By Sara Forcella, See the Triumph Contributor
Dear Young and Heartbroken,
You’re going through a lot right now--I mean break ups, they stink! There’s nothing fun about them. But let me tell you--I’ve been there.
I know that the last thing you want to hear right now is the same old mumbo-jumbo, like “It’s all going to be okay, you're young, there’s plenty of fish in the sea”.
So I won’t do that, because truly I am not here to tell you that it will all be okay or that you’ll find the love of your life soon. I’m not here to tell you that breakups are easy and that heart breaks heal quickly--because, quite frankly, I can’t guarantee you any of those things. What I do want to do is share with you some of my stories, because I have been there before, too!
Picture this, an 18-year-old girl laying on her bedroom floor with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Half-Baked” gone, blonde hair strone about, some strands stuck to now-dried tears. Shredded photos around her. Taylor Swift playing somewhere in the room on repeat.
I was a mess, a wreck. My first love--my first real relationship, the first person I ever let truly break down my walls of insecurity--had shattered my trust and my heart. And here I was left to pick up the jagged pieces.
It took a while to be okay again. It took me consciously deciding that I no longer wanted to be a shell of the person that I once was. I forced myself to reunite with friends that I had pulled away from. I formed new relationships, ones that to this day are some of my most important.
I learned a lot from this relationship. Like, that no relationship is ever worth losing yourself and the things you love over. I learned that trust is something that I am not willing to negotiate upon. Nor is being in a monogamous relationship. That it’s important to find a partner who loves you for you, not the person he or she expects and wants you to be.
Now picture this: a 19-year-old girl who is crazy in love, laying on her bed sharing her most personal feelings. Telling this person that she loves him, to hear back that he doesn’t feel the same and that he is now interested in someone else. Cue the tears, and Taylor Swift soundtrack. Phone falling to the ground, sobs of heartbreak, and questions of my own self-worth.
But once again, slowly, I moved on. I focused on others who truly cared, honored, and respected me. I went out with friends. I stayed busy with things like work and school, and eventually I was able to mend my heart.
From this relationship, or lack thereof, I learned that I respect myself too much to allow another person to guilt, manipulate, or coerce me into being intimate with them. I learned that I had too much self-worth to change who I was and what I believed in just to attract a person who was the complete opposite of me. And can I just tell you that I look back at the girl I was then and laugh, because I am so much more than I thought I was when I was in this unhealthy relationship.
Fast forward a few years, and picture a blonde haired girl standing in the doorway of her apartment in tears, pleading for the boy who had just walked out come back and try to work things out. Begging that he explain why he was so angry at her--why he hadn’t spoken to her in months after what seemed to the start of a great love story. Picture me curling up in bed with my roommate crying that I had surely lost this person for good. Staying up until five a.m. texting my best friend asking for her advice, asking where it all went wrong. Wondering once again why I was so unlovable.
My roommate pulled me through that night, just like plenty of nights before. The support of my girlfriends and mom surely got me through this breakup. In retrospect, I was able to see that I deserved better than a boy who was going to storm out without explanation--and that the relationship in general wasn't healthy.
I learned so, so much from the back and forth of this relationship. I learned that put downs and threats of cheating are forms of emotional abuse. I learned once again that I had too much respect to be intimate with a person who was unable to respect or truly love me. I also learned that if a partner truly respected me, then he would put more of effort into our relationships, rather than just bring to me to drive-throughs and a parties on ‘dates’. Finally, I learned that when you’re a good partner, when you’re loving and you truly honor and respect your partner--they regret ever leaving you in the first place.
So there you have it, these are just a few of my most heart-wrenching, and qurite frankly embarrassing breakups. Thank you for letting me share them with you! I hope that after reading these you see that you are not alone, and that I’ve been there, too! I’ve been a mess of a puddle on the bathroom floor, a girl singing to a break up song at the top of her lungs, a friend in need of a some good advice from another friend, a daughter in need of the embrace of her mom. Remember, while break ups aren’t easy, there is a lot to be learned from them!
By Allison Crowe, See the Triumph Co-Founder
This month at See the Triumph, we're focusing on teen dating violence. We believe it’s so important to educate young people out there about dating violence, and how to prevent it. One of the ways we believe dating violence can be stopped is through education about dating relationships, in particular learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy dating relationships.
Our message this week is: dating relationships should be a time for learning and growing. Many young people enter into relationships, and perhaps stay in them, even when the relationship is an unhealthy one. So, how does a teenager ensure that the relationship is one that promotes health, insight, and growth?
Well, in counseling and therapy, we talk about the power of reflection. This means taking a moment to think through your thoughts and feelings on a particular matter to really explore the details. So, this week we challenge all of those out there in a dating relationship to do this a little more.
Take a minute to reflect on yourself and the relationship you are in through journaling, talking to a friend or family member who is close to you and knows you well, seeing a professional counselor to talk about this topic with, or just sitting quietly and thinking through these questions alone.
Too often, we find other ways to spend our time without pausing to be contemplative and thoughtful. Below is a short list of reflection questions to use to perhaps spend a little time on this topic. This is not an exhaustive list – only a start, so use it as a way to begin thinking about your relationship – perhaps it will help you come up with even more questions to ask yourself.
1. Do I feel like I have learned about who __________________ is since we have started dating? If yes, what have I learned that I like? What are the things that I might not like as much/want him/or her to work on or change?
2. Do I feel like I have learned more about who I am since __________ and I started dating? If yes, what have I learned about myself? How did this relationship help me learn this?
3. Has my dating relationship with _________ helped me challenge myself in new, healthy ways? If so, how? If not, why not?
4. How can ________ and I continue to learn about each other? List ideas for how this can occur.
5. What does my idea of a healthy relationship look like? Does my relationship with ________ match this idea or not? If no, what would need to change in order for it to?