The Challenge with Break-ups in a Hyper Connected World

Indecisive Hearts break Hearts.

We all have issues, but these do not define us. I can’t help but be scared that we’re going to miss out on something beautiful because of our issues.

We can find peace or fall to pieces.

Rainy Sunset in Indiana

Admittedly, this advice is coming from a biased opinion.. as someone who traditionally has not done well in relationships, it has taken a long time to reach this place in my Life and Love Life (or lack thereof) where experience and reflection allow me to see where I have fallen short, when I was settling, when I wasn’t putting forth the effort, how I wasn’t communicating clearly, when I was truly open, and what changes I could have made. It’s fair to say that as much as I’m currently struggling with another relationship that has fallen apart, there is nothing that I would change. I’m upset with how things have gone down, but I am overall happy with who I am as a person, and that makes such a difference while going back in my mind and trying to analyze what worked and what didn’t. Please, learn from my mistakes, as I am learning from mine own.

First, let’s chat about why breakups are so difficult now.. as in, today, in this day and age, with social media and text message relationships. Because, holy shit, I believe breakups are more difficult than ever. And this is solely due to the fact that you just can’t get away from it. With phones, every time I go even a week getting better and growing in a new direction, she’ll text me out of nowhere and I’m right back to where I was.. and even if she wasn’t doing that, it’s not like her posts aren’t going to pop up on my news feed with a tagged photo of her and some other guy, that in my “rational” mind I only assume she’s sleeping with. And of course, unfriend! unfollow! and that’s a huge defining moment in a breakup, but that doesn’t hide or slow the temptation of just wanting to see.. I know it sounds pathetic, but I celebrate every day that I can resist the temptation to look her up on Instagram or Facebook. Like, legitimately. I’ll type her name in the search box, and then when I choose not to click it, I do this stupid little dance to remind myself that my desire to be connected to her, even if it’s via creepy social media stalking, isn’t stronger than my will to move forward. And it’s honestly a daily struggle. I feel like when we’re unhappy in our relationships, it’s just too easy to look up people from relationships’ past and torture ourselves over how happy everyone else looks in their pictures. I always think, “Why can’ that be me? Am I really so horrible of a person that I can’t find a healthy relationship? Jesus, Craig.. you’ve ruined every relationship in your entire Life, maybe you just don’t deserve to be in a good relationship.” And there goes the cycle:

Broken Hearts Break Hearts

And we carry our baggage and self-doubt into the next relationship and the cycle continues. So let’s get past my heavy-handed recount and overall whiny mishandling of my relationship grief and get to the positives:

What I learned about myself:

  • I don’t always outwardly communicate my thoughts and feelings. I think them and choose not to say them. Sometimes I think them and believe I am communicating them and never say a word.
  • I struggle with personal value in my relationships.. is she too good for me? am I too good for her? am I settling? am I ruining her life by allowing her to be a part of my struggles? are we in Love or just in Love with the idea of what this is?
  • Other areas of my Life take over when I’m uncertain.. as an educator, I work with students all of the time. When she would get upset over things I didn’t understand, I found myself handling it like she was a high school student of mine. When I don’t feel like doing something, like going to the gym, I shut my mouth and get the work done.. this doesn’t always serve me in relationships.
  • She didn’t get me. Fundamentally, there was a core understanding missing. As much as we both worked to know and understand one another, there were things we just didn’t get. I don’t expect anyone to understand why I choose to live financially unstable to spend countless hours playing music at shitty bars for people who don’t care, but we all have weird stuff that makes us, Us.
  • I thought that “true love” just exists.. and it doesn’t. It lives. And you breathe life into it for it to have life. Loves takes work. Beautiful, challenging work. And when it’s True, that work will feel worth it. I thought by just being together, that meant that we’d be enough.. I needed to do work.
  • and finally.. that I have issues. And she has issues. And we all have issues. Whether I like it or not, these issues exist and affect my decisions and the way that I handle situations. Though the Past is in the Past, that doesn’t change the fact that it is the Foundation for the Present. What we’ve learned (or didn’t learn) continue with us in our decisions whether we like it or not.

So with these learnings, I’ve been working to turn weaknesses into strengths: Facebook has turned into a place where I have been trying to share genuine learnings and thoughts about myself.. less to be impressive or funny, and more to be transparent and growing. I’ve also been trying to be more open.. open to change, open to vulnerability, open to what is around me. Often, when we feel heartbroken, we have the tendency to clam up and withdraw ourselves, and unknowingly internalize the negativity and ultimately unleash it at a later time. I’m hoping that by staying open, I can welcome in the positive learnings through reflection, and let out the anger and shame that has previously associated every failure I’ve felt in my Life.

It’s one thing to change, it’s another thing to make improvements.
Changing. Growing. Learning. Improving. Sharing.

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