Breakups, Heartaches, and Facebook

I was around 27 years old. My Dad died three years prior. I was living at home with my Mom, and I was in bed. I believe it was late morning or early afternoon.

The specific details are blurry, but I remember my sister-in-law coming in my bedroom to see if I wanted to feel her pregnant belly before she went to the hospital to deliver her baby. Up to that point, I had never touched a pregnant belly. [Don’t get distracted by that detail, because it is not the focus of the post.]

I declined my sister-in-law’s offer, and I rolled over and went back to sleep or back to napping, whatever it was I was doing at the time. You see, I was feeling depressed. I had recently gone through a breakup, and I was consumed by heartache.

The thing is that I don’t remember which break-up it was. I mean, I remember the guy, but I don’t remember if it was our first break-up or second break-up.

After our first year together, he tried to break up with me. I say tried, because I cried, and cried, and cried some more, and I convinced him he was making a huge mistake. [My 40yr old self had not left a letter for my 27yr old self, so I didn’t realize, at the time, that I was being silly. Curse you, my 40yr old self! Just kidding. I love you.]

The guy took me back. We broke up a year later, and I cried again. And, I called his older sister. And, I drove to his house in the middle of the night, and I left a card at his door. And,… Wait. That’s not enough?

Look, I admit it – I was a psycho, and I was certain he was making a mistake by breaking up with me. (Everyone should date a psycho.) Thank goodness this was not a Fatal Attraction kind of thing, and his name was not Dan, and my name was not Alex.

At the time, my reality was simple: I believed I was experiencing the worst heartache ever. Once again, I was finding myself alone – without a boyfriend. I was in my late 20s, and any aspirations to be married seemed virtually impossible. Shoot, up to that point in my life, the simple goal to have a boyfriend had proved challenging.

I experienced my first kiss when I was 15yrs old. I was so nervous. After he kissed me, I cried. Then, I avoided him the rest of the summer.

This may be the guy that left me to pursue a friend of mine. And, I may have had an entire can of hairspray on my head.
This may be the guy that left me to pursue a friend of mine. And, I may have had an entire can of hairspray on my head.

When I was in college, I experienced my first date. I was 19yrs old. The guy ended up dumping me, approximately three weeks later, to pursue a friend of mine.

I went on a few more dates with other guys while in college, but I never had a real ‘dating’ relationship. Then again, one guy took me out on a handful of dates, including a military ball, but he broke up with me after getting into a fight with my best friend at a bar.

The guy was being incredibly rude and ugly, and my best friend stood up for me. I’ll never forget the day he came barging into my dorm room, throwing his weight-lifting gloves at the window. He could not believe someone had the audacity to stand up to him. Whatever.

After we stopped dating, I learned from one of his friends that he was dating me because he had heard I was a virgin. Seems he was hoping he could take that title away from me. For the record, he didn’t take the title away from me. Poor guy just couldn’t get what he wanted. The jerk. (Let me also add, for the record, not one tear was shed during that ‘break-up’.)

This picture may have been taken in Washington, DC.
This picture may have been taken in Washington, DC.

After college, I moved to Washington, DC for two years, and I may have dated a guy or two during that time. Alas, what happens in DC stays in DC.

Long story short (too late), here I was in my late twenties, experiencing my first real break-up, a break-up of a relationship which included the words “I love you”. How could life continue? Why was I so unlucky in love? Where o’where has my little dog gone was my “happily ever after”?

I remember the pain. I remember the depression. And, as I look back, I am so grateful Facebook and Twitter did not exist back then.

Wallowing in one’s sorrow is easy enough without social media offering up millions of ‘memes’ making your pain the focal point for everyone. Social media enables you to soak in your misery to the point where it may even reward and encourage it. No?

Thank goodness social media did not exist when I was dealing with my heart wrenching (and a little bit psychotic) break-up. If it did exist, I may still be living with my Mom, spending my days staring at the computer and feeling sorry for myself.

Instead, I relied on the real world – real friends – and living. I also relied on music – no videos, no pictures, just lyrics, instruments, and melodies. After a few days (fine – a few weeks) of feeling sorry for myself (and dodging any restraining orders), I moved onward.

Yeah, I still wanted a boyfriend. Yeah, I still had bouts of feeling sorry for myself. And yeah, my girl and guy friends will tell you I was desperate to find Mr. Wonderful. But, they will also tell you that even though I had a one-track mind, I wasn’t desperate enough to accept any Tom, Frank, or Jerry. (Well, maybe Jerry.)

