Hello all of Mommy-Jo's friends,
I have sad news: one of my best friends just broke up with her boyfriend of two years.
The break-up was pretty organic, so I'm told; they mulled over some current issues they've been having and came to the inevitable conclusion that it wasn't a fruitful venture for either of them. They terminated their relationship (in the language of my business major friend). My first reaction was to gauge her emotional status. "Are you OK?" I asked ”How do you feel?"
She said she was OK, she felt relieved, but a little sad.
I considered this for a moment, and I think I decided that the perfect response in this situation was this: I'm sorry and concurrently, congratulations.
A break-up of this nature is so confusing for the friend who wants to help assuage the hurt. A messy break-up is almost easier to manage because you can drink tequila, cry about it, verbally attack him until he is wearing his butt for a hat, you know, the usual. But my friend is feeling that somber bitter sweetness that I think only comes as a result of a necessary yet not painless break-up. She sounded fairly put-together on the phone because she's in a new place. It's a happier place, I think, which is why I'm happy for her... Yet at the same time she still has that residual sadness that comes with the shucking of vestigial organs--hence my expression of apology--an apology for the fact that she has to feel sad right now.
The fact that she is in Washington D.C. doesn't really help the matter. I can't take her out for a post break-up brunch or give her lots of platonic boyfriend-substitute hugs to help ease the oxytocin withdrawal. So I offered her over the phone the best I could think of: "I'm sorry you're in pain... but congratulations for your freedom, and I'm here for you."
On a more selfish note--I'm guiltily glad it's over. He was one of those boyfriends that you look at right from the start and go "Ooo... he's not right for her in this way and that way and that way... but he makes her happy so I'll butt out." So I hung back and let it ride out, and listened when she complained about their problems and was happy when they had good times. Yet it turned out that they were different in way too many ways that it literally put them at cross-purposes. Either one of them had to sacrifice their ideals, or it had to end. The way in which they clashed left little wiggle room for compromise, and I have to say that I am evilly, secretly, deeply happy that she ended it rather than changing herself to suit him. For that she is courageous and honest and brave.
If only all break-ups were all this easy! I formerly guessed that its easier to help out a friend who is in shambles after a break-up, but maybe I'm wrong all around. Maybe its just this easy because my friend has done all the fixing herself. She is strong, she is capable, and I am proud.
Thanks for reading,
Peace, love, and cheese,