How to handle a breakup that isn’t yours

Hang on folks – we’re taking a break from your regularly scheduled snark. Instead of this week’s post on how to dress for Outsidelands (spoiler: Outsidelands is Not Coachella – no crop tops or flower crowns but be sure to hit up LF’s summer sale this week), I saw some news yesterday that seemed just ever so slightly more relevant to discuss (seriously, if I see you without a jacket next weekend just go back to LA).

Some of you reading this may already know this about me, but I have a minor obsession and big ol’ love for Miss Anna Farris and her podcast Unqualified. I stumbled on it last year and ever since it’s been a staple of my Tuesday morning listening. Especially on a 40 minute drive, Anna and Sim never fail to put a smile on my face and remind me that life is very silly and no one knows what they’re doing, but to enjoy the ride.

Even fewer of you know that I was actually on Anna’s podcast! They came through Clusterfest this spring and after emailing them my relationship question (like I said, the sillier the better) I was asked onstage to talk about it with Anna, Sim, Hannibal Buress, and Lizzo.

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You know, a typical Saturday. Not only did I get a date off it (holla!) but I got to meet someone who’s been in my ear for months, and who was as supportive and kind in person as she was coming from my phone speakers.

Which brings me to the news we’re here to address: not one, but three of my friends sent me posts in the last 12 hours about Anna and her husband Chris Pratt splitting up. Not only is this incredibly sad news, as they are two phenomenal people who seemed completely happy, but it hit me more than I was expecting it. Sure I met Anna for 10 minutes one time, but what right did I have to feel emotionally involved in this?

Louis CK has one of my favorite quotes about divorce:

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Tough love? Sure. But correct. I’m the product of 5 marriages, respectively, and it took my parents nearly 50 years to find each other. So I want to talk about how we view marriage and relationships today, and why that may need to change.

Take Anna Farris. From what I know (I told you guys, I’m all in on this podcast) she was married before and had only had a few relationships before meeting Chris. Chris Pratt is Chris Pratt, so had been slaying the ladies for a while. They marry, all is well. 8 years later they divorce.

I go on Instagram not only to see this news (& go follow me) but to also see the Umpteenth wedding hashtag and engagement ring post. I see people flying across the country and the world for weddings that could be a down payment on a house. And I know that despite to $50k price tag on them, some of those relationships will not work out.

We’re constantly berated for our relationship status. If you’re single people don’t know what to do with you (you aren’t dating anyone?! Oh sorry! You will soon!) and if you’re in a relationship everyone asks if they’re “The One.” I have yet to settle on a hairstyle that’s “The One,” let alone someone I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with.

And then, inevitably, relationships we’re invested in, relationships that aren’t even our own – end. Your parents friends. Your college roommate’s. A celebrity you admire. Your own. How do we manage our own sadness while also being supportive? And how are we good friends while handling our own disappointment and confusion?

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The answer: shut up for a second. As someone who loves talking, and it’s literally my job to do so, this is hard. You immediately want to add your own, relevant feeling or story, but hush. While we all have our own experiences and processes, it’s important to remember that at this particular moment, you’re not the one in the most pain. You are absolutely entitled to your feelings, but it is not your world that has come crashing down. You’re the world adjacent.

And the good news is that you know these people better than anyone. You know when to bring over a joint and ice cream and you know when to force them out of the house to go have fun. Be their friend first and handle your emotions secondly. If you Really think your story may provide some insight, by all means tell it. But no one who has recently undergone a breakup needs to hear about the time you got ghosted by some Fuckboy on Tinder. We’ve all been there, you’re not special, and be sure to pick up wine on your way over.

Which brings me back to Anna. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, and I truly think that the better a relationship looks on the outside the more turmoil goes on internally. Even happy couples aren’t perfect, and as anyone who’s ever been asked “Is he/she the one” knows, perfect is unattainable. How on earth can you expect someone to be perfect when you yourself aren’t? How can we ask 20 something kids to find a person, decide they’re “perfect,” and commit the next 50 years (or 25 or 8 or 2) to them in the arcane hope that we’ve somehow beaten the system and found happily ever after?

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The answer is we can’t. We have to stop trying and just accept that sometimes shit goes sideways and the best we can hope for is friends and family to come over and shut the fuck up for a second and split a bottle of wine with us. Live your life a day at a time, because if you’re too wrapped up in your “perfect future” you’re going to miss out on your kickass, ridiculous present.

My thoughts go out to Anna and her family, and anyone going through a breakup right now. They’re shitty and terrible, but at the end of the tunnel is more insight and support than you can imagine. Stay strong folks, it’s a crazy ride.

On a lighter note, if you’re interested in hearing me talk about my own silly relationship problems head over to this Unqualified episode! It’s my 15 Minutes of Fame and also a PSA that talking about your love life in front of 2000 people is no small undertaking. Enjoy!

Unqualified Episode #78: Live from Clusterfest with Hannibal Buress and Lizzo

 

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