I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks ago. It was the right thing to do because after three years, the relationship wasn’t going anywhere toward marriage, which is what I want. But I’ve been so sad and lonely. Every time something happens, I reach for the phone to call him, and then I realize I can’t. I feel so alone! F—ing Valentine’s Day is coming up, too. I can’t even. What advice do you have for me?
Honor the power of choice. You chose to end a relationship that didn’t evolve the way you believed it should. What else could you have done? A lot, actually. You might have changed your expectations to embrace what was good between you and your man without expecting a fairy tale ending. Or you could have nurtured tension and conflict by demanding that your boyfriend change to become the boyfriend-to-fiance prototype in your head. Instead, you opted for what you believed was best for you. There is nothing wrong with your choice. It’s just helpful to remember that every choice has consequences, including emotional ones.
The grief moving through you is about far more than the end of a relationship. Your grief is connected to the death of the dream you held for the relationship. It’s the pain of realizing that you have been primarily invested in your fantasy of what the future would be, and not as invested in the reality of your relationship. You were stuck in the “love is magic” trope. That is, if you love someone enough, they will want to become whatever you want them to be. Ewww! It doesn’t sound romantic on paper, does it? Maybe that’s because it’s about control, not love.
Let’s talk about February 14. Valentine’s Day is our culture’s celebration of love. Marketers have smartly put the emphasis on romantic love because that’s where the money is for them. But you’re not required to follow their lead. Organize your squad for a Galentine’s Day party or scroll through SN&R’s Sweet Deals until you find something that makes you happy and be your own date. Or volunteer at a local shelter and pour love back into our community. Stop limiting your definition and experience of love. When you do, your grief will fade fast.
I’m widowed and have recently started dating online. I have sent 20 to 30 emails to women, but they don’t respond. Am I doing something wrong?
In the online dating world, people don’t respond to emails, winks or likes if they’re not interested in pursuing the connection. It’s also possible the person who posted the profile is no longer an active member but didn’t deactivate her or his account. Dating sites allow nonactive profiles in the mix because interest in a nonactive profile might nudge that person to renew a membership. It also helps the site’s algorithms to understand the kind of person you’re interested in and to refine your matches accordingly. So don’t take the lack of response personally. It’s like being in a room of 1,000 people. You might smile at every woman but the one who matters is the one smiling back.