So You’ve Been Dumped made its debut in the summer of 2000, brought to life by none other than myself, Thea Newcomb, with invaluable contributions from my circle of friends and beloved family members. The genesis of this platform traces back to the aftermath of not one, not two, but three breakups that could easily rival the twists and turns of a soap opera plotline – a marital separation, the dissolution of a so-called “soul mate” connection, and an improbable dalliance with a potential priest (who, incidentally, never took the holy orders). However, let me clarify that SYBD was never truly centered around any of these individuals. In an unexpected twist, I’ve found gratitude for each of those heartbreaks, as they played the role of catalysts for the creation of a space where individuals from every corner of the globe could come together, share their stories, and extend mutual support. Allow me to take you through my own transformative tale of heartbreak below.
My Breakup Story – by Thea Newcomb (Updated 2023)
In the course of our lives, most of us have faced the sting of a breakup, an experience that hits each of us uniquely in its aftermath. Healing, it seems, obeys no predictable timetable, and its pace diverges like the various hues of a sunset. The duration of a relationship doesn’t always correlate with the time it takes to mend a fractured heart. Regardless of whether the connection held for mere weeks, months, or extensive years, the ache of rejection resounds universally. What unfolds next are glimpses from my own story of heartbreak. I’ve attempted to distill it into phases, even though my journey through these stages was a fluctuating dance. It’s worth acknowledging that many find themselves juggling multiple stages at once.
“But I thought you were the one…”
I’ve had my fair share of relationships in my life, yet I dare say that true, profound love has crossed my path only once. It might sound like a well-worn cliché, but this man had me convinced that he was my genuine “soul mate.” That belief persisted until the day he blindsided me with an international phone call, the cost of which I bore, no less. Our love, I had believed, was the enduring kind – the “forever” sort that poets write about. Through years of shared moments and unwavering companionship, he consistently treated me with care, cementing a connection that felt unbreakable. Never had I been given reason to question his devotion or the depth of his feelings. And yet, with the swiftness of a single call, he shattered the foundations of our relationship, leaving me grappling with a sense of shock and abandonment.
The Tornado Stage
When I got that relationship-ending call, I cried non-stop for the first four or five days (and off and on for the next month!). As we spoke, I kept repeating: ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me’ and asking him, ‘are you sure?’ It just didn’t seem real, and I wondered when I would wake up from this horrible nightmare. I didn’t eat or sleep for the first two days. By the third day, my friend Jenn, who’s a nurse, came around and forced soup down my throat (at the time I wasn’t a soupy type of person). She sat with me sympathetically for hours those first few days – not having a clue what to do or say.
By the fourth day, I was back on solid food but, even then, my appetite remained “off” for several weeks. It was shocking how someone who supposedly loved me – like no other – could simply cast me aside like a piece of old garbage. It surprised EVERY ONE of the many people who knew us as a couple
After that, in the ensuing weeks, the cascade of emotions overwhelmed me time and again. There was anger, directed both at him for seemingly dismantling my life with just one phone call and at myself for granting him such control over my well-being. The pain wrapped around me, its grip unyielding and seemingly eternal. I felt as if I were submerged in sadness, engulfed to my very core. The vision of the beautiful future we were meant to share felt stolen from me. Our recent move to a home that held dreams of a family felt like a cruel twist of fate. The ease with which he transferred his affections to another person overnight, seemingly without a second thought, wounded me deeply. The intensity of this blow astonished me, resonating at the core of my being. It was worse than anything I had ever experienced in my life, yet at the same time, as this wide array of emotions – I also felt numb.
Sense Making – Aka the Why? Why? Why? Questioning Stage
“How could I be so foolish, stupid, and oblivious? I was so embarrassed that I never saw it coming. I was totally blind-sided. I felt confused because we seemed so happy. I thought we loved each other. I thought we cared for each other. Many friends, seemingly, envied us. Our sex life was great and frequent (well, in my opinion anyway). Our friendship was strong and I’d describe our communication as open and respectful. Simply put, we were good together, we gelled – or so I thought.
How was I the last to know? How could I have been the only one in this relationship that was blissfully happy? How could I be so stupid? I felt so humiliated that I could not have known him like I thought I did. I began to wonder if we ever REALLY know someone. I began to question absolutely EVERYTHING that we said and did over the past several years together. Was it all just a big lie? Was it all just an illusion?
There was the feeling of being soul-destroyed. Everything I had ever grown to believe in was shattered in an instant. All my hope vanished and for the weeks to come, I could not see a light at the end of the tunnel. The one question I kept asking myself was ‘what have I done to deserve this?'”