Nowadays, through Facebook and Twitter, I see 20-somethings dealing with heartache, and it makes me sad. I hope they are finding strength in the real world, and I hope they are not wallowing too much in the virtual world. Social media exaggerates things so greatly. While love and loss and pain and happiness are real and valid experiences in life, I tend to think social media makes more out of some things, and I wonder if that sets folks back further than necessary.

One thing I know for certain, heartache sucks. The pain is real, and the pain is intense. Another thing I know for certain, all the motivational posters, memes, and quotes in the world will not take away the pain or fill your heart with what you think is missing. The pain is eased and the heart is filled, when you let go of the sadness, and you let go of the expectations. Alas, getting to that point of letting go is a journey, and the time-frame is different for everyone.

So, I will sit back, and I will let these life experiences play out for those dealing with heartache. I feel for them. I can empathize with them. And, goodness gracious, I am glad I made it through my 20s and into a life-long relationship.

Hmm… I wonder if I can find Mr. “I like her friend better”, Mr. “Not Dan”, or Mr. Wrestling Gloves on Facebook…


43 thoughts on “Breakups, Heartaches, and Facebook

    1. Hahaha! I could probably write a YA novel about a real life experience with a fictitious twist. I fear the lawsuits though. (smile) I actually wrote several short stories during college to get me through the emotional junk of being single. If only blogging existed back then.

      1. HA! THAT”S FUNNY. I wish I hadn’t been so numb after my divorce that I tried out this guy or that guy, annoyed that all they really wanted was to get in my pants, but I wished I had SAVED myself (my heart, mind, body) for my wonderful 2nd husband. I guess I thought I was damaged goods when in reality I wasn’t respecting myself:( BUT I have gone through counseling and rededicated my life to GOD:) AND am FREE of the sexual ties, guilt, and feel so much better:) thnx

  1. You should TOTALLY be stalking, I mean “searching”. for those guys on FB. 🙂 I was JUST thinking this week to mysef. THANK YOU GOD FB DID NOT EXIST WHEN I WAS IN MY 20’s…. Holy moley, that would have been torture dating wise, etc. Whewww. Least we can say we dodged THAT bullet. Sure, we had to go through “high hair”. But gracious no Facebook which is WAY worse.

    1. Come on Deanne. You know me. I’ve already searched FB… time and time again. I may have found one or two, but wrestling gloves and pursuer of friend are not to be found. No worries. I’ll keep trying.

    1. Ah, there may be others out there like me, but how many are crazy enough to write about their psycho past? Though it is nice to think that I wasn’t the only one stalking – er – making sure my ex- was sleeping safely at home. (giggle, giggle)

  2. It seems you and I have led parallel lives. I was in my late 20s thinking I’d die alone (well, alone with my ten cats…) I think back to the so-called ‘men’ in my past life and really am amazed I found someone like Jim when I did. I had given up all hope at that point! Great post, Lenore.

    1. I cannot believe I found Rob. More importantly, I cannot believe Rob survived my psycho moments. I mean, let’s be honest, I still had a bit of psycho left over when I started dating him. Perhaps that is why it took 4yrs of dating before he popped the question.

  3. Hah! My favorite ex- story is the girl that was so mad at me for breaking up with her waited for me in my apartment complex parking lot and then proceeded to get so mad at me she punched her car and broke her hand.

    She’s now the chairman of the chemistry department at — well, let’s just say at a respected college.

    Can you imagine if during those breakups we had to make them “facebook official” by changing our relationship status!?!?!? Is there a more portentous click in the modern world?

    1. Hahahahahaha! Love it, Steve. That’ll teach her. It’ll teach her to get her life together and become a chairman of the chemistry department. Wow. Chemistry, eh? I wonder if she generates better chemistry these days. Ha. Sorry. Lame joke.

      1. We were all chemistry grad students at the time. She is now only referred to as Broken Hand Girl. And no, we’re not Facebook friends. I don’t even think we’re LinkedIn….

    1. Breaking up is hard to do. Neil knew about what he was singing. I am nervous about my boys dating. I’m not looking forward to the broken hearts – either theirs or the ones they break.

  4. My high school break ups were the pits….one broke up with me the week before junior prom and one broke up with me the night OF senior prom. Thank goodness I found my knight in shining armor in college. And yes—the social media aspect today is brutal for break ups. PS Looks like only half a can of hair spray in the one shot.

    1. Hahahaha! You really got me laughing with your 1/2 can of hair spray comment, Beth Ann. Though I honestly believe it was closer to a full can.
      I made it through high school without any breakups – of course, I made it through high school without any dates, which meant no dances/proms. When I was in school the band “Yes” had a song out called “Owner of a lonely heart”. One line was “owner of a lonely heart – much better than an owner of a broken heart.” Being the owner of a lonely heart throughout high school, I swore lonely was worse than broken…. then I had a broken heart. *Drat!* That song was right! (smile)

    1. As dramatic as I am, MJ – goodness gracious, I’d be a blubbering idiot if I spent my 20ys on Facebook. I am so very grateful it did not exist. Glad you liked the post. It was great fun to write.

