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January 23, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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Still not over her

Question:

It started at the beginning of this year. I'm 15. I got in a relationship with a girl I was into for about a year. About 4 months in she dumped me; she gave me no reason or anything. This then caused me to become fairly antisocial for about a month. I wouldn't really talk to anyone or go out. I just sat in my room listening to depressing music, thinking about how worthless I am, crying, etc. I soon got over her and started getting back to normal as I'm a really social outgoing person.

Every now and then I had nights where I just cried. They are becoming more frequent now - nearly every night. I have started getting high and drinking with friends as it makes me feel happy and accepted, but still, as soon as I get home I just become sad and all I think about is about how worthless I am, and about how much I think everyone hates me. Recently, in about the last 2 weeks, all I want to do is break things. It's gotten to the point where I punch walls and my knuckles are constantly bruised and bleeding. Please don't say just talk to someone, I don't feel like there's anyone I can talk to who won't judge me or who will believe me as everyone only sees me when I'm being confident and fun, which is all just a front.

Stan, 15-year-old man

Answer:

Stan my friend,

Actually, there is nothing wrong with you. What you ARE is fine; the problem is what you are DOING. That's lucky, because you can choose to do things differently.

You are doing two things. One is OK, the other not. The OK bit is that you have been grieving. You suffered a loss, and it's fair enough to grieve for a while. Being with her had no doubt been a big part of your time and activities, and now that spot is empty.

Here is something to help though. You are 15. Still going to school, right? You have a future to build for yourself. If she was willing, and you could legally do it, would you have married her? No doubt you would say "Yes!" but that would have been an awful mistake. People who form a permanent relationship too young end up being very dissatisfied with life in their early to mid 30s. I know that sounds too far in the distance to worry about, but what matters is to go in the right direction toward a good life, and marrying at 16 or 17 is a bad mistake.

So, you can look at your experience with this girl in a different way. It was a practice at relationships: a learning experience. Once you get over your grief and self-pity, I have no doubt you'll find another girl. Make sure you have several over the years, before settling down.

I know a couple who were school sweethearts. When they turned 18, she broke up with him, saying more or less what I just said: they both needed experience with other partners. When they were about 25, they got together again, and now they are happily married with two kids.

So, yes, grieve for as long as you need to, which could be anything from one more minute to a few more weeks. Then move on. Ask, "What can I learn from this? In what way can I become a stronger, more compassionate, more decent person for having suffered?"

Now, your second reaction.

When that girl rejected you, you took it as a judgment of yourself. I imagine that, as a young teenager, you believed that having a girlfriend made you someone special. Instead of valuing yourself, your self-worth was "I am OK because I have a girlfriend." So now that she is gone, your self-worth is "I am useless and hopeless because she left me."

Look at it calmly, from the outside. Suppose one of your friends, a guy you really respect and like, was going through the breakup, and he came to you for advice. Would you think that somehow he had become faulty, damaged, worthless and useless because his girl went off?

So, just accept yourself as the same popular boy you were before. Stand in front of the mirror and say, "I am OK!" Then you'll be sending out positive energy, and that's what will come back to you. Two more things: You don't need to pretend to anyone. When you're with your friends, you can show your grief (if it still continues). You can be honest and say you still miss her. Why not? I predict that good friends will accept this and be there for you. If anyone doesn't, he is not your friend and never was.

Second, do not use alcohol and other drugs to battle a low mood. That's a terrible, slippery slope. The most precious thing about a human is the brain. Never poison it.

Your new grandfather,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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