As I flip through the hundreds of letters, e-mails, notes, etc. that I’ve kept over the years in this “keepsake” week of blogging, I’m struck by how often I felt compelled to offer my 2.5 cents to family members and friends who found themselves in the midst of a relationship break-up. In some respects, I’m really the last person on earth who has any business offering relationship advice, having been a party to so many dysfunctional ones in my own life. On the other hand, my involvement in and/or exposure to such relationships has caused me to spend a lot more time than most reflecting on the attributes of healthy relationships, what’s “missing” from the ones that don’t seem to work so well and the myriad of feelings that the good and the not-so-good relationships generate and, at times, leave in their wake. So maybe I’m more qualified than I think. In any event, it’s obvious that there were many times, whether my advice was solicited or not, that I tried to explain “relationship things” to my own children – and it’s interesting, at least to me, to look back on some of those thoughts. So, I figured, this being “Keepsake Week,” that I’d share some of them over the next few days:
A Break-Up Usually Says More About “The Breaker” Than The “Breakee”
Regrettably, unless you are blessed in ways that few people are, these will not be the last tears you shed over love. The unfortunate reality is that feelings can change over time for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the other people in a relationship or the sincerity of the emotions upon which their relationship originally was based. Sometimes people, particularly, but not always, young people get “scared” by the intensity of either their feelings or their partner’s feelings and they choose to end the relationship, rather than risk being “that vulnerable” – or because they aren’t ready for something that serious. Sometimes someone in the relationship gets angry and, rather than stay and work through their anger, they simply chooses to end the relationship. Sometimes someone else enters the picture or a person from the past re-enters the picture and causes one of the people in the relationship, typically someone who is a bit less mature or committed to the existing relationship, to move away from “the old” and toward “the new” or away from “the new” and back to “the old”. In all of these cases, however, the separation or termination has little, if anything, to do with the “love-ability” or “special-ness” of the person who would prefer to “stay” and continue to build the existing relationship and everything to do with the person who is “running away” from it. It also doesn’t mean that when the couple was together they weren’t sincere in expressing their feelings for one another – although the “breaking up” can make both of those realities very difficult to see, let alone accept.