Just be sad for a while
By Jillian McMullen, Staff Writer
There’s no nice way of looking at it: Breaking up sucks. Often, we are told that the easiest way to get over someone is to start dating someone new. I’d argue the opposite: It’s a band-aid solution that doesn’t consider the kind of personal growth needed after a difficult breakup.
Committing yourself to a person is a uniquely intimate thing. You share your life with them, they become part of your day-to-day. There are laughs, family dinners, and fights. When that ends, it is incredibly painful. In relationships, you can forget what it’s like being independent from another person, and part of breaking up is learning how to be alone again. You can’t spend years of your life defined by a relationship without it becoming integral to how you function in society. Although it sounds like the co-dependency of toxic relationships, this happens in even the healthiest of partnerships.
It may seem easier to ignore the pain of that loss because it requires admitting that it is, in fact, a loss. You lose that connection with someone you once considered an important part of your life. Many people fill that void with a rebound, someone they date quickly after they’ve ended their previous relationship. However, by doing this you avoid the personal growth needed to get over a break-up because you’re distracted by the all the exciting “firsts” that come with meeting a new person, like first dates and first kisses. By jumping into another relationship, you are refusing personal autonomy. In my experience, people who jump from one relationship to the next are incredibly insecure people. It is unfair to deny the opportunity to become comfortable with yourself, by yourself. It’s equally unfair to use somebody as a distraction. You know you aren’t emotionally available to commit to someone else and often end up projecting your feelings for your ex onto this new person.
Everybody has their own grief process, and if you are well adjusted enough after a breakup to healthily begin a new relationship, then by all means have at it, but be sure to honestly assess your motives before you do so. If any of them are “because I’m sad” or “because I’m lonely,” it’s probably just better to be sad or lonely for a while. Besides, time eventually heals all wounds, right?