DEAR KELLY: I’m a sophomore in high school and dated the same boy for more than seven months. I really thought we were in love and that he genuinely loved me, because he said so. He liked me first and always said that he was so lucky because I was the best girlfriend.
Last weekend, out of the blue, he texted me and asked me to meet him at the elementary school near our house. It has kind of been our place to meet when we were dating to just talk and stuff. When I was waiting for him, a car pulled up and I realized it was him and some of his friends. They dropped him off and drove to the far end of the parking lot and waited for us to talk. He walked up and told me his feelings had changed and he didn’t think he was in love with me anymore. He said that I didn’t do anything wrong, he just felt different. I was floored and shocked and never saw that coming. I asked him if it was because of someone else and he said, “no,” that he just wanted to be single.
I left and was devastated. I could barely breathe. He left with his friends who waited. I thought for sure he would text me later that night and see how I was, but he didn’t. My mom had to sleep with me that night because I was crying so hard. I really loved him.
I got up around 3 a.m. because I couldn’t sleep and to check my phone to see if he had texted me, and he hadn’t. But what I did find was a picture of him on Instagram and another (I knew her) girl posing all cute and cuddly at a party. I almost threw up. I texted him and asked what was up. He texted me that we were broken up, so I couldn’t be mad at whatever he did. I kept asking him why, or where he was, and he didn’t text me back.
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The next morning I texted him again and asked if we could talk. He said that he didn’t want to answer all my questions and that he was upfront and honest with me the whole time, so he didn’t feel he owed me any conversation. I texted, “I thought you love me,” and he texted back that things change and nothing lasts forever. That was it. That was his answer.
Kelly, how do you love someone one day and then just stop? Is that possible? How can he do this to me? Why would he ruin a perfectly good relationship when we never had any problems? And do I have a right to be mad that like six hours after we broke up he was in a picture with another girl? I’m so confused, so sad and my heart is broken. I don’t know if I can ever trust anyone again. I honestly don’t think I can go through pain like this again in my life. It is seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Will it ever end?
DEAR BROKENHEARTED: First, and most important, yes – the pain will end. It won’t hurt like this forever. Your broken heart will heal and you will feel better. Trust me. I know right now it feels like no one has ever hurt the way you do right now, but heartbreak is a very common thing. Just about everyone experiences heartbreak at some point in their life and your feelings, as painful as they are, are very normal.
What you and your boyfriend shared was teenage love. Teenage love is different than adult love. That isn’t meant to reduce your feelings or what you shared with your boyfriend, but it can help explain why he ended things so fast. Teenage love can feel one way and then have the emotions change in a short period of time. Teenage love can be like a light switch – easily turned on and off. Teenage love can be easily influenced by friends. Teenage love can be confusing because it can be so intense so fast, then end so abruptly even if you haven’t had any problems. As you get older, the love matures and, hopefully, so does the guy.
It wasn’t wrong for him to hook up with another girl after you broke up, but it does feel very disrespectful. His decision is more telling about his immaturity level and the fact that he wasn’t ready to be in a committed relationship. To his credit, he broke up before going out but he didn’t consider your feelings if he hooked up with another girl. He’s a teenage boy and he showed his age with his choices.
Reach out to your girlfriends. Go out and laugh. Make cookies. Go on a jog. Ride your bike. Force yourself to get out of the house and stop focusing on him. Don’t text your ex anymore.
Losing your first love, even teenage love, can be painful. Breakups hurt but losing someone who does not respect or appreciate you is actually a gain, not a loss. Eventually it does get better. You may not be interested in jumping back into the dating pool soon, but when you feel ready you will move on and this will just be part of your history.
Don’t lose yourself to try to hold on to him. Let yourself feel sad, but don’t let it stop you from living your life and building new friendships and relationships. Each broken heart teaches us a little lesson and, in the end, that is what helps us appreciate when the right person eventually does come along.
Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.