Competition – The Race is On
I was gripped by jealousy as he embarked on a fresh and thrilling romance. He had a new companion to accompany him to the beach, someone to cuddle up to, and a person to share passionate kisses with at will. I subjected myself to mental torment, allowing vivid images of them to haunt my thoughts. The mind can be merciless: I conjured scenes of them in the bed we had once chosen together, visiting the spots we had frequented, watching TV in the home we had just invested in, lounging in our newfound garden, and driving the car I had handpicked. Yes, it seemed he had it all – a complete life. In contrast, I felt stripped of everything. No one to exchange kisses with, no abode to call my own, no vehicle to traverse in, no job to occupy my days, and above all, a void where love once thrived. The injustice of life bore down on me, an overwhelming sentiment of profound unfairness.
Oh the Worries… Fears At Every Corner
The fears of being on my own clenched me in their grip – unrelenting, as I had never navigated life solo. Anxiety loomed: could I manage to stand on my own two feet? What if I lacked the strength to pave my way? What if no one found me captivating or cherished me again? The apprehension gnawed: what if I never experienced intimacy anew? How would I mend my ability to trust? Could I rediscover my zest for life? The haunting specter of doing something reckless loomed – would I spiral into the abyss of mania or bipolarity? Could my tears ever cease?
Above all, the nagging worry lingered – would this sense of being lost, frightened, and isolated perpetually persist?
What came next? Should I seek employment? Hunt for a tranquil abode? Relocate to London? Return to California? Forge ahead in Scotland? Venture into dating once more? Indulge in movies? Put pen to paper? Dedicate myself to work?
Cue: The Mad Crazies
I found myself concocting revenge scenarios in the most gruesome of ways. My friends, the empathetic yet deviously inclined, provided a plethora of inventive ideas on how to get even with him/them. Suggestions ranged from tucking watercress into the carpet to slicing up clothing, introducing hair removal cream into shampoo bottles, or stashing fish in obscure corners of floors and walls – the list was endless. The fantasy of revenge provided momentary solace, but it wasn’t long before I grew weary and veered toward a more positive form of retaliation.
After all, they say, ‘what goes around comes around,’ and I had no desire to invite bad karma.
In this phase, people often act in ways entirely uncharacteristic of their normal selves. Some might plunge into heavy drinking or dabble with drugs. Others embark on globetrotting adventures, undertake drastic makeovers, or engage in brief romantic entanglements.
As the weeks passed, the shock began to lose its stranglehold, and the grip of fear weakened its intensity. I chose a path that felt out of character for me – having a fling or two. It was an unconventional step, but it served to soothe my worries about whether anyone would find me attractive or desirable again. It worked, albeit fleetingly. There were no regrets, just a quiet acknowledgment that I had faced a fear head-on.
For reasons I can’t quite put into words, it was during this juncture that I felt the corners of forgiveness starting to soften towards both my EX and HER. He wasn’t malicious; he was simply inept at the art of closure. In the spirit of ‘change your hair, change your man,’ I lightened my hair, adorned myself with alluring new clothing and lingerie, acquired a sun-kissed tan, and dedicated myself to rigorous workouts.
With time, the shadows lifted. Gradually, my confidence began to trickle back.
Acceptance & Moving On
Eventually, approximately six weeks after the break-up, a new feeling emerged: RELIEF. I was so glad we never got married. I began to feel liberated and excited about the possibilities that now lay before me. I was excited by the challenge of becoming truly independent!
I started to view the breakup in a totally new light – by vowing to see it as an “OPPORTUNITY” and not the end of the world. To choose to see it as the gift that it was and to be grateful for the experience. Yes, this breakup was a blessing in disguise. It is in times of great adversity that we grow and learn the most about ourselves. This was quite the learning experience!
In the early stages, I had practically wished he’d get killed in a car crash. Then, the vindictive side wished he would get dumped to see how it felt. The vengeful side wanted to make him pay for what he had done to me. The naïve side wished he’d come back, begging. The insecure side wanted him to come back and take care of me. Then,…the independent side took over and I didn’t really care what happened to him (or her). Whether they were blissfully happy or fighting all the time – it made no difference to me.
As I began to put the pieces of my life back together, I came to the conclusion that it was OVER. The best thing for me to do would be to focus on myself – and no one else. In time I started to feel good about myself again. After having the rug pulled out from underneath me, it was no small feat, I can tell you! If I can do it, you can do it too. Remember that nothing ever happens to us, it happens for us. What’s the gift in your situation? It’s there, I promise you.
I hope this helped you in some way. x