Below is a summary of a conversation that I recently had with my adult son who has been getting over a recent breakup. He and I had texted a bit, but we met for lunch and we talked about it together. This is not an exact transcript but captures the essence of what we both said.
Son, I raised you (and your sisters) to know that you could share anything with me if you were troubled, had questions about life, or just needed to talk about anything. During our many long drives to and from soccer practice and games, you and I shared some very wonderful conversations.
So I count it as a success on both our parts that, that even as a young adult in your 20’s, you still feel comfortable reaching out to me and seeking my advice on the important matters in your life.
You’ve just experienced the joys of your first serious adult romance. You met a young woman with whom you felt a genuine emotional connection. You did all the right things: you planned dates, you were thoughtful and considerate, and you even shared with her your desire to be in a relationship with her.
And she really wasn’t interested.
And you thus felt your first serious adult heartache.
Before it was cool to be emotionally aware I strove to make myself an emotionally aware man, and I’ve done my best to teach you to be an emotionally aware young man. We’ve both succeeded.
The blessing of being emotionally aware is that we can appreciate so many more dimensions of life that others will never experience. The downside is that we will also endure more heartache when the realities of life stare back at us.
As you yourself said, “Ignorance can be bliss.” True, but we can’t unlearn what we already know.
I have experienced heartache several times in my life. It really hurts—I know. I can’t tell you why that young lady wasn’t interested. Maybe for her, the timing wasn’t right. Maybe she needed to get further along in her life before she understood what she really wanted in a relationship.
Sometimes heartache can be a good thing. It means that you have a loving heart. Only a heart meant for love can feel pain when that love goes away. You and I both love hard and that means that we will experience heartache from time to time, but when we love, it’s absolutely exhilarating.
Tennyson said it best: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Yes, you will lose love again, but you can’t spend too much time dwelling on why it was lost.
During a time of heartache in my own life, a wise man once told me, “Dad, sometimes we can never know exactly why!”
You said that. I told you that intelligence was hereditary!
The only thing that I can say to you is that the pain will subside and you will be left with only good memories. Fill your life with meaningful purpose and keep love in your heart. Maintain your network of friends whom you love and trust and who love and trust you. They will support you in good times and bad. Always know that I am here for you whenever you need me.
You will find love again.
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