Writing by Brittany Shephard // Photographs by Catarina Inácio
It’s never easy preparing yourself to break someone’s heart. It’s something no one wants to do, but if it’s right, it’s fair for the both of you for things to come to an end. Sometimes we have a hard time remembering that a break-up is just as difficult for the heartbreaker as it is for the person on the receiving end. Sometimes, it’s even more difficult to be the one who has to end things.
When I had just entered my freshman year of high school, everything was new to me: the humongous campus, the sports games and pep rallies, and especially, the boys.
As a young teenager, I easily accepted any attention that I got from boys. Just about every freshmen girl was eager to find a boyfriend, though I wasn’t quite sure why.
There was a boy that was in a couple of my classes, whom I talked to on that ancient website we all know as MySpace (ha-ha). I was a little standoffish when he first started flirting with me; he was not my type whatsoever. When we started dating, my friends and family were taken back by my choice to pursue him. However, he had a big heart, and was very nice to me, and so I fell for him. It was definitely a young love.
We dated for several months, and sometimes it was overwhelming how head-over-heels in love with me he was. For most of our relationship I felt the same way, but towards the end, things changed.
My mom talked me into trying out for the cheer team, and as much as I didn’t want to try out, I did, and I made it. As I started to make new friends and get excited about my sophomore year as a cheerleader, my emotions and my life quickly changed. I started to have a completely different mindset, and wanted to explore other people; I didn’t like the feeling of being strapped down as a 15 year old, hell no.
For a couple of weeks, I tried so hard to make those feelings of puppy love return. I didn’t want to end things, to hurt him after he expressed that he didn’t know what he would do without me. How can you push someone away after they tell you something like that? I still cared deeply for him, but no longer in a romantic way.
So I really had to work up the courage to break up with him one day at school. I regret not warning him about my feelings earlier on; to him, the break-up came out of nowhere and blindsided him. I could barely tell him how I felt because I was crying so hard. When things were said and done, I was a wreck for the rest of the day. I couldn’t stop crying. I obviously cared for him, so I felt extremely selfish and mean, and I was also facing the loss of a friend. However, while I had my regrets, in the end it wasn’t meant to be.
I know it may be hard making a decision to cut someone out of your life, especially your significant other. It may feel selfish and you may be feeling horrible for it, especially if they did nothing wrong, but if your heart is telling you it’s over, always listen to your heart.
How do you know, or what does it feel like to realize that you want to break up with someone?
It’s a feeling that often hits you like a brick wall; it could be brought on by a variety of things, but for me, it was because I was growing and my life was changing. When you start to get the feeling that someone is no longer right for you, it’s important to not make a radical decision and immediately break up with them; take however much time you need and ask yourself, Do I really like/love them? Can I live without them? Is it in my best interest? Whatever you do, don’t fake it; don’t prolong the relationship just because you feel guilty. The longer you wait, the stronger the feelings will intensify and you’ll end up hurting the other person even more. Plus, wasting your time on a relationship that isn’t working won’t benefit anyone.
How do I break up with them?
That, of course, depends on the type of person you are, and the relationship you had. But one good way to do it is sit them down in a private place to talk things through and explain everything you’re feeling. As much as possible, don’t make things short or tell lies, tell them the truth so you don’t leave them confused. If you don’t want to lose the friendship you’ve created, tell them that, and maybe sometime in the future, your friendship will rekindle. But don’t expect it right away.
I know breaking up is 100% what I want, but why am I so heartbroken and how do I cope?
Most people don’t understand how hard it is for the person doing the breaking-up; some think that the heartbreaker is in the wrong, even when they don’t know the reasoning behind the break-up. If you truly cared and loved the person at one point, of course your heart is going to be broken as well, and that’s okay– it means you’re human. It shows that you’re a genuine person who did what was best for the both of you despite knowing the consequences. Focus on the future and really think about what you want in a significant other. Not everyone is right for each other.
Best of luck to those stuck in such a confusing situation, stay strong, and remember you’re doing the right thing, even if it ends in tears!