Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon

By Holly A. Phillips — @OrangeJulius7

The first time I got dumped, it happened on the phone. I was a junior in high school, unaware of any problems in my relationship.

But my then-boyfriend—the first one I’d ever had—called me on my clear, purple cordless phone and kept the conversation short.

“If the relationship isn’t moving forward physically,” he said, “then what’s the point?”

The point was that I really, really liked him, and since he was my first kiss, I was admittedly very shy when it came to getting physical.

Very soon after we broke up, he started “dating” the easiest girl in school… because, of course, he did.

That was 14 years ago, and I’d like to think I wasn’t devastated when it happened, but I’m sure I was. Nearly every breakup that’s followed has been worse than the one before it.

I used to think the sadness during a breakup was directly related to the intensity of the relationship, or that the time it took to get over someone was a small fraction of how long we’d been together. But I’ve had breakups that proved all of these revelations wrong.

Sometimes, a breakup in itself is just nasty. And relationships can be short in time, but very intense with emotion. But it doesn’t always take a breakup to feel upset when it comes to dating; getting rejected isn’t fun either.

I’ve gone on several first dates that didn’t result in second dates, and sometimes that hurts. It’s easy to take things personally, when in reality, it’s probably just not a match. The older I get, the less I worry about rejection.

Years ago, when a serious relationship of mine ended without much warning, I wanted so badly for this guy to see how great I was.

“He’ll see what he’s missing out on,” I told myself.

I made my schedule busy so I wouldn’t think about him. I found a rebound hookup. I took up new hobbies to fill time. I was a complete mess… and that’s probably why he dumped me in the first place.

I know it’s cheesy, but I really do believe that both people in a relationship have to be at similar points in their lives for it to work. And part of that is understanding that if it’s meant to work out, then it will.

Knowing that alone is enough to help me accept (or completely blow off) getting rejected.

I was seeing a guy during the holidays last year, and things went from great to…not so great in a matter of weeks. When I asked him about it, he just said it wasn’t the right time for him.

My friends tried to analyze it. Maybe he was interested in someone else, they said.

Maybe so, I thought, but why even bother wondering? It didn’t work out, so let’s just leave it at that.

When I think about the grand scheme of relationships, there are only two possible outcomes: a breakup or a wedding. And if fate is real, then the wedding thing is only supposed to happen once. If you’re a math nerd, this means that you’ve got to have more breakups than weddings, so just prep yourself.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but if we’ve learned anything from Blake and Miranda (OK, and Gwen and Gavin), it’s that even marriage can sometimes end in heartbreak.

Read more about breakups and rejection on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.

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