Some felt they were a modern day Romeo and Juliet. The reality,
however, is that they were a heartbreaking example of what can go wrong with
Christian Dalvia, 14 and Maryling Flores, 13 were sweethearts who
were forbidden by Flores mother to see each other. In early November, 1995,
the young couple met one last time. Standing at the edge of a Florida canal,
they joined hands and jumped 15 feet into the cold, murky water to their
Their deaths may sound romantic to some love struck teenagers when,
in actuality, its just plain stupid. There were probably many other reasons for
their deaths, but ultimately, the thought of not being together tortured to the
point of wanting to take their own lives. This is a very extreme example of
what can go wrong with teenage heartbreak. One minute theyre inseperable –
sharing their most intimate thoughts and details – the next minute they are
faces across a crowded room or polite acquaintances at best. These are the
consequences that come along with a breakup.
We teens hear about love all around us, in music and movies, on TV,
in stories. If you look in the dictionary, they define love as a tender, warm
feeling; warm liking; affection; attachment. Love is simply a choice we make
when we find someone who makes us happy, and who we trust with our
innermost thoughts and feelings. We hear that love will make us happy. We
hear that single people are lonely.We are told that if we are not part of a
couple, we are not complete. We all want to be part of this thing called love.
Okay, we get a boyfriend or girlfriend, now everything should be
perfect. But, its not perfect, because life never is. It is easy to become
disappointed. Feelings can change. One person may decide to say good-bye.
When that happens, the one left behind will feel rejected.
Rejection means someone choosing between one thing and another.
The one who doesnt get chosen is rejected. This person who feels rejected
thinks as if they are not good enough. It hurts. When the person you love
decides to leave you, it is even more painful. Does rejection mean failure?
No. The end of a relationship means that the boyfriend or girlfriend decided
that s/he wanted a change in the path of their lives. The reasons for this are
within the ex – not within the rejected person. No one is a less valuable
person because their boyfriend or girlfriends feelings have changed.
What To Expect
According to the book, The Complete Idiots Guide To Dating, there
are nine stages of rejection that almost all dumpees must go through. The
pain may be awful, but each stage is part of the healing process. The stages
may not follow in an exact order, but they will all be experienced.
The Denial Phase: This cant be happening. During this stage, people may
find themselves waiting for the phone to ring and not believing that the
relationship is over. Some people may go through feelings of worthlessness
and obsession. These people are ones who lack coping skills.
Solution: Acknowledge your feelings about what has happened. Accept, but
do not dwell on shame and embarrassment, and all the
The Bargaining Phase: Driving yourself crazy, thinking that, If I get my hair
cut, or If I dont call her for a week, s/he will change his/her mind.
Solution: Accept that its over.
The Loneliness Phase: Feeling as if no one understands or cares. Some people
will jump at the first person who shows the slightest interest in them, just for
the fact of proving that they can still get someone to want them.
Solution: Surround yourself with people who do care, and those who openly
say so. Remind yourself often that you are loved.
The Heartbreak Phase: Feeling like your heart is really breaking. You may even
feel pain in your chest, or want to throw up when you think of the person or
see the person with someone else.
Solution: You can go on. If youre feeling really bad, snap your fingers to
interrupt the thought.
The Blame Phase: Pointing the finger at you or at your ex for what each of you
Solution: Decide that neither of you are at fault and both of you are
responsible for the breakup.
The Depression Phase: Feeling sad, worthless, and foolish. You have trouble
eating and sleeping and you may imagine youll never love again.
Solution: Allow yourself to feel pain but dont wallow in self-pity. Keep busy
with exercise or projects.
The Anger Phase: Feeling furious for being rejected.
Solution: Experience the anger, but dont exaggerate it. Dont let yourself
The Acceptance Phase: Finally believing that it is over. You no longer expect
your ex to call and you begin to feel at peace.
The Healing Phase: Getting your life back. Ready to meet new people and
youre no longer dwelling over your ex.
These phases are all healthy ways to recover from a breakup.
The Wrong Moves
Just as there are ways to properly cope with ending a relationship, there
are also unhealthy ways that some of us are drawn to do.
In trying to cope with a breakup, during the loneliness phase, many use
manipulative methods to require personal power (the freedom of choice and
movement). Some of these manipulative methods are by going through the
exs best friend and playing detective (is he seeing anyone? is she still upset?),
threatening incapacitations (I wont be able to concentrate, do go or youll
make me depressed), making impossible promises (Ill do whatever you ask, If
I ever lose my temper, just snap your fingers and Ill calm down) – your ex
doesnt believe these, you dont believe these, so dont say them. – and finally,
by threatening revenge like, showing up with another girl at a party, physical
violence, etc. A personal example of this is a friend who well call Christine.
