Dear Your Teen:
My daughter recently broke up with her boyfriend. After 8 months, she just felt like it was too much for her and needed a break. They are still friends. It’s been about two weeks. Her dad and I are devastated. This boy is wonderful and we (secretly) hoped it would be a forever thing. We find that now we need help moving on after the breakup.
Also, her ex-boyfriend is now dating his ex-girlfriend. My daughter certainly understands he can date anyone he chooses, but she is upset that he is plastering it all over social media.
How do I put her at ease with this? It bothers her that this is happening so soon after the break up. Additionally, for myself and my husband, how do we put our own selfish wants of them staying together aside?
EXPERT | Amy Speidel
Coping With a Breakup. Help!
Your daughter is facing that passage of life (as irritating as that phrase may be) that most of us pass through. How wise of her to sense that the relationship she was forging may have felt like too much too soon. Pulling back may have also been her way of leaving open more opportunity to experience and explore what the world of relationships is all about. Breaking up and having the other person turn away is part of that. It is the consequence of walking away – it tends to create an equal response on the other side.
Your role is a tough one, standing to the side as she deals with coping with a breakup. And that doesn’t mean you’re a passive bystander, just that you’re not there to fix it or critique it. She just needs some support to steady herself through this new territory. She can make up any story that she’d like, and your job is to be curious about the story. Is he just trying to get back at her? Perhaps. Did he not really care in the first place? Could be. Or perhaps, after being rejected (and on a basic level, that is what happened) perhaps his best move, considering he’s also on a journey of discovery, was to reassure himself that, although it didn’t work out with your daughter, there is still hope for him. Perhaps that’s why he’s moving on after a break up so quickly.
As for your feeling that this could have been a great and lasting match, trust your daughter. She chose someone that has the kind of qualities you value. She’s likely to do that again, and again, until she’s truly ready to be ready for a more permanent step. She’ll get there. Until then, there’s a lot of adventure along the way! Enjoy the ride!