice to our love lorn minors floating around out there.
Before I start my rant maybe I should discuss my "qualifications" for doling out such advice. I'm a board registered "Lovologist." I've had 4 relationships in my life; a 3 month long one at 16 years old (Ruby)*, a 6ish month long one as a 17 year old (Penny)*, a month long one at 18 (Sandy)*, and a 7 year long, ongoing, one to the lovely and talented Mrs. Jeremy Lindgren**. (Hold on, it seems I'm being tazed...Sarah...her name is Sarah) Oh, and on our first date Sarah and I went to see a play starring one of my ex girlfriends.
I'm not friends with Ruby, Penny, or Sandy anymore. Sandy, who was Sarah's best friend prior, killed Sarah and me off in separate Dr. Pepper and Pearl Jam mosh pit related tragedies (in a fictitious essay for a high school English class) after I broke up with her. Ruby and I were friends until she moved away shortly after she broke up with me, I don't have any idea where she is or what she's doing.*** Penny and I tried to be friends after she broke up with me, but in the end it didn't work out. (By didn't work out I mean Sarah laid down an ultimatum, and the answer was a no brainer...seriously...please stop tazing me!) Update: In a weird coincidence halfway through "researching/brainstorming/haphazardly typing" this article "Penny" contacted me by way of myspace (we're separated only by one 'Alex') to tell me "Congratulations on getting married". I thought it was odd that 6 years of silence was broken to congratulate me on something 9 months in the past, but I thought I was nice. What I enjoyed most was after all these years getting to see again the half angry/half jealous/half incredulous response from Sarah when I told her about it. It's a response that only one person on the earth can get out of her. (The rage means she cares.)
Anyway, so I might not be the best person to be handing out any sage advice, but bear with me here, because one of my points later on will deal with this.
At any rate, 3 failed relationships is three more relationships than any of the other Page 3 writers. I'm therefor the most qualified you're going to find here and shall start spewing advice forthwith.
Breaking up is hard to deal with. People don't know what to do when they are blindsided by a finality, be it death, getting fired, or getting broken up with. The funny thing is that they are all coped with in the same way; Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
If you think about it, this makes sense. In a lot of ways that person is dead to you. It's likely that for the duration of the relationship you were like peas and carrots (Forrest Gump and Jenny were, 'til she became a crack whore.). You spent every second you could with the person. You had a second house, a second family, friends of friends. Suddenly all of that is off the table, what used to be 2 hour talks about the future are now rebuffed phone calls. Suddenly you don't have access to so many things that were so routine before.
The reason breaking up is harder for kids to deal with than adults is two fold.
1) Because they are more immature than adults (obviously)
2) Because smaller amounts of time seem like a big deal. When you are 17 6 months is an ETERNITY. I remember after Penny broke up with me having to do the math a few times to realize we were only together for around 6 months, because it seemed like so much longer. When you are older time flies and you find yourself thinking (as I am now) things like "Holy crap, it's almost Valentine's Day, I better get my ass in gear". Update: After typing the above update I realized Sarah and I have been married almost a year already, and it really scared me, but also proved my point here. I had to count 2 or 3 times before I even believed myself. I used fingers and everything. Also since I've changed this article so many times now it's really almost Valentine's Day
Now whether you're the breakuper or the breakupee, breakups suck. I've read many a breakupee blog post about the "coldness" the breakuper has shown. If you've never been the breakuper it's easy to see how it can be interpreted as coldness. I suspect it mainly deals with the finality of the situation. The reality is that in most cases the breakuper doesn't want to hurt the breakupee anymore than the breakupee wants to be hurt, they are just doing what they feel is right. Their reasons may suck (or really suck), but I highly doubt anyone is getting any satisfaction in your misery. Although, it does give me something to read.
Breakups rarely ever effect just the 2 people involved either. More often than not friends that were thought to be mutual have to pick a side, it can get ugly for many people. God forbid kids are involved, because then the break up becomes a burden on many people. None of this however means, necessarily, that breaking up isn't the right thing to do.
While going though the aforementioned 5 step grieving process you'll hear lots of cliche advice that'll make you angry. Everyone knows "exactly" what you're going through and has to throw their 2 cents in. (No, the irony isn't lost on me here.) The reason it makes you angry is that invariably no one else does know what you're going through. Your relationship was "different" and "no one can understand" that fact. Well guess what bucko? It wasn't. As unromantic and uncinematic as it sounds, every relationship begins and ends the same way. Everyone falls in love the same way. (Literally, it's just your brain conducting some sort of chemistry experiment.) There are no soul mates. He/She wasn't "The One", unless your name is Mary Magdalene (and if it is I think you have some explaining to do). Now this isn't to say that any two people can make a relationship work, but there isn't just one person out there for you either. The sooner you accept this the sooner everyone can get moving again.
In fact there's a bigger force at work here. Be it relationships or otherwise people tend to think they're unique. In fact the more people think they're "unique" generally the less unique, and more conforming to a stereotype, they become (see Goths, Emos, Gay Guys). Have you every heard a love song, or an angry song, or what have you, and thought "Wow, it's as if they wrote this song about my life" or "If my life were a movie, this is the exact song that would be playing right now"? There's a reason for that, and it has nothing to do with you playing the lead in a your very own "Truman Show" no one has told you about. (Rest assured your unnatural fear of water is a disorder all your own.)
