I’ve been dumped three times in my life. My first two boyfriends cheated on me. The first fessed up to it via a drunken text message and the second had a friend do it for him. My most recent boyfriend flat out ended things with a 14-minute, 43-second phone call. Afterward, I spent the next 96 hours listening to Taylor Swift’s “Sad, Beautiful, Tragic” and Nick Lachey’s “I Can’t Hate You Anymore” on repeat while dramatically cutting up Kodak pictures of the two of us. In the two months that followed, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about relationships and breakups. I was on a desperate witch hunt for a reason as to why he left me. But 15 self help books and six audiotapes later, the answer never came. (Patti Stanger, if you’re reading this, you owe me $39.91.)
Why am I sharing this? Because I’ve come to find that very few people do. Society these days teaches us that sharing our stories of heartbreak makes us weak, as if showing emotion makes us less deserving of someone else’s love or admiration. Or worse yet–our own. After a difficult rejection, we’re left feeling completely alone. We would give almost anything to feel connected to someone again, but the truth is, we already are–and much deeper than we think. Why? Because it’s a fact of life. Everyone gets dumped.
Trust me when I say that countless others have shared your feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, abandonment, confusion, resentment, and every other negative feeling in the book. Most are just too afraid to admit it, but when it comes to being dumped, everyone has a story to tell. Even though the circumstances are unique, many of the underlying themes are the same.
Being dumped leaves you with an unparalleled sense of loss.
Your best friend told you he doesn’t want to be friends with you anymore, and nothing you do will make him change his mind. “Your” places, or “your” songs, or “your” inside jokes aren’t real anymore, because there isn’t a “your” now. There is only you and him. There is a huge void in your life, and the only person who can fill it doesn’t want to.
Being dumped leaves you humiliated.
Everyone knows he dumped you. You constantly feel pitied. You feel as if every person you come into contact with recognizes why he broke up with you. Your self-consciousness skyrockets and your self-confidence plummets. You’re in a constant state of, “I’m wrong. I messed up. This is my fault.” You feel like a fool for even caring in the first place.
Being dumped leaves you searching for reason.
You feel that there’s something wrong with you, but you don’t know what it is. There has to be a reason why he chose not to be with you, and you go to all lengths to find it. You criticize every aspect of your body and your personality. You relive every second, every moment, every day you spent together in acute detail, all in an effort to rationalize why he left you. You might call him and demand an answer, even though you know good and well this will only bring you further away from the closure you seek.
Being dumped leaves you out of control.
You suddenly feel like you lack purpose. Or meaning. Or both. Why should I leave the house and risk seeing him? Why should I wake up in the morning if I know a “good morning” text won’t be there? You constantly ask yourself, “What’s the point?” You feel like nothing in the world makes sense anymore. You know it’s not fair. You know it’s not right. You know bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people–but there’s nothing you can do about it.
Being dumped leaves you with scars.
Being dumped never truly leaves you. The scars will always be there, but they aren’t always so ugly. Scars prove your strength. They prove you’ve learned from your past and understand the significance of it. Scars prove you’re not perfect, nor will you ever be perfect. They prove you know yourself from the inside out and back again. But most importantly, scars prove that you’re capable of giving your all to someone.
This is why we should flaunt our scars, not hide them. Knowing others have gone through similar heartaches helps us feel less alone in the times we need it most. I’m here to say that yes, I’ve been dumped. I’ve gone through the ultimate form of rejection. My story is different than yours, different than your best friend’s, different than your sister’s. That’s just it, though. It doesn’t matter what our story is–it’s the fact that we all have one.
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