I’ve been through many a breakup in my life. The fallout for all of them was at a minimum, a few months and at most, a year, maybe more.
Every time I’ve been dumped, my friends have rallied around me. My last break up involved my boyfriend dumping me at lunchtime on a Friday (!!) and my friends immediately offered to drop their plans and take me for drinks. Over the next two weeks, they’d check in, offer to come round for a movie night, and generally were extremely supportive.
Weeks went past, and suddenly it had been a couple of months since the split. Group chat convos had moved on, and all my friends went back to their usual lives. But me? I was deeper in the breakup grief than I was during that initial fortnight.
When our friend gets dumped, we as their support system feel the grief immediately. We experience the shock and our instinct is to drop everything to pick them up off the ground. But what I’ve found is usually when you’re dumped, you get a rush of adrenaline. You’re FINE! You throw yourself into work, the gym, self-care. You’re out partying and living in this weird euphoria of denial and fantasy-land. In your mind, you’re Lizzo and fuck anyone who doesn’t want you.
That all comes crashing down not days after the break up, but weeks. Months, sometimes. It’s months later that the soul-crushing loneliness sets in. It’s then that you hit rock bottom and feel like an unloveable mess who could only be happy if their ex would take them back. It’s then that you make questionable decisions and start fucking that truly terrible dude who treats you like shit because your self-esteem is shot to pieces. And it’s then that you could use a friend who drops everything to come watch movies with you on a Friday night.
That period where the breakup reality sets in and you have to start rebuilding your heart/life is the hardest shit to go through, and often you’re going through it alone because everyone thinks you’re fine. After all, it’s been ages! They’ve forgotten all about it, but you’re very much in the worst part of the storm.
This isn’t a criticism of my friends, or your friends, or of you. When we’re not in the middle of a breakup, it’s hard to remember how crushingly shit the recovery period is. You forget that it gets worse before it gets better, and – especially if your friend is the type to hide their true feelings – they probably seem totally chill and all moved on.
Also, everyone has a life – we’ve got our own shit to deal with, our own relationships to give time to and other friends we want to see. So this also isn’t about being someone who is completely devoted to their dumped mate, either. No one should expect you to be at their beck and call, even if they’re going through shit.
What I am saying is, if you’ve got a mate who was broken up with in April, flick them a text and see how they’re going. Ask what they’re up to this week and take them out for dinner. Be there for them more a month or so after they break up with their partner, rather than the week it happens.
This is a PSA, mates. Now off you go and get texting.Image: Riverdale