When school started, Christine was dating Tom who eventually left her to
date their mutual friend, Megan. Christine was extremely upset and she told
Tom she would get back at him. She told him she would tell his mom hed
been doing drugs. Obviously, Tom got angry and told Christine to stay away
from his family.
As it turned out, Christine never followed through on her threats.
They were just an underhanded ploy to make Tom upset. This is not a
mature way of handling a breakup, which is true for most teenage heartbreak.
Another incorrect method of recovery is harassment due to obsession.
The harasser is the person who, for example, is obsessed with driving by the
exs house or place of work, calls the other just to hear his or her voice and
tries to cover it up with lies like, I was just in the neighborhood, and I
think I dialed the wrong number… The severity of the obsession is measured
by the time that is spent on it, the degree of stress it causes, lack of control,
and interference in ones life and responsibilities. In severe cases, medications
can help. As many as one in forty Americans have some sort of obsessive
Along with harassment, physical abuse is yet another extremely wrong
way to handle rejection. Physical abuse occurs in more than one quarter of all
teen relationships. It includes such things as slapping, kicking, hair pulling,
shaking, and arm twisting.
You may be at risk if your partner:
is jealous and possessive
controls you by giving orders
scares you (or if youre unsure of his/her reactions to certain things)
pressures you for sex
gets too serious about the relationship too fast
abuses drugs or alcohol
has done things your friends and family warn you about
People who are being abused are advised to avoid all possible contact
with their furious ex. They are advised to leave at once, no matter what their
partner says. The abusees should talk to someone outside the situation, and
definitely get the help they need. People who are abusing are urged to seek
help and break off all contact with the person theyre abusing.
Extreme depression cases due to heartbreak may also lead to physical
violence towards oneself. The teenage suicide rate is up nearly 200% in the
past twenty years. Teens seem to jump into their relationship too fast, and
often mistake infatuation for love. When a breakup occurs, some teens feel
their world is caving in on them and dont know what to do. Teens must
realize that no matter how bad things seem, everyone goes through it and
everyone gets over it.
All of the above methods are completely wrong ways to regain personal
power. When attempting to let go, one should break contact and avoid
hanging around places where you know he or she will be. You should accept
that its over, stop asking why, realize and accept your emotions, decide to let
go of the past by staying away from emotional traps, by learning from your
mistakes and by looking forward to the future.
Repairing The Hurt
What makes breaking up so traumatic? Often, there are many
unresolved emotions, unfinished business, and unanswered questions. If you
see an ex too soon, you risk triggering those unresolved feelings and fantasies,
which will prevent you from moving on. This may not be easy if you attend
the same school. In which case you should try your best to avoid the places
you know s/hell be and dont purposely meet up with them. But when the
time is right, such reunions can also be a valuable opportunity to work
through the unfinished business. Sometimes youll discover that all of the
feelings of unworthiness or rejection that youve been harbouring are
overblown. Such realizations allow you to move on to new relationships.
Dont rush a reunion with your ex – give yourself plenty of time for the
wounds to heal. When you are both ready, get together and review what
happened. Explain the things that hurt you, what you wanted, what you
feared, and what you miss. With distance and a fresh perspective, any
lingering pain may ease, and a new love may emerge.
Many of us entertain the fantasy of seeing an ex and having him or her
say, You were right all along, take me back! This would restore your feeling
that you and your love mattered, but it actually only happens in a few cases so
you shouldnt let your hopes skyrocket.
If all of these steps are both followed and avoided, the dumped
individual wouldve gone through all the tearful, sorrowful, raging,
self-blaming and forgiving feelings that surface depending on ones coping
skills and compromise the emotional progression of ending a relationship,
and theyve come a long way towards their emotional healing.
On The Other Hand…
Now, weve concluded that teens can sometimes overreact when theyve
been dumped (suicide, depression, obsession, etc). As compared to adult
breakups which tend to be more civilized on average, teens really have no
reason to be severely depressed due to the fact that they have their whole life
ahead of them. Adults on the other hand, have much more to worry about
than teenagers. For example, adults have to worry about taking care of
finances that were previously shared, the effect the breakup will have on their
career, and how their children will react. In most cases, they know what love is
(most cases) and arent so immature about things. Sure, theyll be upset, but
not to the suicidal point as teens too often are.
Because children look to their parents to keep them safe, the lack of a
family member could heighten their sense of vulnerability. The parent who
remains with the child or children has to assume the role of the other parent
in the financial, physical, and emotional aspects.
From a personal viewpoint, adults have a lot more to worry about than
teenagers do so logically, they should be the ones overreacting, but theyre not.
It definitely all boils down to the teenage self-esteem issue. Its way up when
theyve got a boyfriend and when a breakup occurs, it plummets down and
they lose control of their emotions. This is when the wrong moves come
into play. If there was only a way to ensure high self-esteem in all of todays
teenagers we wouldnt have to worry about teens being pushed to the limit by
their overwhelming emotions.