My good friend is going through an extremely painful breakup. It was a long-term relationship, they lived together, they built a life together, she envisioned their future together, and he ended it very abruptly.
Understandably, she’s spent this first month mostly in shock and tears. She’s trying to navigate life without her person. She’s trying to get to work every day and not fall apart. She’s trying to breathe while her heart is shattered.
She’s also trying to figure out how to tell people they aren’t together anymore. This might sound like it’s easy—just tell people you broke up—but it’s often an excruciating experience for her.
This is because people, the dominating society, are not emotionally healthy. People often say things to her along the lines of, “Oh, it’s okay, I have someone I can set you up with.” What?! Please don’t say this to someone who’s grieving their relationship ending. It’s ridiculous.
As if she’s sad simply because she’s not in a relationship. No, she is grieving because she lost HIM, the specific him, and what they shared between them, their sacred relationship. This type of response would be like someone saying to me, “I’m sorry your brother died, but you can come hang out with my brother tomorrow, so it’s ok.”
She’s also had people who knew about her loss glibly ask her if she’s “still blue.” Or yell across the work-room, “DID YOU HEAR SHE JUST BROKE UP WITH HER GUY? SHE’S SINGLE AGAIN!”
Absurd. Hurtful. Who announces someone else’s hardship in that way? We do, people in this confused civilization do. We have no idea how to hold someone else’s grief or loss, so we make light and pretend it’s fine. We treat it as if it’s insignificant or public fodder.
Don’t be a person who does this to someone who’s grieving. And, as a forewarning, if you do this to one of my friends, I will usher you out of the room so quickly and firmly you won’t know what the fuck just happened.
What my friend told me the other day was, “I just need some grace. I need people to be gentle and kind with me right now.” So, please show the grieving some grace, tread lightly as you relate to them, and pay attention to where they are at, what they need. Someday you WILL be the person who’s just lost something beloved, and we will give you the grace right back.