How Teens Can Handle a Breakup
Everyone wants to find love. There is nothing more human than wanting to love and be loved. Teenagers are experiencing this for the very first time, and it can be intense and extremely passionate. The emotions involved are real and often extreme, and teen relationships are often marked by plenty of ups, downs, and intensity.
It is not unusual to find yourself planning out your future with someone, even though you’re only 15 or 16 years old. The rational part of your brain know that spending the rest of your life with someone you meet in 10th or 11th grade is unlikely, your heart is telling you that this person is the one.
Unfortunately, first loves are often followed by first heartbreaks. It is almost inevitable that you will experience the devastation of a breakup at some point. When it happens, you will feel awful, like your world has come crashing down upon you. You will not know what to do or how to deal with it. It will occupy your thoughts and your dreams, and you won’t see an end in sight. It is awful.
You will eventually be just fine, but there is no way you can imagine that. One day you will be able to reflect back and know that you learned something from the failed relationship, even if that knowledge doesn’t give you any comfort in the moment.
How can you cope with the end of a relationship? You must recognize that the loss of a relationship is actually the death of hopes and dreams that you had with this person.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross describes 5 stages of grief. Give yourself permission to go through each and every one of them. Nobody experiences this quite the same as another, but it seems that everyone eventually move through these stages, not necessarily in any particular order.
- During this stage, you might be in a bit of shock that this breakup has happened. Maybe you thought things were going so well, and you feel blindsided. Perhaps there were signs of trouble that you just ignored, because you were sure it would get better. You’re feeling like this cannot be happening, and teens will often continue to pursue their former partner during this time, sometimes even obsessively, as if you could not live without him or her.
- This is the part when you get mad. Really mad. You might blame your partner and have some choice words for them. You might blame yourself and feel stupid for having allowed yourself to be so vulnerable. Sometimes, you might have regrets about being intimate or having lost your virginity with this person. You might even blame your parents or another person for somehow messing up this relationship.
- This is also know as negotiating. During this stage, it is very common for you to beg for your partner to return to you. Some of things people often say when bargaining are, “Please just give me one more chance” or “I promise to change”. Basically, you are feeling like you would do just about anything if you could just hold on to this relationship.
- This stage is often marked by despair and isolation. This is when you will cry until you don’t think you could possibly have any tears left. You have tried, but you cannot fix it and cannot persuade your former partner to stay. It is over, and that is starting to sink in.
- You have felt the pain and maybe even learned and grown from the experience. You are no longer living in the past, wishing for something that is gone. Rather, you are ready to move forward, and have your eyes set on the future. You are hopeful about what will be happening in your life, and you are ready for a new potential partner.
Dealing with a breakup and all the feelings that come with it can be very difficult and painful, but all of that is completely normal. Remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you, just that the relationship was wrong for you. Try not to isolate yourself and wallow too much in your misery. Accept support from friends and family, and surround yourself with those who really do love you. Get involved or stay involved in things that make you feel happy. And, just as you would if someone close to you died, give yourself permission to grieve, to feel the pain, and ultimately to heal.