I know some truly kind and amazing people.
When Mr. Burns and I broke up - one friend sent me a handwritten card, expressing her sympathy, her support and her concern for me.
Another friend, who had encouraged me to break up months before, upon hearing the news said, "I'm so sorry. I know you had a lot of hope in that relationship."
Many many others said, in some way "I'm sorry for your loss."
Because that is what the end of a love/ romantic relationship is. It is the end of a certain kind of hope. It is the death of an anticipated future.
Now I am embarrassed that I wasn't as kind and thoughtful to my friends who went through break ups before me.
I didn't know.
Because I had never been through a break up of this magnitude, I thought that went couples broke up it was because it was the best decision. I didn't understand how painful and heartwrenching it is... even if it is the right thing to do.
Now I vow to do better by my friends. A break up is a great loss.
I mean really, I've been more sympathetic to a friend with a cold than to a friend suffering a break up!
I saw another friend who didn't know about the break up until I told her today - and she expressed genuine compassion. I thanked her and shared what I have learned. She agreed and told me that she's gone through break ups and she's gone through a divorce and to be honest, the divorce was easier. We discussed it and agreed that the end of a relationship is hard because it ends your idea of a future. A divorce is a relationship that is already over, there is no future (or there wouldn't be a divorce) and there is more relief than grief.
Now I know. And I promise to treat my friend's breakups with the tender concern and sympathy that they deserve.
I wish I had understood this years ago.