My first real heartbreak (aside from my little girl crush on Robbie, an older boy who lived down the street) was in high school. I broke up with my boyfriend (yes, I did the breaking) because I was interested in someone else. Hey, high school is a time to figure out what works for you! I was enjoying my senior year without being seriously attached but every time I saw my old boyfriend, I had pangs. I missed him. I really had loved him. And so, when one night he called and asked me to get back together, I said yes. And that’s when the bomb dropped. Less than a minute later, he said (and I’m quoting here), “Oh, I don’t really want to get back together. I just wanted to see if you would do it.” A real charmer, right?
I had some choice words for him – words I won’t share here. But really, I was embarrassed and my heart was broken. I felt like he’d taken my feelings and the 10 or so months we had been together, and kicked them down the street like you would a random pebble. The next day was hard. The day after hard still. But days and weeks later, things got less hard. Good, even. Better than they would’ve been if I would’ve stayed with someone who was willing to hurt me like that. But in the moment, during that phone conversation that left me heaving sobs so loudly my mom came into the room to see if I was actually dying, I never thought I would things would get better. Heartbreak sucks, plain and simple.
Because it’s something that we all have to deal with, I get a lot of questions from parents on how they can handle it when their teenagers are going through a hard break-up or the ups and downs of love. It’s one thing to handle heartbreak of your own, another when someone you love (like your kid or even a friend) is going through it. So when Claire Jeffreys emailed me about an article she was writing for parents on teen heartbreak, I had to talk to her. The resulting article, Spring Fling: How to Handle Your Teen’s First Heartbreak, is a must-read, both for you and your parents. Even if you’re not dealing with heartbreak right now, you will at some point. (Sorry, it’s true.) So forward your parents this article for safekeeping and when the time comes, remind yourself that it will get better. It’s hard, but you’ll be ok in the end and it’s not all bad. A lot of good things actually come out of heartbreak. For me, it was knowing that I didn’t want to date anyone who would treat me like that – even when we were breaking up. For Shakespeare, it was amazing poetry. For Bob Dillon, it was Blood on the Tracks. You get the idea.