By the time you reach your mid-twenties it’s safe to say you’ve had your heartbroken at least once or twice, (thrice in some cases) before, during, and after a break up. A great deal of us experienced our first break up in high school. High school, being the pinnacle of every teenager’s life. The single greatest moment in our lives pre graduation, and the kick to the gut from reality. Most of us can remember our first heartbreak/break up as being devastating. Those tear filled nights post break up that last for weeks, or even months, fail comparably to emotional toll adult break ups can have on your psyche.
As children the single greatest thing we hoped for was adulthood. Somewhere along the lines we develop this idea that adulthood is synonymous with freedom, when the very cruel reality is quite the opposite. We are rarely free to do anything once we enter the working world. We aren’t free to take days off whenever we please, have unscheduled summer vacations, or stay up way past our bed times. With adulthood comes good choices, and bad choices. Each with their own set of consequences. The only freedom we are allotted is the freedom to choose between the former and the latter. As children and well up into early adulthood we are also allowed to emote. We can cry if were hurt, we can scream if we’re angry, and we can even take breaks if we are generally having a terrible day. Those luxuries are not here in adulthood and this is my primary argument for why break ups suck as an adult.
Maturity. We are expected to be emotionally and mentally mature enough to handle the side effects of a failed relationship. Friends and family often expect us to pick up where we left off before we met our significant other. They offer words of solace such as “You’ll find better.” “Or be grateful it’s over.” Without fully acknowledging the mental and emotional healing we have all experienced at one point or another due to a break up.
Break ups have this way of quietly tearing us apart at the seams, we aren’t allowed to emote with our friends, our families, and especially not at work. There are no bereavement days for break ups. We offer more condolences to the death of a loved one, than the death of a loved lost when the processes are very similar. We take a blow to our self-esteem, that often makes us wonder, are we good enough to actually be in a relationship at all. In high school the break up was almost a social gathering, you rally around your friends and uplift them. As adults, the break up can be a very isolating experience.
We are a product of our upbringing. When we haven’t fully dealt with the results of our past it can cause even more emotional upheaval during break ups. I, for example, grew up with an absent father. My relationships have been filled with me trying to please my partners even if it means I’m not happy, and an insecure feeling post break up of “Why do I drive all the men in my life away.” no matter how justified the reason for splitting is. Without acknowledging our past issues it is hard for us not to carry the issues from our last relationship into the next, thus creating a cycle. Even with the acknowledgement of such issues, as adults were expected to just get over it. When in actuality, repairing our wounds require time, patience, and sometimes a lot of help from others.
My final point speaks to the fact that break ups aren’t as simple as they were as teenagers. We don’t break up with our significant others because our secret crush asked us to prom, or because summer break is approaching and you don’t want to be tied down. Break ups happen in adulthood as a result of infidelity, financial strain, difference in family values, and competing outlooks of the future. The reason for break ups are not black and white which can make the aftermath that much harder. It is not uncommon for us to reflect on the, who, what, when, where, and why? We can spend weeks, months, and in some cases years, analyzing why our last relationship failed. That type of internal stress can breed fear that can hinder you from growing healthy relationships in the future.
The results of our break ups are somewhat far reaching in adulthood. You can’t just wash your hands of your last situation, you may even be asked by a new potential partner why the last relationship ended. It’s important that as adults we take time to self-reflect and self-repair ourselves. We have to create the space and time to do so, because day to day life simply won’t allow for it. We were in such a rush to grow up, now looking back we realize being a teenager wasn’t all that bad.