One day, after rocking out to the “You Broke Up With Me” song playing on country radio these days, I tweeted about how much I liked the song. A kind and (I am sure) well-meaning soul pointed out to me something along the lines of “smart people don’t need revenge.” I stopped myself from replying back that I just happen to really like that song’s beat, but that comment got me thinking about break ups.
Break ups are the worst, right? You have this whole plan worked out in your head about how your life is going to go and then whamo!, either you get dumped, or you get pushed to a place where you feel you have no choice but to do the dumping yourself. Either way its total upset to all your plans and you are on your way through the five stages of grief, like it or not.
I went through my fair share of break ups before landing Prince Charming. I married young, and without even one time, talking to my betrothed about our future life and plans. How dumb is that? It turned out that my first husband’s future life plans were drug addiction, arrest and treatment in a never-ending cycle, which meant that I had definitely married (and had a child with) the wrong man. Once my daughter was born, there was no room for second (or tenth or twentieth) chances because I had a baby girl to keep safe and the drug life would never be safe. It was not an easy decision to divorce, but I knew it was the right one, and we settled our divorce without ever hiring an attorney or fighting about a single thing.
It’s kind of a running joke with J and I each year on our anniversary that on our first date, before we even got to the restaurant, when we were sitting in the left turn lane I turned to him and said, “SO, why did you get divorced?” (A girl needs to know these things! Although, to be honest, I had known his sister for ten years so I knew a thing or two)
What I liked about him the most (ok, second most because I really had a thing for his hands also) that night was that he did not look to place the blame on anyone. He didn’t say she was a psycho, he didn’t say anyone had an affair or a drug addiction, he didn’t point a finger. He said, “I married the wrong woman. I wasn’t really happy, but I was loyal to my family. She initiated the divorce.” He said this despite still, two years later, battling out the details of divorce and custody. (For future reference, if you cannot come to an agreement on custody, no matter who wins in court, you have both already lost- but your children the most).
It’s easy for me now to look back and see why every wrong boyfriend was wrong, and how I was responsible for not acknowledging bright red flags or setting appropriate boundaries or ensuring things that were important to me were communicated as expectations. It’s less easy to see when you just got your heart broken and you’re bitter. You don’t really believe there’s a such thing as “the one” when you haven’t found them yet, but you wonder if this is “the one” and it’s falling apart and you’ll be alone forever with five cats and your knitting. (FYI “the one” is not going to leave you)
I have no bitterness about any of my exes. I wish them no ill will and I hope they all found the right one for them. I wish my daughter had a better father, but I don’t ever feel angry at my ex-husband or anything he says or does. (I might roll my eyes on occasion)
That song, though, it’s all about coming out of a break up. You cry on the floor, you read “A Girl’s Guide to Surviving a Breakup” (After you have it next day aired to you from Amazon for more money in freight than the book costs), and you put all his/her stuff in box. You probably check their social media sites until you realize it’s bad for you to do so, you listen to sad break up songs and maybe you write, or watch TV or work out or eat a lot of comfort food, and when you’re ready, you get back up on that horse.
To me, that song is not about revenge. It is about overcoming. It about making it through. It’s about the last stage of grief- acceptance. It’s about getting back to yourself, back to the place when you’re in control of your life again and anything is possible. Closing the door and locking that sucker. Most of us have been through break ups in our lifetimes and one of the reasons I like that song is because it’s about recognizing yourself for the fabulous person you are and not caring what the other person thinks anymore.
But mostly, I just really like the beat.