In any given culture people all deal with the same type of problems. (I made the culture distinction because here in America we go though problems like being dumped, what color car to buy, and whether to buy the protective case for your iPod or not. This is opposed to other cultures where you would have to decide, for example, which one of your children get to eat that day.) If you have some problem odds are you have people around you who have dealt with it. (It turns out your parents, believe it or not, are Jedi Masters when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of life. Heed their advice wisely.) Also, if you looked hard enough no matter what situation you find yourself in there's a song floating around out there about it. Sometimes you may even have to check the liner notes to double check that you didn't actually write it.
As with most advice this all comes with the do as I say, not as I do disclaimer. When Ruby ended our relationship I was devastated, when Penny ended it my life was over. I'm not a robot, and I'm not suggesting you should be either. In fact I can guarantee you I was as whiny and melodramatic about it as all of you. Grieving is natural, I'm just advising as an impartial 3rd party that you accept the advice of those around you. Also maybe a face to face exchange with your advisors is in order, as opposed to a blog the whole world can read.
As a consolation prize in the relationship game show the Host will offer their friendship. This is to make up for the fact that they just stole the car hidden behind door number 2 from you and backed over your foot mid heist.
Despite all your instincts being friends is a bad move.
Anytime two people want two different things out of a relationship (which almost any post breakup relationship would be at first) only bad things can happen. As much as you want to see the person you'll only prolong the heart break and the process of moving on.
Imagine a band where half the members want to be a Metallica cover band and half want to cover Simon and Garfunkel. It isn't going to work.
Also no one wants to hang out with their significant other's ex. (I realize you can never say never, please don't email me that "U and ur BF's X R BFF's") Any new person that comes along is going to be put off by your hanging out with them. Although I'll never understand Sarah's undying hatred of Penny, (Hell hath no fury, I guess) I understand now why she didn't want to hang out with her. For the same reason I wouldn't want to hang out with her ex (if she had any...sucker!)
Despite my flawless rationale that "Well I wouldn't want her hanging out with that guy, but Penny and I are different, because we really are just friends". The central theme of today's lesson plan finally hit me. Why am I any different? Sarah was upset and I saw that she didn't understand that "this was different" because it wasn't different, and that was that.
Commitment, Lack there of
Maybe it was just me, but it seems to me high school girls don't know what they want. However, they think they do. Although I wouldn't call any of them "sluts" (I leave that to Sarah) Ruby, Penny, and Sandy had quite a few boyfriends in the time I knew them. I think I was boyfriend 45 for Ruby. I remember attending her birthday/going away party and not being able to believe how many of her ex's were there. At one point I turned a corner to find her explaining to one of her crying exs why they couldn't get back together. (It was awkward.) Penny was in another relationship .09 seconds after breaking the news to me. Sandy dated pretty much every one of my friends, to the point where "When am I gonna get my turn, Sandy?" became sort of a running gag in our click.
In high school it seems girls are almost always the dumpers, and usually it's not because they don't like you, it's because they found their next victim. (Reading that back it sounds a lot more "jilted" than I meant it, but it's still true.) It seems to me the cut off is 21. Younger than 21 it's almost always a guy longing for his best girl. After 21 it's a girl pining for a guy that left her for "some skank."
Regardless of who broke up with whom your best bet is to just move on. People will tell you "If it's meant to be, you'll get back together again." I think this is mainly false hope designed to make you feel better. While it's true that some people patch things up, that usually is reserved to adult relationships. Your high school relationships are different. You probably wont get back together. Sorry. I've read many blogs over the last month and a half and most end on a downer. High Schoolers don't seem to have the will power, or desire, to work through issues. When you're an adult you can tell someone "it really pisses me off when you do that". In high school it's a fundamental flaw in someone's personality, so you move on. Later on in life you'll look back at all the "drama" that went on in high school and laugh at the absurdity of it all, I promise you.
Hopefully I haven't depressed you too much by trying (in vain, I suspect) to convince you that you aren't any different. Your love never moved any mountains. There are indeed smarter, more intriguing, more radiant, less vein, ...(Sorry my "petty alarm" went off, luckily everyone stopped reading by now and no one will see that. I can do anything I want. BOOBIES!!) fish in the sea. Someday you'll mature (as CLEARLY I have) and realize what a whiny bitch you were. The difference for me and you, of course, is that I was a whiny loser to my close friends. You put your pain on the record, for every person to read. FOR-EV-ER.
Like most things in life that have a reward love is a risk. Sometimes you make it to the top of the mountain together, sometimes you splatter on the jagged rocks below, and sometimes you have to be the one to cut the rope so you don't both splatter on the jagged rocks below. Ultimately, everything you deal with in life is a life lesson and makes you the person you are. You just get that much wiser. Just in case someday you write an incoherent column 3 people will begin, and one person will finish.
Also, I'll probably be spending the night on the couch, so I hope my advice was worth it to you.
-Jeremy Lindgren reminds you that there are no circumstances under which it is ok to fake the funk on a nasty dunk
* These are not their names, but rather thinly veiled riddles in which everyone in the know will know exactly who I'm talking about anyway. Thus defeating the purpose of changing them.
**If you ever want to incur Sarah's wrath call her Mrs. Jeremy Lindgren, or better yet address a piece of mail Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Lindgren
*** This actually isn't true anymore. She made herself a myspace page and we've "caught up" a bit.