  5. Even better the second time around. My first boyfriend, first love, showed up on Facebook and I called my sister immediately. We just waited until he contacted me. I felt like even though he was still married to the unattractive girl he left me for 20 some-odd years ago I had won because HE reached out to ME. So mature.

    1. You so won, Kim. Much like my dating history, my male-friending history has been a bit one sided. “Hi! I’m Lenore! Remember me? No? That’s OK. Want to be friends? I’m married now, so I won’t drive by your house late at night.” Hopefully, my 60yr old self sent my 40yr old self a letter. I’m waiting. Hahahahaha! I crack myself up.

    1. And lucky me, he was willing to deal with my crazy, Maxi. 🙂
      As I said to someone else, hairspray was my friend back then. I did not leave home without it.
      I liked Steve’s story, too.
      Blessings to you.

  6. You’re so right. It seems 20-year-olds wear their hearts on their Facebook pages for the world to see – whether it’s happy love or despair. I would want a little more privacy than that for my deepest feelings, but I’m old that way.

    BTW, you look just like Cybil Shephard in Moonlighting in the hairspray photo!

    1. Cybil Shephard? Really? Oh, you are so on my Christmas list this year, Peg.
      As a 40-something, I feel comfortable putting thins out for all the world to see, as is apparent in my blogging. But 20-somethings have different social circles and lifestyles, and the age-group is still so heavily influenced by their peers. I just wouldn’t want that kind of judgement.

  7. Fortunately I’ve been able to block-out most of the details of my earlier days (being forgetful has to have some advantages, I guess). Something tells me Social Media might have made that a bit more difficult to do.
    The hairspray thing really made me laugh, too! Not that I can relate, er… anything… but… uh…

  8. I know, I know…I think about this all the time. Growing up was tough, but it is so much tougher now with social media. This is currently a huge topic of conversation with my 13-year-old daughter. Last month, in the next town over, an 8th grade boy was stabbed at school because of a facebook quarrel over a girl. My daughter does not have facebook or twitter, but she has Instagram and I’ll be honest, I stalk that sh*t like it’s my job. It makes her crazy, but it’s the only way I’ll let her have it. 😦

    By the way, I think I had that t-shirt with the people standing around the earth. It looks so familiar. Was it GreenPeace?

    1. Good for you for holding back the Twitter and Facebook. And, I think it is great you are stalking her like it is your job. Uh – I’m of the camp that thinks it is your job. 🙂 I’ll be stalking my boys once they get to that point – IF they get to that point. Hey. A Mom can dream, right?

      The incident the next town over is horrific, Nancy. I have no other words.

  9. The shoe was on the other foot. I dated a psycho, and wondered if I’d make it out of that alive. You may have used a whole can of hairspray, but, trust me, only half of it was on your hair. The other half coated everything else in the bathroom. I was SO glad when our daughter stopped using the stuff!

    1. Patti!! I laughed and laughed when you mentioned hairspray all over the bathroom. YES! When my Mom cleaned our bathrooms, I remember her expressing her frustration with the hairspray. When I started cleaning the bathroom, I expressed my frustration. It got all over everything! Thankfully, I rarely use hairspray these days, so my days of frustrated cleaning are few. (smile)
      I am sorry about your psycho experience. I realize what I write as comedy plays out in some places as a true nightmare.

  10. Oh, we all should have bought stock in those hair spray companies. I think they all made so much money in the 80s that we would have been set for life! 😉

    Breakups are a hell of a thing. I’ve been through my share, although only two that were significant. The first one was when I broke my engagement to my college boyfriend. I don’t know what I was thinking – engaged at 21 years old?? Luckily, I came to my senses. Good guy, just not for me. He’s not on Facebook. Yes, I checked *hangs head*

    The second one was messier and initiated by my ex, but to be honest, it was my own damn fault. I had been thinking of breaking up with him about a year or two into the relationship and once again, I talked myself out of it. “Give it a chance.” The ‘chance’ turned into co-dependence while living overseas together. He broke up with me a week after we moved back to the States, then spent the next 8 months changing his mind back and forth. Finally I just told him to leave me the hell alone. And he is on FB and tried to stay in touch that way, but I’ve blocked him.

    So, I was a dumper, then a dumpee. Buzz is my third ‘real’ relationship and we’re going on 8 years so far – longer than anyone else – so I’m hoping the 3rd time is the charm!

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