Hey, kids, if your heart was truly broken, you'd be dead

By Samuel Brebner

"I THINK we should be just friends." The fateful sentence rang in my ears, the "F" word slicing my heart. "It's not you, it's me."

My first teenage break-up, the worst day of my life ... so far.

At some horrible point in our adolescence many of us have had our lives blown apart by the JF bomb. We are at the heights of a hormonal bliss so thick you can almost taste the oestrogen and then, with those two simple words, it gives way to an abyss of ice-cream devouring self-pity.

The teenage break-up is truly the pinnacle of high drama. Or at least, that's what it can feel like. An objective examination of the situation would, however, paint a different picture.

The cold, hard, hormone-free truth is that this supposed high drama is really melodrama. Teens lament lost love, sometimes for months, when in reality most don't understand what love is.

Sure, they know all about that warm fuzzy feeling ... when you see that special someone the world is beautiful, the birds are singing, the pandas are no longer dying out, time stops.

But is that the same as the love based on a choice, not a feeling? The kind of love that means you drive to the shop at 3am to pick up some fudge ice cream and an anchovy springroll for your pregnant, craving wife?

I think not.

Teens go into relationships with images of Romeo and Juliet in their heads. Somewhere along the line, though, the pebbles Romeo throws outside Juliet's window turned into a cinder block and that window turned into the windscreen of the BMW "Daddy" bought her. But I digress ...

We have dubbed the parting of ways a "break-up", but perhaps our style of dating is the thing that is truly broken.

The concept of dating is only about as old as the car. Before that it was much harder for a couple to be alone.

They actually had to embrace ideas such as family and patience and commitment. This was a concept that is little-known today called "courtship" - you know, featuring dragon-slaying knights and fair maidens.

Nowadays we want the love, hand-holding, deep conversations and sex all at once, delivered in a heart-shaped box known as modern dating.

This desire for instant gratification means that the only thing the couple ends up embracing is each other.

What mature couples would previously cover over three to five years, most teenagers try to cover in a matter of months. This too-much, too-soon approach to dating almost guarantees teen couples will crash and burn.

What's worse is that most of the time the break-up is only the beginning of the drama, rather than its climax.

So should teenagers be dating at all?

Most teens will end up spending their adolescent years either running around trying to find a date or getting totally lost in the eyes of that dreamy acne-covered someone.

But the teen years aren't meant for intense relationships. These years are a time to discover who you are, decide what your dreams will be and realise that everybody else's body is changing just like yours.

"Just friends" sounds to us like a person who has one or more traits that make dating them totally undesirable.

But in the context of the anarchy of teenage relationships, maybe "just friends" isn't such a bad idea.

If, however, it is too late and you are already experiencing the spirit-crushing heartbreak of a teenage relationship, never fear.

No matter how bleak your Facebook status may seem at the moment, there is still hope.

There are many ways the pieces of your broken heart can be patched up.

Many magazines suggest buying a pet is the best way to sooth that aching heart. After all, "a pet will love you unconditionally". Just as long as you feed it, give it a home, let it dump its crap wherever it wants and basically pay for all its living expenses.

Face it, it's pretty much your ex in animal form ... okay, it's your ex, period.

Online dating sites recommend that after a break-up you write your feelings down in a diary. Personally, I endorse this idea - if you're a female. After all, unlike your ex, a diary will actually let you vent your feelings and express yourself.

It's also highly unlikely that your diary will become involved in a love triangle, square or any other polygamous shape with more than two points. The diary will probably have a higher IQ, as well.

For the guys, unless your ex is a member of the same gender, no diaries.

Most break-up books also recommend keeping your distance after a break-up. This means not seeing each other, no phone calls, no text messages and no Facebook.

I've found the best way to end these forms of contact is to pour a glass of liquid over your ex's cellphone, computer monitor or head. This is also a good way to "cope with the pain appropriately" (stage five of getting over that relationship). Make sure it's a good big glass.

But seriously, seeing your ex after a break up can stir up a whole bunch of negative emotions, especially if you're still carrying that cinder block.

In the end, try not to take it too seriously. If your heart was truly broken you'd be dead. It's going to be okay. There really are plenty more fish in the sea and eventually you're bound to catch one that isn't such a bottom dweller.

Girls, I fear that only time can heal your broken heart - and his broken nose.

Samuel Brebner, Year 13, Aquinas College, Tauranga

- NZ Herald

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