My Relationships/Teen Relationships I Thought They Were the One by Adam Cross Having had a relationship in high school that I thought was leading to marriage fall apart, I was left feeling confused and upset. My feelings and dreams for the future were crushed as the relationship crumbled. It’s heavy and it hurts. Leaving a serious relationship can leave you lost, angry, sad, and confused on what the future will hold. When a relationship ends we don’t just suffer with the loss of the other person but we often mourn the dreams and possibilities that went along with that person. After a break up it can be hard to know where to begin to cope, heal, and how to move forward. Made for Love Itself Breaking up with someone you thought was “the one” can easily cause you to feel deceived or misled. Why would God build you up like that and let it be taken away? It can almost feel like God has pulled the rug out from under you. Whether it ends well or not, whether it’s your decision or not, God is still calling you to true love. This love is first and foremost in Him. God is still calling you to love itself which is literally God Himself. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are destined to become a priest or a nun after a break up, but it does mean that God is calling you deeper in faith by trusting that He has a plan of love for you. Breaking up with the supposed “one” can help us grow closer to the One, Christ. If we are called to marriage than He is preparing the way to your future spouse. It can be a scary thing that requires a lot of faith but God is calling us to trust and follow His plan for love in our lives. Coping and Healing So how do you cope and heal after a hard break up? Within this hurt the Gospels remind us that Christ is with us in our hurts and disappointments. God is calling us to healing and to live a vibrant and fulfilling life. God is also using our hurts and disappointments to grow and be strengthened from relationships that aren’t meant to be. Let’s look at healthy ways to respond and heal from the end of a relationship with someone you thought was the “one”’. Good Friends and Community Good friends bring our minds to good things, especially after a break up. Having community with good friends who will listen to you, comfort you, and even direct you to other things can be a great gift in refocusing and finding joy in life. After a break up might also be a time to try to find a new group of friends as well. If the person you were in a relationship with hangs out with the same group of people you do, it could be an excellent chance to try seek out a Christ-centered community and maybe sign up for that Steubenville Conference over the summer. Building community centered around Christ and relying on friends with your same values can help you better cope, heal, and maybe even have some joy in the process. Friends and community remind us that we aren’t defined by just our romantic relationships but that God has made us for community and friendship as well. Respond, Don’t React We all have probably seen a “rebound” of some sort. After a break up there can be a lot of emotion or maybe even none at all. During this period it is essential to give yourself time and not rush into anything. This can mean not rushing into another relationship right after ending one, but it could also mean not rushing into big life choices or changes. Give yourself time to think and process what is happening in your life. After a break up it’s tempting to look at an ex’s social media accounts or begin posting on your own to pass the time. When on social media ask Will this post/search be fruitful to my healing? This might be a time to talk to a therapist or spiritual director. Remember, after a break up there’s no big need to rush or react. Reacting is based on raw emotions but responding is allowing yourself time to process, reflect, and make healthy decisions. Journaling about what is going on in your head is a helpful and fruitful way to respond and not just react. Don’t Build a Shrine Sometimes after a break up people can make it a point to pray regularly for their ex out of worry, loneliness, or both. While it’s not bad to pray for people who are no longer in your life, it’s important to not hold your ex in prayer so much so that you cannot let them go. If God isn’t calling you to that relationship, you are also being called to entrust that person to God’s care — He loves them far more than you do, or are called to. Trust in His care. Find Yourself Important Most people have trouble being alone with their thoughts. While we wouldn’t think twice about listening quietly to our friends vent and talk about their struggles we find it impossible at times to spend time with our own thoughts and feelings. After a break up there are a lot of emotions and questions floating around. It is important to pay attention to these as we would listen to a good friend. Journaling, again, can be a great way to give your thoughts and emotions importance and really understand what is going on with you. Finding yourself important means paying attention to why you do the things you do, validating the feelings you have, taking the time to process them, and maybe considering seeing a professional to talk to about what is going on. Be Healthy and Take Care of… Yourself! As a break up happens, routines and healthy habits can slip away because of the sheer weight of a broken heart. In order to avoid spiraling, try to be as mindful as possible of the ways you’re caring for yourself. Exercise, healthy eating, and a solid sleep schedule can be a source of not only feeling better but also of confidence and strength. Post break up is an important time to assess your boundaries not only in the past, but also in the present. Healthy living and boundaries might involve asserting a need of space with an ex or certain people around them. Healthy boundaries with yourself might also involve limiting things like social media use, contact with your ex, and being aware of how you are coping with the break up overall. If a break up affects your daily living and well being it is important to seek help and see a therapist or psychologist. After a break up it is important to assess your coping tools and habits with stress and hurt. God puts people and good habit building tools in our lives so that we can grow and live life to the fullest! The Plan Breaking up with the “one” can be gut wrenching and heart breaking. It can really hurt but it can also be a time to see God working. In the face of hurt Christ is present in the suffering. As the eternal Bridegroom who became man for us, Jesus shares in our pain and cares about your heartbreak. God cares about your heart and your longing for love and is with you in the confusion, tears, and anger. Don’t be afraid to look for God in the midst of losing someone who you thought could be the “one”. Look for Christ in the mess and invite Him into your coping and healing.